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Mar 22 Team USA Drops Five-Set Heartbreaker to Tianjin

March 22, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 22, 2008) – The U.S. Women's National Training Team won the first two sets against Chinese professional club Tianjin on Saturday afternoon, but the rematch from the day before turned into a heartbreaking five-set loss 23-25, 21-25, 25-16, 25-21, 15-9 at WuChing, China. Yesterday, Tianjin won in three sets where neither team held more than a three-point edge until the final score of each set (25-22,25-21, 25-21).

The U.S. will play a Chinese Army Club in YiYang at 3 p.m. China time (1 a.m. Mountain Time) on March 24. Team USA is on a three-week training tour of China to evaluate a younger group of players in preparation for Olympic Games roster selections. The U.S. qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games, held Aug. 8-24 in Beijing, by finishing with a bronze medal at the 2007 FIVB World Cup.

Team USA started middle blockers Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) and Tracy Stalls (Denver, Colo.), outside hitters Juliann Faucette (San Diego) and Angie Pressey (Lake Mary, Fla.), opposite Heather Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.) and setter Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.). Team captain Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) served as the libero for the match. Alix Klineman (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) subbed into the match in the first set, then replaced Pressey in the starting rotation the final four sets. Pressey came in off the bench in the third and fifth sets.

"Today, we started well," said U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach "Jenny" Lang Ping, a native of Beijing. "We were still focused on trying to improve our skills, coordination, especially for the [first] two sets we really played well at an important time. Also we tested Alix and I think she played well too with her injury. Coming back from an injury I think we had an opportunity for her to see that level and we tried to test her skills and had some evaluation."

Faucette was credited with 17 points via 15 kills on 33 swings, a block and an ace. Stalls tacked on 15 points with 13 kills on 24 swings and just two errors. She added two blocks on defense. Hughes chipped in 11 kills on 34 attacks to go with a block. Akinradewo tallied 13 points on 10 kills, two blocks and an ace. Klineman turned in eight kills on 25 swings and a block for nine points. McGinnis provided three kills on four attacks Pressey recorded three kills in the match. Davis topped the backrow defense with 14 digs to go with a 81 positive service reception (45 excellent percent).

Tianjin had a balanced attack with five players scoring in double figures. Yin Nan totaled a match-high 21 points with 18 kills and three aces for Tianjin. Wang Li added 14 points, while Yan Ya Nan added 13 points.

Tianjin held advantages in aces (6-3) and blocks (8-7). The host team converted 46 percent of its attacks into kills, while the U.S. converted 42 percent.

Team USA trailed much of the first set, and by as many as four points at 14-10. However, the Americans grabbed their first lead at 17-16 on a 5-1 spurt with three points from Faucette (two kills and a block) and a kill and ace from Akinradewo. Tianjin regained a 21-19 advantage, but a 3-0 U.S. scoring run with kills from Hughes and McGinnis followed by a Tianjin setting error gave the U.S. a 22-21 edge. After a Tianjin service error, Faucette scored set point with a kill at 25-23.

Neither team led by more than a point in the early stages of set two until Hughes and Faucette connected for consecutive kills to reach the first technical timeout up 8-6. Team USA extended the gap to three points thanks to back-to-back Tianjin attack errors, then Akinradewo put down a quick attack for a 13-9 advantage. Tianjin whittled the scored to within one at 14-13, but a kill and ace by Faucette gave the U.S. a three-point cushion at 19-16. The reached four points with consecutive Tianjin errors at 21-17, but the host cut the deficit in half at 22-20. After a Faucette kill at 24-21, the U.S. closed the set on the next play as Tianjin was forced into an attack error.

Team USA held a brief 3-2 lead in the third set after a Hughes block. However, Tianjin used an 8-1 run to establish a commanding 16-9 lead at the second technical timeout. The U.S. could come no closer than a five-point deficit the rest of the set.

"After our third set, the Tianjin team started serving very well and we started struggling with our passing and it made it a bit difficult for transitions," Lang Ping said. "Still, I think our girls fought very hard and there were few beautiful volleys which were great for this team and show our fighting spirit. I think we can see improvement from the short time from the first match. I think the girls play very much attention and used every opportunity to improve. We work hard and we had a good time in Tianjin - fabulous hospitality."

