U.S. Women Prevail Over Brazil 3-1, Now 6-0

By Bill Kauffman | June 17, 2012, 12 a.m. (ET)

Christa Harmotto (left) and Lindsey Berg (4) put up a block versus Brazil in a four-set U.S. victory to remain undefeated 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 17, 2012) – The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team rallied from a first set loss to defeat Brazil 20-25, 25-18, 25-18, 25-23 in a battle of FIVB World Grand Prix undefeated teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the world Sunday afternoon during the 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 6-0 with 18 standings points through the first six matches to remain at the top of the 16-team tournament. Both the U.S. and China are undefeated at 6-0 with 18 points, but the Americans lead in point ratio (1.327 to 1.292). Brazil, which entered the tournament as the No. 2 country in the world rankings by FIVB, had won four of its first five matches in five sets. Brazil is now 5-1 in the World Grand Prix with 11 points.

The U.S. concludes the World Grand Prix preliminary round next week with matches against Serbia on June 22, Argentina on June 23 and host Thailand on June 24. The 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.

During the 2012 FIVB World Grand Prix, the U.S. has now defeated No. 2 Brazil, No. 4 Italy, No. 8 Germany twice, No. 9 Dominican Republic and No. 28 Chinese Taipei while losing just two sets.

Brazil broke a 16-all tie in the opening set with a 7-1 scoring run in moving on to a 25-20 victory. The U.S. evened the match with a 25-18 second set victory as it pushed to an early 9-3 advantage, then scored the final four points as Brazil attempted to mount a comeback. After three early ties and two lead changes in the third set, the U.S. broke a 3-all tie with seven unanswered points and cruised to the 25-18 victory that included six blocks. Like the second and third sets, Team USA bolted to an early 9-3 lead on an 8-1 scoring run. But unlike the two previous sets, Brazil came back to tie the set at 13-all. However, USA would never let Brazil into the lead and capped the set at 25-23 after breaking the last tie at 18-all.

“It was a really tough match,” U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “We played in an amazing atmosphere and Brazil was great in defense, which is what made the match really difficult for us. I am glad as my team played focused and did what we had agreed even in this unique atmosphere.”

Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) scored a match-high 20 points with 16 kills on 37 attacks and four blocks. Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas), who was the U.S. leading scorer in the first five matches of the 2012 FIVB World Grand Prix, added 19 points via 16 kills on 50 swings, two blocks and an ace. Christa Harmotto (Hopewell Township, Pa.) contributed eight blocks and four kills on nine errorless attacks for 12 points. Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) charted eight kills and a block for nine points. Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.) came off the bench in the final two sets, and Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) each provided three kills and a block for four points. Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) rounded out the scoring with a kill and block for two points.

Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) and Tom each provided 25 digs in the victory, while Berg chipped in 16 digs from her setter spot. Berg also added 20 running sets on 116 set attempts. Davis handled 15 excellent service receptions on 43 chances, while Tom had nine excellent receptions on 18 errorless attempts.

“It was very important for our team to play a match here in Brazil, with the fans strongly supporting Brazil,” said Berg, the U.S. captain. “We are not used to playing with such an amazing crowd. Our game was really steady, including our energy and our level. I am happy we are 6-0 now.”

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. Tamari Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii) was a serving sub in all four sets, while Haneef-Park and Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) were subs in the final two sets.

The U.S. converted 30.7 percent of its attacks into points with a .169 hitting efficiency (51-23-166). Meanwhile, Brazil converted 29.00 percent of its attacks into points with a .112 hitting efficiency. The U.S. held advantages of 18-15 in blocks and 51-49 in kills while limiting its errors to 18 in the match to Brazil’s 25. Team USA managed a 93-85 margin in digs to go with a 41.0 excellent reception percent to the Brazilians’ 41.6 excellent reception percent. Brazil held a slim 2-1 margin in aces.

Thaisa Menezes scored a Brazil team-high 20 points while Paula Pequeno added 12 points. Brazil played all 12 of its players during the match.

“The American deserved to win,” Brazil coach Jose Roberto Guimaraes said. “They played better than us during the whole match, except the first set. Their serve was really good and we could not play with the speed we are used to. The United States is the best team in the world now and this match is an important lesson for us on the way to London.”

Earlier today, Puerto Rico (2-4, 5 points) defeated Dominican Republic (1-5, 4 points) in an all-NORCECA battle in Pool F at Komaki, Japan, while Thailand (5-1, 14 points) rallied to beat host Japan (3-3, 10 points) 25-15, 16-25, 22-25, 25-19, 18-16. In Pool G action at Foshan, China, China (6-0, 18 points) blanked Poland (3-3, 9 points) 25-19, 25-17, 29-27 and Korea (1-5, 4 points) topped Chinese Taipei (0-6, 0 points) 25-21, 27-29, 25-20, 25-20. Turkey (5-1, 15 points) handled Serbia (2-4, 8 points) 25-21, 16-25, 25-22, 25-21 in Pool H at Belgrad, Serbia.

Later today, Cuba (4-1, 11 points) plays Argentina (0-5, 0 points) in Pool H at Belgrad, Serbia, while the second round concludes with Germany (2-3, 6 points) and Italy (1-4, 5 points) meeting in a Pool E match at Sao Bernardo, Brazil.

The 16-team tournament is broken down into three preliminary weekends with four teams competing in round-robin competition in four different locations. The 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.

