U.S. Over Italy to Go 4-0 at FIVB World Grand Prix

By Bill Kauffman | June 15, 2012, 12 a.m. (ET)

Foluke Akinradewo attacks against Italy as the U.S. improved to 4-0 in the FIVB World Grand Prix

Bill Kauffman
USA Volleyball Communications
Phone: 719-228-6800
Email: bill.kauffman@usav.org


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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 15, 2012) – The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team received balanced scoring to defeat Italy 27-25, 25-20, 25-17 Friday evening during the FIVB World Grand Prix Pool E second preliminary round weekend in Sao Bernardo, Brazil.

Team USA, ranked No. 1 in the world and two-time defending champions of the World Grand Prix, improves to 4-0 with 12 standings points through the first four matches to remain at the top of the 16-team tournament. The U.S. continues Pool E competition against Germany (2-1, 6 points) on June 16 at 2:20 p.m. PT and No. 2 world ranked Brazil (3-0, 6 points) on June 17 at 9:20 a.m. PT. Germany and Brazil play each other later today as part of the three-day, round-robin Pool E.

The U.S. rallied from a 22-18 deficit in the opening set to win 27-25, which included saving a set point at 25-24. While the Americans rushed to an early 6-2 lead in the second set, it was a 5-0 run that built a 20-13 advantage that proved to be the back-breaker for the Italians in a 25-20 victory. The U.S. controlled the entire third set after bolting to a 7-2 advantage and cruised to the 25-17 victory.

“Playing this week with such great teams is very important opportunity for us,” U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “Italy made some changes on their strategy during the match and we were able to adjust ourselves to it. I hope we can improve in each match until Sunday.”

Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas) led the U.S. for the fourth straight FIVB World Grand Prix match with 15 points via 11 kills on 34 attacks, three blocks and one ace. Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) followed with 13 points for the Americans, all on kills from 30 attacks. Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) contributed eight kills, two blocks and two aces for 12 points. Christa Harmotto (Hopewell Township, Pa.) charted six blocks, three kills and an ace for 10 points. Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) added seven kills on 12 errorless attacks and two blocks for nine points. Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.) rounded out the scoring with a kill.

Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) provided the U.S. offense with 27 running sets on 96 set attempts as the U.S. converted 35.5 percent of its attacks for points with a .264 hitting efficiency (43-11-121). Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) and Tom provided 17 digs in the match, while Larson contributed 15. Tom also produced a team-high 15 excellent receptions on 32 errorless chances, while Davis added nine excellent receptions on 18 attempts.

“It was not our best match in the World Grand Prix so far, but we showed good things,” said Berg, who is the U.S. captain. “Winning a match 3-0 is very important for the team’s confidence as we are preparing for the Olympics.”

McCutcheon started Berg at setter, Tom and Larson at outside hitter, Akinradewo and Harmotto at middle blocker and Hooker at opposite. Davis was the designated libero for the match. Haneef-Park and Tamari Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii) subbed into all three sets.

Team USA out-blocked Italy 13-5 in the match and held a 4-2 margin in aces. The U.S. limited its errors to 13 for the match, while taking advantage of 17 Italian errors. Italy forged to a 73-65 advantage in digs. The U.S. charted a 48.3 excellent reception percent, while Italy maintained a 47.1 excellent reception percent. Italy was held to a 31.1 kill percent and .148 hitting efficiency (42-22-135).

Italy was paced by Francesca Piccinini’s 15 points, followed by Lucia Bosetti’s 13 points.

“The United States played a great match,” Italy coach Marco Bracci said. “We should have used more our middle blockers in the offensive actions. I hope we can play better against Brazil because it is going to be a tough match too.”

