Manager, Media Relations and Publications
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 27, 2008) – The future of U.S. Women’s National Volleyball will be showcased during the Pan American Cup, the 2008 season-opening event for Team USA, held May 30-June 7 at Mexicali and Tijuana, Mexico.
While the future will be displayed, some of the American players will also be evaluated for one of 12 roster spots at the 2008 Olympic Games. The future may be now for some of these athletes.
“We will use the Pan American Cup Tournament for evaluation,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach ‘Jenny’ Lang Ping said. “For our veterans, we will decide later as they are not in their best physical condition to play in this event. Also, some of them came in really late from their professional teams.”
The roster includes outside hitters Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.), Juliann Faucette (San Diego, Calif.), Alix Klineman (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Kristin Richards (Orem, Utah). Middle blockers for the tournament are Alexis Crimes (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Tracy Stalls (Denver, Colo.). Lindsey Hunter (Papillion, Neb.) and Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) will share setting duties. Heather Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.) and Katie Olsovsky (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) are the opposites on the roster, while two-time Olympian Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) will serve as the libero. U.S. Women’s National Team Assistant Coach Tom Hogan will serve as the head coach for the squad and will be assisted by Gen Kawakita and Denise Corlett.
“These players are going to be the future of USA Volleyball, but is it 2008 at Beijing or 2012 at London,” Hogan said. “We already know they are the future, the question is when. It is exciting because we are developing the future of USA Volleyball. But yet, we are throwing a bunch of them into the swimming pool and saying to swim and they never have been to a pool.”
The U.S. plays pool play matches at Mexicali with five days of consecutive matches. Team USA opens against Dominican Republic on May 30, followed by Costa Rica on May 31, Argentina on June 1, host Mexico on June 2 and Trinidad & Tobago on June 3. After an off-day for all 12 teams on June 4 to relocate all teams to Mexicali, classification round starts on June 5 with the quarterfinals or crossover matches for places five through eight. The semifinal round follows on June 6 and the championship match and final classification contests on June 7.
The Pan American Cup will yield four berths into the 2009 World Grand Prix. The top three teams from NORCECA and the top South American team will advance to next year’s annual FIVB tournament.
“The overall goal for this tournament is to qualify for the 2009 World Grand Prix, which is finishing among the top four spots,” Hogan said. “Both Gen and I are both excited to coach this team as it is the future of USA Volleyball. Some of these girls have their sites set on Beijing 2008, and some of these girls will be with us in 2012 in London. It is really an exciting team to be a part of, for the present and the future.”
The group of athletes who have trained in Colorado Springs has impressed the coaching staff.
“You take this group that has been training since January, Heather Hughes is one that definitely sticks out,” Hogan said. “She has impressed her teammates and coaching staff, while her level of play continues to elevate. It is important for players like her to gain this international experience at the Pan American Cup. Also from this group that came in to train in January, Tracy Stalls has a lot of junior international experience and some senior level international experience. Now she is stepping more into more of a leadership role with this team when in the past she was more like the baby of the team in terms of age. This is a pretty exciting time.”
In addition to the youthful roster, some veterans will round out the squad such as Sykora. The roster also includes youthful veterans such as Barboza, who is still in college but has been part of the senior pipeline for several years.
“We also have some people on the roster who have just returned from overseas and been here less than a couple weeks,” Hogan said. “Kristin Richards will be a key player in our offense. Stacy Sykora is going to have a major role with this team, both in terms of play and leadership.”
Several of the players recently returned from a three-week, eight-match tour of China. The group included setters Hunter and McGinnis, outside hitters Klineman and Faucette, middle blockers Stalls and Paolini, and opposite Hughes.
The majority of the players on the Pan American Cup roster have been training in Colorado Springs since January. Some of these players are taking a hiatus from their collegiate programs since that time.
“For the group that has been training since January, we are looking to continue evaluating them in the Pan American Cup, plus the three matches at home against Brazil in June,” Lang Ping said. “We will look at different players and combinations. We want them to use their skills learned here in training during game situations and see the results.”
MediaSports.TV will stream video of the Pan American Cup matches as part of an agreement with NORCECA. For details, click here.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for Pan American Cup
# - Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
3 – Cynthia Barboza (OH, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Stanford University)
4 – Alix Klineman (OH, 6-4, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Stanford University)
5 – Stacy Sykora (L, 5-10, Burleson, Texas, Texas A&M University)
7 – Tracy Stalls (MB, 6-4, Denver, Colo., University of Nebraska)
9 – Lauren Paolini (MB, 6-4, Ann Arbor, Mich., University of Texas)
10 – Alexis Crimes (MB, 6-3, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Long Beach State University)
12 – Heather Hughes (OPP, 6-2, Fallbrook, Calif., Loyola Marymount University)
13 – Katie Olsovsky (OPP, 6-3, Hermosa Beach, Calif., University of Southern California)
16 – Lindsey Hunter (S, 5-10, Papillion, Neb., University of Missouri)
17 – Angie McGinnis (S, 5-11, Fraser, Mich., University of Florida)
18 – Kristin Richards (OH, 6-1, Orem, Utah, Stanford University)
19 – Juliann Faucette (OH, 6-2, San Diego, Calif., University of Texas)
Head Coach: Tom Hogan
Assistant Coaches: Gen Kawakita, Denise Corlett
Pan American Cup Schedule at Tijuana Mexicali, Mexico
USA Pool Play at Mexicali
5/30: USA vs. Dominican Republic, 4 p.m.
5/31: USA vs. Costa Rica, 4 p.m.
6/1: USA vs. Argentina, 6 p.m.
6/2: USA vs. Mexico, 8 p.m.
6/3: USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 4 p.m.
Classification Rounds at Mexicali, Mexico
6/5: Quarterfinals or Classification 5-8 Mexicali, Mexico
6/6: Semifinals or Classification 5-8 Mexicali, Mexico
6/7: Championship or Classification 3-4, 7-8 or 5-6 Mexicali, Mexico