Brazil scored the first two-point edge of the opening set at 3-1, then increased the margin to 6-3. Larson pocketed consecutive kills to narrow the gap to 6-5. Team USA tied the set at 7-all with a Harmotto block followed by a Brazil error. Brazil regained a three-point advantage at 11-8 with three unanswered points. Hooker and Larson scored back-to-back kills to close to 12-11. Team USA tied the set at 14-all with a Hooker block and ace, then went ahead 15-14 on a Harmotto overpass kill. Brazil answered with consecutive points to regain the lead 16-15 at the second technical timeout. Brazil went on a 7-1 run to establish a 23-17 advantage. Hooker answered with a kill and block to close the gap to 23-19. Out of the break, Tom put up another block to narrow the deficit to 23-20. However, Brazil scored the final points of the set for a 25-20 victory. Hooker scored nine of Team USA’s 14 individual points in the opening set. Brazil held a 17-9 advantage in kills, but gave away six points on errors and held a slim 5-4 margin in blocks.

The U.S. grabbed an early 3-1 lead in the second with kills from Larson and Tom around a Brazil error. Larson put up a block after a Brazil service error to increase the Team USA advantage to 5-2. Harmotto scored a kill and block on consecutive plays and Larson followed with a block to put the U.S. in front 8-3 at the first technical timeout. Out of the break, Larson scored a fourth straight U.S. point on a kill at 9-3. The Team USA stretched to 12-4 with a Berg block, Brazil attack error into the antenna and Tom roll shot kill. Brazil answered with a 4-1 scoring run to move to within five at 13-8. Brazil continued to charge at 14-10, but the teams traded points until Tom and Larson scored back-to-back kills at 20-14. However, Brazil scored the next two points including an ace at 20-16. Brazil put up a block to force the U.S. into a timeout leading by only three at 21-18. After a Brazil service error, Akinradewo scored a block and kill to yield U.S. set points at 24-18. Team USA won the set on a fourth straight point at 25-18, a Brazil attack error. Larson picked up seven points in the set, while Tom added four points. Brazil committed nine errors in the second set and the U.S. scored five blocks.

After three early ties and two lead changes in the third set, Team USA scored five unanswered points to take an 8-3 advantage into the first technical timeout on a Hooker kill, Brazil attack error, Harmotto block and overpass kill, and Larson kill. Out of the break, Tom hit a back-row kill and Larson scored a block for a sixth and seventh straight point on Hooker’s serve at 10-3. Brazil broke the run with two consecutive points to narrow the gap to 10-5. The U.S. responded with a Harmotto block and Brazil attack error to move the score to 12-5. Brazil pocketed three consecutive points to slice the deficit to 14-10 at a U.S. timeout. The U.S. stretched its lead to 19-13 on a Harmotto kill and Brazil attack into the net forcing Brazil’s second timeout. Brazil responded with consecutive points to prompt a U.S. timeout leading 21-17. Out of the break Akinradewo and Hooker slammed back-to-back kills to yield a 23-17 U.S. advantage. Team USA ended the set 25-18 with an Akinradewo block and Hooker kill. Harmotto scored six points in the third set, including four blocks.

The U.S. took a 6-2 lead in the fourth set with a 5-0 scoring run on Tom’s serve that included two kills each by Hooker and Larson, and two Brazil errors leading to a timeout. Team USA reached the first technical timeout leading 8-3 after a Hooker kill and Brazil error. Out of the break, Harmotto combined with Larson for a block to extend the lead to 9-3. Brazil closed to within one at 12-11 with a 7-2 scoring run, then tied the set at 13-all on a U.S. attack error. Team USA regained a two-point cushion at 16-14 with kills from Hooker and Larson going into the second technical timeout. Brazil tied the set at 18-all following a kill on a long rally. The U.S. returned to a two-point edge at 20-18 with a Tom kill and Haneef-Park block. Hooker and Larson connected for back-to-back kills to extend the lead to 23-20 prompting Brazil to call its last timeout. Brazil came out of the break with a kill and block to close to within one at 23-22. After saving one set and match point, Brazil had a swing to tie the set only to have Harmotto put up the match winning block at 25-23. Larson scored seven points in the fourth set, while Hooker added six points.

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 (18, 6-0)

China (18, 6-0)

Turkey (15, 5-1)

Thailand (14, 5-1)

Brazil (11, 5-1)

Cuba (11, 4-1) 6/17 vs Argentina

Japan (10, 3-3)

Poland (9, 3-3)

Serbia (8, 2-4)

Germany (6, 2-3) 6/17 vs. Italy

Puerto Rico (5, 2-4)

Italy (5, 1-4) 6/17 vs. Germany

Korea (4, 1-5)

Dominican Republic (4, 1-5)

Argentina (0, 0-5) 6/17 vs. Cuba

Chinese Taipei (0, 0-6)

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 def. Germany 18-25, 25-14, 25-18, 26-24

June 16: USA def. Germany 25-23, 25-23, 25-17

June 16: Brazil def. Italy 26-24, 14-25, 25-15, 24-26, 16-14

June 17: USA def. Brazil 20-25, 25-18, 25-18, 25-23

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: Thailand def. Dominican Republic 25-14, 25-22, 25-19

June 16: Japan def. Puerto Rico 25-20, 25-18, 25-16

June 17: Puerto Rico def. Dominican Republic 25-19, 21-25, 25-23, 21-25, 15-12

June 17: Thailand def. Japan 25-15, 16-25, 22-25, 25-19, 18-16

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 def. Chinese Taipei 25-10, 26-24, 25-19

June 16: China def. Korea 25-22, 25-16, 25-18

June 17: Korea def. Chinese Taipei 25-21, 27-29, 25-20, 25-20

June 17: China def. Poland 25-19, 25-17, 29-27

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 def. Serbia 25-14, 25-15, 25-17

June 16: Turkey def. Argentina 25-15, 25-20, 21-25, 25-15

June 17: Turkey def. Serbia 25-21, 16-25, 25-22, 25-21

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