U.S. Women Travel to Poland for World Grand Prix’s Second Weekend

June 24, 2008, 8:01 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 24, 2008) – The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team travels from Japan to Wroclaw, Poland, for the second preliminary weekend of the FIVB World Grand Prix that begins on June 27.

Team USA, with a 2-1 record and in fifth place for the 12-team tournament, faces Thailand (0-3) on June 27 at 8 p.m. (noon Mountain Time). The U.S. challenges NORCECA zone rival Dominican Republic (1-2) on June 28 at 5:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. Mountain Time) before concluding the weekend against host Poland (0-3) on June 28 at 3 p.m. (8 a.m. Mountain Time). The three opponents are a combined 1-8 with the only victory a five-set Dominican Republic victory over Poland in the first weekend at Italy.

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.

With the ability to change rosters for each leg of the World Grand Prix, U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach “Jenny” Lang Ping has elected to add two-time Olympian Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) to the roster in place of Jennifer Joines (Milpitas, Calif.). Tom continued to train in Colorado Springs at the U.S. Olympic Training Center while the team was in Japan for the first three matches. Joines will travel back to Colorado Springs to train with other Team USA players not on the Poland Preliminary Round Weekend roster.

Without both Tom and two-time Olympic Games setter Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (Honolulu) in the opening weekend of the World Grand Prix, the United States finished second in its pool held at Kobe, Japan. The U.S. dropped a four-set match to an improving Turkey to start the tournament. Team USA rebounded with victories over two Olympic-bound teams – a sweep of Kazakhstan and a five-set come-from-behind victory over host Japan.

“I think finally we got our rhythm in front of a big crowd,” Lang Ping said after the victory versus Japan. “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.”

Thailand, ranked 18th in the world, had a tough opening weekend of the 2008 World Grand Prix with straight set losses to Brazil and China and a four-set loss to Germany. Thailand did not compete in the 2007 World Grand Prix, but had participated in the five previous editions with a top finish of eighth place in 2002. At the 2007 Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship, Thailand finished third behind Japan and China with victories over Korea, Kazakhstan and Chinese Taipei. Team USA is 9-0 all-time versus Thailand.

Dominican Republic, ranked 14th in the world, is participating in its fifth straight World Grand Prix with a high-water mark of eighth place in 2006. Although not going to China for the 2008 Olympic Games, Dominican Republic has enjoyed success in 2008. It captured the 2008 Pan American Cup that included a five-set victory over the USA in the opening match of pool play and a five-set victory over Brazil in the championship match. At this year’s Grand Prix, it defeated Olympic Games-bound Poland in five set after losing to Italy in four sets and Cuba in three sets. The U.S. leads the all-time series with Dominican Republic with a 29-7 record, but the series is tied 6-6 since 2004.

Poland, ranked ninth in the world, has qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games after winning the 2008 World Olympic Qualification Tournament in May. Poland’s record after the first World Grand Prix may be somewhat deceiving as it lost to Italy and Cuba in four sets each. Italy is ranked second in the world, followed by Cuba in third place. Poland concluded last weekend with a five-set loss to Dominican Republic. At the 2007 FIVB World Grand Prix, Poland qualified for the Final Round but placed sixth in the round-robin final format of six teams. The U.S. and Poland will also meet again in the third leg of the World Grand Prix on July 4 at Taipei, Chinese Taipei. Team USA, 8-3 versus Poland all-time, defeated Poland last year in five sets at Rzeszow, Poland, during the World Grand Prix along with a four-set victory at the FIVB World Cup in November 2007.

After the first weekend of 2008 World Grand Prix matches, only China and Italy are undefeated with three victories. Right behind the undefeated teams are five countries with 2-1 records including Team USA, Turkey, Cuba, Japan and Brazil. Germany and Dominican Republic are 1-2, while Poland, Thailand and Kazakhstan are winless in three matches.

Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.) ranks ninth in scoring during the tournament with 45 points, despite not starting the first match. She ranks 13th in both Best Spiker and Best Blocker with a 44.05 kill percent and 0.58 block average.

