Pools Set for 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix

Dec. 03, 2008, 12:12 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 3, 2008) - The U.S. Women's National Indoor Volleyball Team will travel to Brazil, Chinese Taipei and Thailand in its three preliminary round weekends of the 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix, followed by the tournament's Final Round at Tokyo if it advances.

Team USA, the 2008 Olympic Games silver medalist and currently ranked third in the FIVB World Ranking, opens the tournament in an undetermined city in Brazil July 31 to Aug. 2 as part of Group A. The marquee matchup is a rematch of the 2008 Olympic Games gold-medal match with Brazil. Other U.S. opponents in Brazil are Germany and Puerto Rico.

The Americans have a long journey from Brazil to its second preliminary round weekend site held Aug. 7-9 at Miao Li, Chinese Taipei. Among the other Group D countries competing in Chinese Taipei are Netherlands, Dominican Republic and Germany.

Team USA wraps up preliminary round competition Aug. 14-16 at Bangkok, Thailand. In addition to host Thailand, the U.S. will face Russia and Puerto Rico in Group I.

The FIVB World Grand Prix is the premiere annual international tournament with 12-teams competing in three consecutive preliminary round weekends immediately followed by a Final Round of six teams. Each preliminary round weekend includes three matches in three days. At this date, the actual preliminary round match schedule has yet to be released by the FIVB. After the nine matches of preliminary competition, the top six teams (or top five teams plus Japan as Final Round host) advance to the Final Round held Aug. 19-23 at Tokyo. The Final Round is a round robin format in five days.

Overall, Team USA will face seven of the other 11 teams competing in the FIVB World Grand Prix during the preliminary round, including two matches against Germany and NORCECA rival Puerto Rico. Only Brazil and Russia also qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games. The U.S. will not face China, Japan, Korea or Poland, unless they meet in the Final Round, and all but Korea participated in the 2008 Olympic Games.

The average U.S. opponent's world ranking for its nine preliminary round matches is 13.6, highlighted by top-ranked Brazil and eighth-ranked Russia. Dominican Republic is ranked 11th in the current world ranking, while Netherlands is 13th, Germany is 15th, Thailand is 19th and Puerto Rico is 20th. Team USA's non-preliminary round opponents average a 7.75 world ranking as all four in the top 10.

The U.S. qualified for the 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix at the 2008 Pan American Cup as the third-highest finishing NORCECA team in the tournament.

2009 FIVB World Grand Prix

July 31-Aug. 2: First Preliminary Round Weekend
Group A (at Brazil):
USA, Brazil, Germany, Puerto Rico
Group B (at Poland): Poland, Japan, Netherlands, Thailand
Group C (at Ningbo, China): China, Russia, Dominican Republic, Korea

Aug. 7-9: Second Preliminary Round Weekend
Group D (at Miao Li, Chinese Taipei):
USA, Netherlands, Dominican Republic, Germany
Group E (at Macau, China): China, Brazil, Poland, Thailand
Group F (at Osaka, Japan): Japan, Korea, Russia, Puerto Rico

Aug. 14-16: Third Preliminary Round Weekend
Group G (at Hong Kong):
China, Poland, Netherlands, Dominican Republic
Group H (at Korea): Brazil, Japan, Germany, Korea
Group I (at Bangkok, Thailand): USA, Thailand, Russia, Puerto Rico

FIVB World Grand Prix Teams - World Ranking - Last USA Meeting Result
Brazil - 1st - Lost 25-15, 18-25, 25-13, 25-21 in 2008 Olympic Games Gold-Medal Match (8/23/08)
USA - 3rd - Not applicable
China - 5th - Won 23-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-20, 15-11 in 2008 Olympic Games Pool Play (8/15/08)
Japan - 7th - Won 25-20, 20-25, 25-19, 25-21 in 2008 Olympic Games Pool Play (8/9/08)
Russia - 8th - Lost 18-25, 25-18, 26-24, 21-25, 15-6 in 2007 FIVB World Grand Prix 2nd Weekend (8/11/07)
Poland - 9th - Won 18-25, 25-21, 19-25, 25-19, 15-13 in 2008 Olympic Games Pool Play (8/17/08)
Korea - 10th - Won 25-21, 25-19, 25-23 in 2007 World Cup (11/11/07)
Dominican Republic - 11th - Won 25-13, 25-21, 25-20 in 2008 World Grand Prix 2nd Weekend (6/28/08)
Netherlands - 13th - Lost 25-18, 25-23, 11-25, 25-20 in 2007 World Grand Prix Final Round (8/19/07)
Germany - 15th - Won 25-27, 25-23, 19-25, 26-24, 15-12 in 2006 World Championship (11/12/06)
Thailand - 19th - Won 25-18, 25-17, 26-28, 25-13 in 2008 World Grand Prix 2nd Weekend (6/27/08)
Puerto Rico - 20th - Lost 25-21, 34-32, 14-25, 25-18 in 2008 Pan American Cup Quarterfinals (6/5/08)