U.S. Women Outlast Japan 3-2

July 10, 2008, 9:19 a.m. (ET)

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


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 10, 2008) – The U.S. Women’s National Indoor Volleyball Team, behind a team-high 22 points from Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) and 20 points from Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.), outlasted host Japan 26-28, 25-20, 22-25, 25-20, 15-11 Thursday afternoon on day two of the round robin FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round at the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan.

Japan saved two set points in the opening set and benefited from 10 U.S. errors to win 28-26 despite being out-blocked 5-2. Team USA scored five unanswered points to grab an 8-3 lead in the second set and progressed methodically to a 25-20 victory. Japan started the third set with a 7-3 lead and built its advantage to 16-10 en route, but had to withstand a 5-0 run on set point win 25-22. The U.S. held a 21-14 lead in the fourth set, but needed to stop a 5-0 Japan run to win 25-20. Team USA scored three straight points in the tiebreaker to assume a 9-7 lead, then used another 3-0 run to build a 14-10 margin in winning 15-11. The Americans scored five blocks in the fifth set and Ogonna Nnamani (Bloomington, Ill.) scored five of her 13 points of the match in the period.

“It was a very hard game today,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach ‘Jenny’ Lang Ping said. “Even I sweated a bit. The fans are great and cheering mostly for the Japan team. I think it is a great experience for us how you play this kind of hard game when you are behind, especially with Japan ahead 2-1. I think the players worked very hard. Of course there are many technical things we need to improve, but this is the fourth week of the Grand Prix and we are looking a little tired and a little slow and we need to use more technique to make up.”

In other World Grand Prix matches played later today, Cuba defeated China 25-21, 20-25, 26-24, 25-16 and Brazil topped Italy 25-20, 25-17, 25-23. Brazil and Cuba lead the World Grand Prix Final Round after the second day with 2-0 records, while Italy and the U.S. are both 1-1. China and Japan are winless in two outings.

The World Grand Prix Final Round is a round-robin format with each team playing five matches in five days. Team USA plays 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). Team USA dropped its Final Round opener on July 9 to Brazil 25-19, 25-19, 25-23.

Scott-Arruda reached her 22 points with 17 kills on 25 attacks and a match-high five blocks. Haneef-Park totaled 18 kills on 39 swings and two blocks in the victory. Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) contributed 14 kills, four blocks and an ace for Team USA. She added six digs and a team-leading 21 excellent service receptions on 32 errorless attempts. Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) charted nine kills, four blocks and two aces. Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (Honolulu) tallied 18 assists on 91 attempts and six digs, while Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) added 14 assists.

Nnamani, who started just the final two sets, totaled seven kills with just one error on 15 attacks, three blocks and three aces. She added 10 excellent service receptions on 18 attempts without an error. Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) rounded out the scoring with six kills on 12 errorless attacks and two blocks. Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) sparked the back-row defense with a team-high 12 digs, while providing 11 excellent service receptions on 21 attempts.

The U.S. started Scott-Arruda and Bown at middle blocker, Tom and Glass at outside hitter, Haneef-Park at opposite and Berg at setter. Sykora is the designated U.S. libero for the Final Round. Ah Mow-Santos started the final four sets after coming off the bench in the opening set. Nnamani replaced Glass in the starting lineup for the fourth and fifth sets after being used a sub in the first and third sets. Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) was a defensive sub in the first and fourth sets. Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.) came off the bench in the second and third sets.

Both the U.S. and Japan have qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games, and the two countries will meet on the opening day of pool play on Aug. 9.

“Japan is getting stronger and it will be a hard game, but our team prepared perfectly today to face a strong Japanese team,” Lang Ping said.

“First of all we are very happy to get this win,” Lindsey Berg said. “Every game this week is a difficult game. Japan is very strong, a very fast and quick team, and when you play them at home they are even stronger. It is also very important for us because Japan is in the same pool at the Olympics, and the more practice we get against them the better we will be for the Olympics.”

The U.S. converted on 45.8 percent of its 155 attacks into kills, thanks in part to a 55.7 excellent service reception perception as a team. Japan was limited to a 41.8 kill percent for the match. Team USA out-blocked Japan 20-8 and held a 6-1 advantage in aces. The American offense held a 71-66 advantage in kills. However, those U.S. margins were used to offset 29 American errors to only 16 Japanese errors in the match. Japan also held a 63-41 margin in digs.

Erika Araki sparked Japan with 18 points on 14 kills and a team-high four blocks. Megumi Kurihara added 15 kills and a block for 16 points. Miyuki Takahashi and Saori Kimura contributed 15 and 13 kills, respectively, in the loss.

“We had a lot of chances throughout the game today, and it was regrettable that we could not get the points,” Japan captain Yoshie Takeshita said. “I am sure we have points to revise for the Olympics, and I want to play in the way we know we can.”

During the opening preliminary round weekend, Team USA provided similar dramatics in coming back from a 2-1 set disadvantage and an extended opening set. Back on June 22, Japan won the first set 29-27 and the U.S. needed to force a fifth-set tiebreaker to win in five sets (27-29, 25-18, 18-25, 25-16, 15-13).

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.

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).

