U.S. Women Prepare for Strong FIVB World Cup

Oct. 20, 2011, 10:20 p.m. (ET)

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

U.S. Women's Press Kit for FIVB World Cup

U.S. Women's Event Page for FIVB World Cup

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 20, 2011) – The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, ranked second in the world by the FIVB, has announced its 20-player preliminary roster for the season-ending FIVB Women’s World Cup to be held Nov. 4-18 in Japan. The event is the first 2012 Olympic Games qualification event with the top three countries earning a ticket to London next summer.

U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) has selected four setters, five outside hitters, five middle blockers, three opposites and three liberos for the FIVB World Cup preliminary roster. The U.S. coaching staff will trim the roster to 14 players who will travel to Japan for the World Cup with the roster becoming finalized at the preliminary inquiry two days before the event starts. Each team can suit 12 players for each World Cup match and can change from one match to the next.

The U.S. preliminary roster includes setters include Lindsey Berg (Honolulu), Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.), Nellie Spicer (Barrington, Ill.) and Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.). Outside hitters selected to the preliminary roster are Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.), Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.), Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.), Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) and Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah). Middle blockers chosen to the preliminary roster are Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.), Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.), Christa Harmotto (Hopewell, Pa.), Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) and Jennifer Tamas (Milpitas, Calif.).

Opposites selected for the preliminary roster are Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.), Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas) and Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa). Liberos in the mix for the World Cup are Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.), Tamari Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii) and Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas).

“There’s a lot of good volleyball players on this list,” McCutcheon said. “We feel very fortunate to have this kind of depth in our program.”

The roster includes 10 players with Olympic Games experience, while 15 of the 20 preliminary roster players have experience at FIVB World Championship events. The preliminary roster averages 155 national team selections per player.

The 2011 FIVB World Cup competition format includes a 12-team tournament field with a round-robin schedule that has each team playing 11 matches over 15 days. Each of the five continental championship winners earned berths into the tournament, along with the four best vice-champions based on world rankings as of Jan. 15. Further, Japan received a spot in the World Cup as the host country, while Italy and Argentina were named wild card teams.

“The World Cup is a very demanding event,” McCutcheon said. “We have been working all summer for the opportunity to compete in this tournament, and I think our preparation has been solid. It’s physically demanding because of the schedule, it’s mentally demanding because there’s Olympic qualification on the line – but that’s not a surprise, we prepare for that.”

Team USA opens the FIVB World Cup at Nagano with three key battles to open the tournament. On the first day of the tournament, he Americans will face top-ranked Brazil on Nov. 4 in a battle among favorites to win the World Cup. The Americans defeated their South American rivals in the 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix gold-medal match in August. The first round of competition in Nagano does not get any easier on day two as the U.S. plays No. 5 Serbia, the FIVB World Grand Prix bronze medalist. Serbia won one of three meetings with Team USA at the World Grand Prix this summer. The Americans conclude the first round on Nov. 6 against No. 13 Korea.

After a travel day on Nov. 7 to Toyama the U.S. returns to the court on Nov. 8 against African zone champion and No. 15 Kenya on Nov. 8. The Americans end their brief stay in Toyama with a Nov. 9 match with European Championship runner-up Germany, ranked No. 9 in the world.

Team USA travels to Okayama for the third round, which begins with a Nov. 11 match with No. 20 Argentina. The U.S. faces African Championship runner-up and No. 17 Algeria on Nov. 12 before concluding the third round against NORCECA runner-up and No. 14 Dominican Republic on Nov. 13.

The FIVB World Cup concludes Nov. 16-18 with two sites in Tokyo. The U.S. challenges No. 6 China on Nov. 16, followed by No. 7 Italy on Nov. 17 and host and No. 4 Japan on Nov. 18. China was the Asian champions.

“There are a lot of good teams competing in this World Cup,” McCutcheon said. “So the ability to be good over time is very important. We start with a great opponent in Brazil. We’ll try and play to the best of our ability there, and then we can focus on our next opponent.”

UniversalSports.com will provide free live video stream coverage of all 11 Team USA matches for viewers in the United States and its territories. In addition, tape-delay television broadcasts will be shown on Universal Sports. For additional information, click here.

Team USA will be making its eighth appearance in the FIVB World Cup, missing just the 1985 and 1989 World Cups. The Americans have finished with the bronze medal in each of the past two FIVB World Cup competitions, thus earning spots into the next year’s Olympic Games on the first attempt without going through the Continental Olympic qualification or World Olympic qualification tournaments. For 2011, duplicating the podium finishes at the 2003 and 2007 FIVB World Cups remains the number-one focus while utilizing each and every match to improve overall as the long-term goal.

