U.S. Women Prepare for Final Four Cup in Peru

Sept. 02, 2009, 5:51 p.m. (ET)

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

ANAHEIM, Calif. (Sept. 2, 2009) – The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, ranked second in the latest FIVB World Ranking released Aug. 24, is one of four countries which will compete in the four-team 2009 Final Four Intercontinental Cup held Sept. 9-13 at the City Sport Stadium in Lima, Peru.

The Final Four Intercontinental Cup comprises teams from the Pan-American Volleyball Union, which includes countries from NORCECA and the South American Volleyball Confederation. NORCECA is represented in the tournament by the Americans and 14th-ranked Dominican Republic. South America is represented by world top-ranked Brazil and 16th-ranked Peru. The teams qualified through the 2009 Women’s Pan American Cup hosted by USA Volleyball in Miami, Fla.

The Final Four Intercontinental Cup format starts with a round-robin over the first three days (Sept. 9-11) of the event. Based on the round robin results, the fourth day (Sept. 12) pits ranked teams one versus four and two versus three in the semifinal round. The final and fifth day (Sept. 13) of competition includes the gold- and bronze-medal match. A schedule of the round robin phase of the tournament has not yet been released.

Team USA has faced all three of its Final Four Intercontinental Cup opponents in 2009. The Americans faced both Brazil and Peru during the Pan American Cup. The U.S. defeated Peru in three close sets during pool play, while Brazil won a four-set battle in the semifinals. During the opening weekend of the World Grand Prix, Brazil swept the USA at Rio De Janeiro, but the U.S. bounced back to win a marathon five-set match (23-21 in the tiebreaking set) over Dominican Republic the following weekend at Chinese Taipei.

U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) has named a 19-player preliminary roster for the Final Four Intercontinental Cup. The final roster of up to 14 players must come from the preliminary roster. McCutcheon’s preliminary roster includes six outside hitters, five middle blockers, four setters, two opposites and two liberos.

The outside hitters include three-time Olympian Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah), 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games alternate Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.), 2008 Olympic Games alternate Kristin Richards (Orem, Utah), Jane Collymore (Seattle, Wash.), Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) and Angie Pressey (Lake Mary, Fla.). The middle blockers group includes four-time Olympian Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.), three-time Olympian Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.), Alexis Crimes (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Christa Harmotto (Aliquippa, Pa.) and Elisha Thomas (Grass Valley, Calif.).

Among the setters selected for the preliminary roster include two-time Olympian Lindsey Berg (Honolulu, Hawaii), 2008 Olympic Games alternate Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.), Nellie Spicer (Barrington, Ill.) and Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.). The opposites are represented by 2004 Olympian Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa) and Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio). The liberos are three-time Olympian Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) and 2008 Olympian Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.).

“We are planning to look at some different lineups at the Final Four Cup,” McCutcheon said. “And as always, our goal is to get better with each day.”

The preliminary roster group also includes three players who have yet to compete in a 2009 tournament for the United States – Berg, Thomas and Tom. In addition, Bown, Collymore and Scott-Arruda did not participate in the recent World Grand Prix after playing the Pan American Cup and FIVB World Championship Qualification Tournament in Florida earlier this summer.

After the Final Four Intercontinental Cup, the U.S. Women’s National Team will only have a brief break from action before hitting the competition trail again. Team USA will take part in the 2009 NORCECA Continental Championship held Sept. 22-27 at Bayamon, Puerto Rico. The NORCECA Continental Championship, held every other year, is a qualifying event with the gold medalist earning a berth into the 2009 FIVB World Championship Cup to be held Nov. 10-15 in Japan.

“The tournament in Peru will hopefully provide us with a lot of information about our team leading into the NORCECA Championship,” McCutcheon said.

The U.S. Women’s National Team has now played in three tournaments this summer covering 19 matches, not counting a two-match goodwill tour to Egypt in April. Team USA finished fourth at the Pan American Cup in Miami, while earning the gold medal at the FIVB World Championship Qualification Tournament – NORCECA Pool G at Orlando. It went overseas to Brazil, Chinese Taipei and Thailand in the three preliminary round weekends of the FIVB World Grand Prix, compiling a 3-6 record for ninth place.

“The World Grand Prix was obviously a challenging experience for our team, but in spite of the results, it was positive in a number of areas,” McCutcheon said. “We learned a lot and I think we’ve made significant improvements in the gym since our return. Now is the time to see if that progress made in the practice gym will transfer onto the match court. This team works hard and they are committed to improving every day. It’s a wonderful group to work with.”

Through the 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix, Metcalf is the USA’s leading scorer in 2009 with 178 points and a 4.45 points per set average. Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.), who is not part of the upcoming tournament roster, and Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) have averaged 0.86 blocks per set during 2009. Scott-Arruda has 25 blocks in 29 sets. Thompson has a team-leading 21 service aces during the 2009 season, resulting in a 0.37 ace average. She also averages a team-leading 4.75 assists per set.

Among hitters with at least 10 sets played and 10 attack attempts in 2009, Collymore has a 53.6 kill percent on 56 attacks to lead the team. Other top kill percentages include Harmotto’s 51.3 percent and Scott-Arruda’s 50.0. Davis has a team-leading 179 digs for the season, while Sykora has added 113. Davis averages 2.59 digs per set, while Sykora averages 2.57 digs per set.

U.S. Women’s National Team Preliminary Roster for 2009 Final Four Intercontinental Cup
# - Name (Pos, Ht, Hometown, College)
1 – Nicole Fawcett (OPP, 6-4, Zanesfield, Ohio, Penn State)
2 – Danielle Scott-Arruda (MB, 6-2, Baton Rouge, La., Long Beach State)
3 – Angie Pressey (OH, 5-8, Lake Mary, Fla., California-Berkeley)
4 – Lindsey Berg (S, 5-8, Honolulu, Hawaii, Minnesota)
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)
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 – Elisha Thomas (MB, 6-3, Grass Valley, Calif., Long Beach State)
14 – Angie McGinnis (S, 5-11, Fraser, Mich., Florida)
15 – Logan Tom (OH, 6-1, Salt Lake City, Utah, Stanford)
16 – Christa Harmotto (MB, 6-2, Aliquippa, Pa., Penn State)
17 – Nellie Spicer (S, 5-10, Barrington, Ill., UCLA)
18 – Courtney Thompson (S, 5-7, Kent, Wash., Washington)
19 – Jane Collymore (OH, 5-11, Seattle, Wash., Florida)

Head Coach: Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Assistant Coach: Karch Kiraly (San Clemente, Calif.), Tom Pestolesi (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Technical Coordinator/Team Leader: Jamie Morrison (Dana Point, Calif.)
Athletic Trainer: Jill Wosmek (Silver Lake, Minn.)