Manager, Media Relations and Publications
MIAMI, Fla. (June 25, 2009) – The Eighth Women’s Pan American Cup, scheduled for June 26 to July 4 in Miami, will serve as an historic occasion for the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, which has been itching to get back onto the court since winning the silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games.
In recent history, the U.S. has not hosted many women’s international events on domestic soil because of a grueling international schedule. USA Volleyball has never hosted the Women’s Pan American Cup in the seven previous years of the event’s history and the upcoming tournament represents the largest international volleyball event hosted in the U.S. in terms of country participation.
Further, Team USA has not hosted a women’s senior-level international tournament since the 1998 FIVB World Championship Qualifier tournament in 1998. Due to international scheduling and professional league commitments, matches on domestic soil have become a rarity with only seven contests against foreign teams in the most recent Olympic quadrennial (2005-2008). In the Pan American Cup and the FIVB Women’s World Championship Qualifier July 6-8 at Orlando, the U.S. will have played at least 10 matches in the span of 13 days.
“We are very happy to be playing in the United States to start the season,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “It is always great to play here in front of the USA fans.”
Pan American Cup pool play, scheduled for June 26-30, is a five-day, round robin preliminary to determine classification round matches. The U.S. Women’s National Team, part of Pool A at University of Miami with matches at Bank United Center, starts competition on June 26 versus Costa Rica. The Americans face Guatemala on June 27, followed by a June 28 contest versus Mexico. Team USA hosts Peru on June 29 before concluding pool play on June 30 versus Puerto Rico. All U.S. pool matches are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. ET.
Pool B, played at nearby Florida International University’s U.S. Century Bank Arena, includes Argentina, top-ranked Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic and Trinidad & Tobago. The 2008 Olympic Games gold-medal participants of U.S. and Brazil are on opposite sides of the bracket. Colombia was originally part of Pool B, but was unable to attend.
After the preliminary pool round, the Pan American Cup quarterfinal and classification matches are set for July 2, followed by semifinal matches and additional classification matches on July 3. The championship match and final classification round matches are scheduled for July 4. All non-pool matches will be played at University of Miami. Classification round matches will be played on July 2 at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. (all ET). Matches on July 3 and final classification matches on July 4 will be played at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. (all ET).
The Women’s Pan American Cup is a qualifying tournament into the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix and the 2009 Women’s Final Four. The top three NORCECA teams and top team from South America receive berths into next year’s FIVB World Grand Prix. The top two teams from NORCECA, Brazil and the top remaining team from South America qualify for the Final Four to be hosted by Brazil.
For the Pan American Cup, McCutcheon will utilize a 14-player roster now allowed under FIVB rules. The roster is laden with Olympic Games experience, including five players who earned silver medals in Beijing last summer.
Four-time Olympian Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) and three-time Olympian Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) will serve as two of the three middle blockers. Christa Harmotto (Aliquippa, Pa.) is a new middle blocker to the U.S. Women’s National Team after leading Penn State to consecutive NCAA Division I titles.
Libero will also have an Olympic flair as three-time Olympian Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) and Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) will compete in Miami. Sykora has been regarded as one of the best liberos in the world, while Davis served as Team USA’s libero at the 2008 Olympic Games.
Both U.S. opposites have Olympic Games experience. Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.) has been on the last two Olympic Team rosters, while Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa) made the Olympic Team that competed in the 2004 Athens Games.
Setters Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) and Nellie Spicer (Barrington, Ill.) will gain significant international experience leading the team at the Pan American Cup. Thompson helped the U.S. to a bronze medal at the 2007 Pan American Games in Brazil, while Spicer just finished her college eligibility at UCLA last fall.
On the left side, McCutcheon will have plenty of firepower at outside hitter, but many may not be well-known in the international community. Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.) and Kristin Richards (Orem, Utah) were alternates for the 2008 Olympic Games. Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) completed her collegiate eligibility at University of Nebraska last fall and was the most valuable player of the Puerto Rican Super League. Angie Pressey (Lake Mary, Fla.) and Jane Collymore (Seattle, Wash.) have ties to the Pan American Cup host state. Pressey is from a suburb of Orlando and Collymore was a collegiate standout at University of Florida.
