U.S. Women Travel to Chinese Taipei for World Grand Prix

July 01, 2008, 4:43 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 1, 2008) – The U.S. Women’s National Indoor Volleyball team has won five straight matches and takes a 5-1 FIVB World Grand Prix record into the final preliminary weekend at Taipei, Chinese Taipei July 4-6.

Team USA will face three of the top five teams in the World Grand Prix standings during Pool H play, including two rematches from earlier in the schedule. The U.S. challenges Poland (0-6) on July 4 at 3 p.m. (1 a.m. Mountain Time), less than a week after the Americans swept the Polish squad 25-17, 25-16, 25-20 in Poland on June 29. Team USA plays Turkey (4-2) on July 5 at 3 p.m. (1 a.m. Mountain Time). Turkey defeated the U.S. on the opening day of the World Grand Prix. Team USA concludes the preliminary round versus Italy (5-1) on July 6 at 5 p.m. (3 a.m. Mountain Time). The Italians won the last meeting on Nov. 16, 2007, as both teams squared off for the gold medal on the final day of the 2007 FIVB World Cup in Japan.

The U.S. is in a three-way tie for second place in the 12-team tournament with Italy and Brazil, one loss behind undefeated tournament leaders China. Based on the tiebreaker of points won ratio, the Americans (1.203 points ratio) hold a slim advantage over Brazil (1.191) and Italy (1.117). Turkey is currently ranked fifth in the World Grand Prix standings.

After this weekend’s third and final preliminary round weekend, the top five teams will travel to Japan and join the host country in the six-team FIVB World Grand Prix Finals. The round-robin Finals will be played July 9-13 at Yokohoma. The overall ranking in the preliminary round is decided by the total number of World Grand Prix Points (GPP) gained by the teams in the preliminary matches with two points awarded for a win and one point for a loss.

The U.S. has not qualified for the World Grand Prix Final Round since 2004, the last Olympic Games year. The Americans finished third in 2004, followed by eighth place in 2005, seventh place in 2006 and eighth place in 2007. Team USA has won the premier annual event in 1995 and 2001. Brazil has won three of the last four titles, while defending champion Netherlands failed to qualify for this year’s World Grand Prix. Italy has medaled in the last four World Grand Prix events with silver medals in 2004 and 2005, and bronze medals in 2006 and 2007. China, the 2008 World Grand Prix leader, finished second last year as it hosted the Finals in Ningbo.

Team USA is sitting in a good position to earn a berth into the World Grand Prix Finals and break the drought of reaching the last stage. Two American victories will guarantee a spot, while one victory in the three matches should garner a bid as well due to the team’s already high points won ratio through the first six matches.

U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach “Jenny” Lang Ping has modified her 12-player roster for the Chinese Taipei leg of the World Grand Prix. She has recalled two-time Olympian setter Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (Honolulu) to the team to replace Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.). Ah Mow-Santos has missed the first two weekends of the World Grand Prix, while two-time Olympian Logan Tom missed the opening weekend. Both players were absent in Team USA’s loss to Turkey on June 20.

Poland, ranked ninth in the world, has qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games after winning the 2008 World Olympic Qualification Tournament in May. During the 2008 FIVB World Grand Prix, Poland’s 0-6 record with a young roster is somewhat deceiving. In addition to its straight-set loss to Team USA on June 29, Poland has dropped four-set matches to Italy and Cuba. Poland’s Joanna Kaczor ranks third among all players in scoring during the World Grand Prix. At the 2007 FIVB World Grand Prix, Poland qualified for the Final Round but placed sixth in the round-robin final format of six teams. Team USA is 9-3 versus Poland all-time.

Turkey, which failed to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games, is on the brink of qualifying for the World Grand Prix Final Round in its first-ever appearance in the annual event. Turkey holds the single victory over the U.S. during the FIVB World Grand Prix in 2008 as the Americans were without Tom and Robyn Ah Mow-Santos. Still, Team USA holds a 5-2 record versus Turkey since 1983, including a four-set victory at the 2006 FIVB World Championships on Nov. 16. Turkey’s Seda Tokatlioglu is the World Grand Prix’s leading scorer with 117 points, 17 more than the next closest competitor. She had 31 points against the U.S. in the opening match of the tournament.

Italy, ranked second in the world behind Brazil, is tied for second in this year’s World Grand Prix despite a tough schedule. Italy swept Cuba during the first weekend along with victories over Poland and Dominican Republic. Last weekend, Italy defeated Japan 3-0, edged Cuba in five sets and lost to China in five sets. Italy’s Simona Gioli leads the Best Spiker category at the World Grand Prix with a 61.3 kill percent. The U.S. has lost all three matches to Italy in the current quadrennial, including a three-set loss to the Italians on the final day of the 2007 FIVB World Cup for the gold medal. Overall, Team USA is 25-21 against Italy, but has not won since 2004 during the first meeting of that year’s World Grand Prix.

