Associate Director, Communications
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (updated Jan. 14, 2012) – The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team will have a daunting 2012 FIVB World Grand Prix schedule as it attempts to win the tournament for the third consecutive year.
The U.S. Women, which is ranked No. 1 in the world after finishing with the silver medal at the 2011 season-ending FIVB World Cup, will face No. 2 Brazil along with FIVB World Cup gold-medalist Italy and 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix bronze medalist Serbia.
Upon confirmation from the FIVB, the 2012 World Grand Prix schedule has some pool adjustments from the initial announcement. The U.S. opens the tournament in Pool B held June 8-10 in Dominican Republic. The U.S. will face No. 8 Germany, No. 9 Dominican Republic and either No. 15 Kenya or No. 28 Chinese Taipei (depends on outcome of World Grand Prix qualifying match). Team USA’s schedule does not get any easier the following week with a trip to Brazil to play the host country, No. 4 Italy and a rematch with Germany. During the final preliminary round weekend held June 22-24, the U.S. takes on No. 6 Serbia, No. 12 Thailand and either Kenya or Chinese Taipei in Thailand.
Overall, six of Team USA’s nine preliminary round matches will be against teams ranked among the top 10 in the world. A total of 16 teams will compete in the three preliminary rounds with four teams each competing at four different sites each round.
"The FIVB World Grand Prix schedule is always challenging and, without question, that holds true for the 2012 edition of this competition," U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. "These tough matches can only help our preparation for London."
The FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round will be held in Ningbo, China. The city has previously hosted the final stage in 2007 and 2010. The top five teams at the end of the three preliminary round weekends will join host China in Ningbo where they will be split into two pools of three teams. The top two teams from each group will move on to the semifinals. The semifinal winners will play for the gold, while the semifinal losers will compete for the bronze medal.
The U.S. has won this premier annual international women’s volleyball tournament in 2010 and 2011. During the 2010 edition, Team USA won its final 11 matches including all five victories in the round-robin Final Round format to claim the gold. In 2011, the U.S. reached the Final Round with an 8-1 record, then avenged a Final Round pool play loss to Brazil with a 3-0 victory over the South American juggernaut in the gold-medal match.
Team USA qualified for the 2012 FIVB World Grand Prix by earning the bronze medal at the 2011 Pan American Cup.
The U.S. Women finished the season with a 39-10 record and qualification into the 2012 Olympic Games during the first qualification tournament with a silver at the 2011 FIVB World Cup. In addition, Team USA earned five podium finishes in six tournaments with two gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals.
By finishing on the FIVB World Cup podium, the U.S. joins Italy, China and host England as the four teams already qualified for the 12-team Olympic Games field for indoor women’s volleyball. The Olympic Games are scheduled for July 28 to Aug. 12 in London with the women’s indoor competition taking place on alternating days at Earls Court.
2012 FIVB World Grand Prix Pools
Week 1 (June 8-10)
Group A (at Macau, China): Puerto Rico, China, Thailand, Argentina
Group B (at Dominican Republic): USA, Germany, Dominican Republic, Kenya/Chinese Taipei
Group C (at Korea): Japan, Cuba, Korea, Turkey
Group D (at Poland): Brazil, Serbia, Italy, Poland
Week 2 (June 15-17)
Group E (at Brazil): Brazil, Germany, Italy, USA
Group F (at Japan): Japan, Dominican Republic, Thailand, Puerto Rico
Group G (at Chinese Taipei): Poland, China, Kenya/Chinese Taipei, Korea
Group H (at Serbia): Cuba, Serbia, Turkey, Argentina
Week 3 (June 22-24)
Group I (at Japan): Japan, Germany, Korea, Turkey
Group J (at Thailand): USA, Serbia, Thailand, Kenya/Chinese Taipei
Group K (at China): Brazil, China, Cuba, Puerto Rico
Group L (at Kazakhstan): Italy, Poland, Dominican Republic, Argentina