U.S. Women Fall to Russia at WGP

Aug. 14, 2009, 9:09 a.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 14, 2009) – The U.S. Women’s National Team lost to Russia 25-21, 26-24, 19-25, 25-17 Friday afternoon in Bangkok, Thailand, during the final preliminary round weekend of the FIVB World Grand Prix and Pool I group.

Team USA's chances to reach the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round closed tighter following the loss. Russia improved to 4-3 record, while USA dropped to 2-5. Currently, seven teams have at least one more victory over the USA with only two matches left in the preliminary rounds. Only the top five teams in the 12-country World Grand Prix preliminary round field plus Japan advance to the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round to be held next week at Tokyo.

USA continues Pool I play of the FIVB World Grand Prix on Saturday versus NORCECA rival Puerto Rico (1-6) at 5:30 p.m. local time (3:30 a.m. Pacific Time). The Americans finish Pool I against host Thailand (3-4) on Sunday at 3 p.m. local time (1 a.m. Pacific Time). Most matches are critical wins to reach the Final Round, as well as receiving help from other teams.

Russia, which trailed in the opening set 5-2 and 13-10, used a 6-1 scoring run late to take a 24-20 advantage en route to a 25-21 victory. USA came back from a 21-18 deficit in the second set to take a 22-21 advantage, but Russia held on for the 26-24 lead after saving one set point. During the second set, Russia compiled 10 blocks to thwart the USA offense. Team USA built an early 8-2 lead in the third set and kept Russia at bay in a 25-19 victory. The Americans rebounded from an 11-4 deficit in the fourth set to close to within two at 12-10, but Russia answered with five unanswered points to assume a 17-10 margin in taking the last set 25-17.

“I don’t think it’s a surprise,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “My players are young and had a problem on blocking their high spikes. I hope my team will come back with the improved form in the next match.”

Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa) led USA in scoring with 19 points, all coming on 19 kills from 51 spike attempts. Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) added 13 kills on 26 swings and five blocks for 18 points. Alexis Crimes (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) contributed 10 points with five kills, three blocks and two aces. Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) charted eight points, while Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.) came off the bench in the final two sets to add five points. Kristin Richards (Orem, Utah) tacked on three points. Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.), Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio), Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) all scored one point to round out the scoring.

“It’s a disappointment,” Metcalf said. “We should do better than this. Russia is very strong and we could not cope with their tactics and form.”

Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) tallied a team-high eight digs, while Thompson contributed 36 assists. Larson had a team-leading eight excellent receptions on 40 attempts.

McCutcheon started Akinradewo and Crimes at middle blocker, Richards and Larson at outside hitter, Metcalf at opposite and Thompson at setter. Sykora served as the libero for the match. Barboza started the third and fourth sets in place of Richards. Fawcett and Davis subbed into the match in all four sets. McGinnis came off the bench in the first two sets, while Paolini saw brief action in the fourth set.

Russia out-blocked USA 20-11 in the victory to offset a 3-2 ace advantage for the Americans. USA converted just 53 of 176 attacks into points for 30.11 percent, while Russia converted 36.08 of its attacks into points. Russia also held a 27-21 margin in digs. USA had a 14.77 excellent reception percent while Russia had just a 10.71 percent.

“It’s a surprise win,” Russia Head Coach Vladimir Kuzyutkin said. “We played well today and I would like to give the USA such a surprise. Actually, I’m not happy with my players’ form. They should play better than this.”

Russia was led by Ekaterina Gamova’s 23 points, while Tatiana Kosheleva chipped in 21 points.

“I’m very glad to win the first match here,” Russia captain Marina Sheshenina said. “It was an expected win. I’m happy that everyone in my team played well to make the expectation come true. However, I admit that the USA is very strong.”

USA scored on consecutive plays on a Akinradewo kill and Crimes block to take an early 2-1 lead. Another Akinradewo kill and Richards block pushed the American lead to 5-2. Russia blitzed back into a tie at 5-all with three unanswered points. USA held an 8-6 lead at the first technical timeout on a Russia error. Richards and Larson scored kills to push the USA lead to 11-8. Russia battled back to within one at 15-14 before Team USA reached the second technical timeout leading 16-14. Russia scored two points out of the break to tie the set at 16-all. With the USA leading 19-18, Russia scored six of the next seven points to establish several set points at 24-20. Russia ended the set at 25-21. Akinradewo had a team-high five points in the opening set as USA had four blocks in the first set. Tatiana Kosheleva had seven points in the first set for Russia.

