U.S. Women Prevail Over Brazil 3-2

June 14, 2008, 12:51 a.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 13, 2008) - The U.S. Women’s National Indoor Volleyball Team had 11 players score at least one point as it defeated top-ranked Brazil 25-21, 19-25, 29-27, 17-25, 15-11 Friday night in front of a sell-out crowd of 1,200 fans at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Team USA is ranked fourth in the world.

The match was the second of three contests as part of 2008 U.S. Olympic team Exhibition for Volleyball. The two teams will conclude the exhibition series on June 14 with a 7 p.m. contest at Air Force Academy’s Clune Arena in Colorado Springs. The match will be televised June 29 at 10 a.m. Mountain Time on a tape-delay basis. Tickets for the June 14 contest are still available and can be purchased through www.goairforcefalcons.com, the official athletic Web site of the Air Force Academy. In the first exhibition match of the series on June 11, Brazil came back from a 12-9 deficit in the fifth set and saved two match points to win the contest.

After trailing 8-6 in the opening set, Team USA used a 5-0 run that included three blocks from three different players en route to a 25-21 victory. Brazil jumped to an 8-2 lead in the second set and withstood a late U.S. rally to win 25-19. Team USA overcame a 23-20 deficit and a set point at 27-26 in the third set to win 29-27 on its fourth set point. Brazil gained an early 7-2 lead in the fourth set and stayed in control for a 25-17 victory. Team USA began the tiebreaking set with a 3-0 lead and never trailed in winning 15-11.

“I think we played well as a team and using all the young players,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach ‘Jenny’ Lang Ping said. “We were able to check their talent and evaluate them during game situations against a very good Brazil team. We fell behind a couple times, but it didn’t matter as it showed the spirit of this team to overcome adversity.”

"We used different lineups to find 12 players at the same level for the Olympics," Brazil Assistant Coach Paulo Barros Junior said through an interpreter. "But the execution was not good; to lead the third game 23-20 and lose… But we have time to fix these things."

Both the United States and Brazilian women’s volleyball teams qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games with medal-stand performances at the 2007 FIVB World Cup. Brazil finished with the silver medal at the World Cup, while the U.S. finished with the bronze.

Ogonna Nnamani (Bloomington, Ill.) scored a team-high 19 points with 16 kills and three blocks to lead Team USA. Jennifer Joines (Milpitas, Calif.) added 13 points with a match-high seven blocks and six kills. Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) chipped in eight kills and four blocks in the victory. Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.) came off the bench to add eight points on five kills and three blocks. Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) and Cassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.) contributed five kills and a block each in limited action. Kristin Richards (Orem, Utah) added three kills and a block for Team USA, while Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) tacked on two kills. Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (Honolulu), Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) and Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) rounded out the scoring with a point apiece. Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) tallied a team-high 15 digs, while Barboza and McGinnis added six digs.

“Tonight’s match was great,” Nnamani said. “The coaching staff did a great job preparing us and we just came out and had fun. We executed the game plan well. I am proud of our team.”

Team USA started the match with Ah Mow-Santos at setter, Scott-Arruda and Joines at middle blocker, Tom and Nnamani at outside hitter and Busse at opposite. Sykora served as the libero for the match. Barboza and McGinnis started the final two sets after subbing in the second and third sets. Glass started the fifth set after coming off the bench in the fourth set. Richards started the third and fourth sets and came off the bench in the second set. Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) was a defensive substation in all but the second set. Akinradewo saw limited action in the fourth set.

“I came back with only a short amount of training time,” Joines said. “Mentally, I have been doubting myself and the communication with our setters. Last night, my roommate (Nnamani) and I could not sleep. Today, we came out and played aggressive and had faith in our ability. Mentally, we were here. It was either but it on the line or wallow in self-doubt. And I have to give credit to Ogonna – she played great.”

Sheilla Castro tallied a match-high 21 points for Brazil with 15 kills, three blocks and three aces. Jaqueline Carvalho produced 14 kills and two blocks for 16 points in the loss. Fabiana Claudino contributed nine kills and six blocks for Brazil. Welissa “Sassa” Gonzaga turned in nine kills in the loss. Carolina Albuquerque chipped in four kills, three blocks and an ace for eight points. Paula Pequeno added six kills and a block, while Thaisa Menezes and Joyce Silva each tossed in five points. Caroline Gattaz scored four points, while Walewska Oliveira charted three points.

