U.S. Women Handle Croatia at Worlds

Oct. 30, 2010, 1:45 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. (Oct. 30, 2010) – The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team defeated Croatia 25-16, 25-13, 25-23 Saturday afternoon on the second day of the FIVB World Championship first round Pool C being held at Matsumoto, Japan.

Team USA improves to 2-0 in the pool, which includes a victory over Thailand on the opening day. Croatia, ranked 45th in the FIVB world ranking, had upset No. 6 Cuba in straight sets to open the World Championship. The U.S., ranked second in the world by the FIVB, continues Pool C action against Germany on Oct. 31 at 6 p.m. Japan Time (2 a.m. Pacific Time). After an off-day on Nov. 1, the Americans conclude the first round with matches versus Kazakhstan on Nov. 2 at 6:45 p.m. Japan Time (2:45 a.m. Pacific Time) and against NORCECA rival Cuba on Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. Japan Time (2 a.m. Pacific Time).

The U.S. used a 6-1 scoring run to take a 16-10 advantage in the opening set and cruised to the 25-16 victory. Team USA jumped to a 5-0 lead in the second set and used a 6-0 scoring spurt to take a 17-7 advantage en route to an easy 25-13 victory. Croatia battled back from a 22-16 deficit in the third set to tie the score at 23-all, but the U.S. answered with the final two points for a 25-23 victory.

“I was happy with the team's performance today,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon said. “I thought that in the fundamental areas we played much better than yesterday. That's important for us.”

Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas) led the USA in scoring for the second day in a row at the World Championship with 15 points on 12 kills and three blocks. Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) added seven kills, a match-high four blocks and an ace for 12 points. Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) contributed 10 points with seven kills, two aces and a block. Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) and Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) each charted eight points, while Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) chipped in two points. Ogonna Nnamani (Bloomington, Ill.) rounded out the scoring with a kill.

“Our goal is to play the best volleyball we can and try to improve in every game,” U.S. captain Jennifer Tamas said. “Today was a great team effort and we passed better and served better. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's game.”

Glass set the USA offense to a 40.6 kill percent with 33 running sets. Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) provided the Americans with 23 digs in the back row. Tom added 11 digs and team-leading 15 excellent receptions on 20 errorless chances. Larson added 13 excellent receptions.

“I think Alisha has a big future for the team,” McCutcheon said. “She's able to create at the net and really do things that are special. However, some of her setting fundamentals need work. You can tell when she plays she's a first-year setter, but she was able to lead us to some nice performances in the World Grand Prix. I expect her to keep improving every day, but it's her first World Championship and I'm sure she's anxious. She was better today and I expect her to be better tomorrow.”

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. Barboza was a sub in the first set, while Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) and Nnamani were part of a double switch in the third set.

Team USA held advantages in all scoring categories with a 41-29 kill advantage, 11-7 margin in blocks and a 4-2 edge in aces. The Americans also limited their errors to 14 while Croatia totaled 19. Team USA out-dug Croatia 41-22 and had a 56.3 excellent reception percent. The U.S. offense attacked with a .287 hitting efficiency, while Croatia managed a .156 hitting efficiency with just a 32.2 kill percent.

Croatia was led by Sanja Popovic’s 10 points on seven kills, two blocks and an ace. Senna Usic Jogunica added seven points in the loss.

“The USA is one of the strongest teams in the world at the moment and had a great season this year,” Croatia Head Coach Miroslav Aksentijevic said. “Today, they played a great match, especially in blocking defense. We couldn't start to play good, but also we were a bit tired after yesterday's match, having played the last match yesterday and first match today. We used up a lot of emotional energy yesterday. Today was important as a learning experience. We have to improve to a high level, and we must play every match at a high level, but today we didn't play well. We must forget today and prepare for our match against Thailand. I hope tomorrow we can play better.”

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.

In other matches completed today, Costa Rica defeated Algeria 25-18, 25-21, 25-10 in Pool A at Tokyo and Russia beat Turkey 25-27, 25-22, 25-11, 25-17 in Pool D at Nagoya. Brazil, the top ranked team in the world by the FIVB rankings, came back to defeat Czech Republic 22-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-20, 15-9 in Pool B at Hamamatsu. Later today in Pool A, Poland plays Serbia and Japan hosts Peru in Tokyo. Puerto Rico challenges Kenya and Italy takes on Netherlands in Pool B at Hamamatsu. In Pool C at Matsumoto, Thailand meets Kazakhstan and Cuba looks to rebound against Germany. In Pool at Nagoya, Dominican Republic plays Korea and China challenges Canada.

