U.S. Women Fall Short Versus Thailand

Aug. 16, 2009, 7:35 a.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 16, 2009) – The U.S. Women’s National Team concluded the 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix preliminary rounds on a sour note as its comeback against Thailand fell short in a 19-25, 25-20, 25-21, 23-25, 15-11 loss on Sunday afternoon at Bangkok, Thailand.

USA ends the nine-match, three-weekend preliminary round with a 3-6 record and in ninth place, while Thailand finishes with a 4-5 record. Both teams failed to qualify for the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round, which is to be held Aug. 19-23 at Tokyo with the top five preliminary teams plus host Japan. The World Grand Prix, a 12-country event, is the premier annual women’s international volleyball tournament.

USA held first set leads of 8-3 and 16-8, but had to weather a 6-0 scoring run by Thailand to win 25-19 by scoring seven of the final 10 points. Thailand gained a 13-8 lead in the second set and went on to win 25-20 thanks to a blistering offense of 17 kills. After falling behind 3-0 in the third set, Thailand reached a six-point lead at 21-15 and held off an American rally closing within two at 23-21 to win 25-21. USA rallied from deficits of 21-16 and 23-20 in the fourth set to win 25-23 to extend the match to the tiebreaker. Thailand used a 5-2 scoring run to break a 6-all tie in the fifth set to win the set 15-11.

“Congratulations on Thailand’s great win,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “They are strong and already made a wonderful weekend on home pool. A big crowd in the competition venue was also great, making everyone enjoy the game. We tried our best, but had to surrender to their great form.”

Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) totaled 22 points, including a match-high nine blocks, to lead Team USA. Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa) charted 14 points in four sets of play, while Alexis Crimes (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) tallied 11 points with five blocks, four kills and two aces. Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio), who started just the fifth set, tallied 10 points in the contest. Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.) contributed eight points in the loss, while both Kristin Richards (Orem, Utah) and Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) were credited with five points.

“We are a bit disappointed with the loss, but I think we blocked well,” Metcalf said. “Our defense is not that good, but combination is quite excellent. Thailand played very well against us. They deserved the win.”

Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) totaled a team-high 11 digs and six excellent receptions on 16 attempts, while Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) provide 26 assists.

McCutcheon started Akinradewo and Crimes at middle blocker, Barboza and Larson at outside hitter, Metcalf at opposite and Thompson at setter. Sykora served as the libero for the match. Fawcett came off the bench in the first four sets and started the fifth. Richards started the final two sets. Angela McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) subbed into the match in the third set and started the fourth in place of Thompson at setter. Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) was a back-row sub in all but the fourth set.

The U.S. held a sizeable 22-10 advantage in blocks and benefited from 27 Thailand errors to its own 20. However, Thailand’s offense kept the Americans off-balance as it held a 72-50 margin in kills. Thailand converted 36.4 percent of its 198 attack attempts into points as part of a .283 hitting efficiency, while USA was held to a 30.7 conversion percent and .245 hitting efficiency. Thailand also held 37-20 advantage in digs and a slim 5-3 edge in aces. Further, Thailand won the service reception battle with a 28.72 excellent reception percent to USA’s 11.96 excellent reception percent.

“I’m very happy that my team won the match,” Thailand Head Coach Kiattipong Radhcatagriengkai said. “The USA is very strong. Its blocking and attacking are excellent, but our counter-attacking was also exceptional today. It’s our first time ever to beat the USA. We have to try again to qualify for the next year’s World Grand Prix. I admit that after we lost to Russia in the previous match, I told everyone in my team to regain her spirit and confidence in our last match against the USA. In this match against the USA, everyone in my team worked very hard. We made a good plan in preparation for this match. Every player made her job well done. In this year’s World Grand Prix, we won four matches. It’s beyond my expectation. Among the 12 participating teams, we had the height and experience disadvantage, but we really had great success.”

Thailand had four players score at least 17 points in a balanced offense. Thailand captain Wilavan Apinyapong notched a team-high 22 points, while Malika Kanthong added 20 points with a team-high five blocks. Both Pleumjit Thinkaow and Onuma Sittirak chipped in 17 points in the victory.

“Everyone in my team is very happy with the success,” Apinyapong said. “The USA is very strong and plays with high standard. We will keep this greatest moment forever.”

