U.S. Women Sweep Italy to Take Grand Prix Lead

Aug. 26, 2010, 3:15 a.m. (ET)

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

Unofficial DataVolley Stats - Official FIVB Stats

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 26, 2010) – Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas) totaled a match-high 17 points in leading the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team to a 25-23, 25-20, 25-14 victory over Italy on Thursday afternoon during the second day of FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round competition in Ningbo, China.

Team USA, now 2-0 in the Final Round and on an overall eight-match win streak, faces two-time defending champion Brazil at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 27 (12:30 a.m. Pacific Time) in its next match before playing host China on Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m. (4:30 a.m. Pacific Time). The Americans conclude the Final Round on Aug. 29 at 1 p.m. (11 p.m. Pacific Time on Aug. 28). The FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round is a five-day, six-team round-robin event being played Aug. 25-29.

The U.S. broke a 12-all tie in the opening set with a 4-0 run and went on to win 25-23 as it picked up seven blocks in the period. Italy came back from a 17-11 deficit in the second set to be within one at 17-16, but the Americans outscored their opponent 8-4 down the stretch for a 25-20 victory. Team USA opened the third set with a commanding 9-1 lead and never looked back for a 25-14 victory.

“Like I said yesterday, our goal is to improve,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “Yesterday we were fortunate to win. Today we came out and controlled the match from the beginning. We are very happy to win. We will look forward to playing Brazil tomorrow.”

Hooker paced the Americans with 16 kills on 32 attacks and a block for her 17 points. Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) and Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) had matching 14-point performances. Akinradewo tallied seven kills on 15 attempts and seven blocks. Tom collected 10 kills and 30 swings, two blocks and two aces. Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) contributed seven kills on 14 attacks, a block and an ace for nine points. Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) charted three kills, two aces and a block for six points, while Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) rounded out the scoring with three blocks.

“We played a much better game today than yesterday,” U.S. Women’s National Team captain Jennifer Tamas (Milpitas, Calif.) said. “Our serving and blocking are better. I hope we will be a better team against Brazil tomorrow. We are very happy with our improvement today.”

Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) recorded a team-high eight digs, while Tom totaled 21 excellent service receptions on 23 attempts. Larson added 14 excellent service receptions on 22 attempts and seven digs. Glass contributed 59 running sets on 84 attempts leading to a .343 team hitting efficiency and 39.81 kill percent.

McCutcheon started Tom and Larson at outside hitter, Akinradewo and Bown at middle blocker, Hooker at opposite and Glass at setter. Sykora was the designated libero for the match. Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.) was a serving sub in all three sets.

The U.S. dominated the net with a 15-4 block advantage over Italy while also have a 5-1 margin in aces. The Americans held a 43-38 lead in kills for the match. Italy converted just 31.5 percent of its attacks for points and held a .221 hitting efficiency for the match. Team USA tallied 42 excellent receptions on 55 attempts for a 74.6 percent, while Italian held a 54.4 excellent reception percent limiting its offensive ability in system.

Simona Gioli led Italy with 11 points, while Jenny Barazza added 10 points.

“They dominated all the match,” Italy Head Coach Massimo Barbolini said. “USA has been always the top of the match. Today we learned another lesson. It's difficult to win, if you don't play as a team. We will think about what can do next against Japan. I hope we will improve as the tournament goes on and I am sure we can do it.”

Later today, preliminary round leader Brazil takes on Poland at 3:30 p.m. local time (12:30 a.m. Pacific Time), followed by host China versus Japan at 7:30 p.m. local time (4:30 a.m. Pacific Time).

Just two weeks ago, Team USA’s chances of reaching the World Grand Prix Final Round seemed remote based on its 1-2 record and eighth place in the standings following the first weekend in Poland. However, the Americans caught fire in Thailand starting with a four-set victory over Italy followed by wins over Thailand and Puerto Rico. This past weekend, the U.S. carried the momentum into Hong Kong, beginning with a three-set win over Germany to avenge a four-set loss in the opening weekend. Team USA allowed Thailand to score just 48 points in a three-set win on Aug. 21. In front of over 10,000 fans on Aug. 22, the Americans won their sixth straight match over the host Chinese in four sets to complete a run from eighth place to second place.

