The US finished the first stage of the women's world volleyball championships on a high note yesterday with a straight sets win over Puerto Rico.
The Americans bounced back from the previous day's loss to tournament favorite Brazil to gain their fourth victory 25-14, 25-16, 25-15 and finish second in Group C.
Brazil, the Group B winner, continued its excellent form with a 25-13, 25-14, 25-8 thrashing of Cameroon to preserve its perfect record.
The US, Brazil, Puerto Rico and the Netherlands each face Olympic champion China, Russia, Germany and Azerbaijan in their second-round group at Osaka.
Defending champion Italy, Serbia-Montenegro, Cuba and Turkey will play against Japan, Taiwan, Poland and South Korea at Nagoya in the next stage.
Second-round games begin Nov. 8 and the top two from each group advance to the championship semi-finals.
Katherine Wilkins and Nancy Metcalf both scored 15 points for the US.
Germany handed China its second-straight defeat 20-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-23 to finish the first round 4-1, while the Chinese dropped to 3-2.
Italy powered past Egypt 25-17, 25-7, 25-10 for its fourth win, while Olympic and World Grand Prix silver medalist Russia beat the Dominican Republic 25-17, 20-25, 25-18, 25-19 to remain unbeaten with five wins.
Cuba, a disappointing fifth at the 2002 world championships, made sure of its place in the Nagoya group but was forced to five sets by Peru 22-25, 25-16, 17-25, 25-16, 15-10.
South Korea also booked its spot at Nagoya with a 25-13, 25-13, 25-12 victory over Kenya, while Azerbaijan confirmed its place in the Osaka group with a 25-14, 25-10, 25-16 victory over Mexico.
The Netherlands advanced at the expense of Kazakhstan after a marathon five-setter, winning 25-18, 27-29, 25-18, 22-25, 15-13.
Taiwan ended a surprise winner of Group A with five straight victories after beating Costa Rica 25-10, 25-18, 25-12.
Surprise package Serbia-Montenegro topped Group D with a perfect record after a 27-25, 25-22, 25-15 victory over Turkey.
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