U.S. Women Set Roster for World Championship

Oct. 27, 2010, 10:01 a.m. (ET)

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

U.S. Women's Team Press Kit

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 26, 2010) - The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team has announced its 14-player roster for the FIVB Women’s World Championship that will take place Oct. 29 to Nov. 14. The FIVB World Championship is held every four years in the second year of the Olympic quadrennial.

U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) has selected outside hitters Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.), Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.), Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) and Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) for the World Championship roster. Middle blockers named to the squad are Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.), Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Jennifer Tamas (Milpitas, Calif.). Among the opposites on the roster are Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas), Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa) and Ogonna Nnamani (Bloomington, Ill.). Setters are Lindsey Berg (Honolulu, Hawaii) and Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.). Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) and Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) are the liberos.

“There were some extremely difficult decisions to make in selecting the final World Championship roster,” McCutcheon said. "We've now developed some depth across all positions and, as a result, it's been a very competitive training block. It was tough to determine the final 14, but we think we have selected the best team we can to represent our country at these World Championships. We are excited to go to Japan and compete.”

The World Championship roster is very similar to the USA’s 14-player roster that captured the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix gold medal in August. The only changes are Berg for Nellie Spicer (Barrington, Ill.) at setter and Metcalf for Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) at opposite. Both Spicer and Fawcett were on the World Championship preliminary roster.

The final 14-player World Championship roster was turned into the FIVB World Championship control committee at the preliminary inquiry today (Oct. 27 in Japan).

Seven of the players – Barboza, Bown, Davis, Metcalf, Sykora, Tamas and Tom – have previous World Championship experience. Eight players have Olympic Games experience including Berg, Bown, Davis, Metcalf, Nnamani, Sykora, Tamas and Tom.

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.

The Americans open the FIVB World Championship against Thailand on Oct. 29 at 4:15 p.m. Japan Time (12:15 a.m. Pacific Time). The U.S. challenges Croatia on Oct. 30 at 1 p.m. Japan Time (9 p.m. Pacific Time on Oct. 29) and Germany on Oct. 31 at 6 p.m. Japan Time (2 a.m. Pacific Time) before an off day. Pool C concludes with the U.S. facing Kazakhstan on Nov. 2 at 6:45 p.m. Japan Time (2:45 a.m. Pacific Time) and NORCECA rival Cuba on Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. Japan Time (2 a.m. Pacific Time).

Other first-round groups include host Japan, Serbia, Poland, Peru, Algeria and Costa Rica in Pool A and China, Russia, Korea, Dominican Republic, Turkey and Canada in Pool D.

According to the FIVB World Ranking released on Aug. 30, the U.S. is ranked second in the world behind top-ranked Brazil. The Americans’ first-round pool has No. 6 Cuba, No. 12 Thailand, No. 15 Germany, No. 16 Kazakhstan and No. 45 Croatia.

Based on the current world ranking, Pool A is the toughest with an average ranking 14.0. Despite top-ranked Brazil in its group, Pool B has the lowest combined world ranking (16.83) of the four first-round groups. USA’s Pool C has an average world ranking of 16.0, while Pool D has a ranking of 14.67.

The U.S. will leave for Japan on Oct. 21 and train in the city of Shiga leading up to the start of the World Championship. Team USA will scrimmage Toray, reigning champion of the Japanese V-League, on Oct. 26 before leaving for Matsumoto. Barboza played for Toray last season.

A total of 96 teams took part in the continental qualifying rounds for the FIVB World Championship. Among the 96 teams, 22 countries advanced to the Final Round in Japan. The 22 qualified teams, in addition to defending champion Russia and the host Japan, will compete for this year’s title.

The Americans qualified for the FIVB World Championship by winning the FIVB World Championship NORCECA Pool G Qualification Tournament held July 6-8, 2009, in Orlando, Fla. Team USA swept Netherlands Antilles, Barbados and Costa Rica in the third-round qualification event.

