FIVB Announces 2010 World Grand Prix Groups

Nov. 19, 2009, 12:58 p.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 19, 2009) – The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team will travel to Poland, Thailand and Hong Kong in consecutive weekends next summer as part of the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix, according to a release distributed by the FIVB.

The FIVB World Grand Prix is the top annual international tournament. The tournament format consists of nine preliminary round matches with three consecutive weekends of three matches each. The top five countries in the preliminary round plus the World Grand Prix Final Round host advance to a five-day, five match round robin to determine the overall winner. The 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round will take place in Ningbo, China.

The U.S., ranked second in the world in the current FIVB World Ranking, opens FIVB World Grand Prix action Aug. 6-9 in Poland with matches against host Poland, Germany and NORCECA rival Dominican Republic in Group B. The location and venue within Poland has not been announced. Poland is currently ranked ninth in the FIVB World Ranking, while Germany is No. 11 and Dominican Republic is No. 14.

Team USA travels to Asia for the second and third preliminary round weekends. The Americans will face Italy, Puerto Rico and host Thailand Aug. 13-15 in an undetermined city in Thailand as part of Group D. Italy, which won the 2009 FIVB Grand Champions Cup last week, is ranked fifth in the FIVB World Ranking, while Thailand is ranked No. 17 and Puerto Rico is No. 18.

The U.S. concludes the preliminary round Aug. 20-22 in Hong Kong as part of Group G. Team USA will challenge China, Germany and Thailand. China, ranked third in the current FIVB World Ranking, will be the highest ranked opponent for the Americans during the preliminary round.

Overall, the U.S. will play Germany and Thailand twice. Currently, the average world ranking for all nine U.S. preliminary round matches is 11.67.

The pool composition, which is based on the FIVB World Rankings, the results of the 2009 World Grand Prix and special requests from organizers, was decided by the World Grand Prix Council after also taking into consideration feedback from the teams following the 2009 edition.

The United States, along with Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Brazil, all qualified for the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix based on their finish at the 2009 Pan American Cup.

The U.S. finished ninth at the 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix with 3-6 record in the preliminary round using a young roster of athletes in the first year of the quadrennial leading to the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Brazil has won the last two FIVB World Grand Prix events. Russia, which finished second in this past summer’s World Grand Prix, did not qualify for the event next summer. Germany, which defeated the U.S. twice in 2009, finished with the bronze medal at the 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round. Other 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round participants were Netherlands (fourth), China (fifth) and Japan (sixth).

2010 FIVB World Grand Prix Groups

Week 1 – Aug. 6-9
Group A (at Brazil): Brazil, Italy, Japan, Korea
Group B (at Poland): Dominican Republic, Germany, Poland, United States
Group C (at Chengdu, China): China, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Thailand

Week 2 – Aug. 13-15
Group D (at Thailand): Italy, Puerto Rico, Thailand, United States
Group E (at Macau): Brazil, China, Dominican Republic, Netherlands
Group F (at Japan): Germany, Japan, Korea, Poland

Week 3 – Aug 20-22
Group G (at Hong Kong): China, Germany, Thailand, United States
Group H (at Korea): Brazil, Korea, Poland, Puerto Rico
Group I (at Japan): Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Netherlands

Final Round – Aug. 25-29 (at Ningbo, China)
China plus the top five ranked teams after the preliminary round will qualify