The fourth set remained close early as the score was tied at 9-all. Tianjin went on a 4-1 run to take a 13-10 lead and the squads traded points until Team USA narrowed the gap to one at 20-19. Tianjin answered with back-to-back points to regain a three-point cushion at 22-19 and went on to win 25-21.

In the tiebreaking fifth set, Team USA came back from an early 4-1 deficit to tie the stanza at 6-6 on a kill by Akinradewo and block by Stalls. Tianjin reached the switchover first at 8-7 and jumped the margin to two points at 9-7. After a Stalls kill narrowed the gap to one point at 9-8, Tianjin rattled off four unanswered points to take a commanding 13-8 lead en route to a 15-9 score.

For additional information on the U.S. Women’s National Team, check the team’s home page at http://www.usavolleyball.org/National/wnthome.asp.

Post-Match Quotes

"Jenny" Lang Ping:
"Well, the first match was difficult for us because first of all we had jet lag and we had never played so huge an arena, but our girls did a pretty good job and we did a lot of good things on defense and we had pretty good passing and we had not so many errors. I think some of the players showed us some things. Nicole is a team leader, Tracy Stalls and Heather [Hughes] played well, too. Even though we lost in three, the score was very tight and we can see the two months of training result and I think we have better ball control. Of course we need more experience and we need a person who can score. We need a star."

Tom Hogan (U.S. Assistant Coach)
"Their mental and physical consistency is improving. We are struggling in serve receive and passing."

Angie McGuiness:
"The team as a whole played a lot better tonight, we keyed in on quick defense/quick reactions and finishing rallies and the result of the game was much better."

"It's great to see a young team like this take what we've learned from one night and fix it the following night. Teams like this have a lot of potential."

"I think a lot of our players are adjusting to the Chinese style of play, I’m excited for our next match."

Foluke Akinradewo:
"We definitely improved. We’re all more confident, and played more together as a team and it definitely showed. Passing did a really good job, especially since we didn’t get to practice in the gym before the game. It was nice for the middles to be able to hit."

Quotes obtained by Sarah French

Team USA Tour of China Match Information
March 21: Team USA lost to Tianjin club at Tianjin (22-25, 21-25, 21-25).
March 22: Team USA lost to Tianjin club at WuQing (25-23, 25-21, 16-25, 21-25, 9-15)
March 24: Team USA vs. Chinese Army Club at YiYang, 3 p.m.
March 26: Team USA vs. Chinese Army Club at ChangShu, 7:30 p.m.
March 28: Team USA vs. TBA in Hangzhou, 7:30 p.m.
March 29: Team USA vs. TBA in FuYang, 7:30 p.m.
April 1: Team USA vs. TBA in Nanjing, Time TBA
April 2: Team USA vs. TBA in Nanjing, Time TBA

U.S. Women’s National Training Team Roster on China Tour
# - Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 - Juliann Faucette (OH, 6-2, San Diego, Calif., Texas)
2 - Destinee Hooker (OH, 6-4, San Antonio, Texas, Texas)
3 - Therese Crawford (OH, 5-11, Kalamazoo, Mich., Hawai'i)
4 - Alix Klineman (OH, 6-4, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Stanford)
5 - Angie Pressey (OH, 5-8, Lake Mary, Fla., California)
6 - Foluke Akinradewo (MB, 6-3, Plantation, Fla., Stanford)
7 - Tracy Stalls (MB, 6-4, Denver, Colo., Nebraska)
9 - Lauren Paolini (MB, 6-5, Ann Arbor, Mich., Texas)
11 - Heather Hughes (OPP, 6-2, Fallbrook, Calif., Loyola Marymount)
13 - Nellie Spicer (S, 5-9, Barrington, Ill., UCLA)
15 - Nicole Davis (L, 5-6, Stockton, Calif., Southern California)
16 - Lindsey Hunter (S, 5-10, Papillion, Neb., Missouri)
17 - Angie McGinnis (S, 5-11, Fraser, Mich., Florida)
18 - Cassie Busse (OPP, 6-1, Prior Lake, Minn., Minnesota)
Head Coach: “Jenny” Lang Ping
Assistant Coaches: Sue Woodstra, Li Yong, Tom Hogan
Technical Coordinator: Diane French

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