U.S. Women in Reach of Grand Prix Finals Spot

Aug. 16, 2010, 5:15 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 16, 2010) – The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team concludes the 18th FIVB World Grand Prix preliminary round in Hong Kong with three Pool G matches this coming weekend, and a spot in the six-team World Grand Prix Final Round is well within reach.

Team USA, now 4-2 in this year’s World Grand Prix and in fifth place with 12 points, plays Germany on Aug. 20 at midnight Pacific Time, Thailand on Aug. 21 (10:15 a.m. Pacific Time on Aug. 20) and China on Aug. 22 at 12:45 a.m. Pacific Time.

Thailand is currently in 10th place with a 1-5 in the tournament. Germany, who beat the U.S. in four sets during the second match of the tournament, is in eighth place with a 2-4 record and seven points. China, ranked second in the world by the FIVB, is in fourth place with a 4-2 record and 13 points after winning its first four matches of the tournament.

At the conclusion of next weekend’s preliminary round, the top five teams in the overall standings plus China advance to the six-team FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round to be held Aug. 25-29 at Ningbo, China.

A combination of six standings points during the final weekend would assure the U.S. a spot in the World Grand Prix Final Round. The U.S., ranked fourth in the FIVB world ranking, holds a four-point lead over seventh-place Netherlands (3-3 record, 8 points) and a five-point lead over Dominican Republic (2-4, 7 points). Italy is in sixth place with 12 points, but trails the U.S. in points scored ratio. A team earns three points for a victory in three or four sets and two points for a victory in five sets. A team losing in five sets earns one point.

After the first two weekends of preliminary action, Brazil leads the World Grand Prix with 15 points and a 5-1 record. Brazil has won the past two World Grand Prix titles and five of the last six events. Overall, Brazil has won the event eight times. Japan and Poland, both with 5-1 records and 15 points, are second and third, respectively, based on points scored ratio. Fourth-place China has identical 4-2 record as the U.S., but has 13 points in the standings due to a five-set loss to Dominican Republic on Aug. 14.

Team USA has won 11 of 12 matches against Thailand, but has a 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix loss to Thailand still fresh in its memory bank. The Americans are 55-14 against the Germans since 1983, but Germany has won the last three matches in head-to-head competition during FIVB World Grand Prix action. The U.S. is 1-1 against Germany in 2010 as it won a four-set match at the 26th Montreux Volley Masters event before falling in four sets in the opening weekend of the World Grand Prix. China holds an 83-30 record versus the U.S. since 1983, including a victory in the 2010 Montreux gold-medal match. Team USA’s last victory over China was during pool play at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

The U.S. has not reached the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round since 2008 when it finished fourth. It has not reached the World Grand Prix podium since bronze medal finishes in 2003 and 2004. The Americans have won the World Grand Prix in 1995 and 2001, their only other podium finishes.

After a disappointing 1-2 record during the first weekend of the World Grand Prix in Poland, the U.S. won all three of its Pool D matches held in Bangkok, Thailand, this past weekend to move into position to qualify for the Final Round. The Americans topped seventh-ranked Italy 26-28, 26-24, 25-23, 25-15 on Aug. 13. The U.S. held a 28-7 block advantage with Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas) each scoring 19 points in the victory. On the second day of Pool D, the U.S. defeated host Thailand 25-18, 25-21, 25-13 thanks to a 17-2 block advantage. Bown was the leading scorer with 15 points. In the Pool D finale on Aug. 15, Team USA overcame a slow start to defeat NORCECA rival Puerto Rico 21-25, 25-22, 25-12, 25-15. For the third match in a row, the American block dominated with a 21-4 margin as Bown led five U.S. players in double-digit scoring with 14 points.

U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) will announce his roster selections for Pool G in Hong Kong 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.

Last week McCutcheon elected to make just one change – the addition of Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) to the roster. She stepped into the starting lineup and averaged 3.64 points per set with 35 kills, three blocks and two aces. Tom added 16 digs and 31 excellent receptions on 61 service receptions.

Team USA has used the block effectively in the first six matches of the FIVB World Grand Prix. The U.S. holds a 111-37 block advantage over its opponents. The Americans are averaging 4.8 blocks per set, compared to their opponents’ 1.6 blocks per set. The U.S. has four players among the top nine blockers in the tournament. Hooker, Bown and Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) are averaging 1.09 blocks per set for third place. All three have 25 blocks, one more than Brazil’s Thaisa Menezes, who has 24 blocks but a tournament-leading 1.20 blocks per set. USA’s Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) has added 0.78 blocks per set for ninth place.

