USA Downs Cuba, Closes World Championship Pool 5-0

Nov. 03, 2010, 8:16 a.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800

Unofficial DataVolley Stats - Official FIVB Stats

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 3, 2010) - The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team closed out the FIVB World Championship first round Pool C undefeated after defeating NORCECA rival Cuba 30-28, 25-23, 22-25, 25-23 in a nail-biter Wednesday evening at Matsumoto, Japan.

Team USA finished atop Pool C with a 5-0 record and takes zero losses into the second round crossover Pool F at Nagoya. The Americans, ranked second in the world by the FIVB, will face Pool B’s fourth-place Czech Republic on Nov. 6 at a time to be determined. Cuba, ranked sixth in the world, finished the first round with a 2-3 record after losing its first two matches of the tournament. Cuba finished third in Pool C as it held the tiebreaker over Thailand and Croatia, which both finished 2-3. The U.S. has now defeated Cuba in all three matches between the two countries in 2010.

In the World Championship second round, the top four teams in first round Pools B and C crossover into Pool F and play teams from the opposite pool with first-round records versus remaining teams carrying over. Likewise, Pool A and Pool D crossover into Pool E for the second round. The top two teams in Pools E and F advance to the semifinal to be held Nov. 13 followed by the medal matches on Nov. 14. The third and fourth-place teams in the second round will play for fifth through eighth place in the final round held Nov. 13-14, while the fifth and sixth place teams in the second round will play for ninth through 12th place in the final round.

The U.S. rallied from a 23-21 deficit in the first set to Cuba to win 30-28 on its fifth set-point opportunity. The opening set had 17 ties and six lead changes. In the second set, Team USA scored three straight points to take a 21-17 lead and held on for a 25-23 victory. The Americans jumped to a 12-4 lead in the third set, but Cuba responded with a 12-3 run to take an 18-17 lead en route to a 25-22 victory in which the U.S. had 11 errors. In contrast to the third set, the USA came back from a 13-6 deficit with a 10-2 run taking a 16-15 advantage en route to winning 25-23.

“It was a battle,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “It was a tough match. I thought it was a very high level of volleyball from both sides. From our point of view, I think we made an uncharacteristically high number of unforced errors, and that has to change if we're going to be successful in the next round. We're happy to go through to the next phase of the competition and we're also very happy that Cuba's coming through with us. But for the USA, we have to get better and we have to get better quickly.”

The U.S. had four players reach double-digit scoring led by Destinee Hooker’s (San Antonio, Texas) 20 points on 15 kills, four aces and a block. Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) added 18 kills on 30 attacks and a block for 19 points, while Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) chipped in 15 kills on 29 swings and an ace for 16 points. Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) recorded six kills on nine attacks and a team-high four blocks for 10 points. Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) contributed eight points with six kills and two blocks, while Jennifer Tamas (Milpitas, Calif.) came off the bench in the fourth set to provide a kill and ace for two points. Ogonna Nnamani (Bloomington, Ill.) and Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) rounded out the scoring with a point each.

“I still believe our best Volleyball is yet to come,” McCutcheon said. “I think there are some things we are doing at a very high level, but our group collectively has yet to find the synergy I think we had towards the end of the World Grand Prix. I'm optimistic that we can keep building on these performances here – a lot of good matches against a lot of good teams. It was a very tough pool and we feel fortunate to come out unscathed.”

Glass tallied 60 running sets in helping the USA offense to a 50 kill percent and .347 hitting efficiency. Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) provided a team-high 18 digs in addition to 17 excellent service receptions on 30 attempts. Tom chipped in a team-high 23 excellent service receptions on 37 attempts, while Larson contributed 13 excellent service receptions on 20 errorless attempts.

“Cuba played a really well-played match,” said Tamas, the U.S. captain. “It's always tough to play against Cuba – high hitters and good blockers. It was a high level of volleyball and we appreciate that. We're trying to get better every day and hope that we haven't peaked yet. We're looking forward to playing in Nagoya and we're going to try and be a more consistent volleyball team. Hopefully, our best volleyball's to come. Great match tonight by Cuba.”

McCutcheon started Tom and Larson at outside hitter, Akinradewo and Bown at middle blocker, Hooker at opposite and Glass at setter. Sykora was the libero during the match. Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.) subbed into the match to serve in the first set, while Nnamani, Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) and Tamas all subbed into the fourth set help the Americans rally for the set victory.

