U.S. Women Name World Championship Prelim Roster

Sept. 16, 2010, 8:45 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 16, 2010) - The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team has announced its 20-player preliminary roster for the FIVB Women’s World Championship that will take place Oct. 29 to Nov. 14.

U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) has selected outside hitters Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.), Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.), Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.), Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.), Angie Pressey (Lake Mary, Fla.) and Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) for the World Championship preliminary roster. Middle blockers named to the World Championship preliminary roster are Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.), Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.), Christa Harmotto (Hopewell, Pa.), Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Jennifer Tamas (Milpitas, Calif.).

Among the opposites on the preliminary roster are Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio), Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas), Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa) and Ogonna Nnamani (Bloomington, Ill.). Setters on the preliminary roster are Lindsey Berg (Honolulu, Hawaii), Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) and Nellie Spicer (Barrington, Ill.). Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) and Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) are the libero players on the World Championship preliminary roster.

“We have a lot of talent in the gym, but the coaching staff feels this 20-player preliminary roster represents the strongest athletes in the gym right now," McCutcheon said. "We are confident we can put together a competitive 14-player roster for the World Championship.

The final 14-player roster will be turned into the FIVB World Championship control committee at the preliminary inquiry on Oct. 28.

The Americans qualified for the FIVB World Championship by winning the FIVB World Championship NORCECA Pool G Qualification Tournament held July 6-8 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 21-5 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.

With their three medals in 2010 under second-year head coach McCutcheon, the Americans look to continue their momentum into the 2010 FIVB World Championships after a series of friendly exhibition matches in Brazil at the end of September. The four matches in Brazil will be used to fine tune the World Championship roster.

“We want to use this trip to keep the development of the team moving in the positive direction gained from the World Grand Prix,” McCutcheon said. “We are excited to go to Brazil and compete against the top team in the world in this set of friendly matches. We plan to evaluate a lot of players and use different lineups during this tour. We also get a chance to compete against someone other than ourselves and hopefully learn a lot before going to Japan for the World Championships.”

The 15 players heading to Brazil for the friendly exhibitions will be setters Alisha Glass and Spicer, liberos Sykora and Davis, opposites Hooker, Metcalf and Nnamani, outside hitters Kim Glass, Barboza, Hodge and Larson, and middle blockers Akinradewo, Bown, Paolini and Tamas. All 15 are also part of the 20-player World Championship preliminary roster.

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 Foluke Akinradewo was named the Most Valuable Player and Best Blocker at the 18th FIVB World Grand Prix, while teammate Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) 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. Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas) finished the Final Round as the fourth-best scorer with 76 points (65 kills, 8 blocks, 3 aces) and Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) contributed 66 points (54 kills, 9 blocks, 3 aces) for ninth place. Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) ranked 15th in scoring with 52 points (35 kills, 12 blocks, 5 aces) and Jordan Larson Hooper, Neb.) 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. Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) 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.

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.

U.S. Women’s National Team Preliminary 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)
3 - Christa Harmotto (MB, 6-2, Aliquippa, Pa., 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)
10 - Kim Glass (OH, 6-2, Lancaster, Pa., Arizona)
11 - Jordan Larson (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., Nebraska)
12 - Nancy Metcalf (OPP, 6-1, Hull, Iowa, Nebraska)
13 - Lauren Paolini (MB, 6-4, Ann Arbor, Mich., Texas)
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)
20 - Angie Pressey Forsett (OH, 5-8, Lake Mary, Fla., California)

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