“Fofao is very important to the team, but we think that Carolina (Albuquerque) did a very good job," Fabiana said. "(An injury) can always happen so we have to step up and be ready to make the changes we need to make.”

Brazil started with Sheilla at opposite, Fabiana and Walewska at middle blocker, Mari and Paula at outside hitter and Carolina at setter. Fabi served as the libero for the match. Jaqueline started the final four sets, while Sassa and Thaisa started the last three sets. Caroline and Joyce started the final two sets.

“We started a little bit slow and we missed a lot of serves," Fabiana said. "We gave away a lot of free balls. That makes a huge difference.”

The U.S. held a 20-18 advantage in blocks, while Brazil controlled the serve with a 4-1 ace advantage. However, it served 14 errors to the Americans’ seven. Team USA converted 37 percent of its attacks into kills, while Brazil was at a 41 percent.

At the conclusion of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Exhibition series, the U.S. and Brazil will compete in the 12-team FIVB World Grand Prix in various European and Asian countries from June 20-July 13. The two teams will not face each other in any of the three preliminary round weekends, but could meet in the six-team, round-robin World Grand Prix Final round in Yokohama, Japan.

The U.S. and Brazil took part in a similar exhibition series to begin the 2005 season. The Front Range Tour was a three-match series in Denver, Fort Collins, Colo., and Colorado Springs. The trio of matches marked U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Lang Ping’s debut leading Team USA. The U.S. won the first and third matches in the series.

Prior to the current three-match U.S. Olympic Exhibition for Volleyball series, Team USA had not played on its own soil against international competition since a May 26, 2006, contest against Poland in Chicago.

The U.S. gained the first two-point separation of the opening set at 5-3 as Busse started a 3-0 run with a kill followed by blocks from Ah Mow-Santos and Nnamani. Brazil answered with three consecutive points capped by a Sheilla ace at 6-5. Brazil entered the first technical timeout with an 8-6 advantage as Sheilla pounded a kill of the block followed by a Walewska block. Team USA tied the set at 8-all on a Busse kill after a Brazil service error. Nnamani, Joines and Busse added a block apiece to give the U.S. a 11-8 lead on a 5-0 run. Sheilla sliced a kill through the U.S. block at 14-13. Scott-Arruda followed a Tom kill with a block to push the U.S. into a 16-13 lead in the second technical timeout. Nnamani connected for consecutive kills, the second coming after an stellar Sykora dig for a 19-15 advantage. Brazil answered with a Fabiana block after a U.S. service error for a 19-17 score. Brazil cut the gap to one at 20-19 as Carolina started a mini run with a setter dump. Team USA extended the lead to 23-20 as Brazil served into the net and had an attack error. Sykora dug a Brazil attack and Tom got over the net, followed by a Brazil attack error to give the U.S. set points at 24-20. Team USA won the first set 25-21 as Brazil served long. Nnamani and Busse each scored six points in the opening set, while Team USA held a 7-4 advantage in blocks. Sheilla led Brazil with six kills in the set.

Brazil built a 4-0 lead to start the second set as Sheilla connected for consecutive kills after a Fabiana block. Out of the timeout, Brazil added to the lead with a U.S. attack error. Brazil extended the lead to 8-2 at the technical timeout. Brazil increased its lead to 12-4 with kills from Walewska and Fabiana around a U.S. attack error as part of a 3-0 run. Team USA scored consecutive points on a kill from Richards and block from Joines to close to 13-7, but Brazil answered with four consecutive points to take a 16-7 lead into the second technical timeout. Out of the break, the U.S. gained three consecutive points on a service error and two attack errors. Moments after entering the match, Barboza scored a kill and block to cut the deficit to five, 18-13. Out of a Brazil timeout, Team USA scored a third straight point with a Brazil attack error. Brazil scored three straight with a Walewska block, Jaqueline kill and U.S. error for a 22-15 lead. Nnamani put down a kill followed by two Brazil attack errors to put the score at 22-18. Carolina gave Brazil set points at 24-18 with an ace. Fabiana ended the set with a quick attack for a kill at 25-19. Joines and Barboza each totaled three points in the set, while Sheilla paced Brazil with five kills and an ace. The U.S. was limited to a 26 kill percent in the frame.