The two teams had matching totals in kills (62), blocks (eight) and digs (34), but the USA used a 7-3 ace margin to its advantage. The Americans committed 26 errors in the match to Cuba’s 25. While the U.S. held a .346 hitting efficiency, Cuba was limited to a .314 hitting efficiency and 44.3 kill percent. Team USA had 55 excellent service receptions on 91 attempts, while Cuba was 50 of 90.

“I want to congratulate the USA,” Cuba Head Coach Juan Gala Rodriguez said. “It was a great match. At this moment I am a happy man because I have seen my team growing, and to advance to the next round is a source of pride for us. The team has been improving steadily, but that's a consequence of our preparation. After starting with two losses, we've been playing like we're playing for the championship, and our athletes have responded, as expected. I think our best volleyball is yet to come.”

Cuba’s Kenia Carcaces turned in a match-high 23 points with 21 kills and two aces, while Yoana Palacios provided 17 kills in the loss.

“We want to congratulate the USA team for the win,” Cuba captain Yusidey Silie said. “For us, this match was almost like a victory. We came in very focused and ready to enjoy the match and with great team spirit. But the most important thing is we could develop our game. Our game worked well for most of the match, but as usual we had some trouble with reception. But in general it was a good game for us.”

For complete coverage of the 2010 FIVB Women’s World Championship, visit

The FIVB World Championship first round has six teams in four pools playing a round-robin schedule with the top four teams in each pool advancing to the second round for crossover play. The U.S. is grouped in Pool C at Matsumoto with Cuba, Germany, Kazakhstan, Thailand and Croatia. In the second round, Pool C crosses over with Pool B (Brazil, Italy, Netherlands, Kenya, Puerto Rico and Czech Republic) to form Pool F in Nagoya. The semifinals and finals will be played in Tokyo on Nov. 13-14.

Earlier today in Pool C, Croatia (2-3) defeated Kazakhstan (0-5) 25-19, 25-17, 25-18 and Germany (4-1) edged Thailand (2-3) 25-14, 25-15, 25-10. With Croatia, Thailand and Cuba all tied at 2-3, but Croatia was the odd team out in advancing to the second round based on points ratio as Cuba held a ..993 ratio, Thailand .960 and Croatia .899. Germany finished second, followed by Cuba in third and Thailand in fourth.

In Pool B in Hamamatsu, Netherlands (3-2) earned its spot into the second round with a 25-12, 25-13, 25-16 victory over Puerto Rico (1-4). Czech Republic (3-2, 1.065) stopped Kenya (0-5) 25-20, 25-15, 25-20 and Brazil (5-0) finished the pool undefeated with a 25-16, 25-19, 25-7 win over Italy (3-2, 1.072). Brazil finished the pool in first place, followed by Netherlands in second, Italy in third and Czech Republic in fourth.

Peru (2-3) confirmed its spot into the second round with a 25-18, 25-18, 32-34, 25-19 victory over Costa Rica (1-4) to start the day in Pool A in Tokyo. In other Pool A matches, Poland (3-2) blanked Algeria (0-5) 25-17, 25-16, 25-12 and host Japan (5-0) edged Serbia (4-1) 28-26, 29-27, 18-25, 27-25 in a battle of previously undefeated teams. Japan finished in first place, followed by Serbia in second, Poland in third and Peru in fourth.

In Pool D at Osaka, Dominican Republic finished its World Championship with a 21-25, 28-26, 25-11, 25-20 victory over NORCECA rival Canada (0-5) as both teams failed to advance to the second round. Korea (4-1) outlasted Turkey (3-2) 16-25, 25-21, 25-21, 19-25, 15-13, while Russia (5-0) downed China (2-3) 25-22, 25-17, 25-19 in the Pool D finale. Behind pool winner Russia, Korea finished second, Turkey third and China fourth in teams advancing to the second round.

