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Challenges Ahead for U.S. Women in Grand Prix

By Bill Kauffman | Aug. 13, 2014, 10:27 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 13, 2014) – To reach its goal of landing a berth in the six-team FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round being held Aug. 20-24 in Tokyo, the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team has a stiff challenge lying in front of them this weekend in Bangkok, Thailand.

With only the top four teams from the 12-team Group 1 preliminary round advancing to the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round along with host Japan and the winner of the Group 2 Final Round, the U.S. needs to move up two positions in the standings and leap-frog Italy (4-2, 10 points) and Serbia (3-3, 11 points) – teams the U.S. will not face in the nine-match preliminary round.

To do so, sixth-place Team USA (3-3, 9 points) will likely need to win all three of its matches and secure the maximum nine standings points with No. 1 Brazil, 12th-place Thailand and 11th-place Dominican Republic on its weekend schedule. In addition, the Americans need help from opposing teams to give both Italy and Serbia at least one loss in the last preliminary round weekend, which appears the easiest path to Final Round advancement.

Team USA will face undefeated Brazil (6-0, 18 points) on Friday at 4:30 a.m. PT. Although the U.S. defeated Brazil all four meetings in the USA Volleyball Cup held in July, the South Americans swept the U.S. in a tough three-set match in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Aug. 10. The U.S. has not played an opponent in back-to-back World Grand Prix matches since the 2008 season when it defeated Poland in consecutive matches.

Team USA challenges Pool G host Thailand (1-5, 2 points) on Aug. 16 at 2:30 a.m. PT, before concluding the preliminary phase against NORCECA rival Dominican Republic (1-5, 3 points) on Aug. 17 at midnight PT. Universal Sports will stream all three Team USA matches this weekend. For details, click here.

As for Serbia and Italy, both teams have stiff challenges of their own this weekend as they attempt to qualify for the Final Round. Serbia plays 10th-place Japan on Aug. 15 before challenging host and No. 3 China (4-2, 13 points) on Aug. 16 and No. 7 Korea (3-3, 9 points) on Aug. 17. Both China and Korea are chasing a Final Round berth. Italy travels to Russia this weekend to play the host Russians (2-4, 7 points) on Aug. 15, No. 8 Germany (3-3, 8 points) on Aug. 16 and No. 2 Turkey (5-1, 13 points) on Aug. 17. Other scenarios exist on how the U.S. can advance to the final round, but that involves higher-ranked teams taking additional losses and losing sets for the tiebreakers.

The U.S. will use the same 14-player roster that competed last weekend in Brazil.

Murphy ranks as the fifth-best scoring in the World Grand Prix Group 1 with 105 points (89 kills, 11 blocks, 5 aces) and is second in Best Spiker with a 43.41 kill percent on 205 attacks. Banwarth is third in Best Digger with 3.96 digs per set. Glass has 7.79 running sets average for fourth in Best Setter. Hill is positioned eighth in Best Receiver with a 51.70 efficiency percent.

2014 FIVB World Grand Prix Standings - Group 1 (through Aug. 14)
1. Brazil (6-0, 18 points) - vs. USA (8/15), vs. Dominican Republic (8/16) vs. Thailand (8/17)
2. Turkey (5-1, 13 points) - vs. Germany (8/15), vs. Russia (8/16), vs. Italy (8/17)
3. China (4-2, 13 points) - vs. Korea (8/15), vs. Serbia (8/16), vs. Japan (8/17)
4. Serbia (3-3, 11 points) - vs. Japan (8/15), vs. China (8/16), vs. Korea (8/17)
5. Italy (4-2, 10 points) - vs. Russia (8/15), vs. Germany (8/16), vs. Turkey (8/17)
6. USA (3-3, 9 points) - vs. Brazil (8/15), vs. Thailand (8/16), vs. Dominican Republic (8/17)
7. Korea (3-3, 9 points) - vs. China (8/15), vs. Japan (8/16), vs. Serbia (8/17)
8. Germany (3-3, 8 points) - vs. Turkey (8/15), vs. Italy (8/16), vs. Russia (8/17)
9. Russia (2-4, 7 points) - vs. Italy (8/15), vs. Turkey (8/16), vs. Germany (8/17)
10. Japan (1-5, 5 point) - vs. Serbia (8/15), vs. Korea (8/16), vs. China (8/17)
11. Dominican Republic (1-5, 3 points) - vs. Thailand (8/15), vs. Brazil (8/16), vs. USA (8/17)
12. Thailand (1-5, 2 points) - vs. Dominican Republic (8/15), vs. USA (8/16), vs. Brazil (8/17)

U.S. Women’s National Team Preliminary Roster for FIVB World Grand Prix
(see legend for corresponding World Grand Prix Weekend Final rosters)

