U.S. Women Rally Past China, Qualify for Olympic Quarterfinals

Aug. 15, 2008, 1:56 p.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800
E-Mail: bill.kauffman@usav.org

BEIJING (Aug. 15, 2008) – The U.S. Olympic Women’s Indoor Volleyball Team, with four players scoring at least 18 points, rallied to defeat host China 23-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-20, 15-11 on the fourth day of pool-play matches of the 2008 Olympic Games at Beijing’s Capital Indoor Stadium Friday night.

“We are absolutely thrilled about this win,” Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) said. “We came into this game knowing it was going to be tough playing China at its home in the Olympics. All we wanted to do was fight and that is what we did tonight. We continue to fight every set, every game.”

The U.S. (3-1), looking to reach the Olympic medal stand for the first time since 1992 (bronze in 1992, silver in 1984), concludes Pool A action on Aug. 17 versus Poland at 12:30 p.m. at the Capital Indoor Stadium.

With the victory, Team USA secured a spot in the quarterfinals on Aug. 19. The Americans are currently in second place in Pool A behind undefeated Cuba. China is in fourth place with a 2-2 record, just behind Japan’s 2-1 mark. Poland is 1-3 in the group, while Venezuela is winless in four matches.

“I think before the game, we knew our situation was difficult,” U.S. Olympic Indoor Volleyball Coach Lang Ping (Beijing) said. “We set our goal to qualify for the quarterfinals, and with just two just matches left. We have not been playing really good for the last three matches. In a meeting with the players, we told them to make sure every point for our team is very important and don’t think about the result. Just trust yourself and play as a team. I need to congratulate my team as the players played very brave and aggressive, especially down 2-1 after three sets.”

Tonight’s contest was a much-anticipated contest featuring Lang Ping playing against her country in the Olympics in her hometown. Lang Ping, who starred as an outside hitter on China’s 1984 Olympic gold-medal team and later went on to coach her country to a silver medal at the 1996 Olympic Games, is just the second female to serve as a head volleyball coach during at least two Olympic Games.

“It doesn’t matter if we play China, Cuba or Venezuela,” Lang Ping said. “Every match is the same. China is only one of the teams that we have to play in the preliminary round. I tried to be very concentrate on the game, not having more emotions involved. I have been coaching with the U.S. team for the last four years, and this is not the first time we have played them. We try to be professional and try to give my team the correct information during the timeouts.”

Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) led the Americans with 20 points via 15 kills, three blocks and two aces. She added a team-high 18 digs. Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) added 14 kills on 26 attacks, four blocks and an ace for 19 points. Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) chalked up 11 kills on 15 errorless attacks, four blocks and three aces for 18 points in the victory. Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) contributed 14 kills, two blocks and two aces for 18 points.

Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.) recorded nine points for the U.S., while Kim Willoughby (Honolulu) rounded out the scoring with three points. Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (Honolulu) charted 22 assists for the match. Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) added 15 digs and eight excellent service receptions. Tom provided 11 digs and a team-high 10 excellent service receptions.

Team USA started Ah Mow-Santos at setter, Scott-Arruda and Bown at middle blocker, Tom and Glass at outside hitter and Haneef-Park at opposite. Davis is the designated libero for the U.S. at the Olympic Games. Willoughby started the fourth set in place of Haneef-Park, while subbing into the match in both the third and fifth sets. Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) came off the bench in the first two sets, while Berg was a sub in the first and fourth sets. Ogonna Nnamani (Bloomington, Ill.) came off the bench late in the first set.

The U.S. held a 66-59 advantage over China in kills, while edging out the Olympic hosts 8-6 in aces. Team USA turned in a 29.6 hitting efficiency (kills minus errors divided attacks) while limiting China to a 20.6 efficiency. China produced a slim 14-13 margin in blocks for the match, in addition to a 73-67 dig margin. Both teams committed 24 errors in the match.

Less than seven days ago, Team USA was informed of the tragic death of Todd Bachman, father-in-law of the U.S. Men’s Olympic Indoor Volleyball Team and father of Elisabeth “Wiz” Bachman, a 2004 Olympian on the U.S. Women’s Olympic Indoor Team that competed in Athens. After hours of learning of the death on Aug. 9, the team won an emotional-filled four set-win over Japan. However, the team suffered a letdown the following match on Aug. 11 against Cuba before bouncing back to defeat Venezuela on Aug. 13.

“Against Cuba, we did have a rough match, both emotionally and physical technique wise. We definitely had a letdown due to all that emotion. It was one of our goals tonight was to come back We have “Wiz” written all over our bodies as an inspiration to us dedicating this to her and for her being strong. It is definitely emotional for all of us. We are pushing strong for her and her family.”

Yimei Wang scored a match-high 22 points in leading China, while Ming Xue added 14 points in the loss. Suhong Zhou and Yunwen Ma had matching 10 points.

