U.S. Women Open FIVB World Grand Prix with Loss to Brazil

July 09, 2008, 12:21 a.m. (ET)

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


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 8, 2008) – The U.S. Women’s National Indoor Volleyball Team opened the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round with a 25-19, 25-19, 25-23 loss to top-ranked Brazil on Wednesday morning at the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan.

Brazil used a 6-0 run in the first set to break a 7-all tie, then capitalized on a 5-0 run to break from a 19-18 advantage en route to winning 25-19. Brazil took advantage of nine U.S. errors in the opening set. Brazil jumped to an early 7-4 lead in the second set as it went on to win 25-19 after holding off a late Team USA charge with a 5-2 run at the end. The U.S. came back from an 18-15 deficit in the third set to take the lead at 23-22, but Brazil scored the final three points of the set for the 25-23 victory.

“Before the game we knew it was going to be very difficult,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach ‘Jenny’ Lang Ping said. “Brazil is ranked first in the world and they look like the No. 1 team. They do not have a weakness and we have to play the perfect, perfect game to get closer. We have not got our rhythm yet. We have problems with passing and serving. We need to continue our team work, and have 30 more days to go...time is running out.”

The World Grand Prix Final Round is a round-robin format with each team playing five matches in five days. 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).

“The United States will use 100 percent power for the Japan game,” Lang Ping said. “It is an opportunity to get experience before the Olympics. We have to improve our team in every game.”

Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) led the U.S. offense with 11 kills and an ace for 12 points. Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.) added 11 points all on kills and 26 attacks. Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) chipped in five kills on 10 attacks, two blocks and an ace for eight points. Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) contributed seven kills on 14 swings in the loss, while Ogonna Nnamani (Bloomington, Ill.) totaled six kills of the bench. Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) tacked on four kills and an ace for five points, and Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) rounded out the scoring with a kill and ace. Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) tallied 12 assists, while Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (Honolulu) added six assists. Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) charted a team-high six digs, while Tom added five digs and 10 excellent service receptions on 27 attempts with one error. Glass provided nine excellent service receptions on 19 errorless attempts.

The U.S. started Berg at setter, Scott-Aruda and Bown at middle blocker, Tom and Glass at outside hitter and Haneef-Park at opposite. Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) is the designated libero for Team USA in the World Grand Prix Final Round. Ah Mow-Santos subbed into the match in the first set and started the third set. Nnamani came off the bench in the second set and started the third set. Akinradewo started the third set. Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.) was a substitution in both the first and second sets.

“Today's game was rough,” Berg said. “Brazil is a very difficult team to play against. If you are not aggressive they will beat you very easily. Today we needed to work on our passing and on being a little bit more aggressive.”

Brazil limited its errors to 10 for the entire match and held a 9-3 advantage in blocks. Team USA held a slim 3-2 edge in aces and converted 40.9 percent of its attacks into kills. Meanwhile, Brazil converted 47 of its 100 attacks into kills, partly to a 44.44 excellent service percentage. Brazil also held a 29-19 dig advantage for the match.

Paula Pequeno and Marianne Steinbrecher tallied 14 points apiece for Brazil in the victory with each counting 13 kills. Walewska Oliveira tallied eight kills and a match-high four blocks for 12 points, while Thaisa Menezes produced eight points in the victory. Sheilla Castro added six kills and a block for seven points.

In other World Grand Prix matches played later today, China faces Italy at 2:30 p.m. Japan Time and Cuba challenges host Japan at 6:30 p.m. Japan Time.

The 2008 FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round has six teams all qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Brazil is currently ranked first in the world by FIVB, followed by second-ranked Italy, third-ranked Cuba, fourth-ranked USA, sixth-ranked China and eighth-ranked Japan. Most teams at the World Grand Prix Final Round will be using the five matches as evaluation tools to select their Olympic Games 12-player roster. In addition, the structure of the tournament makes it difficult for coaches to play the same lineup five consecutive days due to fatigue.

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 finished with a 7-2 record and in fourth place in the FIVB World Grand Prix preliminary round. The FIVB World Grand Prix includes three preliminary round weekends with three different sites each weekend hosting round-robin events of four teams. The top five teams in the preliminary round along with the host country comprise the Final Round field.

The U.S. has qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and is using the World Grand Prix as an evaluation tool to help determine the 12-player roster for the Olympic Games. Team USA faces Japan on Aug. 9 to open the 2008 Olympic Games. Other teams in the American pool are Cuba (Aug. 11), Venezuela (Aug. 13), China (Aug. 15) and Poland (Aug. 17).

Scott-Arruda and Haneef-Park connected for consecutive kills to give the U.S. a two-point, 5-3 advantage in the opening set, only to have Brazil take a 6-5 lead on a 3-0 run. Brazil picked up a 13-7 lead with six consecutive points. Haneef-Park scored consecutive kills to cut the gap to 15-11. Bown connected for two kills around a Brazil error cutting the deficit to 18-16. Bown tallied a kill and ace on consecutive plays to narrow the gap to 19-18, but Brazil answered with five straight points to regain a six-point edge at 24-18. Haneef-Park and Bown each scored four points in the opening set to lead the Americans.

Brazil scored three unanswered points to break a 4-all tie and take a 7-4 lead. Brazil increased its advantage to 14-9 with a 4-1 scoring spurt. The Brazilians inched the lead up to six points with points on each side of the second technical timeout for a 17-11 advantage. Haneef-Park collected consecutive kills and Nnamani tallied a kill to cut the gap to 19-16. Brazil upped its lead back to five points at 22-17 with consecutive points and went on to win 25-19. Haneef-Park lead the Americans with five points in the set.

The U.S. took a 6-4 lead in the third set as Akinradewo put up a block followed by a Brazil error. However, Brazil came back to score three straight points for a 7-6 lead. Brazil gained a 9-7 lead with points on each side of the first technical timeout. Brazil built a four-point edge at 14-10 with three straight points. Team USA cut the gap in half with an Akinradewo kill and Brazil error at 14-12. Nnamani and Scott-Arruda turned in back-to-back kills after the second technical timeout to move to within one, 16-15. However, Brazil answered with two straight points for an 18-15 advantage. Glass served an ace after a kill to pull the Americans to within one at 18-17. Nnamani tied the set at 18-all with a kill. Tom connected for a kill and ace on back-to-back plays to put the U.S. in front 23-22. Brazil gained the first set and match point at 24-23 with consecutive points and capitalized on its first opportunity at 25-23. Tom scored six points in the third set to lead Team USA.

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 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 1-0
China 0-0
Cuba 0-0
Italy 0-0
Japan 0-0
USA 0-1

World Grand Prix Final Round: Yokohama, Japan
July 9: Brazil def. USA, 25-19, 25-19, 25-23
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)

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