Team USA, which has reached the medal podium in both its earlier tournaments in 2010, has not played in the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round since 2008 when it finished fourth. The Americans, who have won six straight matches to finish the World Grand Prix preliminary round, have not reached the World Grand Prix podium since bronze medal finishes in 2003 and 2004. The U.S. won the World Grand Prix in 1995 and 2001, its only other podium finishes.

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 at usavolleyball.org/events/3056. The page includes archived press releases, schedule and results involving all 12 World Grand Prix teams, photos, statistics and match videos by Universal Sports.

Team USA gained a three-point cushion at 6-3 with an Akinradewo kill leading into three consecutive Italian errors forcing a timeout to be called. Out of the timeout, Italy scored the next three points to tie the set at 6-all. The Americans responded with a Hooker kill and point off an Italian attack error to go into the first technical timeout leading 8-6. Team USA inched the lead to 10-7 with an Italian service error and Larson block. Bown pounded consecutive spikes to push the advantage to 12-8, only to have Italy respond with the next four points to tie the set at 14-all. Akinradewo followed a Tom kill with a block and kill to resume a USA lead at 15-12. Team USA went into the second technical timeout on a 4-0 run after a block from Akinradewo giving the Americans a 16-12 advantage. Italy responded out of the break with three points to close to one at 16-15. After several sideouts, Glass and Bown converted consecutive blocks to yield a 22-19 American advantage. Italy tallied consecutive points causing USA to call timeout with a 23-22 victory. Akinradewo converted the final point with a block at 25-23, her fourth block of the set and seven overall point. Hooker and Bown each tallied four points in the opening set.

Larson started the second set with an ace, then Tom and Hooker scored consecutive kills to push the American margin to 3-1. Tom slammed kill off the block and Italy followed with an attack and spike into the block of Akinradewo for a 6-2 American lead. Larson and Hooker scored back-to-back kills to yield a 9-4 advantage. Larson served an ace after a Glass block to increase the margin to six points at 12-6. Italy gained two straight points narrowing the margin to 12-8. Tom won a long rally with an acrobatic kill, then followed with an ace to push the American lead to 16-10 at the second technical timeout. Italy sliced three points off the deficit to 17-14 leading to a USA timeout. Out of the break, Italy scored its fifth straight point to close to 17-16. USA went up 21-17 after an Italian service error, Glass block and Bown overpass kill off Larson’s tough serve. Italy served an ace after a kill to cut the deficit in half at 21-19 leading to a USA timeout. Team USA went back up by four at 23-19 with a Hooker kill and Italian unforced error. The American finished out the set with a Tom kill and Akinradewo tip for a point at 25-20. Tom and Hooker each scored five points in the second set to lead the Americans.

Bown, Tom and Akinradewo pounded kills to open the third set producing a 3-0 American lead and Italian timeout. Hooker hit a back-row kill and Tom followed with consecutive kills to come out of the timeout with a 6-0 advantage. Out of a second Italian timeout, Tom put up a block for a 7-0 lead. Team USA continued the pressure with kills from Akinradewo and Hooker to gain a 9-1 margin. Italy put two points on the scoreboard to close to 12-6, but Hooker and Tom answered with kills and Italy hit long to produce a nine-point advantage at 15-6. Italy scored four points before the Americans could reach the second technical timeout with a 16-10 lead. Out of the break, Bown served an ace and Akinradewo put up two blocks to extend the American advantage to 19-10. The U.S. scored a fifth straight point on an Italian error at 20-10. Italy continued to compete with consecutive points to close to 21-13. Tom served an ace after a Hooker kill to extend the American lead to 23-13. Hooker put up a block at 24-13 and Tom hammered a back-row kill after an Italian point for a 25-14 victory. Hooker scored eight points in the third set while the U.S. defense put up five blocks.

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 and the USA-China contest on Aug. 22 were part of the 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, visit universalsports.com/tv-listings/index.html.