Team USA is currently 30-8 (as of Oct. 20) in 2011 with almost all competition coming in four tournaments. Team USA used a mix of veterans and young players at the first two tournaments of the season resulting in a fourth-place finish at the Montreux Volley Masters and the bronze medal at the Pan American Cup. Based on its finish at the Pan American Cup, the U.S. qualified for the 2012 FIVB World Grand Prix next year.

In August 2011, the U.S. captured its second consecutive FIVB World Grand Prix title culminating with a win over top-ranked Brazil in three sets. During the tournament, the Americans won 12 of 14 matches with losses to Brazil in the Final Round pool play and to improving Serbia. Like its second match against Brazil, Team USA came back to defeat Serbia in the World Grand Prix semifinals to advance to the gold-medal match. While Destinee Hooker earned the tournament’s most valuable player, the U.S. squad had different players step up in different matches making the championship a true team effort.

With little time to celebrate the World Grand Prix victory, the U.S. returned to the gym in preparation for the NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship that started about two weeks after leaving the World Grand Prix. Team USA swept through the competition at the NORCECA Championship without dropping a set in the tournament. The Americans defeated Canada and Trinidad & Tobago in pool play, followed by victories over Mexico in the quarterfinals, Cuba in the semifinals and Dominican Republic in the championship match to earn a spot in the FIVB World Cup. Lindsey Berg was tabbed as the Best Setter of the tournament, while Logan Tom earned Best Server. Further, McCutcheon received the Eugenio George Award as the top coach in the tournament.

Using a roster with seven players competing in their first senior-level international tournament, the U.S. finished the Pan American Games with the bronze medal after topping an experienced Dominican Republic team in four sets on Oct. 20.

Based on the success over the past two years in the current Olympic quadrennial, McCutcheon sees no added pressure going into the first Olympic Games qualification event.

“As far as dealing with other people’s expectations, I’m not sure that we worry a whole lot about that,” McCutcheon said. “Obviously we hope to be successful in this event, but all we can control is our preparation and our performance. It’s a lot about us trying to be the best we can be, and playing as well as we can, every time we step on to the floor. What we expect from each other, in terms of our effort and our commitment to this team is significantly more important than the expectations of the outside world. We’ll just try to play the best we can and ultimately we will be either good enough or we won’t be. We want to get to the end of this tournament knowing that we did everything we could do to be successful.”

U.S. Women’s National Team Preliminary Roster for FIVB World Cup
# - Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 – Alisha Glass (S, 6-0, Leland, Mich., Penn State)
2 – Danielle Scott-Arruda (MB, 6-2, Baton Rouge, La., Long Beach State)
3 - Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Opp, 6-7, Laguna Hills, Calif., Long Beach 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 - Christa Harmotto (MB, 6-2, Hopewell, Pa., Penn State)
14 - Tamari Miyashiro (L, 5-7, Kaneohe, Hawaii, Washington)
15 - Logan Tom (OH, 6-1, Salt Lake City, Utah, Stanford)
16 - Foluke Akinradewo (MB, 6-3, Plantation, Fla., Stanford)
17 - Mary ‘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 – Courtney Thompson (S, 5-8, Kent, Wash., Washington)

Head Coach: Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Assistant Coach: Karch Kiraly (San Clemente, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: Paula Weishoff (Irvine, Calif.)
Assistant Coach/Technical Coordinator: Jamie Morrison (Dana Point, Calif.)
Athletic Trainer/Medical Support: Jill Wosmek (Silver Lake, Minn.)
Team Doctors: Dr. Lori Boyajian-O’Neill and Dr. William Briner, Jr.
Scouts: Guiseppe Vinci, Jenni Hirneisen
Nutritionist: Shawn Dolan
Chiropractor: Dustin Glass
Team Manager: Ken Sullivan (Laguna Beach, Calif.)

FIVB Women’s World Cup Field
Team (Qualification Method, Jan. 15 World Ranking, Current World Ranking)
Brazil (South American Champions, 1, 1)
USA (NORCECA Champions, 2, 2)
Japan (Hosts, 3, 4)
Serbia (European Champions, 9, 5)
China (Asia Champions, 6, 6)
Italy (Wild Card, 4, 7)
Germany (European runner-up, 10, 9)
Korea (Asian bronze medalist^, 18, 13)
Dominican Republic (NORCECA runner-up, 13, 14)
Kenya (African Champions, 23, 15)
Algeria (African runnerup, 15, 17)
Argentina (Wild Card, 25, 20)

FIVB Women’s World Cup Schedule

First Round Site A (at Hiroshima Sun Plaza)
Nov. 4: China vs. Algeria, 11 a.m.
Nov. 4: Dominican Republic vs. Argentina, 2:30 p.m.
Nov. 4: Italy vs. Japan, 6:20 p.m.
Nov. 5: Algeria vs. Dominican Republic, 11 a.m.
Nov. 5: Italy vs. China, 3 p.m.
Nov. 5: Japan vs. Argentina, 6:20 p.m.
Nov. 6: Dominican Republic vs. Italy, 11 a.m.
Nov. 6: Argentina vs. Algeria, 3 p.m.
Nov. 6: China vs. Japan, 6:20 p.m.