Japan took a two-point edge in the opening set at 3-1 and extended its margin to three points at 6-3. The teams traded points until Haneef-Park tallied a kill and Tom followed with a block at 12-11. Tom scored consecutive kills to knot the set at 14-all, but Japan answered with two straight points to take a 16-14 lead into the second technical timeout. Japan added to its advantage with a point out of the break for a 17-14 lead. Glass pocketed consecutive kills and a block to tie the set again at 17-all. Japan responded with two quick points to return to a two-point cushion at 19-17. Haneef-Park tallied consecutive kills to tie the set at 21-all. Bown and Tom scored consecutive blocks to yield the American’s first lead at 23-22. Team USA had set points at 24-23 and 25-24 before Japan netted its first chance at 26-25. Japan ended the set at 28-26 on its second set point opportunity. Tom led the U.S. with seven points in the opening set. Team USA held advantages of 18-16 in kills and 5-2 in blocks, but 10 errors played a huge role in the loss.

The U.S. gained a 2-0 lead in the second set with a Tom kill and Bown ace, but Japan answered with consecutive points to tie the set at 2-all. Scott-Arruda followed a Japan error with a block and kill to push the American lead to 6-3. The U.S. scored a fourth and fifth straight point on a Japan error and Haneef-Park kill to extend the gap to five, 8-3. Team USA pushed the lead to 10-4 with a Haneef-Park kill and Japan error. Haneef-Park and Tom tallied consecutive kill to increase the U.S. lead to 12-5. Japan cut into the lead at 13-8 with two straight points. Scott-Arruda put up a block and kill to extend the lead to 16-9 at the second technical timeout. Japan sliced into the deficit with two points at 17-12. Tom put up a block after a Scott-Arruda block to regain a seven-point, 19-12 lead for the U.S. Japan tacked on consecutive points to trail by five, 20-15. Tom scored an ace after a Haneef-Park kill to return a 22-15 Team USA lead. Japan followed with three consecutive points to move back to within four, 22-18. The U.S. traded points the rest of the way for a 25-20 victory. Haneef-Park scored seven kills in the set to lead Team USA in scoring. The U.S. overcame eight errors in the set while Japan committed just three in the set for six total through two sets.

Japan came out of the intermission with a quick 4-1 lead in the third set, then pushed its advantage to four points at 6-2. Japan doubled-up the score at 10-5 with consecutive points and jumped the advantage to six at 12-6. Japan continued to inch away from the U.S. with back-to-back points at 14-7. Nnamani collected consecutive aces after a Scott-Arruda kill to close the gap to 14-10. Japan answered with consecutive points going into the second technical timeout with a 16-10 advantage. Scott-Arruda scored a kill out of the break, followed by a Japan error to slice the deficit back to four, 16-12. Tom and Nnamani turned in consecutive kills to cut the gap to three at 18-15, only to have Japan score two points back at 20-15. Japan increased its advantage to 22-16. Japan reached set point at 24-17. The U.S. saved four set points with two kills and block from Scott-Arruda, followed by a Japan error at 24-21. Haneef-Park added a fifth straight point with a block before Japan closed out the set 25-22. Scott-Arruda racked up seven points in the third set to lead the U.S. Japan tallied five of its points in the third set on blocks.

Team USA took a 5-3 lead in the fourth set with a Tom kill and Japan error. Nnamani turned in a kill and Scott-Arruda added a block out of the technical timeout to give the U.S. a 9-6 lead. Tom and Haneef-Park scored a third and fourth straight point with kills at 11-6. Japan clawed back to within two at 12-10 with three consecutive points. Nnamani hammered a kill and Bown took the U.S. into the technical timeout leading 16-12 with an ace. Haneef-Park added a block and Scott-Arruda chipped in a kill out of the break to increase the lead to 18-12. Nnamani tallied consecutive kills to extend the Team USA lead to 21-14. Japan scored five straight points to narrow the margin to 21-19. Tom broke the run with a kill and Japan yielded a point on an error to return the gap to four, 23-19. The U.S. scored the final two points for a 25-20 victory on a Haneef-Park kill and Bown block. Nnamani and Haneef-Park each tallied five points in the fourth set.

Japan took the initial two-point cushion of the fifth set at 5-3 with three unanswered points. Team USA tied the set at 6-all with a Nnamani block after a Glass kill. Nnamani added a kill and Glass put up a block at the crossover for an 8-7 advantage. Nnamani added a block to give the U.S. its first two-point cushion of the tiebreaker at 9-7. The U.S. scored three unanswered points on blocks from Bown and Tom after a Scott-Arruda kill to take a 14-10 lead with four match points. After Japan saved a match point, Haneef-Park ended the match with a kill. Nnamani scored five points in the final period, including two the team’s five blocks.

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 2-0
Cuba 2-0
Italy 1-1
USA 1-1
China 0-2
Japan 0-2

World Grand Prix Final Round: Yokohama, Japan
July 9: Brazil def. USA, 25-19, 25-19, 25-23
July 9: Italy def. China, 22-25, 29-27, 20-25, 25-20, 15-9
July 9: Cuba def. Japan, 19-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-19
July 10: Cuba def. China, 25-21, 20-25, 26-24, 25-16
July 10: Brazil def. Italy, 25-20, 25-17, 25-23
July 10: USA def. Japan 26-28, 25-20, 22-25, 25-20, 15-11
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