USA held a 5-3 lead in the second set as Akinradewo put up two blocks and Crimes added another stuff. The U.S. increased its advantage to 7-3 after another Akinradewo block and Russia error. After holding an 8-4 lead at the first technical timeout, Russia jumped back into the fray with six of the next eight points to tie the set at 10-all. Russia gained the lead at 12-11. Metcalf notched consecutive kills to return USA in front 13-12. Crimes then served consecutive aces to provide the Americans a 15-12 cushion. Russia scored three unanswered points to return the set to a tie at 15-all. After the USA took a 16-15 lead into the second technical timeout, Russia scored five of the next six points to grab a 20-17 advantage. USA cut the deficit to one at 21-20 after a Russia error. Kills by Crimes and Larson reversed the lead to Team USA at 22-21 as part of four unanswered points. Russia saved a set point at 24-23 and gained its own set point opportunity at 25-24 and went on to win 26-24. Crimes and Akinradewo scored six points each in the second set, while Metcalf added five.

USA jumped to an 8-2 lead in the third set as Barboza and Metcalf collected two quick kills and Akinradewo added a block around three Russia errors. Russia sliced the gap down to three at 13-10. Barboza started a 3-0 run with a kill and Akinradewo added a block pushing the American advantage to 17-11. Russia inched to within four at 20-16. Fawcett scored a kill and Thompson served an ace to help the USA reach set point at 24-19 and Metcalf finished with a kill at 25-19.

Russia scored the first two points of the fourth set and reached the first technical timeout with an 8-4 advantage. Russia added to its lead with three points out of the break for an 11-4 cushion. Paolini and Metcalf provided kills and Larson added a block to slice the deficit to four at 11-7. USA moved to within two at 12-10 as Barboza, Larson and Metcalf all knocked down kills. However, Russia rolled off five unanswered points to take a 17-10 advantage. Russia increased its lead to nine points at 21-12. USA cut the gap down to 22-16, but Russia rebounded to reach match point at 24-17 and went on to win 25-17.

The U.S. Women's Grand Prix media guide is available on the USA Volleyball Web site by clicking here.

Additional information on the FIVB World Grand Prix can be found on the FIVB Web site by clicking here.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for Pool I at Bangkok, Thailand
# - Name (Pos, Ht, Hometown, College)
1 – Nicole Fawcett (OPP/OH, 6-4, Zanesfield, Ohio, Penn State)
2 – Lauren Paolini (MB, 6-4, Ann Arbor, Mich., Texas)
4 – Angela McGinnis (S, 5-11, Fraser, Mich., Florida)
5 – Stacy Sykora (L, 5-10, Burleson, Texas, Texas A&M)
6 – Nicole Davis (L, 5-6, Stockton, Calif., Southern California)
8 - Cynthia Barboza (OH, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Stanford)
9 – Alexis Crimes (MB, 6-3, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Long Beach State)
10 – Kristin Richards (OH, 6-1, Orem, Utah, Stanford)
11 – Jordan Larson (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., Nebraska)
12 – Nancy Metcalf (OPP, 6-1, Hull, Iowa, Nebraska)
15 – Courtney Thompson (S, 5-7, Kent, Wash., Washington)
18 – Foluke Akinradewo (MB, 6-3, Plantation, Fla., Stanford)
Head Coach: Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Assistant Coach: Karch Kiraly (San Clemente, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: John Speraw (Irvine, Calif.)
Technical Coordinator/Team Leader: Jamie Morrison (Dana Point, Calif.)
Athletic Trainer: Jill Wosmek

Schedule and Results for U.S. Women's National Team

Pool A - at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Maracanazihno Gym)
July 31: Germany def. USA 25-15, 25-15, 25-16
Aug. 1: USA def. Puerto Rico 21-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-14, 15-13
Aug. 2: Brazil def. USA 25-18, 25-22, 25-13

Pool D - at Li Miao, Chinese Taipei (Miao Li Country Gymnasium)
Aug. 7: USA def. Dominican Republic 25-18, 25-19, 23-25, 21-25, 23-21
Aug. 8: Netherlands def. USA 25-12, 22-25, 16-25, 25-20, 15-13
Aug. 9: Germany def. USA 25-22, 25-18, 27-25

Pool I - at Bangkok, Thailand (Keelawes Gym) – times are local
Aug. 14: vs. Russia, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 15: vs. Puerto Rico, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 16: vs. Thailand, 3 p.m.

FIVB World Grand Prix Preliminary Round Standings
Brazil 7-0
Netherlands 7-0
Germany 5-2
China 5-1 (playing Dominican Republic on Aug. 14)
Russia 4-3
Thailand 3-4
Japan 3-4
Poland 2-5
USA 2-5
Puerto Rico 1-6
Korea 1-6
Dominican Republic 1-5 (playing China on Aug. 14)