First Round Site B (at Nagano White Ring)
Nov. 4: Serbia vs. Korea, 11 a.m.
Nov. 4: Kenya vs. Germany, 2:30 p.m.
Nov. 4: USA vs. Brazil, 6:20 p.m. (2:20 a.m. PT)
Nov. 5: Korea vs. Germany, 11 a.m.
Nov. 5: Serbia vs. USA, 3 p.m. (11 p.m. PT on Nov. 4)
Nov. 5: Brazil vs. Kenya, 6:20 p.m.
Nov. 6: Kenya vs. Serbia, 11 a.m.
Nov. 6: Germany vs. Brazil, 3 p.m.
Nov. 6: USA vs. Korea, 6:20 p.m. (2:20 a.m. PT)

Second Round Site A (at Hiroshima Sun Plaza)
Nov. 8: China vs. Dominican Republic, 11 a.m.
Nov. 8: Italy vs. Argentina, 3 p.m.
Nov. 8: Japan vs. Algeria, 6:20 p.m.
Nov. 9: Argentina vs. China, 11 a.m.
Nov. 9: Algeria vs. Italy, 3 p.m.
Nov. 9: Dominican Republic vs. Japan, 6:20 p.m.

Second Round Site B (at Toyama City Gymnasium)
Nov. 8: USA vs. Kenya, 11 a.m. (6 p.m. PT on Nov. 7)
Nov. 8: Korea vs. Brazil, 3 p.m.
Nov. 8: Serbia vs. Germany, 6:20 p.m.
Nov. 9: Kenya vs. Korea, 11 a.m.
Nov. 9: Brazil vs. Serbia, 3 p.m.
Nov. 9: USA vs. Germany, 6:20 p.m. (1:20 a.m. PT)

Third Round Site A (Sapporo Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center)
Nov. 11: Italy vs. Korea, 11 a.m.
Nov. 11: China vs. Brazil, 3 p.m.
Nov. 11: Japan vs. Serbia, 7:20 p.m.
Nov. 12: Italy vs. Brazil, 11 a.m.
Nov. 12: China vs. Serbia, 3 p.m.
Nov. 12: Japan vs. Korea, 6:20 p.m.
Nov. 13: Italy vs. Serbia, 11 a.m.
Nov. 13: China vs. Korea, 3 p.m.
Nov. 13: Japan vs. Brazil, 6:20 p.m.

Third Round Site B (at Okayama Momotaro Arena)
Nov. 11: Dominican Republic vs. Kenya, 11 a.m.
Nov. 11: Algeria vs. Germany, 3 p.m.
Nov. 11: USA vs. Argentina, 6:20 p.m. (1:20 a.m. PT)
Nov. 12: Dominican Republic vs. Germany, 11 a.m.
Nov. 12: Argentina vs. Kenya, 3 p.m.
Nov. 12: USA vs. Algeria, 6:20 p.m. (1:20 a.m. PT)
Nov. 13: Argentina vs. Germany, 11 a.m.
Nov. 13: Algeria vs. Kenya, 3 p.m.
Nov. 13: USA vs. Dominican Republic, 6:20 p.m. (1 a.m. PT)

Fourth Round Site A (at Tokyo Yoyogi National Stadium)
Nov. 16: USA vs. China, 11 a.m. (6 p.m. PT on Nov. 15)
Nov. 16: Italy vs. Germany, 3 p.m.
Nov. 16: Japan vs. Kenya, 6:20 p.m.
Nov. 17: China vs. Kenya, 11 a.m.
Nov. 17: USA vs. Italy, 3 p.m. (10 p.m. PT on Nov. 16)
Nov. 17: Japan vs. Germany, 6:20 p.m.
Nov. 18: Italy vs. Kenya, 11 a.m.
Nov. 18: China vs. Germany, 3 p.m.
Nov. 18: USA vs. Japan, 6:20 p.m. (1:20 a.m. PT)

Fourth Round Site B (at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium)
Nov. 16: Dominican Republic vs. Serbia, 11 a.m.
Nov. 16: Algeria vs. Korea, 3 p.m.
Nov. 16: Argentina vs. Brazil, 6:20 p.m.
Nov. 17: Dominican Republic vs. Korea, 11 a.m.
Nov. 17: Algeria vs. Brazil, 3 p.m.
Nov. 17: Argentina vs. Serbia, 6:20 p.m.
Nov. 18: Algeria vs. Serbia, 11 a.m.
Nov. 18: Dominican Republic vs. Brazil, 2 p.m.
Nov. 18: Argentina vs. Korea, 5 p.m.