The U.S. Women’s National Team holds a 21-9 record in 2010 with three podium finishes, highlighted by winning the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix held Aug. 6-29. Earlier this year the Americans earned the silver medal at the Montreux Volley Masters and the bronze at the Pan American Cup.

The U.S., currently ranked second in the world by the FIVB, has medaled at the FIVB World Championship four times. Team USA earned the silver medal at the 2002 World Championship in Berlin and the 1967 World Championship in Tokyo. The Americans captured the bronze in the 1990 World Championship in Beijing and the 1982 World Championship in Lima, Peru.

At the most recent FIVB World Championship held in Japan in 2006, the U.S. finished in a disappointing ninth place.

In its most recent tournament, the U.S. Women’s National Team captured the 18th FIVB World Grand Prix title with a 5-0 record in the Final Round following its sweep of Japan on Aug. 29. Earlier, the U.S. defeated Poland, Italy, Brazil and China in the Final Round.

USA middle blocker Akinradewo was named the Most Valuable Player and Best Blocker at the 18th FIVB World Grand Prix, while Glass earned Best Setter for the event that took place Aug. 25-29 at Ningbo, China.

During the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round, Akinradewo averaged 1.47 blocks per set with 28 blocks to earn the Best Blocker Award. She out-distanced the second-best blocker by 0.57 blocks per set. Akinradewo added 49 kills and three aces for a total of 80 points in the Final Round, good for second-best in the tournament leading to her Most Valuable Player award. She converted 49 of her 91 offensive attacks into points for a53.8 kill percent, which would have ranked atop the Best Spiker list if she had qualified with the minimum 15 percent of the team’s spikes.

The Americans, who won their final 11 matches of the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix, also won the event in 1995 and 2001. Until this year, Team USA had not reached the World Grand Prix medal podium since back-to-back bronze finishes in 2003 and 2004. The U.S. has now medaled in all three of its 2010 tournaments including a silver medal at the 26th Montreux Volley Masters and bronze at the Pan American Cup, both played in June.

McCutcheon believes the FIVB World Grand Prix title and the team’s early successes in 2010 are a key part of the developmental process leading toward the FIVB World Championship and future tournaments. However, he understands the team has areas of improvement before heading into the World Championship.

“I think it helps a little in that we now know we can compete with confidence versus any team in the world,” McCutcheon said in regards to winning the FIVB World Grand Prix. “However, we have a lot of work to do before the FIVB World Championship tournament as well. So we won't let winning get in the way of the lessons we need to learn.”

Glass, playing her first season of international volleyball with the U.S. Women’s National Team, averaged 13.11 running sets per set to lead all players in the Final Round. She tallied 249 running sets on 516 attempts. Glass set the squad to a .292 hitting efficiency (250-55-668) and 37.4 kill percent through the five Final Round matches in China.

Akinradewo and Glass were not the only Americans producing well at the World Grand Prix. Hooker finished the Final Round as the fourth-best scorer with 76 points (65 kills, 8 blocks, 3 aces) and Tom contributed 66 points (54 kills, 9 blocks, 3 aces) for ninth place. Bown ranked 15th in scoring with 52 points (35 kills, 12 blocks, 5 aces) and Larson charted 47 points (34 kills, 10 blocks, 3 aces) for 18th place.

Team USA established a dominant block during the entire tournament. During the Final Round, the U.S. held a 76-34 block advantage over its opponents and averaged 4.0 blocks per set. Including the nine matches from the preliminary round, the Americans out-blocked their opponents 222-84 and averaged 4.27 blocks per set. Aside from Akinradewo leading the tournament in blocking, the U.S. had six players rank among the top 20 in the Final Round. Bown ranked ninth (0.63 block average), Larson finished 11th (0.53), Tom was 15th (0.47), Hooker landed in 18th (0.42) and Glass ranked 20th (0.37).

The Americans also took their spots among the tournament’s best diggers with four among the top 13. Sykora averaged 2.26 digs per set for third place, while Tom ranked seventh with 1.47 per set. Larson tallied 1.11 digs per set for 10th place and Hooker added 0.95 digs per set for 13th place.