The USA won Pool E at last weekend’s stop in Wroclaw, Poland. The U.S. defeated Thailand in four sets, followed by sweeps of NORCECA rival Dominican Republic and host Poland.

Lang Ping elected to stay with a primary lineup the entire weekend, and it resulted in some key outputs. For all three matches, the starting lineup consisted of Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) and Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) at middle blocker, Tom and Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) at outside hitter, Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.) at opposite, captain Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) at setter and Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) at libero.

Scott-Arruda averaged 3.44 points per set for the three matches last weekend with 21 kills on 25 swings and one error (.800 attack efficiency), eight blocks (0.89 per set) and two aces (0.22 per set). Bown averaged 3.30 points, 2.50 kills and 0.70 blocks per set. The starting middle blocker combined for a .662 attack efficiency and 1.50 blocks per set.

The USA outside hitters were just as effective. Tom averaged a team-leading 4.30 points per set for the weekend with averages of 3.50 kills, 1.90 digs, 0.50 blocks and 0.30 aces per set. She hit .365 during the three victories. Glass chipped in 3.80 points per set, which included an eye-popping 1.00 aces per set highlighted by a six-ace match against Dominican Republic. She also provided 2.10 digs per set and had an excellent service reception on 58.7 percent of her team-leading 63 chances.

Haneef-Park was steady all weekend to compile averages of 3.90 points, 3.50 kill and 0.40 blocks per set. She hit .351 for the three matches with only eight attack errors. Berg led the offense to a sizzling 53.7 kill percent of its 270 attack attempts. Team USA compiled a .419 attack efficiency for the weekend as she averaged 12.1 assists per set. Davis averaged 2.20 digs per set while patrolling the back row defense.

Team USA has several players among the tournament statistical leaders through the first two weekends. Haneef-Park ranks tied for eighth in scoring with 84 points while ranking sixth in the Best Spiker (kill percentage) with a 44.72 percent. She also ranks 17th in blocking with 0.50 per set. Glass has provided a balanced statistical line throughout the tournament. She has scored 76 points for 14th place. Glass ranks second in the Best Server race with 0.50 aces per set, in addition to sixth place in Best Receiver with a 48.00 efficiency. She has a 39.72 kill percent for 16th place in the Best Spiker category and a 1.64 dig average for 10th place in the Best Digger race. Glass has added 0.41 blocks per set for 25th place.

Scott-Arruda has 57 points in the tournament for a tie for 27th place. She also ranks 10th in blocks with 0.64 per set. Tom, despite missing the first three matches of the tournament, still ranks 45th in points with 43. With her per set averages computed based on the team’s total sets played, she ranks 24th in aces, 36th in digs and 51st in blocks. Berg is ranked as the fifth-best setter with an 8.77 assist average. Davis ranks sixth in the Best Digger category with 2.09 digs per set.

As Team USA continues to prepare for the 2008 Olympic Games starting Aug. 9 at Beijing, Lang Ping has been using the World Grand Prix to evaluate her players to help make roster decisions for the Olympics. Last weekend, nine of the 12 players started at least one of the three matches. Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) did not start a match, but played in eight of the 12 sets played as a double-sub. Kristin Richards (Orem, Utah) started the final two sets against Turkey. Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) entered late in the match against Kazakhstan and tallied two kills on as many attempts.

During the World Grand Prix, Team USA will face an average world ranking of 13.22 during the three-week preliminary rounds. The Americans will face only one team – Italy – ranked among the top seven teams in the current world ranking during the preliminary rounds.

To download the U.S. Women’s National Team Press Kit for the third FIVB World Grand Prix preliminary weekend, click here.

To view the FIVB World Grand Prix home page, click here.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for FIVB World Grand Prix Weekend in Taipei
# - Name (Pos, Ht, Hometown, College)
2 - Danielle Scott-Arruda (MB, 6-2, Baton Rouge, La., Long Beach State)
3 - Tayyiba Haneef-Park (OPP/OH, 6-7, Laguna Hills, Calif., Long Beach State)
4 - Lindsey Berg (S, 5-8, Honolulu, Hawai’i, Minnesota)
6 - Nicole Davis (L, 5-4, Stockton, Calif., Southern California)
7 -
Heather Bown (MB, 6-3, Yorba Linda, Calif., Hawai’i)
8 - Cynthia Barboza (OH/OPP, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Stanford)
10 - Kim Glass (OH, 6-2, Lancaster, Pa., Arizona)
11 - Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (S, 5-8, Honolulu, Hawai’i, Hawai’i)
14 - Kim Willoughby (OH, 5-10, Napoleonville, La., Hawai’i)
15 - Logan Tom (OH, 6-1, Salt Lake City, Utah, Stanford)
17 - Angie McGinnis (S, 5-11, Fraser, Mich., Florida)
18 - Kristin Richards (OH, 6-1, Orem, Utah, Stanford)
19 - Foluke Akinradewo (MB, 6-3, Plantation, Fla., Stanford)
Head Coach: “Jenny” Lang Ping
Assistant Coaches: Sue Woodstra, Tom Hogan, Li Yong (not traveling)
Technical Coordinator: Diane French
Team Leader/Manager: Joan Powell