“At the start of the quadrennial, we are focusing on our side of the net,” McCutcheon said. “We understand that there are a lot of good teams here. However, our focus will be on USA and the systems we want to implement over the next four years.”
“It is a huge benefit for us to start the quad in Florida and in a comfortable location,” Davis said. “By having the events back-to-back in Florida, it will allow us to compete in two tournaments without all the travel associated with the other international events. At the same time, we can introduce our team to the country, much like the City of Anaheim has embraced us in our new training center home.”
Even the coaching staff has an Olympic flair as McCutcheon served as head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team which won the 2008 Olympic Games gold medal. In his first year as an assistant coach, Karch Kiraly earned Olympic games gold medals for indoor volleyball in 1984 and 1988, then won the first-ever Olympic Games beach event in 1996. Paula Weishoff (Irvine, Calif.), a three-time Olympian who earned a bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Games and current UC Irvine women’s head coach, is assisting the team at the Pan American Cup.
A Pan American Cup tournament pass, good for all matches at both venues, is $75 for adults and $60 for children. Tickets for each date of competition at the specific venue (either University of Miami or Florida International University) are $20 for reserved general admission, $12 for adult general admission and $10 for child general admission. Tickets can be purchased online at www.miamisports.org.
The U.S. Women’s National Team placed fifth at the 2008 Women’s Pan American Cup with a young roster, yet still qualified for the 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix. Dominican Republic captured the gold medal with a five-set victory over Brazil, which was using a junior-level team at the competition.
USA won its only Women’s Pan American Cup in 2003, its first year competing in the event after missing the first two competitions in 2001 and 2002. The U.S. earned the silver at the 2004 Women’s Pan American Cup. During the 2005-2008 Olympic quadrennial, Team USA primarily used young rosters at the event and finished with back-to-back fourth-place spots in 2005 and 2006, followed by a bronze medal in 2007.
Miami will be a busy location for volleyball the last week of June and first week of July. The 2009 USA Junior Olympic Girls’ Volleyball Championships will be played June 26-July 5 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Typically, the tournament attracts 788 teams and approximately 9,500 athletes in addition to parents and relatives. A total of 19 championships are contested in age groups ranging from 12 to 18.
“It would be great to see the players from the Juniors Olympic championships come over and watch and provide us support,” Davis said. “Likewise, it is great for us to have an opportunity to share in the experience at the Junior Olympics and support them in their arena when we have a chance. Overall, it is a great way to promote within our sport and our team.”
After completing the Pan American Cup, the Americans will have a day of rest and travel to Orlando before hosting the FIVB World Championship Qualification Tournament at UCF. The four-team, round-robin event includes the host Team USA, Costa Rica, NORCECA Second Round Pool D winner (played June 10-14) and NORCECA Second Round Pool C runner-up Netherlands Antilles. Match times will be 5 p.m. ET and 7:30 p.m. ET, with the United States playing the second match each day.
In addition to the matches, Team USA and UCF volleyball coaching staffs will hold a pre-match clinic involving chalk talk and skills demonstration. The third-round pool winner will advance to the 2010 FIVB World Championship held Oct. 29-Nov. 14 in Japan. For the complete release with ticket information, click here.
U.S. Women’s National Team Preliminary Roster for Eighth Women’s Pan American Cup
# - Name (Pos, Ht, Hometown, College)
2 – Danielle Scott-Arruda (MB, 6-2, Baton Rouge, La., Long Beach State)
3 – Tayyiba Haneef-Park (OH/OPP, 6-7, Laguna Hills, Calif., Long Beach State)
4 – Angie Pressey (OH, 5-8, Lake Mary, Fla., California)
5 – Stacy Sykora (L, 5-10, Burleson, Texas, Texas A&M)
6 – Nicole Davis (L, 5-6, Stockton, Calif., Southern California)
7 – Heather Bown (MB, 6-3, Yorba Linda, Calif., Hawaii)
8 – Cynthia Barboza (OH, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Stanford)
10 – Kristin Richards (OH, 6-1, Orem, Utah, Stanford)
11 – Jordan Larson-Burbach (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., Nebraska)
12 – Nancy Metcalf (OPP, 6-1, Hull, Iowa, Nebraska)
15 – Courtney Thompson (S, 5-7, Kent, Wash., Washington)
16 – Christa Harmotto (MB, 6-2, Aliquippa, Pa., Penn State)
17 – Nellie Spicer (S, 5-9, Barrington, Ill., UCLA)
19 – Jane Collymore (OH, 5-11, Seattle, Wash., Florida)
Head Coach: Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Assistant Coaches: Karch Kiraly (San Clemente, Calif.), Paula Weishoff (Irvine, Calif.)