Tom, who joined the team during the second preliminary round, ranked fifth in Best Receiver during the Final Round with a 43.26 efficiency. Bown was Team USA’s leading server with 0.26 aces per set for seventh place. Hooker ranked as the seventh-best player in Best Spiker with a 38.7 kill percent, while Tom and Larson ranked 15th and 16th, respectively in the category.

Behind Team USA at the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round, Brazil claimed the silver medal with a 3-2 record and 11 points. Brazil was the two-time defending champion with eight overall World Grand Prix titles. Italy earned the bronze medal with a 2-3 record and seven points. Host China finished fourth with six points and a 2-3 record, followed by fifth-place Japan with four points and a 2-3 record and sixth-place Poland with a 1-4 record and four points.

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 preliminary 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. 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 to conclude the preliminary round.

“We got better as the tournament went on,” McCutcheon said.

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 (Nagoya): China (3), Russia (7), Korea (21), Dominican Republic (11), Turkey (22), Canada (24)

First Round Schedule

Pool A:
Oct. 29: Peru vs. Algeria, 12:30; Serbia vs. Costa Rica, 15:00; Poland vs. Japan, 18:45
Oct. 30: Costa Rica vs. Algeria, 12:30; Serbia vs. Poland, 15:00; Japan vs. Peru, 18:00
Oct. 31: Peru vs. Serbia, 12:30; Poland vs. Costa Rica, 15:00; Algeria vs. Japan, 18:00
Nov. 2: Serbia vs. Algeria, 13:00; Poland vs. Peru, 15:30; Costa Rica vs. Japan, 18:45
Nov. 3: Peru vs. Costa Rica, 12:30; Algeria vs. Poland, 15:00; Japan vs. Serbia, 18:00

Pool B:
Oct. 29: Brazil vs. Kenya, 13:30; Czech Republic vs. Netherlands, 16:15; Puerto Rico vs. Italy, 18:45
Oct. 30: Czech Republic vs. Brazil, 13:00; Kenya vs. Puerto Rico, 15:30; Netherlands vs. Italy, 18:00
Oct. 31: Puerto Rico vs. Czech Republic, 13:00; Italy vs. Kenya, 15:30; Brazil vs. Netherlands, 18:00
Nov. 2: Brazil vs. Puerto Rico, 13:30; Netherlands vs. Kenya, 16:15; Czech Republic vs. Italy, 18:45
Nov. 3: Puerto Rico vs. Netherlands, 13:00; Kenya vs. Czech Republic, 15:30; Italy vs. Brazil, 18:00

Pool C:
Oct. 29: Germany vs. Kazakhstan, 13:30; USA vs. Thailand, 16:15; Croatia vs. Cuba, 18:45
Oct. 30: USA vs. Croatia, 13:00; Thailand vs. Kazakhstan, 15:30; Cuba vs. Germany, 18:00
Oct. 31: Kazakhstan vs. Cuba, 13:00; Croatia vs. Thailand, 15:30; USA vs. Germany, 18:00
Nov. 2: Croatia vs. Germany, 13:30; Thailand vs. Cuba, 16:15; USA vs. Kazakhstan, 18:45
Nov. 3: Kazahkstan vs. Croatia, 13:00; Germany vs. Thailand, 15:30; USA vs. Cuba, 18:00

Pool D:
Oct. 29: Russia vs. Dominican Republic, 13:30; Canada vs. Korea, 16:15; Turkey vs. China, 18:45
Oct. 30: Russia vs. Turkey, 13:00; Dominican Republic vs. Korea, 15:30; China vs. Canada, 18:00
Oct. 31: Turkey vs. Dominican Republic, 13:00; Canada vs. Russia, 15:30; Korea vs. China, 18:00
Nov. 2: Turkey vs. Canada, 13:30; Russia vs. Korea, 16:15; Dominican Republic vs. China, 18:45
Nov. 3: Canada vs. Dominican Republic, 13:00; Korea vs. Turkey, 15:30; China vs. Russia, 18:00

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)