For more information on the U.S. Women's National Team, visit its home page at click here.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round
# - Name (Pos, Ht, Hometown, College)
1 - Ogonna Nnamani (OPP, 6-1, Bloomington, Ill., Stanford)
2 - Alisha Glass (S, 6-0, Leland, Mich., Penn State)
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)
11 - Jordan Larson (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., Nebraska)
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)

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/Ningbo: Laurel Iversen (Kalaheo, Hawaii)

Final Round (Ningbo, China * Ningbo Beilun Gymnasium)
Aug. 25: USA def. Poland 13-25, 18-25, 28-26, 25-19, 15-12
Aug. 25: Japan def. Brazil 13-25, 25-23, 18-25, 25-22, 15-13
Aug. 25: Italy def. China 25-20, 25-16, 25-21
Aug. 26: USA def. Italy 25-23, 25-20, 25-14
Aug. 26: Poland vs. Brazil, 3:30 p.m., 12:30 a.m. Pacific Time)
Aug. 26: China vs. Japan, 7:30 p.m. (4:30 a.m. Pacific Time)
Aug. 27: Japan vs. Italy, 1 p.m. (10 p.m. Pacific Time on Aug. 26)
Aug. 27: Brazil vs. USA, 3:30 p.m. (12:30 a.m. Pacific Time)
Aug. 27: China vs. Poland, 7:30 p.m. (4:30 a.m. Pacific Time)
Aug. 28: Poland vs. Japan, 1 p.m. (10 p.m. Pacific Time on Aug. 27)
Aug. 28: Brazil vs. Italy, 3:30 p.m. (12:30 a.m. Pacific Time)
Aug. 28: China vs. USA, 7:30 p.m. (4:30 a.m. Pacific Time)
Aug. 29: Japan vs. USA, 1 p.m. (10 p.m. Pacific Time on Aug. 28)
Aug. 29: Italy vs. Poland, 3:30 p.m. (12:30 a.m. Pacific Time)
Aug. 29: China vs. Brazil, 7:30 p.m. (4:30 a.m. Pacific Time)

FIVB World Grand Prix Final Preliminary Standings (Aug. 6-22)
Brazil (24 Points) 8-1
USA (21 Points) 7-2
Poland (21 Points) 7-2
Japan (19 Points) 6-3
Italy (19 Points) 6-3
China (19 Points) 6-3
Netherlands (13 Points) 5-4
Dominican Republic (7 Points) 3-6
Germany (7 Points) 2-7
Thailand (6 Points) 2-7
Puerto Rico (4 Points) 1-8
Chinese Taipei (0 Points) 1-8
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 def. Germany 25-15, 25-18, 25-13
Aug. 20: China def. Thailand 16-25, 27-25, 25-23, 25-15
Aug. 21: USA def. Thailand 25-16, 25-16, 25-16
Aug. 21: China def. Germany 25-14, 25-19, 28-26
Aug. 22: Thailand def. Germany 20-25, 25-16, 25-16, 25-22
Aug. 22: USA def. China 25-20, 25-10, 22-25, 25-22

Pool H (Taipei, Chinese Taipei * Taiwan University Gym)
Aug. 20: Brazil def. Puerto Rico 25-18, 25-13, 25-20
Aug. 20: Poland def. Chinese Taipei 25-19, 25-18, 25-9
Aug. 21: Poland def. Puerto Rico 25-20, 25-20, 25-14
Aug. 21: Brazil def. Chinese Taipei 25-15, 25-17, 25-16
Aug. 22: Brazil def. Poland 25-16, 27-25, 25-16
Aug. 22: Chinese Taipei def. Puerto Rico 27-29, 25-21, 18-25, 25-23, 17-15

Pool I (Tokyo, Japan * Yoyogi National Stadium)
Aug. 20: Italy def. Netherlands 29-27, 25-16, 25-15
Aug. 20: Japan def. Dominican Republic 25-15, 23-25, 31-29, 25-20
Aug. 21: Netherlands def. Dominican Republic 25-19, 25-22, 25-20
Aug. 21: Italy def. Japan 25-23, 27-25, 21-25, 25-23
Aug. 22: Dominican Republic def. Italy 23-25, 32-30, 25-22, 22-25, 15-13
Aug. 22: Netherlands def. Japan 25-19, 22-25, 38-36, 16-25, 15-11