Earlier today, Thailand (3-1, 9 points) defeated Puerto Rico (1-3, 3 points) 25-18, 19-25, 25-11, 25-19 and host Japan (2-2, 6 points) topped Dominican Republic (1-3, 3 points) 25-17, 25-13, 25-18 in Pool F at Komaki, Japan. In Pool G at Foshan, China, Poland (2-2, 6 points) blanked Korea (0-4, 1 point) 25-17, 25-16, 25-22 and host China (4-0, 12 points) swept Chinese Taipei (0-4, 0 points) 25-13, 25-17, 25-19. Serbia (2-2, 8 points) handled Argentina (0-4, 0 points) 25-23, 23-25, 25-22, 25-17 and Turkey (3-1, 9 points) beat Cuba (3-1, 8 points) 25-16, 20-25, 25-20, 25-20 in Pool H at Belgrad, Serbia.

The 16-team tournament is broken down into three preliminary weekends with four teams competing in round-robin competition in four different locations. The U.S. travels to Thailand for the final preliminary round weekend June 22-24 with matches against SerbiaThe top five teams following the nine-match preliminary round, along with host China, advance to the six-team Final Round held June 27 to July 1 in Ningbo, China.

The U.S. Women are attempting to win its third consecutive FIVB World Grand Prix, the premier annual international women’s volleyball event. Team USA is attempting 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.

The U.S. scored three straight to take a 4-2 lead with a Hooker block and capped by a Tom ace. However, Italy knotted the score at 4-all with the next two points. Team USA answered with an Akinradewo kill and Hooker block for a 6-4 advantage. Italy leveled the score at 6-all after a U.S. error. Italy scored the first three points following the first technical timeout to take a 10-8 lead, then extended its margin to three at 12-9 on a block. Hooker slammed a kill after an Italian service error to pull the U.S. to within one at 14-13, then Tom knotted the set with a kill at 14-all. Italy answered with consecutive points to reach the second technical timeout with a 16-14 edge. Italy gained a three-point cushion at 18-15 prompting McCutcheon to call timeout. Team USA called a second timeout after falling behind 22-18 on an ace. The U.S. cut the deficit in half at 22-20 with a Hooker kill and Akinradewo block leading to an Italian timeout. Out of the break, Akinradewo hammered an overpass and Hooker slammed an attack to pull even at 22-all on Tom’s service run of points. Larson connected for consecutive kills to yield a U.S. set point at 24-23. However, Italy saved the set point and followed with an ace to take a 25-24 set point of its own. Harmotto answered with a kill and block to push the lead back to the U.S. at 26-25. Haneef-Park ended the set with a kill at 27-25. Hooker notched six points in the opening set to lead the U.S., while Larson added five points. Team USA out-blocked Italy 4-2 and limited its errors to three in the set.

After the U.S. scored the first two points of the second set on Italy errors, the score moved back into a tie at 2-all. However, Akinradewo put up consecutive blocks after a Italy error and Tom served an ace for a 6-2 advantage. Italy raced back to within one at 6-5. Team USA stretched the lead to 11-7 kills by Hooker and Berg around a Tom block leading to a Italy timeout. Out of the break, Italy scored the next two points to slice the deficit to 11-9. Italy moved to within one at 12-11 on a block. A Tom kill and Italy error returned the U.S. to a three-point cushion at 14-11. Hooker tallied a kill and block on both sides of the second technical timeout and Harmotto followed with a block of her own to extend Team USA’s lead to 18-13. Italy gave the U.S. a fourth straight point with an error and Harmotto added another block at 20-13. After Tom put up a block following a Hooker kill to give set points at 24-18, Italy saved two set points before serving into the net at 25-20. Hooker scored five points in the set, while Harmotto notched four blocks. Team USA scored eight blocks in the second set alone.

Team USA scored the first two points of the third set with an Akinradewo kill and Italy error. After an Italian service error, Larson hammered a kill to increase the lead to 4-1. Team USA’s advantage moved to 7-2 as Akinradewo and Larson connected for kills around an Italian error. Hooker served an ace after a Larson kill to extend the lead to 9-3. Italy cut two points off the gap with at 9-5. Larson and Harmotto hit back-to-back kills at 11-5, only to have Italy score the next two points to close to 11-7. Italy called a timeout down 13-7 after a Tom kill and Italy error. Out of the break, Harmotto served an ace and Larson hit a back-row kill to widen the gap to 15-7. Italy cut the margin to six at 19-13 with consecutive points. Harmotto answered with a slide kill and block to increase the American lead to 21-13. Tom and Larson ended the set with consecutive kills at 25-17.