Despite the loss, China has dominated the series versus the Americans since 1983 with an 82-30 record. However, the Americans have won both meetings in 2008, and both matches have gone the full five sets. The U.S. is 3-6 in the nine meetings – four times in China (tonight, Ningbo 6/26/05, Macau 8/25/06. 8/18/07) – during the current quadrennial with Lang Ping leading Team USA.

Team USA is ranked fourth in the world by the FIVB taking into accounts results of the 2008 FIVB World Grand Prix, 2007 FIVB World Cup, 2007 Continental Championship, 2006 World Championships and 2004 Olympic Games. Meanwhile, China is ranked seventh in the ranking, despite not able to pick up points at the 2007 FIVB World Cup as it could not participate as the 2008 Olympic Games host.

In other matches today, Russia topped Algeria 25-11, 25-19, 25-10, Brazil handled Kazakhstan 25-13, 25-6, 27-25, Poland defeated Venezuela 25-12, 25-12, 25-20, Italy downed Serbia 25-23, 25-20, 25-19 and Cuba swept Japan 25-17, 25-22, 25-22.

Italy and Brazil are undefeated in Pool B and will meet on Aug. 17 to settle group’s top seed. Serbia and Russia are tied for third at 2-2 and have qualified for the quarterfinals, but the winner of the head-to-head matchup on Aug. 17 will avoid being the number-four seed and facing Pool A’s top seed in the quarterfinals. Kazakhstan and Algeria are both winless in Pool B going into their head-to-head meeting on Aug. 17.

The top four teams in both round-robin preliminary pool advance to the quarterfinals on Aug. 19 with the winner of each pool facing the fourth-place team in the opposite pool. A drawing of lots will determine the opponents for the second- and third-place teams against the opposite pool.

The quarterfinal winners advance to the semifinals on Aug. 21, while the gold and bronze medal matches take place on Aug. 23.

The U.S. Women qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games by finishing third at the 2007 FIVB World Cup, the first qualifying event for the Olympic Games. Team USA has earned a silver medal at the 1984 Olympic Games and a bronze medal at the 1992 Olympic Games.

For additional information on the U.S. Women’s National Team, click here.

The U.S. led 15-12 in the opening set with a 3-0 run via kills from Haneef-Park, Tom and Bown. Haneef-Park extended the advantage to four at 18-14 with a back-row kill following a Chinese service error. Trailing 20-17, China rattled off three straight points to knot the score at 20-all and grabbed a 22-21 advantage. Haneef-Park hammered a kill followed by a Bown block to return the U.S. in front 23-22. However, China scored the final three points of the set for a 25-23 victory.

China rolled out to a 12-7 lead in the second set before the U.S. picked up the momentum with a 6-1 run to tie the score at 13-all. During the spurt, Glass served an ace, Bown put up a block and kills came from Haneef-Park and Tom. Bown scored three straight points with two blocks and a kill to push the Americans back in front 18-16, which it would not reliquinsh. Tom and Haneef-Park provided back-to-back kills at 23-20 en route to the 25-22 victory. Bown scored eight points in he set, including three blocks.

China bolted to a 6-1 lead to start the third set, but the U.S. battled back. Tom scored two aces and two kills in an 8-3 run to tie the score at 9-all. China built a second five-set cushion at 16-11 and extended its lead to seven at 21-14. After gaining a sideout on a Tom kill, Bown scored an ace as part of a 6-0 run that closed the gap to one at 22-21. However, China was able to trade points the rest of the way for a 25-23 victory.

With the score tied at 18-all, the U.S. put together a decisive 4-0 run with the assistance of the Chinese errors. Scott-Arruda started the run with a kill, followed by three consecutive three errors by China for a 22-18 advantage. Tom scored a kill at 24-20, and China once again committed an error to yield Team USA the set at 25-20.

China scored the first point of the fifth set, but could not get on the scoreboard for the next six points. Scott-Arruda knocked down a kill, followed by a Glass ace, Scott-Arruda block, Tom kill and two Chinese errors. China scored consecutive points in to cut the gap to 6-3. However, Scott-Arruda turned in a kill followed by a Tom block. After China tallied consecutive points, Team USA extended its lead to 11-5 with a Bown kill following two host errors. China closed to within three again at 12-9 with three unanswered points, but the U.S. was able to sideout the rest of the match ending with a Glass block.

