U.S. Women Golden at World Grand Prix, Defeat Japan

Aug. 29, 2010, 3:26 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

Sidebar: Akinradewo, Glass Earn FIVB World Grand Prix Honors.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 29, 2010) – Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) scored a team-high 15 points to lead the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team to a 26-24, 25-20, 25-23 victory over Japan Sunday afternoon to secure the gold medal at the 18th FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round being played at Ningbo, China. The FIVB World Grand Prix is the premier annual international women’s volleyball event.

The U.S. finished the six-team, five-day round-robin Final Round with a 5-0 record and 13 points to capture its third FIVB World Grand Prix title. The Americans, who have won 11 matches in a row, also won the event in 1995 and 2001. In addition, Team USA had not reached the tournament’s medal podium since back-to-back bronze finishes in 2003 and 2004. Further, the U.S. has now medaled in all three of its 2010 tournaments including a silver at the 26th Montreux Volley Masters and bronze at the Pan American Cup both played in June.

During the Final Round, the U.S. rallied from a two-set deficit to defeat Poland in five sets in the opener on Aug. 25. The Americans followed with a convincing three-set victory over Italy on Aug. 26, then a thrilling five-set victory over two-time World Grand Prix defending champion Brazil on Aug. 27. Team USA topped host China in three sets on Aug. 28. The U.S. reached the Final Round by finishing second in the nine-match preliminary round with a 7-2 record, including the final six matches that had wins over Italy and China among the Final Round participants.

Entering its final match of the tournament, the U.S. needed a win over Japan or at least reach the fifth set to guarantee the gold medal despite having a two-match advantage over Brazil. An American loss in three or four sets could have allowed Brazil (2-2, 8 points), who plays host China (2-2, 6 points) at 7 p.m. (4 a.m. Pacific Time) later today, to back-door into the title through the complicated point system being utilized for the tournament. Teams earn three points for a three- or four-set victory, two points for a five-set victory and one point for a five-set loss. In addition to the Brazil-China match, Italy (1-3, 4 points) faces Poland (1-3, 4 points) at 3:30 p.m. (1:30 a.m. Pacific Time).

The U.S. recovered from an early 12-7 deficit to Japan in the opening set with an 8-1 scoring run to take a 15-13 lead, but needed to overcome a late 23-21 deficit and a set point to win 26-24. Team USA overcame a 4-1 deficit in the second set to tie the score at 6-all, then used an 8-2 scoring spurt to take a 16-11 advantage en route to a 25-20 victory. The U.S. overcame a 16-14 deficit in the third set with a 10-3 scoring run to reach match point at 24-19, then weathered Japan saving four match points before winning 25-23.

“I'm really proud of my team, not only for winning this tournament, but also for the way they were playing,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “It's a tough match against Japan. We were happy we won. I'm very happy with our performance at the tournament. This is a great start for us, but we clearly know we need to make improvement.”

The U.S. featured a balanced offense on the final day of the tournament as all five starting hitters reached double-digit scoring. Larson was credited with 11 kills on 34 attacks and four blocks for 15 points. Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas) notched 10 kills on 32 swings and two blocks for 12 points to conclude her first international volleyball tournament with the U.S. Women’s National Team. Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) hammered nine kills on a team-high 35 attacks to go with an ace for 10 points, Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) chipped in five kills on 11 attacks, four blocks and an ace for 10 points. Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) pocketed six kills on 12 swings, three blocks and an ace for 10 points. Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) rounded out the scoring with two kills and two blocks for four points.

Glass was credited with 40 running sets on 98 total set attempts for a 13.33 average. Larson had a team-high 15 excellent service receptions on 50 errorless attempts. Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) claimed a team-high 13 digs to go with three excellent service receptions on five attempts.

“It's so tough to play against Japan,” U.S. captain Jennifer Tamas (Milpitas, Calif.) said. “They played so good in defense. I think tonight we can find a place to celebrate. When we go back home, we will work harder and become even better for the next tournament.”

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.) served once in the first set set.

As with the entire tournament, the U.S. net defense was dominant as it produced a 15-3 block advantage over Japan. Team USA added a 3-0 margin in aces and 43-40 edge in kills. The Americans converted 33.9 percent of their attacks into kills as part of a .252 hitting efficiency. Japan converted 29.4 percent of its attacks for a .228 hitting efficiency. However, Japan stayed close as it benefited from 24 American errors to only 15 of its own.

“USA had a clear advantage in height, so they took control over the net,” Japan Head Coach Masayoshi Manabe said. “The Americans are really strong in spiking and blocking.”

Saori Kimura scored 15 points for Japan to match Larson’s match-high honors. Kaori Inoue added eight points in the loss.

Team USA’s next event will be a friendly four-match exhibition tour of Brazil between Sept. 20 and Sept. 30. Both teams are using the tour as final preparations for the FIVB World Championship that starts Oct. 29 in Japan.