The U.S. started the first set with a 2-0 lead on a Hooker kill and Cuba attack error. Cuba knotted the score at 4-all on consecutive American errors, then gained its first lead of the set at 6-5. However, Team USA reversed the lead to its side at 8-6 on a Tom kill and successive Akinradewo blocks heading into the first technical timeout. Out of the break, Cuba tied the score at 8-all on a block. The U.S. secured a two-point cushion at 12-10 on a Larson kill and Cuba attack error, but Cuba quickly tied the set at 12-all and gained the lead back at 14-13. Cuba reached the second technical timeout leading 16-14 on the strength of a 6-2 scoring run. Out of the break, Cuba put up a block to stretch its lead to three points at 17-14. The U.S. cut into the gap with consecutive kills from Akinradewo and Tom at 17-16. The U.S. tied the set at 20-all on a Hooker ace after she tapped down a left-handed Hooker kill. Cuba regained a two-point cushion at 23-21, but the Americans knotted the score at 23-all on a Tom kill and Cuba attack that went wide. Out of a Cuba timeout, the U.S. took a 24-23 advantage on an Akinradewo kill after Cuba mishandled Bown’s serve. Cuba saved three set points and gained its first set point attempt at 27-26 after a mishandled reception. Team USA earned its fourth set point at 28-27 on consecutive kills from Hooker and Tom. On its fifth set point opportunity, Hooker served an ace at 30-28 after a Cuba service error. Hooker finished the set with a team-high seven points, while Tom added six points.

After Cuba scored the opening point of the second set, the U.S. rolled off the next three points including two Cuba errors at 3-1. Team USA doubled-up the score at 6-3 on consecutive kills from Hooker and Tom. Cuba cut the margin down to one at 9-8 after a USA attack error. The Americans regained a three-point cushion at 12-9 with a Hooker kill and Cuba net violation on a Larson attack. After a Cuba timeout, the U.S. scored a third straight point on a Larson kill at 13-9. However, Cuba picked up two straight points to narrow the score to 13-11. Team USA answered with a Tom back-row kill and Bown block at 15-11, but Cuba scored the next three points to cut the deficit to one at 15-14. Larson collected consecutive kills and Cuba hit wide on the next rally to extend the U.S. lead to four points at 21-17. Out of its own timeout, Cuba scored the next two points to cut the deficit in half at 21-19. Cuba moved to within one point at 22-21. However, the U.S. picked up set points at 24-21 following a Bown block and Larson ace. Cuba saved two set points, including a block to send the score to 24-23, but Tom ended the set with a kill off the block at 25-23. Larson collected seven points in the set and Tom added six points for the Americans.

Team USA bolted to a 4-1 lead in the third set with kills from Hooker and Larson after a Cuba error. The Americans increased their lead to 7-3 with back-to-back kills from Tom and Larson. Akinradewo and Tom had kills on each side of the first technical timeout and Akinradewo put up back-to-back blocks to yield an 11-4 lead. Hooker scored a fifth straight USA point at 12-4 leading to a Cuba timeout. Cuba cut the deficit to 15-11 on a 5-1 scoring run. Three consecutive USA errors out of the second technical timeout and a Cuba kill whittled the lead down to 16-15. Cuba knotted the score at 17-all with a block and took completed the rally by taking an 18-17 lead. Cuba served an ace to increased its margin to two points at 20-18, then reached set points at 24-20. The U.S. saved two set points with a Bown kill and Cuba error at 24-22, but a USA service error ended the set at 25-22. Hooker scored a team-high seven points in the third set, but the USA had 11 errors in the set.

