U.S. Women's World Grand Prix Preliminary Roster Set

June 15, 2009, 7:45 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 15, 2009) – U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon has announced the team’s 19-player preliminary roster for the 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix, the premier annual international volleyball tournament for women.

The 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix involves 12 national teams playing a total of 69 matches over four consecutive weekends in 10 cities. The preliminary rounds are set to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Kielce, Poland and Ningbo, China, on the first weekend, Miao Li, Chinese Taipei, Macau, China, and Osaka, Japan, the second weekend and Hong Kong, Mokpo, Korea and Bangkok, Thailand, the third weekend.

McCutcheon has elected to use a young, but very talented roster for the 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix. The preliminary roster includes 2008 Olympic Games members Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) and Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) vying for the libero position. Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa), a 2004 Olympic Games roster, and Heather Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.) are the two pure opposites on the roster. At setter, Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.), Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) and Nellie Spicer (Barrington, Ill.) are the three players competing for spots on the final FIVB World Grand Prix roster.

Outside hitters on the preliminary roster include Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.), Jane Collymore (Seattle, Wash.), Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Pa.), Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.), Angie Pressey (Lake Mary, Fla.) and Kristin Richards (Orem, Utah). The six middle blockers vying for court time for the U.S. in the World Grand Prix are Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.), Alexis Crimes (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Christa Harmotto (Aliquippa, Pa.), Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Tracy Stalls (Denver, Colo.) and Elisha Thomas (Grass Valley, Calif.).

Akinradewo, Barboza, Hughes, McGinnis, Richards, Stalls were all alternates on the U.S. 2008 Olympic Games roster.

The U.S. Women’s National Team opens the FIVB World Grand Prix at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as part of Pool A. The Americans begin the tournament versus Germany on July 31, followed by NORCECA rival Puerto Rico on Aug. 1. On Aug. 2, the FIVB will have its featured match of the preliminary round as top-ranked and 2008 Olympic Games gold medalist Brazil hosts second-ranked and 2008 Olympic Games silver medalist Team USA.

The U.S. Women travel from Rio de Janeiro to Miao Li, Chinese Taipei, the following weekend for Pool D action. Team USA plays NORCECA rival Dominican Republic on Aug. 7, Netherlands on Aug. 8 and Germany on Aug. 9.

The Americans conclude the preliminary action in Pool I Aug. 14-16 at Bangkok, Thailand. The U.S. Women face Russia on Aug. 14, Puerto Rico on Aug. 15 and host Thailand on Aug. 16.

The overall top five teams from the three preliminary weekends plus host Japan advance to the FIVB World Grand Prix Finals to be held in Tokyo. The Finals format is five straight days of round-robin competition among the six participating teams.

McCutcheon can select up to 14 players to compete in each FIVB World Grand Prix preliminary weekend and the Final Round, but they all must be included on the 19-player preliminary roster.

The U.S. Women’s National Team qualified for the 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix through the 2008 Pan American Cup in which the Americans were the third highest placing team from NORCECA.

Brazil has won four of the last five FIVB World Grand Prix tournaments, including last year’s gold-medal performance. The U.S. has won the event in 2001 and 1995 with its last medal being a bronze at the 2004 competition.

In addition to Brazil and the U.S. in the top two rankings in the world, the FIVB World Grand Prix has No. 5 China, No. 6 Japan, No. 8 Russia, No. 9 Poland, No. 10 Korea, No. 12 Germany, No. 13 Dominican Republic, No. 15 Netherlands, No. 19 Thailand and Puerto Rico. China and Japan are the only two teams to appear in all 17 annual events, while USA and Brazil are making their 16th appearances. Cuba, which had played in all 16 previous editions, failed to qualify for the 2009 World Grand Prix. Puerto Rico is making its first-ever appearance in the premier annual tournament.

For the full qualification schedule and early round results, visit the FIVB Web site at click here.

U.S. Women’s National Team Preliminary Roster (O-2)
FIVB World Grand Prix
# - Name (Pos, Ht, Hometown, College)
1 – Nicole Fawcett (OH, 6-4, Zanesfield, Ohio, Penn State)
2 – Elisha Thomas (MB, 6-3, Grass Valley, Calif., Long Beach State)
3 – Lauren Paolini (MB, 6-4, Ann Arbor, Mich., Texas)
4 – Angie 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)
7 – Angie Pressey (OH, 5-8, Lake Mary, Fla., California-Berkeley)
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)
13 - Tracy Stalls (MB, 6-4, Denver, Colo., Nebraska)
14 - Heather Hughes (OPP, 6-2, Fallbrook, Calif., Loyola Marymount)
15 - Courtney Thompson (S, 5-7, Kent, Wash., Washington)
16 - Christa Harmotto (MB, 6-2, Aliquippa, Pa., Penn State)
17 - Nellie Spicer (S, 5-10, Barrington, Ill., UCLA)
18 – Foluke Akinradewo (MB, 6-3, Plantation, Fla., Stanford)
19 - Jane Collymore (OH, 5-11, Seattle, Wash., Florida)

Head Coach: Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Assistant Coaches: Karch Kiraly (San Clemente, Calif.)
Technical Coordinator: Jamie Morrison (Dana Point, Calif.)
Athletic Trainer: Jill Wosmek