U.S. Women Prepare for FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round

July 08, 2008, 10:34 a.m. (ET)

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

Press Kit

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 8, 2008) – The U.S. Women’s National Indoor Volleyball Team competes in the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round set for July 9-13 at the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan.

The Final Round consists of the top five teams from the three weekend preliminary rounds, along with host Japan. Brazil, China and Italy all finished the nine-match preliminary round with 8-1 records. China and Brazil split a pair of matches in the preliminary round, while China also defeated Italy. The U.S. finished fourth with a 7-2 record that included a seven-match win streak. Cuba recovered from a 2-3 start to win its last four matches to qualify for the Final Round.

“We have been working very hard for the last three weeks so we are very happy to make the Finals,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach ‘Jenny’ Lang Ping said. “We would like to use this great opportunity before the Olympic Games to play and to continue to improve our team work. I hope we can play well for all five matches.”

The World Grand Prix Finals is a round-robin format with each team playing five matches in five days. The U.S. begins the Final Round against Brazil, the world’s top-ranked team, on July 9 at 11:30 a.m. (8:30 p.m. MT on July 8). Team USA faces host Japan on July 10 at 6:30 p.m. (3:30 a.m. MT), followed by NORCECA rival Cuba on July 11 at 3 p.m. (midnight MT). The Americans challenge Italy on July 12 at 2:30 p.m. (11:30 p.m. MT on July 11) before concluding the Finals on July 13 against Olympic Games host China at 11:30 a.m. (8:30 p.m. MT on July 12).

According to the head coach of Team USA’s first opponent, the competition in the finals will be good preparation for the overall goal of playing well at the Olympic Games.

“I am very happy to be here in Yokohama. I think this is a hard competition and difficult for everyone,” Brazil Head Coach Jose Roberto Guimaraes said. “We have six Olympic teams here. We start against the United States and that is a hard match, but I am very happy to arrive here with my team because we have in one month the Olympic Games. Training against the best teams in the world is very good for us. My team is in good condition now and we will try to do our best.”

Due to the nature of the World Grand Prix Finals being played in five days, teams can identify weaknesses through a hard schedule of six Olympic-qualified teams.

“The Final Round of the World Grand Prix is a pre-Olympic tournament,” Japan Head Coach Shoichi Yanigimoto said. “It is a hard schedule, but we want to identify our weaknesses and work on them before the Olympics. The team condition is good and we want to show our best performance to get into the tournament round in the Olympics.”

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 and a total of six overall gold medals in the event, 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.

The Team USA roster will have two changes for the Final Round compared to the third preliminary weekend. Outside hitter Ogonna Nnamani (Bloomington, Ill.) and libero Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) have been added to the 12-player roster to replace outside hitters Kim Willoughby (Napoleonville, La.) and Kristin Richards (Orem, Utah). Willoughby had charted 58 points and 0.79 digs per set in sharing starting time, while Richards totaled five points in a reserve role.

Team USA has played three of its five opponents in the World Grand Prix Finals during the 2008 season. The U.S. played Brazil three times in Colorado Springs immediately before the opening weekend of the World Grand Prix. Brazil won the first match 25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 21-25, 17-15 on June 11. Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) paced the U.S. with 23 points in the match. The Americans rebounded on June 13 with a 25-21, 19-25, 29-27, 17-25, 15-11 victory as Nnamani scored 19 points. Brazil won the final contest on June 14 with scores of 25-16, 25-20, 25-18, 20-25, 15-8 (pre-determined to go five sets). Nnamani led the team in the loss with 16 points.

The U.S. topped Japan 27-29, 25-18, 18-25, 25-16, 15-13 on June 22 on the third day of the World Grand Prix. Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.) scored 21 points in the match. The Americans lost to Italy 25-22, 25-21, 25-16 on the final day of the World Grand Prix preliminary round on July 6 as both teams changed their lineups with a spot in the Finals already secured. Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.), presented with her first start of the World Grand Prix, chipped in a team-high 11 points.