USA scored the first three points of the match on kills from Metcalf and Akinradewo and a Thailand error in the opening set. The American lead jumped to four points at 6-2 with an Akinradewo kill and two Thailand errors. Team USA reached the first technical timeout leading 8-3 after a Metcalf kill and Larson block. The U.S. increased its margin to 11-4 with a Larson kill, Crimes block and Thailand error. Thailand scored consecutive points to move the score to 11-6. USA extended its margin to 14-7 with a Metcalf kill, Crimes ace and Thailand error. Akinradewo provided a kill and Larson chalked up a block to put USA in front 16-8 at the second technical timeout. Thailand put together six consecutive points at 18-16 to close the gap to two points. Kills from Larson and Metcalf and Thailand error stopped the Thailand run of points and put USA back in front by five at 21-16. Metcalf and Barboza scored back-to-back kills to give USA set points at 24-18. Barboza notched the final point of the set at 25-19 with a kill. Metcalf scored a team-high six points in the opening set in which USA had four blocks.

Back-to-back Akinradewo blocks gave USA a 2-0 start to the second set, but Thailand answered immediately with two points of its own to tie the set at 2-all. A Metcalf kill and Thailand error moved Team USA back to a two-point lead at 4-2, and again Thailand responded quickly by tying the score at 4-all. Thailand scored four straight points to take an 8-5 advantage into the first technical timeout, then came out of the break with fifth straight point to increase the margin to 9-5. Thailand built its lead to five points at 11-6, but USA came back with consecutive points to narrow the gap to three at 11-8. Thailand responded with two straight points to return to a five-point cushion at 13-8. USA scored six of the next eight points to pull within one at 15-14. Thailand notched three consecutive points to go in front by four at 19-16. Back-to-back Thailand errors closed the gap to two points at 21-19, but Thailand regained a four-point margin at 23-19 with two points of its own. Thailand scored the final two points of the second set to win 25-20. Akinradewo scored five points for the USA in the second set, including all three of the team’s blocks.

Barboza scored a kill and block and Akinradewo added a block to yield a 3-0 USA start to the third set. Thailand came back to tie the set at 5-all and grabbed the lead at 7-6. Thailand scored points on each side of the first technical timeout to take a two-point edge at 9-7. After a Metcalf block, Thailand scored three straight to take a 12-8 advantage. A Metcalf kill and Akinradewo block pulled USA back to within three at 13-10. Thailand reached the second technical timeout leading 16-11 after earning back-to-back points. A Crimes point and Thailand error closed the margin to three at 17-14. Thailand gained a six-point advantage at 21-15 with three unanswered points. Crimes scored a block and ace as part of a 3-0 run to move the Americans within three at 21-18. USA moved to within two at 23-21 after two Thailand errors, but Thailand responded with the final two points to close out the set 25-21. The U.S. put up six blocks in the third set as four different players had at least three points in the frame.

Thailand earned the first two-point cushion of the fourth set at 4-2. Thailand stretched its lead to 8-4 with three straight points heading into the first technical timeout, then added a fourth and fifth consecutive points out of the break increasing the margin to 10-4. Fawcett and Richards netted consecutive blocks to close the gap to four points at 11-7. USA moved to within two at 15-13 with a kill and block from Akrinradewo and a kill from Fawcett. Thailand used a 5-1 scoring spurt to catapult it to a 20-14 advantage. A Barboza kill and Crimes block narrowed the deficit back to four at 20-16. USA moved to within one at 21-20 on a 4-0 run that included two points from Akinradewo and one from Fawcett. However, Thailand responded with two quick points to gain a three-point separation at 23-20. USA finished its rally by scoring the final five points to win 25-23 as Akinradewo netted three points in the run as part of seven for the set. USA picked up seven blocks in the fourth set and Fawcett collected seven points off the bench in the period.

Barboza and Akinradewo collected back-to-back kills to give USA a 4-3 lead in the fifth set, but Thailand scored the next two points to regain the lead at 5-4. Thailand led 8-6 as the teams switched sides of the court, then extended the gap to three points at 11-8. After a Richards kill, Thailand notched two points in a row to establish a 13-9 margin. Akinradewo saved one match point with a kill, but Thailand went ahead and won 15-11.

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)
Aug. 14: Russia def. USA 25-21, 26-24, 19-25, 25-17
Aug. 15: USA def. Puerto Rico 25-16, 25-18, 25-22
Aug. 16: Thailand def. USA 19-25, 25-20, 25-21, 23-25, 15-11

FIVB World Grand Prix Preliminary Round Standings
Brazil 8-0 (plays Korea on Aug. 16)
Netherlands 8-1
China 7-2
Russia 5-3 (plays Puerto Rico on Aug. 16)
Japan 5-4
Germany 5-4
Thailand 4-5
Poland 4-5
USA 3-6
Puerto Rico 1-7 (plays Russia on Aug. 16)
Korea 1-7 (plays Brazil on Aug. 16)
Dominican Republic 1-8