For more details on the 2012 FIVB World Grand Prix, visit the U.S. event page at usavolleyball.org/events/10257 or the FIVB event page by clicking 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 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)

Legend: * Weekend 1; # Weekend 2; ^ Weekend 3; % Final Round

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 (Laguna Beach, Calif.)

2012 FIVB World Grand Prix Standings

Team (Points, Record)

USA (12, 4-0)

China (12, 4-0)

Thailand (9, 3-1)

Turkey (9, 3-1)

Cuba (8, 3-1)

Serbia (8, 2-2)

Brazil (6, 3-0) 6/15 vs Germany

Germany (6, 2-1) 6/15 vs Brazil

Poland (6, 2-2)

Japan (6, 2-2)

Italy (4, 1-3)

Puerto Rico (3, 1-3)

Dominican Republic (3, 1-3)

Korea (1, 0-4)

Argentina (0, 0-4)

Chinese Taipei (0, 0-4)

POINTS NOTE: 3 points for 3-0 or 3-1 win, 2 points for 3-2 win; 1 point for 3-2 loss; 0 points for 3-0 or 3-1 loss

FIVB Women’s World Cup Schedule

Pool A – Macau, China

June 8: Thailand def. Argentina 25-18, 25-9, 25-22

June 8: China def. Puerto Rico 25-15, 25-19, 25-16

June 9: Thailand def. Puerto Rico 25-21, 25-20, 25-22

June 9: China def. Argentina 23-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-18

June 10: Puerto Rico def. Argentina 25-20, 25-16, 16-25, 25-17

June 10: China def. Thailand 18-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-19

Pool B – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

June 8: USA def. Germany 25-17, 25-15, 23-25, 25-11

June 8: Dominican Republic def. Chinese Taipei 25-23, 25-19, 25-18

June 9: USA def. Chinese Taipei 25-10, 25-22, 25-12

June 9: Germany def. Dominican Republic 25-16, 25-18, 25-19

June 10: Germany def. Chinese Taipei 25-11, 25-15, 25-15

June 10: USA def. Dominican Republic 25-18, 25-19, 25-15

Pool C – Busan, Korea

June 8: Turkey def. Japan 25-19, 25-21, 25-21

June 8: Cuba def. Korea 23-25, 27-25, 25-18, 23-25, 15-11

June 9: Turkey def. Korea 25-18, 22-25, 25-21, 25-14

June 9: Cuba def. Japan 25-20, 20-25, 25-18, 25-20

June 10: Japan def. Korea 25-19, 23-25, 25-19, 25-22

June 10: Cuba def. Turkey 25-20, 21-25, 25-17, 25-20

Pool D – Lodz, Poland

June 8: Brazil def. Italy 18-25, 25-22, 25-21, 20-25, 15-6

June 8: Poland def. Serbia 24-26, 25-22, 20-25, 25-16, 15-10

June 9: Brazil def. Serbia 21-25, 25-18, 25-23, 23-25, 15-5

June 9: Italy def. Poland 25-22, 23-25, 25-20, 31-29

June 10: Serbia def. Italy 25-18, 25-14, 25-23

June 10: Brazil def. Poland 25-15, 25-13, 23-25, 22-25, 15-10

Pool E – Sao Paulo, Brazil

June 15: USA def. Italy 27-25, 25-20, 25-17

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 def. Puerto Rico 25-18, 19-25, 25-11, 25-19

June 15: Japan def. Dominican Republic 25-17, 25-13, 25-18

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: Poland def. Korea 25-17, 25-16, 25-22

June 15: China def. Chinese Taipei 25-13, 25-17, 25-19

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 def. Argentina 25-23, 23-25, 25-22, 25-17

June 15: Turkey def. Cuba 25-16, 20-25, 25-20, 25-20

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. (2:20 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