The U.S. won two of three matches in Pool H at Chinese Taipei last weekend to secure a ticket to the Final Round. The Americans rallied to defeat Poland 20-25, 25-23, 25-19, 25-10 on July 4 as Haneef-Park scored 18 points. Team USA gained revenge for its first loss of the tournament by defeating Turkey 25-16, 25-20, 20-25, 25-17 on July 5 as Haneef-Park scored 19 points and the Americans held a 21-8 block advantage. With the Final Round ticket secured for both teams, Italy defeated the U.S. 25-22, 25-21, 25-16 on July 6.

At the conclusion of the Pool H matches, Haneef-Park and Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) were honored with individual awards for the three matches. Haneef-Park was named the Best Spiker and Best Receiver for the weekend. She converted 43.4 percent of her attacks into kills. Scott-Arruda, despite not playing in the match versus Italy, was named the Best Blocker for the weekend as she totaled 11 blocks.

Through the final preliminary weekend, the U.S. has several individuals among the statistical leaders. Haneef-Park ranks fourth in Best Spiker with a 44.3 kill percent and sixth in Best Scorer with 131 overall points. She has added averages of 0.15 aces and 0.64 digs per set during the preliminary phase.

Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.), despite sharing starting time at outside hitter, ranks third in Best Server with 0.36 aces per set. She also ranks eighth in Best Receiver with a 45.25 efficiency, 10th in Best Digger with 1.48 digs per set, 15th in Best Spiker with a 38.7 kill percent and 17th in Best Scorer with 92 points.

Scott-Arruda finished the preliminary round ranked 24th in scoring with 86 points, which included a 0.76 block average for fourth place. She has also produced a .573 attack efficiency (kills minus errors divided by attacks) with just three errors on 96 attempts. Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) added 0.61 blocks per set and 68 total points for 12th and 38th place, respectively.

Tom has compiled 60 points, all in the last two weekends, for 51st place. Despite not playing the first three matches and her set averages suffering due to that fact, she still ranks 26th in Best Server with 0.15 aces per set, 31st in Best Digger with 0.88 digs per set and 39th in Best Blocker with 0.27 blocks per set.

Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.), the U.S. libero for all three preliminary weekends, ranks fourth in Best Digger with 2.33 digs per set. Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) ranks seventh in Best Setter with 6.58 assists per set despite sharing setting duties the final weekend. Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (Honolulu) is listed 16th in Best Setter with 1.55 assists per set in just two matches in the tournament.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round
# - Name (Pos, Ht, Hometown, College)
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/OH, 6-7, Laguna Hills, Calif., Long Beach State)
4 - Lindsey Berg (S, 5-8, Honolulu, Hawai’i, 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., 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)
15 - Logan Tom (OH, 6-1, Salt Lake City, 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

FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round Standings
Brazil 0-0
China 0-0
Cuba 0-0
Italy 0-0
Japan 0-0
USA 0-0

World Grand Prix Final Round: Yokohama, Japan
July 9: Brazil vs. USA, 11:30 a.m. (8:30 p.m. MT on July 8)
July 9: China vs. Italy, 2:30 p.m. (11:30 p.m. MT on July 8)
July 9: Japan vs. Cuba, 6:30 p.m. (3:30 a.m. MT)
July 10: China vs. Cuba, Noon (9 p.m. MT on July 9)
July 10: Italy vs. Brazil, 3 p.m. (12:01 a.m. MT)
July 10: Japan vs. USA, 6:30 p.m. (3:30 a.m. MT)
July 11: Brazil vs. China, Noon (9 p.m. MT on July 10)
July 11: Cuba vs. USA, 3 p.m. (12:01 a.m. MT)
July 11: Japan vs. Italy, 6:30 p.m. (3:30 a.m. MT)
July 12: Brazil vs. Cuba, 11:30 a.m. (8:30 p.m. MT on July 11)
July 12: Italy vs. USA, 2:30 p.m. (11:30 p.m. MT on July 11)
July 12: Japan vs. China, 6 p.m. (3 a.m. MT)
July 13: USA vs. China, 11:30 a.m. (8:30 p.m. MT on July 12)
July 13: Cuba vs. Italy, 2:30 p.m. (11:30 p.m. MT on July 12)
July 13: Japan vs. Brazil, 6 p.m. (3 a.m. MT)