Team USA has racked up some impressive victories in 2010. During the Final Round, the U.S. garnered wins over some of the top teams in the world, including No. 1 Brazil, No. 2 China, No. 5 Japan and No. 7 Italy. The Americans have also defeated No. 6 Cuba in two tournaments.

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. Last 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.

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.

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

Japan scored four unanswered points to take a 4-1 lead early in the opening set. The U.S. answered with a Hooker kill and Larson block to close to 4-3. Japan went into the first technical timeout on a 3-0 scoring run yielding an 8-4 advantage. Japan stretched its advantage to five points at 11-6. Team USA sliced the deficit to 12-10 with a Hooker kill, Akinradewo block and Japan attack that sailed wide leading into a Japan timeout. Out of the break, Tom served an ace and hit a back-row kill to tie the set at 12-all. The Americans went into the lead at 14-13 with a Tom free-ball kill and Akinradewo ace. Larson added to the lead with a kill at 15-13. Out of the second technical timeout, Japan scored consecutive points to tie the set at 16-all, then went into front at 18-17. USA took a timeout after Japan scored back-to-back points to go up 20-18. Team USA squared the set at 23-all after a block and kill by Larson leading to a Japan timeout. The U.S. saved a set point with a Bown kill, then went ahead 25-24 on a Japan error. Bown ended the set with a block at 26-24. Larson led the U.S. with six points in the opening set. All six USA starters scored at least two points in the first set. The Americans held a 6-2 margin in blocks and 2-0 edge in aces. Japan benefited from eight U.S. errors in the period.

Japan picked up an early 4-1 lead in the second set. Team USA cut the deficit to 4-3 with a Hooker kill and Larson block. Tom pocketed consecutive kills to level the set at 5-all. The Americans gained the lead at 7-6 with a Glass kill and Japan error. However, Japan scored the next two points to take an 8-7 lead into the first technical timeout. Akinradewo collected back-to-back kills to yield a 10-9 American advantage, then she added another block to extend the lead to 11-9. Team USA increased its lead to 13-10 with a Hooker kill and Japan attack outside the antenna. The U.S. jumped the margin to four points at 15-11 as Larson put up a block after a Japan error. Out of a Japan timeout, Larson hit the line on a kill to put the U.S. up 16-11 at the second technical timeout. Japan narrowed the gap to three points at 18-15 leading into a USA timeout. Tom and Larson slammed consecutive kills to extend the USA cushion back to five points at 21-16, prompting a Japan timeout. The U.S. increased its lead to 23-17 with a Japan error and Hooker kill. Japan answered with back-to-back points to inch to within 23-19. Larson ended the set at 25-20 with a kill after Japan saved one set point. Akinradewo and Larson each collected five points in the second set to pace the Americans, who had five blocks as a team.

Japan started third set with a 3-1 edge, but Larson slammed a kill after a Japan error to tie the set at 3-all. Team USA went in front with a Bown kill, and followed with a fourth straight point at 5-3 with a Hooker kill. Japan quickly tied the set at 5-all. Team USA went into the first technical timeout on consecutive blocks by Glass and Bown for an 8-6 margin. Japan knotted the score at 8-all with the first two points out of the break. After trading several side outs, Japan went ahead on consecutive points at 12-11. Japan reached the second technical timeout with consecutive points to increase the advantage to 16-14. The U.S. answered with kills from Bown and Hooker to level the score at 16-all. Bown added an ace to produce a 17-16 advantage and Japan timeout. Out of the break, Japan hit long for a fourth straight USA point and 18-16 advantage. Japan took another timeout after consecutive errors increased the U.S. margin to 20-17. Team USA reached match point 24-19 on a 3-0 run with a kill and block from Hooker and a kill from Larson. Japan saved four match points to close to a single point at 24-23 before Larson tip a kill over the block for the 25-23 victory. Hooker tallied six points in the third set and Bown added five points.

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)

FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round Standings
USA 5-0 (13 points)
Brazil 2-2 (8 points)
China 2-2 (6 points)
Japan 2-3 (4 points)
Poland 1-3 (4 points)
Italy 1-3 (4 points)

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: Brazil def. Poland 25-21, 23-25, 25-20, 25-17
Aug. 26: China def. Japan 29-27, 23-25, 25-20, 25-19
Aug. 27: Japan def. Italy 23-25, 25-14, 26-28, 25-20, 17-15
Aug. 27: USA def. Brazil 22-25, 25-19, 30-28, 17-25, 15-13
Aug. 27: China def. Poland 25-19, 25-19, 25-17
Aug. 28: Poland def. Japan 25-15, 21-25, 25-23, 25-22
Aug. 28: Brazil def. Italy 25-18, 25-13, 25-16
Aug. 28: USA def. China 25-21, 27-25, 25-22
Aug. 29: USA def. Japan 26-24, 25-20, 25-23
Aug. 29: Italy vs. Poland, 3:30 p.m. (12:30 a.m. Pacific Time)
Aug. 29: China vs. Brazil, 7 p.m. (4 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