U.S. Women to Thailand for Next Grand Prix Stage

Aug. 09, 2010, 5:16 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 9, 2010) – The U.S. Women’s National Team travels to Bangkok, Thailand, for three Pool D matches held Aug. 13-15 in the second preliminary weekend of the 18th FIVB World Grand Prix.

The Americans, 1-2 after the first weekend of the FIVB World Grand Prix, will challenge sixth-place Italy (2-1) on Aug. 13, host 11th-place Thailand (0-3) on Aug. 14 and ninth-place Puerto Rico (1-2) on Aug. 15. Team USA finished the first weekend in Gdynia, Poland, with a win over Dominican Republic on Aug. 6 followed by four-set losses to Germany and Poland on Aug. 7 and Aug. 8.

U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) will announce his roster selections for Pool D in Thailand on Thursday, the day rosters are turned into the designated control committee. Based on FIVB rules, each team can carry 14 players on the roster for each weekend, but must designate 12 prior to each match as available. Further, teams can make two changes to the roster after each weekend, so long as the two added players were part of the preliminary 19-player roster submitted earlier this summer.

Italy dropped its first match of the FIVB World Grand Prix in Pool A on Aug. 6 to Japan, then came back to defeat Chinese Taipei and upset defending World Grand Prix and Olympic Games champion Brazil at Sao Carlos, Brazil. Thailand went winless the first weekend in Pool C with losses to Netherlands, China and Puerto Rico. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico opened with losses to China and Netherlands before its win over Thailand.

The U.S. concludes pool play in Hong Kong with matches against Germany (1-2) on Aug. 20, Thailand (0-3) on Aug. 21 and China (3-0) on Aug. 22 in Pool G. The top five teams at the conclusion of the three weekends of preliminary action, along with China, advance to the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round Aug. 25-29 in Ningbo, China. As the host country, China automatically receives a spot into the five-day, round-robin format of the Final Round.

The U.S. is currently in eighth-place in the 12-team FIVB World Grand Prix field. McCutcheon used a young roster for the first weekend that included starting a player competing for the first time with the U.S. National Team, three players who were seniors competing in the 2009 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championships and no more than two Olympians on the court at the same time for just about every single serve during the weekend round.

Despite the youthful roster, the team had chances for an undefeated weekend if it were able to finish out close sets in which it held sizeable leads or the edge late in sets. In its second-day loss to Germany, the U.S. led Germany 16-12 in the first set and held the advantage as late as 20-19 before falling 25-23. In the fourth set against the Germans, the Americans held a 19-16 advantage before falling 25-23. On the final day of the weekend against host Poland, Team USA had won the first set 25-16 and was up 24-20 in the second set poised to take a 2-0 lead in sets. But Poland scored the next six points to take the set 26-24 and evening the match. In the fourth set against Poland, the U.S. held an early 14-10 lead and a late 22-20 advantage and was unable to finish the set as the host team rallied for a 25-23 victory.

As the team learns the value of earning key points from this past weekend’s experience, good things await the young crew that position themselves atop the individual rankings in many categories. Opposite Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas), playing her first official matches with the U.S. Women’s National Team, led Team USA in scoring all three matches and ranks third overall in the tournament in scoring with 60 points (48 kills, 11 blocks, 1 ace) in 12 sets for a 5.00 scoring average. She also ranks 10th in Best Spiker with a 40.68 kill percent (40.68). Outside hitter Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.), who is playing in her third tournament this season for the U.S., ranks seventh in scoring in the event with 44 points (35 kills, 8 blocks, 1 ace) for a 3.67 scoring average. Setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.), playing in just her second tournament with the U.S. Women’s National Team, is the top setter in the tournament after the first weekend with 109 running sets on 296 total attempts for a 9.08 average per set. Hooker and Glass have started every set of the tournament except for the very first.

Hooker, Hodge and Glass were all seniors competing in 2009 NCAA Division I championship match. Hodge and Glass played for NCAA champion Penn State University, while Hooker was on the runner-up team at University of Texas. All three were involved in the USA Volleyball High Performance pipeline, but none had ever played for the U.S. Women’s National Team until this year.

Adding into the youthful mixture of the roster are three players only one full season removed from college who played significantly this past weekend. Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) and Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.) finished their collegiate eligibility at Stanford University in December 2008, while Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) ended her collegiate career at the University of Nebraska after the 2008-2009 season. Akinradewo and Larson have started the first three matches of the World Grand Prix, while Barboza has started two sets and came off the bench in the other 10 sets. Although young, Akinradewo and Barboza are veterans of the squad as both were U.S. alternates to the 2008 Olympic Games. Barboza has been with the team off-and-on around her college career since 2003 and was an alternate for the 2004 Olympic Games.