Richards downed a kill after a Sykora diving dig and Scott-Arruda added a block to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead in the opening moments of the third set. Team USA picked up a two-point cushion at 5-3 as Brazil had a service and attack error. Fabiana hammered back-to-back kills to knot the score at 6-all. Joines answered with a kill and block on consecutive points to yield an 8-6 Team USA lead at the technical timeout. Out of the break, Sheilla produced a kill followed by a Jaqueline block and Carolina kill to give Brazil the lead at 9-8. Out of the break, Jaqueline extended the run to four points with a kill at 10-8. The U.S. tied the set at 11-all on a Scott-Arruda block. Sheilla scored the next points with a kill and block to give Brazil a two-point lead at 13-11. Sheilla increased the advantage to 15-12 with a block. Richards followed her own kill with an ace to close to the gap to 15-14. Fabiana scored kills on both sides of the second technical timeout to lead to a 17-14 Brazil lead. Joines followed a Brazil attack error with a kill to narrow the deficit to one, 17-16. Sheilla powered a kill down and Fabiana blocked a U.S. attack to return the Brazil lead to three points, 19-16. Ogonna hit through the block after a Brazil long attack, and Joines tied the set at 19-all on a block. Jaqueline scored a kill and block on consecutive plays and Thaisa added a block to give Brazil a 23-20 advantage. Team USA cut the deficit to 23-22 on kills from Nnamani and Barboza on consecutive plays. Nnamani tied the set at 23-all with a kill on a third straight point forcing a Brazil timeout. Out of the break, Scott-Arruda put up a block for the fourth straight point and set point at 24-23. The teams traded points until Carolina scored a setter dump to give Brazil set point at 27-26. Nnamani put up a block after a Brazil service error to put the U.S. up 28-27, and she followed with a terminating kill at 29-27. Nnamani scored six points in the third set, while Scott-Arruda scored three of her five points via the block. Sheilla paced Brazil in the frame with nine points. The U.S. produced six blocks in the set and benefited from five Brazil service errors.

Brazil built a 5-1 lead to start the fourth set leading to an early Team USA timeout. The visitors extended the lead to 7-2 on kills from Jaqueline and Caroline. Brazil increased its margin to six, 10-4, on a kill from Sassa and block by Carolina. Sassa powered a kill and was followed by an American attack error for a 12-5 lead. Thaisa was credited with two kills and block as part of a 4-0 run to put Brazil up 16-6. Barboza chipped in a kill and block to cut the margin to 17-9. Team USA inched closer to 19-11 with a Glass kill and Brazil error. Jaqueline ended the set with a kill at 25-17. Jaqueline led Brazil with six points in the period.

The U.S. grabbed a 3-0 lead to begin the tiebreaking set as Barboza put down a kill and Brazil committed consecutive attack errors leading to a timeout. Barboza scored a second kill of the set and Brazil followed with consecutive errors to push the Americans in front 7-2. Brazil scored consecutive points at 9-6 leading to a timeout by the U.S. Sassa added to the run with a kill over the block to move to within two, 9-7. Nnamani stopped the bleeding with a kill, and Brazil hit its attack into the antenna to extend the lead to 11-7. Joines scored the Americans’ third straight point with a kill at 12-7 forcing Brazil into its final timeout. Brazil chipped into the lead with a Thaisa kill and U.S. error at 12-9. Joines put up a block at 14-9 after Nnamani tallied a kill. Brazil saved two match points with a Joyce kill and Barboza attack error. However, Glass powered home the match winning point at 15-11. Nnamani and Glass recorded three points in the tiebreaking set to lead the U.S.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Exhibition for Volleyball
# - 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 Calif.)
7 – Heather Bown (MB, 6-3, Yorba Linda, Calif., Hawai’i)
8 – Cynthia Barboza (OH/OPP, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Stanford)
9 – Jennifer Joines (MB, 6-4, Milpitas, Calif., Pacific)
10 – Kim Glass (OH, 6-2, Lancaster, Pa., Arizona)
11 – Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (S, 5-7, Honolulu, Hawai’i, Hawai’i)
12 – Cassie Busse (OPP, 6-2, Prior Lake, Minn., Minnesota)
13 – Heather Hughes (OPP, 6-2, Fallbrook, Calif., Loyola Marymount)
14 – Kim Willoughby (OH, 5-10, Napoleonville, La., Hawai’i)
15 – Logan Tom (OH, 6-1, Salt Lake City, Utah, Stanford)
16 – Tracy Stalls (MB, 6-3, Denver, Colo., Nebraska)
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, Li Yong, Tom Hogan
Volunteer Assistants: Gen Kawakita, James Bai
Technical Coordinator: Diane French