2008 FIVB World Grand Prix Statistical Leaders Through Second Weekend
Best Scorers: 8T. Tayyiba Haneef Park (84 Points); 14. Kim Glass (76); 27T. Danielle Scott-Arruda (57); 38T. Heather Bown (49); 45. Logan Tom (43); 62T. Kim Willoughby (31); 67T. Jennifer Joines (28); 94T. Cynthia Barboza (12); 96T. Lindsey Berg (9); 103T. Foluke Akinradewo (5); 111T. Kristin Richards (3); 120. Angela McGinnis (1)
Best Spikers: 6. Tayyiba Haneef-Park (44.72 Kill Percent); 16. Kim Glass (39.72).
Best Blockers: 10. Danielle Scott-Arruda (0.64 Block/Set); 17. Tayyiba Haneef-Park (0.50); 18. Heather Bown (0.50); 25. Kim Glass (0.41); 51. Logan Tom (0.23); 52. Kim Willoughby (0.23); 61. Cynthia Barboza (0.18); 62. Lindsey Berg (0.18); 70. Jennifer Joines (0.14); 104. Foluke Akinradewo (0.05).
Best Servers: 2. Kim Glass (0.50 Aces/Set); 24. Logan Tom (0.14); 25. Lindsey Berg (0.14); 45. Danielle Scott-Arruda (0.09); 53. Heather Bown (0.09); 67. Kristin Richards (0.05); 77. Kim Willoughby (0.05); 80. Tayyiba Haneef-Park (0.05); 81. Angie McGinnis (0.05).
Best Diggers: 6. Nicole Davis (2.09 Digs/Set); 10. Kim Glass (1.64); 36. Logan Tom (0.91); 41. Tayyiba Haneef-Park (0.82); 45. Lindsey Berg (0.77); 49. Kim Willoughby (073); 80. Heather Bown (0.27); 98. Danielle Scott-Arruda (014); 99. Cynthia Barboza (0.14); 110. Jennifer Joines (0.09)
Best Setters: 5. Lindsey Berg (8.77 Assists/Set)
Best Receivers: 6. Kim Glass (48.00 Efficiency)

FIVB World Grand Prix Standings
China 6-0 (1.143 Point Ratio; 7/4 vs. Japan; 7/5 vs. Dominican Republic; 7/6 vs. Brazil)
USA 5-1 (1.203 Point Ratio; 7/4 vs. Poland; 7/5 vs. Turkey; 7/6 vs. Italy)
Brazil 5-1 (1.191 Point Ratio; 7/4 vs. Dominican Republic; 7/5 vs. Japan; 7/6 vs. China)
Italy 5-1 (1.117 Point Ratio; 7/4 vs. Turkey; 7/5 vs. Poland; 7/6 vs. USA)
Turkey 4-2 (1.093 Point Ratio; 7/4 vs. Italy; 7/5 vs. USA; 7/6 vs. Poland)
Cuba 3-3 (1.053 Point Ratio; 7/4 vs. Germany; 7/5 vs. Kazakhstan; 7/6 vs. Germany)
Dominican Republic 3-3 (0.933 Point Ratio; 7/4 vs. Brazil; 7/5 vs. China; 7/6 vs. Japan)
Germany 2-4 (0.953 Point Ratio; 7/4 vs. Cuba; 7/5 vs. Thailand; 7/6 vs. Kazakhstan)
Japan 2-4 (0.947 Point Ratio; 7/4 vs. China; 7/5 vs. Brazil; 7/6 vs. Dominican Republic)
Thailand 1-5 (0.845 Point Ratio; 7/4 vs. Kazakhstan; 7/5 vs. Germany; 7/6 vs. Cuba)
Poland 0-6 (0.888 Point Ratio; 7/4 vs. USA; 7/5 vs. Italy; 7/6 vs. Turkey)
Kazakhstan 0-6 (0.701 Point Ratio; 7/4 vs. Thailand; 7/5 vs. Cuba; 7/6 vs. Germany)