Through the first three matches of the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix, Akinradewo ranks fourth in the Best Blocker category with a 1.08 block average on 13 total blocks. She also is 10th in scoring with her 41 points (28 kills, 13 blocks and 0 aces), which is a 3.42 scoring average. Akinradewo has a 51.9 kill percent, which would rank atop the FIVB list in Best Blocker if she had enough kills (15 percent of team’s total).

Other veterans of the team the first weekend playing key roles were middle blocker Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and liberos Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) and Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas). Bown has been one of starting middle blockers in all three matches in this year’s FIVB World Grand Prix, while Davis has been the designated libero for all three matches. Sykora came off the bench in the match against Germany to start two sets. Bown and Sykora are three-time Olympians, while Davis was the libero for the U.S. at the 2008 Olympic Games in which the Americans won the silver medal. Davis currently ranks third in the Best Digger category with 5.83 digs per set through the first three matches of the World Grand Prix. Jennifer Tamas (Milpitas, Calif.), a 2008 Olympian, is serving as captain for the U.S. team during the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix and has played in two sets in this year’s event.

Volleyball fans across the world will be able to watch three FIVB World Grand prix matches a week as FIVB TV announced on Aug. 5 that it will stream matches on the Internet. One match per day from the three preliminary rounds as well as all matches form the Final Round will be streamed live on http://www.laola1.tv/en/int/fivb/video/203---.html. USA matches will be shown twice during the World Grand Prix, including the Aug. 13 match against Italy and the Aug. 22 match versus China. This weekend’s matches on FIVB TV are Poland versus Germany on Aug. 6, Thailand versus China on Aug. 7 and Brazil versus Italy on Aug. 8.

In addition, Universal Sports (www.universalsports.com) streamed all three USA matches in Poland live, while the next six matches played in Thailand and Hong Kong will be available tape delayed for same-day coverage. Selected matches will also be shown on Universal’s television channel. All matches will be on-demand after they take place. To find out if Universal is in your home area and its daily schedule, click here.

For more information on the FIVB World Grand Prix, visit http://usavolleyball.org/events/3056. For more information on the U.S. Women's National Team, click here for the team's home page.

U.S. Women’s National Team Preliminary Roster for FIVB World Grand Prix
# - Name (Pos, Ht, Hometown, College)
1 - Ogonna Nnamani * (OPP, 6-1, Bloomington, Ill., Stanford)
2 - Alisha Glass * (S, 6-0, Leland, Mich., Penn State)
3 - Christa Harmotto (MB, 6-2, Aliquippa, Pa., Penn State)
4 - Angie Pressey Forsett (OH, 5-8, Lake Mary, Fla., California)
5 - Stacy Sykora * (L, 5-10, Burleson, Texas, Texas A&M)
6 - Nicole Davis * (L, 5-4, 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 - Jennifer Tamas * (MB, 6-4, Milpitas, Calif., Pacific)
10 - Courtney Thompson (S, 5-8, Kent, Wash., Washington)
11 - Jordan Larson * (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., Nebraska)
12 - Nancy Metcalf (OPP, 6-1, Hull, Iowa, Nebraska)
13 - Lauren Paolini (MB, 6-4, Ann Arbor, Mich., Texas)
14 - Nicole Fawcett * (OPP, 6-4, Zanesfield, Ohio, Penn State)
15 - Logan Tom (OH, 6-1, Salt Lake City, Utah, Stanford)
16 - Foluke Akinradewo * (MB, 6-3, Plantation, Fla., Stanford)
17 - Nellie Spicer * (S, 5-9, Barrington, Ill., UCLA)
18 - Megan Hodge * (OH, 6-3, Durham, N.C., Penn State)
19 - Destinee Hooker * (OPP, 6-4, San Antonio, Texas, Texas)
NOTE: * denotes player selected for FIVB World Grand Prix weekend in Poland

Head Coach: Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Assistant Coach: Karch Kiraly (San Clemente, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: Jim Stone (Columbus, Ohio)
Technical Coordinator: Jamie Morrison (Dana Point, Calif.)
Athletic Trainer/Medical Support: Jill Wosmek (Silver Lake, Minn.)
Team Leader for Poland/Thailand: Reed Sunahara (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Team Leader for Hong Kong/Japan: Laurel Iversen (Kalaheo, Hawaii)

FIVB World Grand Prix Standings - (through Aug. 8)
China (9 Points) 3-0
Poland (9 Points) 3-0
Brazil (6 Points) 2-1
Netherlands (6 Points) 2-1
Japan (6 Points) 2-1
Italy (6 Points) 2-1
Germany (4 Points) 1-2
USA (3 Points) 1-2
Puerto Rico (3 Points) 1-2
Dominican Republic (2 Points) 1-2
Thailand (0 Points) 0-3
Chinese Taipei (0 Points) 0-3
NOTE: Matches won 3-0 or 3-1 earn the winners 3 points; Matches won 3-2 earn the winner 2 points and the loser 1 point

