More Than 3 Peat at Stake for US at World Grand Prix

By Bill Kauffman | June 05, 2012, 12 a.m. (ET)

Photo: Courtesy FIVB

Jordan Larson (left) holds the 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix trophy as Lindsey Berg takes her picture after the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team won the event for the second year in a row.

Bill Kauffman
USA Volleyball Communications
Phone: 719-228-6800


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 5, 2012) – The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, ranked No. 1 in the world by the FIVB, takes to the road this month in an attempt to win its third consecutive FIVB World Grand Prix, the premier annual international women’s volleyball event held June 8 to July 1 in locations around the globe.

But more importantly, the World Grand Prix will provide Team USA with an opportunity to continue raising its level of play and make final preparations for the 2012 Olympic Games.

“Obviously the FIVB World Grand Prix is another chance to compete and get better in preparation for London,” U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “There is a lot of value to get out of this tournament and hopefully we can make the most of this opportunity.”

Team USA enters the 20th edition of FIVB World Grand Prix as two-time defending champions having won in 2010 and 2011. The U.S. opens the tournament on June 8 with three consecutive matches in Dominican Republic against No. 8 Germany, No. 28 Chinese Taipei and No. 9 Dominican Republic. Team USA travels south to Brazil to face No. 4 Italy, No. 8 Germany and No. 2 Brazil from June 15-17. The preliminary round ends June 22-24 with matches against No. 6 Serbia, No. 18 Argentina and No. 12 Thailand in Thailand. Out of the nine preliminary round matches, the U.S. will face four Olympic Games qualified teams (Dominican Republic, Italy, Brazil, Serbia).

“At this stage of the season, our focus will be primarily on our side of the net,” McCutcheon said in reference to playing a strong World Grand Prix preliminary round phase that includes the four Olympic qualified teams and six matches against top 10 teams. “We want to win every match when we step onto the court, but right now our focus is centered on the USA team and our preparation for London.”

To reach the Final Round for the third consecutive year, the U.S. must finish among the top five teams in the preliminary round. The six-team Final Round, which includes host China, will take place June 27 to July 1 in Ningbo, China, starting with two pools of three. The top two teams in each Final Round pool advance to the crossover semifinal on June 30 before the medal-round matches on July 1.

Team USA will try to become just the second country to win the FIVB World Grand Prix for three consecutive years. Aside from the U.S., only Brazil has successfully defended its title having won the tournament three consecutive years from 2004 to 2006 and back-to-back years in 2008 and 2009.

However, McCutcheon is a proponent of competing in the present and working toward the future.

“From our perspective, the past two World Grand Prix titles do not have any bearing on this campaign,” McCutcheon said. “This tournament is not connected in any way to the past tournaments. This is a different year with different goals.”

With the Olympics starting just 27 days after the last point of the 2012 FIVB World Grand Prix, the summer international volleyball season is compressed into a short time period with teams looking to stay healthy, rested and peaking at the right time for the Olympic Games. All three factors are part of the task that nine Olympic Games qualified teams face in the 16-team World Grand Prix. Further, the U.S. schedule in July includes the Pan American Cup, which serves as the qualification event into the 2013 FIVB World Grand Prix, and three exhibition matches against Bulgaria.

With such a packed summer volleyball calendar leading into the Olympic Games, the FIVB has expanded the World Grand Prix preliminary roster to 25 athletes. Each country will then need to reduce the roster to 14 maximum of 14 players per preliminary round weekend and Final round. U.S. rosters for each preliminary round weekend will be announced on the day of the preliminary inquiry (Thursdays) when the roster is officially turned into the control committee.

McCutcheon has selected five setters, four opposites, seven outside hitters, six middle blockers and three liberos to the preliminary roster. The setters include two-time Olympian and 2012 USA Volleyball Indoor Female Athlete of the Year Lindsey Berg (Honolulu), Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.), Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif.), Nellie Spicer (Barrington, Ill.) and Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.). U.S. liberos include three-time Olympian Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas), 2008 Olympian Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) and Tamari Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii).

McCutcheon has selected two-time Olympian Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.), 2004 Olympian Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa), 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix most valuable player Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas) and Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) as opposites on the World Grand Prix preliminary roster. Outside hitters on the preliminary roster include three-time Olympian Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah), 2008 Olympian Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.), Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.), Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.), Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.), Alix Klineman (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Kristin Richards (Orem, Utah).

Middle blockers on the preliminary roster are four-time Olympian Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.), three-time Olympian Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.), 2008 Olympian Jennifer Tamas (Milpitas, Calif.), 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix most valuable player Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.), Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.) and Christa Harmotto (Hopewell, Pa.).

For more details on the 2012 FIVB World Grand Prix, click here.

To view the 2012 U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team FIVB World Grand Prix Press Kit, click here.

U.S. Women’s National Team Preliminary Roster for 2012 FIVB World Grand Prix

# - 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 - 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 – Carli Lloyd (S, 5-11, Bonsall, Calif., California-Berkeley)

18 - Megan Hodge (OH, 6-3, Durham, N.C., Penn State)

19 - Destinee Hooker (Opp, 6-4, San Antonio, Texas, Texas)

20 – Alix Klineman (OH, 6-4, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Stanford)

21 - Tamari Miyashiro (L, 5-7, Kaneohe, Hawaii, Washington)

22 – Courtney Thompson (S, 5-8, Kent, Wash., Washington)

23 - Mary ‘Nellie’ Spicer (S, 5-9, Barrington, Ill., UCLA)

24 – Kristin Richards (OH, 6-1, Orem, Utah, Stanford)

25 – Lauren Gibbemeyer (MB, 6-2, St. Paul, Minn., Minnesota)

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 Manager: Ken Sullivan

Pool A – Macau, China

June 8: Argentina vs. Thailand, 5:20 p.m.

