U.S. Women Rally Past Japan at World Grand Prix

June 22, 2008, 10:02 a.m. (ET)

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

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 22, 2008) - Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.) scored eight of her match-high 21 points in the fifth set to rally the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team to a 27-29, 25-18, 18-25, 25-16, 15-13 victory on Sunday afternoon to conclude the opening preliminary weekend of the FIVB World Grand Prix at Kobe, Japan. Both teams are now 2-1 after the first three matches of the tournament.

“Tayyiba is a big part of the offense,” Team USA captain Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) said. “We really need her and it is great when she can step up and win a game for us.”

Team USA, ranked fourth in the world but without the services of two two-time Olympians (Logan Tom and Robyn Ah Mow-Santos) this weekend, begins the second weekend of preliminary round matches against Thailand at 8 p.m. on June 27 at Wroclaw, Poland. Teams have the option of adjusting rosters for each World Grand Prix preliminary round weekend.

The FIVB World Grand Prix includes three preliminary round weekends with three different sites each weekend hosting round-robin events of four teams. The World Grand Prix Finals, a round-robin format of the top five teams from the preliminary round plus host Japan, will be played July 9-13 at Yokohoma, Japan. The overall ranking in the preliminary rounds 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.

Japan jumped to a 7-2 lead in the opening set, then withstood an 11-3 run by the Americans and two set points to capture the set 29-27 on its third set point opportunity. Team USA used a 5-0 run to break away from a 15-14 lead in the second set to win 25-18, thanks to six blocks in the set. Japan overcame an 8-5 deficit in the third set with an 8-1 run to win 25-18. The U.S. used a 9-2 lead to help overcome an early 5-2 deficit in the fourth set to win 25-16. The fifth set had 11 ties and three lead changes before Team USA gained a two-point edge at 14-12 and going to victory.

“I think finally we got our rhythm in front of a big crowd,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach ‘Jenny’ Lang Ping said. “I think the players played well, but of course there are some moments when we cannot hold the chance. We were still a bit up and down. We will try to reduce our unforced errors to improve our game. We try to use every game to improve the teamwork.”

Haneef-Park scored her 21 points on 17 kills and 42 attacks, three blocks and an ace. Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) chipped in 17 points on 33 swings for Team USA with 15 kills and two blocks. Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) charted seven kills and a match-high five blocks for 12 points. Jennifer Joines (Milpitas, Calif.), despite starting just the last two sets, contributed 10 points all on kills and 15 errorless attacks in the victory. Kim Willoughby (Napoleonville, La.) added seven kills and two blocks for nine points to go with 26 excellent service receptions on 39 attempts and one error. Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) tacked on seven points with five kills and two blocks all in the first three sets. Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.) recorded four key keys in late substitution situations in the first three sets. Berg rounded out the scoring with two blocks to go with 26 assists. Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) totaled eight digs.

“I would like to congratulate Japan,” Berg said. “They played us very well. We were very up and down and we need to keep improving day-by-day, game-by-game. We will improve for the next one.”

The U.S. started Berg at setter, Scott-Arruda and Bown at middle blocker, Glass and Willoughby at outside hitter and Haneef-Park at opposite. Davis is the designated American libero for the opening World Grand Prix weekend. Barboza and Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) came in as part of a double-sub in the first three sets. Joines started the final two sets after subbing in for Bown in the middle of the third set.

Team USA used its height advantage to gain a 16-7 margin in blocks, while Japan held a 3-1 edge in aces. The U.S. totaled 65 kills, and Japan pounded out 60 kills. The Americans committed 31 errors during the match, while the Japanese yielded 28 points on miscues. Japan tallied a 52-21 advantage in digs.

“All the teams in this World Grand Prix are very strong so I want to find hints to take into the Beijing Olympics,” Japan Head Coach Shoichi Yanagimoto said. “I found some problems in my team, so I will try to solve that in the next games of the Grand Prix.”

Both the U.S. and Japan have qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games. Team USA earned its spot by claiming the bronze medal at the 2007 FIVB World Cup, while Japan earned its spot at the 2008 World Olympic Qualification Tournament in May 2008. Japan is currently ranked eighth in the world by the FIVB.

“Japan has very much teamwork and they share a lot of different hits with different hitters,” Lang Ping said. “The setter can read the game very well and read her hitters very well, and it is important that she can make all the hitters alive.”

Miyuki Takahashi paced Japan with 20 kills and a block for 21 points, while Megumi Kurihara charted 12 kills and a team-high three blocks for 15 points. Saori Kimura chipped in 11 kills and two aces for 13 points.

Japan gained the first two-point cushion of the opening set at 3-1 and pushed the gap to five points at 7-2. Scott-Arruda answered with consecutive kills and a block to close the deficit to two, 7-5. Team USA chipped to within one at 8-7 after a Haneef-Park kill and Glass block. The U.S. tied the set at 10-all on a Haneef-Park ace after a Glass kill. The Americans scored a fourth and fifth straight point on consecutive Japanese error for a 12-10 advantage. Bown added a block at 13-10 for a sixth consecutive point. Japan scored four consecutive points to regain the lead at 14-13. Bown scored a block and the U.S. went up 15-14 on a Japanese error. Bown and Scott-Arruda picked up consecutive kills to give the U.S. a 17-15 advantage, only to have the Japanese regain the lead at 20-18 on four straight points. Glass scored consecutive kills to knot the score at 21-all. Glass and Willoughby turned in consecutive kills to yield a set point for the Americans at 24-23, but the Japanese saved the chance and gained its own set point at 25-24. Bown saved the set point and Barboza came in to power a kill to give the Americans set point at 26-25. The lead see-sawed back to Japan at 27-26 and the Japanese won 29-27. Glass led the U.S. with six points in the opening set, which included four American blocks.