USA jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening set with kills from Tom and Akinradewo. Hooker followed a Croatia service error with a block to push the lead to 5-2. USA stretched the advantage to 7-3 with a Larson kill and Glass block. The Americans extended their lead to 9-4 with kills from Glass and Bown, which caused Croatia to call a timeout one point out of the technical timeout. Croatia cut the deficit to 10-9 with four straight points capped by an ace and USA attack error. Out of a timeout, the U.S. responded with kills two kills and a block from Tom and an Akinradewo kill to gain a 14-9 lead. Team USA reached the second technical timeout leading 16-10 with a Tom ace after a Hooker kill. Hooker, Larson and Bown connected for consecutive kills to extend the lead to 20-12. Larson followed a Croatia service error with an ace to inch the lead to 22-13. Hooker finished the set with a kill at 25-16. Tom finished the set with six points, while Hooker chipped in five points. The U.S. held a 3-0 block advantage and committed just three errors.

The U.S. bolted to a 4-0 lead in the second set with a Tom block, Akinradewo kill and two Croatia errors. Out of a Croatia timeout, Tom added another block at 5-0 before Croatia scored its first point of the set. Hooker picked up a kill and block to send the USA into the first technical timeout leading 8-2. Larson added a kill and block on consecutive plays to yield a 10-3 advantage. Croatia collected three unanswered points to whittle the deficit to four points at 11-7. USA regrouped with a Bown kill and ace around a Croatia error in doubling up the score at 14-7. Tom added a kill off the block and Croatia failed to receive a Bown serve cleanly for a fourth and fifth straight point to send USA into the second technical timeout up 16-7. Out of the break, Croatia added to the run with another error for a 17-7 lead. After Croatia snapped the 6-0 scoring run, Akinradewo and Tom secured consecutive points for a 19-9 advantage. The U.S. went on to win 25-13 with a Bown and Croatia error capping the set. Larson and Hooker tallied four points apiece in the second set as the Americans picked up five blocks and eight points on Croatia errors.

The U.S. rattled off four unanswered points to gain a 4-1 lead in the third set with a kill and block from Tom and a kill by Akinradewo. Croatia cut the deficit to 5-4 on consecutive points. USA answered with two Hooker kills and Croatia attack error to build an 8-4 margin at the first technical timeout. Out of the break, Croatia could not cover a Bown block attempt to send the score to 9-4. Croatia came back with consecutive points to close to three at 9-6. Hooker and Bown answered with consecutive kills leading to a Croatia timeout down 11-6. However, Croatia continued to battle with three straight points – two off USA errors – to close to 11-9. Bown followed a Croatia service error with a service ace to lift the Americans to a 14-10 advantage. Still, Croatia cut the deficit in half at 14-12. Akinradewo put up a block and kill around a Hooker kill causing Croatia to call timeout down 18-13. After consecutive Croatia errors, Bown stuffed a Croatia attack to inch the USA lead to 22-16. Croatia blocked consecutive USA attacks as part of a 3-0 run to slice the deficit to 22-19. A Croatia block and USA attack error cut the margin to two points at 23-21 leading to an American timeout. Out of the break, Croatia’s Popovic served an ace and Miletic landed a kill to tie the set at 23-all. However, Tom ended the 4-0 spurt with a kill and Croatia hit long on match point for a 25-23 victory.

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

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
Oct. 30: Brazil def. Czech Republic 22-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-20, 15-9
Oct. 30: Kenya vs. Puerto Rico, 15:30
Oct. 30: Netherlands vs. Italy, 18:00
Oct. 31: Puerto Rico vs. Czech Republic, 13:00
Oct. 31: Italy vs. Kenya, 15:30
Oct. 31: Brazil vs. Netherlands, 18:00
Nov. 2: Brazil vs. Puerto Rico, 13:30
Nov. 2: Netherlands vs. Kenya, 16:15
Nov. 2: Czech Republic vs. Italy, 18:45
Nov. 3: Puerto Rico vs. Netherlands, 13:00
Nov. 3: Kenya vs. Czech Republic, 15:30
Nov. 3: Italy vs. Brazil, 18:00

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

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