Pool A: Kobe Japan, Green Arena
June 20: Turkey def. USA, 28-26, 25-16, 21-25, 25-19
June 20: Japan def. Kazakhstan, 25-17, 25-13, 25-23
June 21: USA def. Kazakhstan, 25-16, 25-17, 25-19
June 21: Japan def. Turkey, 21-25, 25-16, 17-25, 25-19, 15-12
June 22: Turkey def. Kazakhstan, 25-17, 26-24, 25-15
June 22: USA def. Japan, 27-29, 25-18, 18-25, 25-16, 15-13

Pool B: Ningbo, China, Beilun Sports Centre
June 20: Brazil def. Thailand, 25-22, 25-18, 25-20
June 20: China def. Germany, 19-25, 25-19, 25-11, 25-21
June 21: China def. Thailand, 25-11, 25-16, 25-19
June 21: Brazil def. Germany, 15-25, 25-23, 25-20, 30-28
June 22: Germany def. Thailand, 19-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-22
June 22: China def. Brazil, 22-25, 26-24, 22-25, 25-22, 15-13

Pool C: Alassio, Italy, Palavavizza Hall
June 20: Cuba def. Poland, 25-20, 29-31, 25-21, 26-24
June 20: Italy def. Dominican Republic, 19-25, 25-19, 25-17, 25-15
June 21: Cuba def. Dominican Republic, 25-22, 25-15, 25-19
June 21: Italy def. Poland, 25-17, 25-22, 23-25, 25-16
June 22: Dominican Republic def. Poland, 25-21, 23-25, 19-25, 25-23, 15-11
June 22: Italy def. Cuba, 25-23, 27-25, 27-25

Pool D: Vinh Phuc, Vietnam, Vinh Phuc Hall
June 27: Brazil def. Kazakhstan, 25-10, 25-17, 25-19
June 27: Turkey def. Germany, 25-21, 25-22, 25-27, 25-18
June 28: Germany def. Kazakhstan, 25-17, 25-19, 25-21
June 28: Brazil def. Turkey, 25-23, 25-19, 25-15
June 29: Turkey def. Kazakhstan, 25-16, 25-20, 25-17
June 29: Brazil def. Germany, 25-15, 27-25, 25-16

Pool E: Wroclaw, Poland, Centennial Hall
June 27: Dominican Republic def. Poland 25-22, 19-25, 25-17, 25-20
June 27: USA def. Thailand, 25-18, 25-17, 26-28, 25-13
June 28: Thailand def. Poland, 19-25, 25-21, 18-25, 25-23, 15-4
June 28: USA def. Dominican Republic, 25-13, 25-21, 25-20
June 29: USA def. Poland, 25-17, 25-16, 25-20
June 29: Dominican Republic def. Thailand, 25-19, 24-26, 25-21, 25-22

Pool F: Hong Kong, Hong Kong Coliseum
June 27: Italy def. Japan, 25-17, 25-20, 25-22
June 27: China def. Cuba, 25-18, 25-27, 21-25, 25-21, 15-13
June 28: Italy def. Cuba, 21-25, 25-19, 19-25, 25-20, 15-13
June 28: China def. Japan, 25-16, 29-27, 25-22
June 29: Cuba def. Japan, 22-25, 25-21, 25-19, 25-16
June 29: China def. Italy, 18-25, 25-20, 21-25, 27-25, 15-8

Pool G: Bangkok, Thailand, Huamark Stadium
July 4: Thailand vs. Kazakhstan, 2 p.m.
July 4: Cuba vs. Germany, 5 p.m.
July 5: Germany vs. Thailand, 2 p.m.
July 5: Kazakhstan vs. Cuba, 5 p.m.
July 6: Thailand vs. Cuba, 2 p.m.
July 6: Germany vs. Kazakhstan, 5 p.m.

Pool H: Taipei, Chinese Taipei, Hsinchuang Gym
July 4: USA vs. Poland, 3 p.m.
July 4: Italy vs. Turkey, 6:20 p.m.
July 5: USA vs. Turkey, 3 p.m.
July 5: Italy vs. Poland, 5 p.m.
July 6: Poland vs. Turkey, 3 p.m.
July 6: Italy vs. USA, 5 p.m.

Pool I: Macau, Macau Forum
July 4: Brazil vs. Dominican Republic, 6 p.m.
July 4: China vs. Japan, 9 p.m.
July 5: Brazil vs. Japan, 2 p.m.
July 5: China vs. Dominican Republic, 5 p.m.
July 6: Dominican Republic vs. Japan, 1 p.m.
July 6: China vs. Brazil, 4 p.m.

Final Round: Yokohama, Japan
July 8-13