The U.S. gained a 5-2 lead in the third set with blocks coming from Scott-Arruda and Willoughby after Willoughby started a 3-0 run with a kill. Japan answered with two quick points to tie the set at 5-all. Willoughby downed a kill and Japan followed with three errors giving the Americans a 9-5 advantage. Team USA increased its lead to 11-6 on a Haneef-Park kill and Japanese error. Japan scored consecutive points to move to within three, 11-8. Japan narrowed its deficit to one at 15-14 with three straight points before the second technical timeout. Scott-Arruda put up a block with a Japanese error on both sides to push the American lead back to four, 18-14. Scott-Arruda and Willoughby scored a fourth and fifth straight U.S. points on blocks to increase the margin to 20-14. Japan tallied consecutive points to close to four, 22-18. Berg gave the U.S. multiple set points at 24-18 on a block after Haneef-Park sliced a kill. Glass ended the set immediately with a kill on a third straight American point. Team USA scored six blocks in the set as Scott-Arruda and Willoughby each collected four points. Japan committed eight errors in the period.

The U.S. gained a two-point edge at 4-2 early in the third set with consecutive Japanese errors. Haneef-Park put up a block after a Japanese error to increase the American lead to 6-3, but Japan answered with two quick points to cut the lead to 6-5. Team USA went into the technical timeout up 8-5 on a Glass kill and Japanese error. Out of the break, the host team scored eight of the next nine points to take a 13-9 lead. Japan went into the second technical timeout with a five-point cushion, 16-11. Glass and Joines scored consecutive kills to cut the deficit to 18-15, but Japan scored five of the last six points to win 25-18. Joines came off the bench to score four points in the third set and Japan benefited from six USA miscues.

Japan scored four straight points to take an early 5-2 lead in the fourth set. Haneef-Park scored consecutive kills to close the gap to one, 7-6. Team USA tied the set at 8-all with a Haneef-Park block and Japanese error out of the technical timeout. Berg put up a block and Japan followed with an error to provide the U.S.with an 11-10 lead. Haneef-Park and Scott-Arruda tallied kills around a Japanese error to extend the American lead to 15-12. Glass added two kills and block around the technical timeout to stretch advantage to 18-12. Glass and Scott-Arruda picked up back-to-back kills followed by a Japan error to extend the lead to eight points, 21-13. Japan committed consecutive errors to give the Americans a nine-point bulge, 23-14. Joines and Glass finished off the set with consecutive kills to win 25-16. Glass tallied five points in the frame. The U.S. charted three blocks and added six other points on Japanese miscues in the fourth set.

Japan gained the first two-point cushion of the tiebreaker at 4-2. Willoughby and Haneef-Park contributed consecutive kills to tie the set at 4-all. Haneef-Park put up a block after a Japanese error to provide Team USA a 7-6 lead in the fifth set, but Japan reached the crossover ahead at 8-7. Willoughby and Joines tallied consecutive kills to give the Americans a 12-11 lead. Haneef-Park scored consecutive kills to give Team USA a two-point cushion at 14-12 and nailed the final point at 15-13. The Americans tallied 12 kills in the tiebreaker to offset six points it yielded to Japan on errors.

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 read or download the U.S. Women's National Team Press Kit for the opening preliminary weekend of the FIVB World Grand Prix, click here.

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

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for Opening Weekend World Grand Prix
# - 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)
9 - Jennifer Joines (MB, 6-4, Milpitas, Calif., Pacific)
10 - Kim Glass (OH, 6-2, Lancaster, Pa., Arizona)
14 - Kim Willoughby (OH, 5-10, Napoleonville, La., Hawai’i)
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 (not traveling)
Technical Coordinator: Diane French
Technical Consultant: Gen Kawakita
Team Leader/Manager: Joan Powell

FIVB World Grand Prix Standings
China 3-0
Italy 2-0 (6/22 vs. Cuba)
Cuba 2-0 (6/22 vs. Italy)
Turkey 2-1
USA 2-1
Japan 2-1
Brazil 2-1
Germany 1-2
Poland 0-2 (6/22 vs. Dominican Republic)
Dominican Republic 0-2 (6/22 vs. Poland)
Thailand 0-3
Kazakhstan 0-3

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, 25-8
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: Poland vs. Dominican Republic, 4 p.m.
June 22: Italy vs. Cuba, 6:30 p.m.

Pool D: Vinh Phuc, Vietnam, Vinh Phuc Hall
June 27: Brazil vs. Kazakhstan, 2 p.m.
June 27: Turkey vs. Germany, 4:30 p.m.
June 28: Kazakhstan vs. Germany, 2 p.m.
June 28: Brazil vs. Turkey, 4:30 p.m.
June 29: Turkey vs. Kazakhstan, 2 p.m.
June 29: Germany vs. Brazil, 4:30 p.m.

Pool E: Wroclaw, Poland, Centennial Hall
June 27: Poland vs. Dominican Republic, 5:30 p.m.
June 27: Thailand vs. USA, 8 p.m.
June 28: Poland vs. Thailand, 3 p.m.
June 28: USA vs. Dominican Republic, 5:30 p.m.
June 29: Poland vs. USA, 3 p.m.
June 29: Dominican Republic vs. Thailand, 5:30 p.m.

Pool F: Hong Kong, Hong Kong Coliseum
June 27: Italy vs. Japan, 5 p.m.
June 27: China vs. Cuba, 8 p.m.
June 28: Cuba vs. Italy, 1:15 p.m.
June 28: China vs. Japan, 3:45 p.m.
June 29: Japan vs. Cuba, 1:15 p.m.
June 29: China vs. Italy, 3:45 p.m.

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