June 8: China vs. Puerto Rico, 8:50 p.m.

June 9: Puerto Rico vs. Thailand, 2:50 p.m.

June 9: Argentina vs. China, 5:20 p.m.

June 10: Argentina vs. Puerto Rico, 12:50 p.m.

June 10: China vs. Thailand, 3:20 p.m.

Pool B – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

June 8: USA vs. Germany, 5 p.m. (2 p.m. PT)

June 8: Dominican Republic vs. Chinese Taipei, 7:30 p.m.

June 9: USA vs. Chinese Taipei, 5 p.m. (2 p.m. PT)

June 9: Germany vs. Dominican Republic, 7:30 p.m.

June 10: Germany vs. Chinese Taipei, 2:30 p.m.

June 10: USA vs. Dominican Republic, 5 p.m. (2 p.m. PT)

Pool C – Busan, Korea

June 8: Japan vs. Turkey, 2 p.m.

June 8: Korea vs. Cuba, 4:30 p.m.

June 9: Korea vs. Turkey, 2 p.m.

June 9: Japan vs. Cuba, 4:30 p.m.

June 10: Korea vs. Japan, 2 p.m.

June 10: Cuba vs. Turkey, 4:30 p.m.

Pool D – Lodz, Poland

June 8: Italy vs. Brazil, 5:30 p.m.

June 8: Poland vs. Serbia, 8 p.m.

June 9: Serbia vs. Brazil, 12:30 p.m.

June 9: Poland vs. Italy, 3 p.m.

June 10: Italy vs. Serbia, 5:30 p.m.

June 10: Poland vs. Brazil, 8 p.m.

Pool E – Sao Paulo, Brazil

June 15: USA vs. Italy, 6:20 p.m. (2:20 p.m. PT)

June 15: Brazil vs. Germany, 8:20 p.m.

June 16: USA vs. Germany, 6:20 p.m. (2:20 p.m. PT)

June 16: Brazil vs. Italy, 8:20 p.m.

June 17: USA vs. Brazil, 1:20 p.m. (9:20 a.m. PT)

June 17: Germany vs. Italy, 3:20 p.m.

Pool F – Komaki, Japan

June 15: Thailand vs. Puerto Rico, 3:20 p.m.

June 15: Japan vs. Dominican Republic, 6:20 p.m.

June 16: Dominican Republic vs. Thailand, 3:20 p.m.

June 16: Japan vs. Puerto Rico, 6:20 p.m.

June 17: Dominican Republic vs. Puerto Rico, 3 p.m.

June 17: Japan vs. Thailand, 6 p.m.

Pool G – Foshan, China

June 15: Korea vs. Poland, 4 p.m.

June 15: China vs. Chinese Taipei, 7:30 p.m.

June 16: Poland vs. Chinese Taipei, 4 p.m.

June 16: China vs. Korea, 7:30 p.m.

June 17: Korea vs. Chinese Taipei, 4 p.m.

June 17: China vs. Poland, 7:30 p.m.

Pool H – Belgrade, Serbia

June 15: Serbia vs. Argentina, 5:20 p.m.

June 15: Cuba vs. Turkey, 8:05 p.m.

June 16: Cuba vs. Serbia, 5:20 p.m.

June 16: Turkey vs. Argentina, 8:05 p.m.

June 17: Serbia vs. Turkey, 5:20 p.m.

June 17: Argentina vs. Cuba, 8:05 p.m.

Pool I – Osaka, Japan

June 22: Korea vs. Turkey, 3:20 p.m.

June 22: Japan vs. Germany, 6:20 p.m.

June 23: Germany vs. Korea, 3:20 p.m.

June 23: Japan vs. Turkey, 6:20 p.m.

June 24: Germany vs. Turkey, 3 p.m.

June 24: Japan vs. Korea, 6 p.m.

Pool J – Bangkok, Thailand

June 22: USA vs. Serbia, 1:50 p.m. (11:50 p.m. PT on June 21)

June 22: Thailand vs. Argentina, 4:20 p.m.

June 23: USA vs. Argentina, 1:50 p.m. (11:50 p.m. PT on June 22)

June 23: Serbia vs. Thailand, 4:20 p.m.

June 24: Argentina vs. Serbia, 1:50 p.m.

June 24: USA vs. Thailand, 4:20 p.m. (2 a.m. PT)

Pool K – Luohe, China

June 22: Cuba vs. Brazil, 4 p.m.

June 22: China vs. Puerto Rico, 7:30 p.m.

June 23: Puerto Rico vs. Brazil, 4 p.m.

June 23: China vs. Cuba, 7:30 p.m.

June 24: Cuba vs. Puerto Rico, 4 p.m.

June 24: China vs. Brazil, 7:30 p.m.

Pool L – Taipei, Chinese Taipei

June 22: Italy vs. Dominican Republic, 4 p.m.

June 22: Poland vs. Chinese Taipei, 7:30 p.m.

June 23: Italy vs. Chinese Taipei, 5 p.m.

June 23: Poland vs. Dominican Republic, 7 p.m.

June 24: Dominican Republic vs. Chinese Taipei, 5 p.m.

June 24: Italy vs. Poland, 7 p.m.

FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round

Ningbo, China – June 27 to July 1

Top five teams from preliminary round plus China