Cuba scored four unanswered points to take a 4-1 advantage in the fourth set. Cuba scored three straight points heading into the first technical timeout leading 8-3. Out of the break Cuba added a fourth straight point to take a 9-3 advantage. The U.S. scored three consecutive points with kills from Larson and Hooker followed by a Hooker ace to cut the deficit to 9-6. Cuba answered with four unanswered points to take a 13-6 advantage. The U.S. stopped the run with a Nnamani kill and Tom block at 13-8. Tamas served an ace after a Cuba service error to cut the deficit to 14-10. Team USA continued the comeback with a Tom kill and Akinradewo block leading to a Cuba timeout at 15-12. Out of the break, Glass served an ace and Cuba hit long to narrow the deficit to 15-14. Tom tied the set with a fifth straight point with a kill at 15-all, then Akinradewo pounded an overpass for a kill to yield a 16-15 USA lead at the second technical timeout. Cuba regained the lead back at 18-17 with back-to-back points. Team USA pushed back into the lead at 21-19 with two Cuba errors and a block. The Americans increased the lead to 23-20 on a Tamas kill and Cuba attack error. Cuba answered with three consecutive points to tie the score at 23-all. USA closed out the set with a Tom kill and Cuba attack error that went wide at 25-23. Tom ended the fourth set with five points to lead the Americans, who only had one error in the set.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for FIVB World Championship
# - Name (Pos, Ht, Hometown, College)
1 - Ogonna Nnamani (OPP, 6-1, Bloomington, Ill., Stanford)
2 - Alisha Glass (S, 6-0, Leland, Mich., Penn State)
4 - Lindsey Berg (S, 5-8, Honolulu, Hawaii, Minnesota)
5 - Stacy Sykora (L, 5-10, Burleson, Texas, Texas A&M)
6 - Nicole Davis (L, 5-4, 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)
12 - Nancy Metcalf (OPP, 6-1, Hull, Iowa, Nebraska)
15 - Logan Tom (OH, 6-1, Salt Lake City, Utah, Stanford)
16 - Foluke Akinradewo (MB, 6-3, Plantation, Fla., Stanford)
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: Paula Weishoff (Irvine, Calif.)
Technical Coordinator: Jamie Morrison (Dana Point, Calif.)
Athletic Trainer/Medical Support: Jill Wosmek (Silver Lake, Minn.)
Team Doctor: Dr. William Briner
Team Manager: Ken Sullivan

FIVB World Championship First Round Pools with FIVB World Ranking
(first three countries by seed, then next three based on drawing of lots)
Pool A (Tokyo): Japan (5), Serbia (9), Poland (8), Peru (17), Algeria (14), Costa Rica (31)
Pool B (Hamamatsu): Brazil (1), Italy (4), Netherlands (10), Kenya (35), Puerto Rico (13), Czech Republic (38)
Pool C (Matsumoto): USA (2), Cuba (6), Germany (15), Kazakhstan (16), Thailand (12), Croatia (45)
Pool D (Osaka): China (3), Russia (7), Korea (21), Dominican Republic (11), Turkey (22), Canada (24)

First Round Schedule

Pool A:
Oct. 29: Peru def. Algeria 25-16, 25-12, 25-18
Oct. 29: Serbia def. Costa Rica 25-15, 25-18, 25-14
Oct. 29: Japan def. Poland 26-28, 21-25, 25-20, 25-23, 15-12
Oct. 30: Costa Rica def. Algeria 25-18, 25-21, 25-10
Oct. 30: Serbia def. Poland 19-25, 27-25, 26-24, 25-22
Oct. 30: Japan def. Peru 25-15, 25-17, 22-25, 25-14
Oct. 31: Serbia def. Peru 25-21, 16-25, 25-21, 25-18
Oct. 31: Poland def. Costa Rica 25-14, 25-12, 25-15
Oct. 31: Japan def. Algeria 25-18, 25-7, 25-14
Nov. 2: Serbia def. Algeria 25-15, 25-12, 25-21
Nov. 2: Poland def. Peru 25-10, 25-15, 25-16
Nov. 2: Japan def. Costa Rica 25-9, 25-13, 25-8
Nov. 3: Peru def. Costa Rica 25-18, 25-18, 32-34, 25-19
Nov. 3: Poland def. Algeria 25-17, 25-16, 25-12
Nov. 3: Japan def. Serbia 28-26, 29-27, 18-25, 27-25

Pool A Standings: 1. Japan (5-0, 1.313); 2. Serbia (4-1, 1.167); 3. Poland (3-2, 1.277); 4. Peru (2-3, .952); 5. Costa Rica (1-4, .740); 6. Algeria (0-5, .605)

Pool B:
Oct. 29: Brazil def. Kenya 25-15, 25-16, 25-11
Oct. 29: Netherlands def. Czech Republic 26-24, 25-20, 25-14
Oct. 29: Italy def. Puerto Rico 25-20, 25-11, 25-18
ct. 30: Brazil def. Czech Republic 22-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-10, 15-9
Oct. 30: Puerto Rico def. Kenya 25-20, 25-23, 25-19
Oct. 30: Italy def. Netherlands 18-25, 25-21, 25-23, 26-28, 15-12
Oct. 31: Czech Republic def. Puerto Rico 25-14, 25-14, 25-17
Oct. 31: Italy def. Kenya 25-9, 25-7, 25-21
Oct. 31: Brazil def. Netherlands 25-19, 25-18, 25-14
Nov. 2: Brazil def. Puerto Rico 25-20, 25-18, 25-20
Nov. 2: Netherlands def. Kenya 25-8, 25-14, 25-11
Nov. 2: Czech Republic def. Italy 25-27, 27-29, 25-23, 25-22, 17-15
Nov. 3: Netherlands def. Puerto Rico 25-12, 25-13, 25-16
Nov. 3: Czech Republic def. Kenya 25-20, 25-15, 25-20
Nov. 3: Brazil def. Italy 25-16, 25-19, 25-7

