2011 FIVB World Grand Prix Pools Determined

April 21, 2011, 11:28 p.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman
Associate Director, Communications
Phone: 719-228-6800
E-Mail: bill.kauffman@usav.org

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 21, 2011) – The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, ranked second in the world by the FIVB, will travel to China, Japan and Chinese Taipei for the 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix preliminary round in August. Team USA is the defending champion of the premier annual women’s global volleyball tournament.

In Pool D Aug. 5-7 at Luohe, China, the U.S. Women will face China, Serbia and the winner of World Grand Prix play-in spot between Kazakhstan and Algeria being held May 12-14. Team USA meets Japan, Serbia and Dominican Republic Aug. 12-14 in Pool H in a Japanese city to be determined next month. The Americans conclude the World Grand Prix preliminary round Aug. 19-21 in Chinese Taipei with matches against Italy, Germany and Peru in Pool J.

The FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round will take place Aug. 24-28 in Macau, China. With the expanded preliminary rounds going from 12 to 16 teams, the Final Round has also expanded. The top seven ranked teams from the preliminary round qualifying qualify for the Final Round alongside host China.

“Our 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix schedule will be challenging, as it always is," U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “We will continue to work hard to keep improving through the course of the event as we prepare for the main goal this year, Olympic qualification.”

The U.S. Women’s opponents hold a composite FIVB World Ranking of 9.33 (with Algeria) or 9.78 (with Kazakhstan). The Americans will face top-six teams in Japan (No.3), Italy (No. 4) and China (No. 6). For the first time since 2005, the U.S. Women will their entire World Grand Prix schedule on the same continent and reducing travel.

The U.S. is the reigning FIVB World Grand Prix champion as it ended the 2010 edition with an 11-match win streak. Middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) was named the tournament’s most valuable player and Best Blocker, while setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) was selected Best Setter in her first FIVB senior-level event.

The FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix, which will have the top 10 teams in the world competing, is the premier annual women’s global volleyball tournament and will feature 16 teams for the first time in its 19-year history. Argentina Serbia and potentially Algeria will make their debuts in the tournament.

The 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix will be the third tournament the U.S. Women’s National Team will compete in this year. The Americans are slated to participate in the Montreux Volley Masters event held June 7-12 in Montreux, Switzerland. Team USA will travel to Chihuahua, Mexico, to compete in the X Women’s Pan American Cup being held June 29 to July 9. The schedule continues with the NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship held Sept. 10-18 in Caguas, Puerto Rico. This event is a qualifier into the FIVB World Cup, the first 2012 Olympic Games qualification tournament, held Nov. 4-18 in Japan. If the U.S. does not gain a top-three finish at the FIVB World Cup, it will compete in the NORCECA Olympic Games Qualification Tournament Dec. 10-18 in a country to be announced.

First Preliminary Weekend (Aug. 5-7)
Pool A at Bydogzcz, Poland: Poland, Italy, Dominican Republic, Argentina
Pool B at Nakhonpathom, Thailand: Thailand, Cuba, Peru, Russia
Pool C at Pusan, Korea: Korea, Brazil, Japan, Germany
Pool D at Luohe, China: China, USA, Serbia, Kazakhstan or Algeria

Second Preliminary Weekend (Aug. 12-14)
Pool E at Zielona Gora, Poland: Poland, Cuba, Korea, Argentina
Pool F at Almaty, Kazakhstan: Kazakhstan or Algeria, Italy, Brazil, Thailand
Pool G at Quanzhou, China: China, Russia, Germany, Peru
Pool H at TBA, Japan: Japan, USA, Serbia, Dominican Republic

Third Preliminary Weekend (Aug. 19-21)
Pool I at Hong Kong: China, Poland, Dominican Republic, Kazakhstan or Algeria
Pool J at Chinese Taipei: USA, Italy, Germany, Peru
Pool K at Bangkok, Thailand: Thailand, Cuba, Brazil, Argentina
Pool L at TBA, Japan: Japan, Russia, Serbia, Korea

Final Round at Macau, China (Aug. 24-28)

FIVB World Rankings of World Grand Prix Participants
1-Brazil; 2-USA; 3-Japan; 4-Italy; 5-Russia; 6.-China; 7-Poland; 8.-Cuba; 9-Serbia; 10-Germany; 13-Dominican Republic; 14-Thailand; 15T-Algeria (if qualify in Play-in); 15T-Peru; 18-Korea; 19-Kazakhstan (if qualify in Play-in); 25-Argentina

How the FIVB World Grand Prix Teams Qualified
CEV (Europe): Italy, Germany and Russia (European Qualification Tournament); Poland and Serbia (Automatically Qualified)
NORCECA/CSV (North America/Caribbean and South America): Brazil, Dominican Republic, USA, Peru, Argentina, Cuba (IX Pan American Cup)
AVC (Asia): Thailand and Korea (Asia Continental Championship); China and Japan (Automatically Qualified)