Hooker, playing in her first-ever tournament for the U.S. Women’s National Team, has racked up 103 points (75 kills, 25 blocks, 3 aces) to rank fourth overall in the tournament. She also ranks 10th in Best Spiker with a 37.88 kill percent on 108 attacks.

Akinradewo ranks ninth among the tournament’s scoring leaders with 77 points (49 kills, 25 blocks, 3 aces). Bown is tied for 10th in scoring with 73 points (44 kills, 25 blocks, 4 aces).

Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.), playing just her second tournament with the U.S. Women’s National Team, leads all tournament setters with a 12.61 running sets average through the first two preliminary round weekends. She holds a 2.46 running set advantage over the second-ranked setter (Thailand’s Nootsara Tomkom).

Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.), who was not active on the daily roster during Pool D, ranks sixth in the Best Digger category with 3.04 digs per set despite not playing the last three matches. Larson ranks 10th in Best Digger with 2.35 digs per set, while Glass follows in 12th place with 2.30 digs per set. Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas), who was not the designated libero in the opening weekend, ranks 14th in Best Digger with 2.22 digs per set despite the limited opportunities in the first three matches.

For the latest news on the FIVB World Grand Prix, visit the U.S. Women’s National Team FIVB World Grand Prix event web site by clicking here. The page includes archived press releases, schedule and results involving all 12 World Grand Prix teams, photo galleries, statistics and match videos by Universal Sports.

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 www.laola1.tv/en/int/fivb/video/203---.html. The USA-Italy match on Aug. 13 was shown live as part of the package, while the USA-China contest on Aug. 22 rounds out the preliminary round coverage. As a note, the FIVB TV matches cannot be viewed in most locations within the United States based on negotiated broadcast rights.

Fans in the United States can watch all remaining USA matches on Universal Sports (www.universalsports.com), on a tape delayed 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 U.S. Women's National Team, visit its home page by clicking here.

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; ^ denotes player selected for FIVB World Grand Prix weekend in Thailand

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. 16)
Brazil (15 Points) 5-1
Japan (15 Points) 5-1
Poland (15 Points) 5-1
China (13 Points) 4-2
USA (12 Points) 4-2
Italy (12 Points) 4-2
Netherlands (8 Points) 3-3
Germany (7 Points) 2-4
Dominican Republic (5 Points) 2-4
Thailand (3 Points) 1-5
Puerto Rico (3 Points) 1-5
Chinese Taipei (0 Points) 0-5
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 def. Italy 26-28, 26-24, 25-23, 25-15
Aug. 13: Thailand def. Puerto Rico 25-16, 25-19, 25-16
Aug. 14: Italy def. Puerto Rico 25-12, 25-17, 25-18
Aug. 14: USA def. Thailand 25-18, 25-21, 25-13
Aug. 15: USA def. Puerto Rico 21-25, 25-22, 25-12, 25-15
Aug. 15: Italy def. Thailand 21-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-20

Pool E (Macau, China * Forum de Macau)
Aug. 13: Brazil def. Dominican Republic 25-14, 25-18, 25-14
Aug. 13: China def. Netherlands 25-16, 25-19, 25-16
Aug. 14: Brazil def. Netherlands 25-21, 21-25, 25-15, 26-24
Aug. 14: Dominican Republic def. China 25-20, 20-25, 21-25, 25-22, 15-9
Aug. 16: Netherlands def. Dominican Republic 25-23, 25-20, 17-25, 23-25, 15-7
Aug. 16: Brazil def. China 25-12, 25-19, 25-19

Pool F (Okayama, Japan * Okayama Momotaro Arena)
Aug. 13: Poland def. Chinese Taipei 25-16, 25-19, 25-15
Aug. 13: Japan def. Germany 26-28, 25-17, 25-20, 25-11
Aug. 14: Germany def. Chinese Taipei 25-19, 25-14, 25-19
Aug. 14: Japan def. Poland 25-19, 25-21, 19-25, 25-16
Aug. 15: Poland def. Germany 25-23, 25-23, 29-31, 25-20
Aug. 15: Japan def. Chinese Taipei 28-26, 25-15, 25-11

Pool G (Hong Kong, China * Hong Kong Coliseum)
Aug. 20: USA vs. Germany, 3 p.m. (midnight PT)
Aug. 20: China vs. Thailand, 8 p.m. (5 a.m. PT)
Aug. 21: USA vs. Thailand, 1:15 p.m. (10:15 p.m. PT on Aug. 20)
Aug. 21: China vs. Germany, 3:45 p.m. (12:45 a.m. PT)
Aug. 22: Germany vs. Thailand, 1:15 p.m. (10:15 p.m. PT on Aug. 21)
Aug. 22: USA vs. China, 3:45 p.m. (12:45 a.m. PT)

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