Technical Coordinator: Jamie Morrison (Dana Point, Calif.)
Athletic Trainer: Jill Wosmek
Women’s Pan American Cup Schedule (all times Eastern Time)
(at University of Miami)
June 26: #1 Puerto Rico vs. Guatemala, 3 p.m.
June 26: #2 Peru vs. Mexico, 5:30 p.m.
June 26: #4 United States vs. Costa Rica, 8 p.m.
June 27: #6 Costa Rica vs. Peru, 3 p.m.
June 27: #7 Mexico vs. Puerto Rico, 5:30 p.m.
June 27: #9 United States vs. Guatemala, 8 p.m.
June 28: #11 Costa Rica vs. Guatemala, 3 p.m.
June 28: #12 Puerto Rico vs. Peru, 5:30 p.m.
June 28: #14 United States vs. Mexico, 8 p.m.
June 29: #16 Mexico vs. Guatemala, 3 p.m.
June 29: #17 Costa Rica vs. Puerto Rico, 5:30 p.m.
June 29: #19 United States vs. Peru, 8 p.m.
June 30: #21 Guatemala vs. Peru, 3 p.m.
June 30: #22 Mexico vs. Costa Rica, 5:30 p.m.
June 30: #24 United States vs. Puerto Rico, 8 p.m.
(at Florida International University)
June 26: #3 Dominican Republic vs. Argentina, 5:30 p.m.
June 26: #5 Brazil vs. Canada, 8 p.m.
June 27: #8 Argentina vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 5:30 p.m.
June 27: #10 Canada vs. Dominican Republic, 8 p.m.
June 28: #13 Trinidad & Tobago vs. Dominican Republic, 5:30 p.m.
June 28: #15 Brazil vs. Argentina, 8 p.m.
June 29: #18 Brazil vs. Trinidad & Tobago 5:30 p.m.
June 29: #20 Argentina vs. Canada, 8 p.m.
June 30: #23 Canada vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 5:30 p.m.
June 30: #25 Brazil vs. Dominican Republic, 8 p.m.
July 1: Off Day
(at University of Miami)
July 2: #26 Pool B 4th vs. Pool A 5th, 1 p.m. (class 5-10)
July 2: #27 Pool A 4th vs. Pool B 5th, 3 p.m. (class 5-10)
July 2: #28 Pool B 2nd vs. Pool A 3rd, 5:30 p.m. (quarterfinals)
July 2: #29 Pool A 2nd vs. Pool B 3rd, 8 p.m. (quarterfinals)
July 3: #30 Loser #26 vs. Loser #27, 11 a.m. (class 9-10)
July 3: #31 Winner #26/#27 vs. Loser #28/#29, 1 p.m. (class 5-8)
July 3: #32 Winner #26/27 vs. Loser #28/#29, 3 p.m. (class 5-8)
July 3: #33 Pool B Winner vs. Winner #28/#29, 5:30 p.m. (semi)
July 3: #34 Pool A Winner vs. Winner #28/#29, 8 p.m. (semi)
July 4: #35 Loser #30 vs. Pool B 6th, 11 a.m. (class 11-12)
July 4: #35 Loser #31 vs. Loser #32, 1 p.m. (class 7-8)
July 4: #36 Winner #31 vs. Winner #32, 3 p.m. (class 5-6)
July 4: #37 Loser #33 vs. Loser #34, 5:30 p.m. (class 3-4)
July 4: #38 Winner #33 vs. Winner #34, 8 p.m. (Final)