Pool B Standings: 1. Brazil (5-0, 1.395); 2. Netherlands (3-2, 1.222); 3. Italy (3-2, 1.072); 4. Czech Republic (3-2, 1.065); 5. Puerto Rico (1-4, 0.740); 6. Kenya (0-5, .611)

Pool C:
Oct. 29: Germany def. Kazakhstan 25-21, 25-14, 25-16
Oct. 29: USA def. Thailand 23-25, 25-17, 25-17, 25-21
Oct. 29: Croatia def. Cuba 25-23, 34-32, 25-21
Oct. 30: USA def. Croatia 25-16, 25-13, 25-23
Oct. 30: Thailand def. Kazakhstan 25-16, 25-18, 20-25, 25-16
Oct. 30: Germany def. Cuba 26-24, 25-17, 25-23
Oct. 31: Cuba def. Kazakhstan 20-25, 25-15, 27-25, 23-25, 15-10
Oct. 31: Thailand def. Croatia 25-15, 25-14, 25-17
Oct. 31: USA def. Germany 25-23, 26-24, 25-17
Nov. 2: Germany def. Croatia 26-24, 25-18, 25-21
Nov. 2: Cuba def. Thailand 25-19, 29-27, 27-25
Nov. 2: USA def. Kazakhstan 25-17, 25-19, 25-19
Nov. 3: Croatia def. Kazakhstan 25-19, 25-17, 25-18
Nov. 3: Germany def. Thailand 25-14, 25-15, 25-10
Nov. 3: USA def. Cuba 30-28, 25-23, 22-25, 25-23

Pool C Standings: 1. USA (5-0, 1.217); 2. Germany (4-1, 1.249); 3. Cuba (2-3, .993); 4. Thailand (2-3, .960); 5. Croatia (2-3, .899); 6. Kazakhstan (0-5, .779)

Pool D:
Oct. 29: Russia def. Dominican Republic 21-25, 25-9, 25-17, 25-11
Oct. 29: Korea def. Canada 25-19, 25-19, 25-14
Oct. 29: Turkey def. China 19-25, 25-14, 25-20, 25-17
Oct. 30: Russia def. Turkey 25-27, 25-22, 25-11, 25-17
Oct. 30: Korea def. Dominican Republic 29-27, 25-23, 25-20
Oct. 30: China def. Canada 25-16, 25-19, 25-10
Oct. 31: Turkey def. Dominican Republic 25-20, 25-14, 23-25, 23-25, 17-15
Oct. 31: Russia def. Canada 25-13, 25-16, 25-21
Oct. 31: Korea def. China 25-22, 25-23, 25-23
Nov. 2: Turkey def. Canada 19-25, 20-25, 25-14, 25-17, 15-8
Nov. 2: Russia def. Korea 25-18, 25-17, 19-25, 25-22
Nov. 2: China def. Dominican Republic 25-12, 25-21, 25-14
Nov. 3: Dominican Republic def. Canada 21-25, 28-26, 25-11, 25-20
Nov. 3: Korea def. Turkey 16-25, 25-21, 25-21, 19-25, 15-13
Nov. 3: Russia def. China 25-22, 25-17, 25-19

Pool D Standings: 1. Russia (5-0, 1.337); 2. Korea (4-1, 1.057); 3. Turkey (3-2, 1.063); 4. China (2-3, 1.048); 5. Dominican Republic (1-4, .847); 6. Canada (0-5, 0.743)

Second Round (Nov. 6-10) - teams play opposite pool in crossover
Pool E (Tokyo): 1A, 1D, 2A, 2D, 3A, 3D, 4A, 4D
Pool F (Nagoya): 1B, 1C, 2B, 2C, 3B, 3C, 4B, 4C

Semifinals and Finals (Nov. 13-14 in Tokyo)