Kim Willoughby (Napoleonville, La.) ranks fourth in the tournament in the Best Receiver category with a 60.24 efficiency. She also has 31 points for 25th place in scoring and is 14th in Best Spiker with a 43.10 kill percent. Willoughby averages 1.33 digs per set for 28th place and 0.42 blocks per set for 29th place.

Lindsey Berg (Honolulu, Hawai’i) has averaged 6.83 assists per set for fifth place among setters. She is listed 24th in the Best Server category with 0.17 aces per set.

Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) ranks 14th in scoring for the tournament with 38 points, while converting 35.96 percent of her attacks into kills for 23rd place in the Best Spiker category. She has added 1.25 digs per set for 30th place.

Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) ranks among the leaders in Best Scorers with 26 points for 40th place. She has contributed 0.50 blocks per set for 21st place. Joines, playing in limited action during the first weekend, managed to score 28 points for 33rd place overall. She also averaged 0.25 blocks per set for 46th place.

As Team USA continues to prepare for the 2008 Olympic Games starting Aug. 9 at Beijing, Lang Ping has been using the World Grand Prix to evaluate her players to help make roster decisions for the Olympics. Last weekend, nine of the 12 players started at least one of the three matches. Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) did not start a match, but played in eight of the 12 sets played as a double-sub. Kristin Richards (Orem, Utah) started the final two sets against Turkey. Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) entered late in the match against Kazakhstan and tallied two kills on as many attempts.

During the World Grand Prix, 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 download the U.S. Women’s National Team Press Kit for the second 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 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)
10 - Kim Glass (OH, 6-2, Lancaster, Pa., Arizona)
14 - Kim Willoughby (OH, 5-10, Napoleonville, La., Hawai’i)
15 - Logan Tom (OH, 6-1, Salt Lake City, Utah, Stanford)
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

2008 FIVB World Grand Prix Statistical Leaders Through First Weekend
Best Scorers: 9T. Tayyiba Haneef-Park (45 points); 14. Kim Glass (38); 25. Kim Willoughby (31); 33. Jennifer Joines (28); 40. Danielle Scott-Arruda (26); 57. Heather Bown (16); 75. Cynthia Barboza (9); 94. Lindsey Berg (4); 97. Kristin Richards (3); 102. Foluke Akinradewo (2); 109. Angie McGinnis (1)
Best Spikers: 13. Tayyiba Haneef-Park (44.05 kill percent); 14. Kim Willoughby (43.10); 23. Kim Glass (35.96)
Best Blockers: 13. Tayyiba Haneef-Park (0.58 blocks per set); 21. Danielle Scott-Arruda (0.50); 29. Kim Willoughby (0.42); 36. Heather Bown (0.33); 46. Jennifer Joines (0.25); 49. Cynthia Barboza (0.25); 64. Lindsey Berg (0.17)
Best Servers: 24. Lindsey Berg (0.17 aces per set); 46. Kristin Richards (0.08); 55. Heather Bown (0.08); 58. Kim Willoughby (0.08); 59. Kim Glass (0.08); 60. Angie McGinnis (0.08); 62. Tayyiba Haneef-Park (0.08)
Best Diggers: 11. Nicole Davis (2.00 digs per set); 28. Kim Willoughby (1.33); 30. Kim Glass (1.25); 55. Tayyiba Haneef-Park (0.67); 77. Lindsey Berg (0.33); 91. Jennifer Joines (0.17); 93. Cynthia Barboza (0.17); 103. Heather Bown (0.08)
Best Setters: 5. Lindsey Berg (6.83 assists per set); 22. Angie McGinnis (0.50)
Best Receivers: 4. Kim Willoughby (60.24 efficiency); 16. Kim Glass (42.86)

FIVB World Grand Prix Standings
China 3-0
Italy 3-0
Turkey 2-1
Cuba 2-1
USA 2-1
Japan 2-1
Brazil 2-1
Germany 1-2
Dominican Republic 1-2
Poland 0-3
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, 25-19
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 HallJune 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