U.S. Women’s Indoor Volleyball Olympic Roster
# - Name (Pos, Ht, Hometown, Colloege)
1 - Ogonna Nnamani (OH, 6-1, Bloomington, Ill., Stanford)
2 - Danielle Scott-Arruda (MB, 6-2, Baton Rouge, La., Long Beach State)
3 - Tayyiba Haneef-Park (OPP, 6-7, Laguna Hills, Calif., Long Beach State)
4 - Lindsey Berg (S, 5-8, Honolulu, Hawaii, Minnesota)
5 - Stacy Sykora (L, 5-10, Burleson, Texas, Texas A&M)
6 - Nicole Davis (L, 5-4, Stockton, Calif., Southern California)
7 - Heather Bown (MB, 6-3, Yorba Linda, Calif., Hawaii)
9 - Jennifer Joines (MB, 6-4, Milpitas, Calif., Pacific)
10 - Kimberly Glass (OH, 6-2, Lancaster, Pa., Arizona)
11 - Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (S, 5-7, Honolulu, Hawaii, Hawaii)
12 - Kim Willoughby (OH, 5-10, Napoleonville, La., Hawaii)
15 - Logan Tom (OH, 6-1, Salt Lake City, Utah, Stanford)

Head Coach: “Jenny” Lang Ping
Assistant Coach: Sue Woodstra
Therapist/Trainer: Li Yong
Technical Consultant: Tom Hogan
Technical Coordinator: Diane French
Team Leader: Joan Powell

Women's 2008 Olympic Games Indoor Volleyball Schedule

Pool A:
Cuba 4-0
USA 3-1
China 2-2
Japan 2-2
Poland 1-3
Venezuela 0-4

Pool B:
Brazil 4-0
Italy 4-0
Russia 2-2
Serbia 2-2
Kazakhstan 0-4
Algeria 0-4

Saturday, Aug. 9 - at Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium
Pool B: Italy def. Russia, 25-20, 17-25, 25-16, 25-23
Pool B: Serbia def. Kazakhstan, 25-21, 25-17, 23-25, 25-21

Saturday, Aug. 9 - at Capital Indoor Stadium
Pool B: Brazil def. Algeria, 25-11, 25-11, 25-10
Pool A: Cuba def. Poland, 21-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17
Pool A: China def. Venezuela, 25-13, 25-13, 25-18
Pool A: USA def. Japan, 25-20, 20-25, 25-19, 25-21

Monday, Aug. 11 - at Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium
Pool B: Serbia def. Algeria, 25-14, 25-13, 25-13
Pool B: Italy def. Kazakhstan, 25-19, 25-15, 25-21

Monday, Aug. 11 - at Capital Indoor Stadium
Pool A: Cuba def. USA, 25-15, 26-24, 25-17
Pool B: Brazil def. Russia, 25-14, 25-14, 25-16
Pool A: China def. Poland, 22-25, 25-15, 25-20, 25-22
Pool A: Japan def. Venezuela, 25-12, 25-17, 25-12

Wednesday, Aug. 13 - at Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium
Pool B: Italy def. Algeria, 25-7, 25-20, 25-12
Pool A: USA def. Venezuela, 25-17, 20-25, 25-14, 25-18

Wednesday, Aug. 13 - at Capital Indoor Stadium
Pool B: Russia def. Kazakhstan, 25-19, 25-18, 25-11
Pool B: Brazil def. Serbia, 25-15, 25-13, 25-23
Pool A: Cuba def. China, 18-25, 14-25, 25-23, 32-30, 15-13
Pool A: Japan def. Poland 25-21, 25-20, 18-25, 23-25, 15-11

Friday, Aug. 15 - at Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium
Pool B: Russia def. Algeria 25-11, 25-19, 25-10
Pool B: Brazil def. Kazakhstan, 25-13, 25-6, 27-25

Friday, Aug. 15 - at Capital Indoor Stadium
Pool A: Poland def. Venezuela 25-12, 25-12, 25-20
Pool B: Italy def. Serbia, 25-23, 25-20, 25-19
Pool A: USA def. China, 23-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-20, 15-11
Pool A: Cuba def. Japan 25-17, 25-22, 25-22

Sunday, Aug. 17 - at Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium
Pool B: Kazakhstan vs. Algeria, 10 a.m.
Pool A: Cuba vs. Venezuela, Noon

Sunday, Aug. 17 - at Capital Indoor Stadium
Pool A: Poland vs. USA, 12:30 p.m.
Pool B: Italy vs. Brazil, 2:30 p.m.
Pool A: China vs. Japan, 8 p.m.
Pool B: Russia vs. Serbia, 10 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 19 - at Capital Indoor Stadium
Women's quarterfinal 01, 10 a.m.
Women's quarterfinal 02, Noon
Women's quarterfinal 03, 8 p.m.
Women's quarterfinal 04, 10 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 21 - at Capital Indoor Stadium
Women's semifinal 01, 12:30 p.m.
Women's semifinal 02, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 23 - at Capital Indoor Stadium
Women's bronze-medal match, 12:30 p.m.
Women's gold-medal match, 8 p.m.
Women's Award ceremony, 9:50 p.m.