FIVB World Grand Prix Final Preliminary Round Standings
Brazil 8-1 (1.199 Point Ratio)
China 8-1 (1.140 Point Ratio)
Italy 8-1 (1.124 Point Ratio)
USA 7-2 (1.161 Point Ratio)
Cuba 6-3 (1.090 Point Ratio)
Turkey 4-5 (1.015 Point Ratio)
Germany 4-5 (1.001 Point Ratio)
Dominican Republic 4-5 (0.953 Point Ratio)
Japan 2-7 (0.870 Point Ratio)
Poland 1-8 (0.898 Point Ratio)
Thailand 1-8 (0.862 Point Ratio)
Kazakhstan 1-8 (0.761 Point Ratio)

2008 FIVB World Grand Prix Statistical Leaders Through Preliminary Rounds
Best Scorers: 6. Tayyiba Haneef-Park (131 Points); 17T. Kim Glass (92); 24T. Danielle Scott-Arruda (86); 38T. Heather Bown (68); 51T. Logan Tom (60); 58. Kim Willoughby (56); 81. Jennifer Joines (28); 95T. Foluke Akinradewo (18); 101. Cynthia Barboza (15); 106. Lindsey Berg (9); 113T. Kristin Richards (5); 122T. Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (2).
Best Spikers: 4. Tayyiba Haneef-Park (44.27 %); 15. Kim Glass (38.73).
Best Blockers: 4. Danielle Scott-Arruda (0.76 blocks/set); 12. Heather Bown (0.61); 22. Tayyiba Haneef-Park (0.42); 23. Kim Glass (0.39); 35. Kim Willoughby (0.30); 77T. Lindsey Berg (0.12); 77T. Cynthia Barboza (0.12); 84. Jennifer Joines (0.09); 99. Foluke Akinradewo (0.06).
Best Servers: 3. Kim Glass (0.36 aces/set); 26. Logan Tom (0.15); 28. Tayyiba Haneef-Park (0.15); 41. Danielle Scott-Arruda (0.09); 45. Lindsey Berg (0.09); 46. Kim Willoughby (0.09); 61T. Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (0.06); 81. Heather Bown (0.06); 84. Foluke Akinradewo (0.06); 93. Kristin Richards (0.03); 115T. Angie McGinnis (0.03).
Best Diggers: 4. Nicole Davis (2.33 digs/set); 10. Kim Glass (1.48); 31. Logan Tom (0.88); 37. Kim Willoughby (0.79); 48. Tayyiba Haneef-Park (0.64); 56. Lindsey Berg (0.55); 76. Heather Bown (0.30); 95. Danielle Scott-Arruda (0.18); 107. Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (0.12); 108. Cynthia Barboza (0.12)
Best Setters: 7. Lindsey Berg (6.58 assists/set); 16. Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (1.55)
Best Receivers: 8. Kim Glass (45.25 efficiency %)

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: Kazakhstan def. Thailand, 25-19, 25-19, 19-25, 17-25, 16-14
July 4: Cuba def. Germany, 23-25, 25-21, 25-8, 25-21
July 5: Germany def. Thailand, 25-18, 25-15, 25-16
July 5: Cuba def. Kazakhstan, 22-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-16
July 6: Cuba def. Thailand, 25-20, 25-22, 23-25, 17-25, 15-9
July 6: Germany def. Kazakhstan, 25-15, 25-19, 25-19

Pool H: Taipei, Chinese Taipei, Hsinchuang Gym
July 4: USA def. Poland, 20-25, 25-23, 25-19, 25-10
July 4: Italy def. Turkey, 25-20, 21-25, 30-28, 25-23
July 5: USA def. Turkey, 25-16, 25-20, 20-25, 25-17
July 5: Italy def. Poland, 23-25, 23-25, 25-20, 25-14, 18-16
July 6: Poland def. Turkey, 25-21, 25-22, 25-22
July 6: Italy def. USA, 25-22, 25-21, 25-16

Pool I: Macau, Macau Forum
July 4: Brazil def. Dominican Republic, 23-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-23, 15-9
July 4: China def. Japan, 25-16, 25-19, 25-15
July 5: Brazil def. Japan, 25-16, 25-21, 25-15
July 5: China def. Dominican Republic, 25-16, 25-22, 25-21
July 6: Dominican Republic def. Japan, 26-24, 25-13, 25-18
July 6: Brazil def. China 25-21, 25-17, 25-20

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