2010 FIVB World Grand Prix Schedule

Pool A (Sao Carlos, Brazil * Ginasio Nilton Olaio Filho)
Aug. 6: Brazil def. Chinese Taipei 25-15, 25-19, 25-12
Aug. 6: Japan def. Italy 30-28, 27-29, 25-20, 25-13
Aug. 7: Brazil def. Japan 25-20, 25-19, 25-20
Aug. 7: Italy def. Chinese Taipei 25-15, 25-20, 25-19
Aug. 8: Italy def. Brazil 25-22, 25-21, 18-25, 25-19
Aug. 8: Japan def. Chinese Taipei 25-16, 25-16, 25-16

Pool B (Gdynia, Poland * Gdynia Competition Hall)
Aug. 6: USA def. Dominican Republic 26-24, 22-25, 25-14, 25-19
Aug. 6: Poland def. Germany 25-18, 16-25, 25-22, 26-24
Aug. 7: Poland def. Dominican Republic 25-23, 25-16, 25-14
Aug. 7: Germany def. USA 25-23, 25-22, 16-25, 25-23
Aug. 8: Poland def. USA 16-25, 26-24, 25-19, 25-23
Aug. 8: Dominican Republic def. Germany 25-19, 22-25, 31-29, 16-15, 19-17

Pool C (Chengdu, China * Sichuan Provincial Sports Bureau)
Aug. 6: Netherlands def. Thailand 25-22, 25-22, 25-23
Aug. 6: China def. Puerto Rico 25-20, 25-18, 25-22
Aug. 7: Netherlands def. Puerto Rico 25-9, 25-12, 25-21
Aug. 7: China def. Thailand 25-16, 25-16, 25-22
Aug. 8: China def. Netherlands 19-25, 25-20, 25-15, 25-21
Aug. 8: Puerto Rico def. Thailand 25-22, 25-23, 25-21

Pool D (Bangkok, Thailand * Keelawes 2)
Aug. 13: USA vs. Italy, 3 p.m.
Aug. 13: Thailand vs. Puerto Rico, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 14: Puerto Rico vs. Italy, 2 p.m.
Aug. 14: USA vs. Thailand, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 15: USA vs. Puerto Rico, 3 p.m.
Aug. 15: Italy vs. Thailand, 5:30 p.m.

Pool E (Macau, China * Forum de Macau)
Aug. 13: Brazil vs. Dominican Republic, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 13: China vs. Netherlands, 9 p.m.
Aug. 14: Brazil vs. Netherlands, 2 p.m.
Aug. 14: China vs. Dominican Republic, 4:30 p.m.
Aug. 15: Netherlands vs. Dominican Republic, 1 p.m.
Aug. 15: China vs. Brazil, 3:30 p.m.

Pool F (Okayama, Japan * Okayama Momotaro Arena)
Aug. 13: Chinese Taipei vs. Poland, 3 p.m.
Aug. 13: Japan vs. Germany, 6 p.m.
Aug. 14: Germany vs. Chinese Taipei, 2 p.m.
Aug. 14: Japan vs. Poland, 5 p.m.
Aug. 15: Germany vs. Poland, 2 p.m.
Aug. 15: Japan vs. Chinese Taipei, 5 p.m.

Pool G (Hong Kong, China * Hong Kong Coliseum)
Aug. 20: USA vs. Germany, 3 p.m.
Aug. 20: China vs. Thailand, 8 p.m.
Aug. 21: USA vs. Thailand, 1:15 p.m.
Aug. 21: China vs. Germany, 3:45 p.m.
Aug. 22: Germany vs. Thailand, 1:15 p.m.
Aug. 22: USA vs. China, 3:45 p.m.

Pool H (Taipei, Chinese Taipei * Taiwan University Gym)
Aug. 20: Brazil vs. Puerto Rico, 3:30 p.m.
Aug. 20: Poland vs. Chinese Taipei, 7 p.m.
Aug. 21: Puerto Rico vs. Poland, 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 21: Chinese Taipei vs. Brazil, 4:30 p.m.
Aug. 22: Brazil vs. Poland, 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 22: Chinese Taipei vs. Puerto Rico, 4:30 p.m.

Pool I (Tokyo, Japan * Yoyogi National Stadium)
Aug. 20: Italy vs. Netherlands, 3:30 p.m.
Aug. 20: Japan vs. Dominican Republic, 6:30 p.m.
Aug. 21: Dominican Republic vs. Netherlands, 2 p.m.
Aug. 21: Japan vs. Italy, 7 p.m.
Aug. 22: Dominican Republic vs. Italy, 2 p.m.
Aug. 22: Japan vs. Netherlands, 5 p.m.

Final Round (Ningbo, China * Ningbo Beilun Gymnasium)
Aug. 25-29: Teams TBA