# - Name (Position, Ht, Hometown, College)
1 – Alisha Glass ^#* (S, 6-0, Leland, Mich., Penn State)
2 – Kayla Banwarth ^#* (L, 5-10, Dubuque, Iowa, University of Nebraska)
3 – Courtney Thompson ^#* (S, 5-8, Kent, Wash., University of Washington)
4 – Lauren Paolini (MB, 6-4, Ann Arbor, Mich., University of Texas)
5 – Tama Miyashiro (L, 5-7, Kaneohe, Hawaii, University of Washington)
6 – Nicole Davis ^#* (L, 5-4, Stockton, Calif., University of Southern California)
7 – Cassidy Lichtman ^#* (OH, 6-1, Poway, Calif., Stanford University)
8 – Lauren Gibbemeyer ^#* (MB, 6-2, St. Paul, Minn., University of Minnesota)
9 – Kristin Hildebrand ^ (OH, 6-1, Orem, Utah, Stanford University)
10 – Jordan Larson-Burbach #* (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., University of Nebraska)
11 – Carli Lloyd (S, 5-11, Bonsall, Calif., University of California-Berkeley)
12 – Kelly Murphy ^#* (OPP, 6-2, Wilmington, Ill., University of Florida)
13 – Christa Harmotto (MB, 6-2, Hopewell Township, Pa., Penn State)
14 – Nicole Fawcett (OPP, 6-4, Zanesfield, Ohio, Penn State)
15 – Kim Hill ^#*  (OH, 6-4, Portland, Ore., Pepperdine University)
16 – Foluke Akinradewo ^#* (MB, 6-3, Plantation, Fla., Stanford University)
17 – Alix Klineman ^#* (OPP, 6-5, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Stanford University)
18 – Bailey Webster (OPP, 6-3, Baltimore, Md., University of Texas)
19 – Kelsey Robinson ^#* (OH, 6-2, Bartlett, Ill., University of Nebraska)
20 – Jenna Hagglund (S, 5-10, West Chester, Ohio, University of Washington)
21 – Tori Dixon ^#* (MB, 6-3, Burnsville, Minn., University of Minnesota)
22 – Rachael Adams ^#* (MB, 6-2, Cincinnati, Ohio, University of Texas)
^ = Weekend 1 (at Turkey); # = Weekend 2 (at Brazil); * = Weekend 3 (at Thailand); @ = Final Round (at Japan)

Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Jamie Morrison, Tom Black
Technical Coordinator: Joe Trinsey
Athletic Trainer: Jill Wosmek
Team Manager: John Xie/Jamison Van Niel

2014 FIVB World Grand Prix Schedule (1st Group)

Pool A (at Ankara, Turkey)
Aug. 1: Russia def. USA 22-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-20
Aug. 1: Turkey def. Japan 29-27, 25-19, 25-21
Aug. 2: Russia def. Japan 25-23, 25-13, 24-26, 25-18
Aug. 2: Turkey def. USA 25-21, 27-29, 25-21, 20-25, 15-12
Aug. 3: USA def. Japan 25-27, 25-17, 25-22, 24-26, 15-11
Aug. 3: Turkey def. Russia 25-23, 29-27, 14-25, 18-25, 15-10

Pool B (at Ansan, Korea)
Aug. 1: Serbia def. Germany 26-24, 25-20, 25-15
Aug. 1: Korea def. Thailand 23-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-20
Aug. 2: Korea def. Germany 21-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-21
Aug. 2: Thailand def. Serbia 25-19, 18-25, 20-25, 25-19, 15-13
Aug. 3: Serbia def. Korea 25-22, 26-24, 21-25, 25-9
Aug. 3: Germany def. Thailand 25-21, 25-22, 25-21

Pool C (at Sassari, Italy)
Aug. 1: Brazil def. China 25-21, 23-25, 25-17, 25-16
Aug. 1: Italy def. Dominican Republic 25-18, 25-23, 25-15
Aug. 2: China def. Dominican Republic 25-18, 25-21, 25-23
Aug. 2: Brazil def. Italy 25-21, 25-16, 25-15
Aug. 3: Brazil def. Dominican Republic 26-24, 25-19, 25-18
Aug. 3: Italy def. China 25-18, 18-25, 25-22, 18-25, 15-10

Pool D (at Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Aug. 8: USA def. Russia 22-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-17
Aug. 8: Brazil def. Korea 25-16, 25-12, 25-15
Aug. 9: Brazil def. Russia 25-15, 25-21, 25-17
Aug. 9: USA def. Korea 25-15, 25-17, 25-16
Aug. 10: Brazil def. USA 25-20, 25-22, 29-27
Aug. 10: Korea def. Russia 21-25, 25-21, 27-25, 25-22

Pool E (at Ankara, Turkey)
Aug. 8: Germany def. Serbia 25-21, 30-28, 25-18
Aug. 8: Dominican Republic def. Turkey 23-25, 19-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-9
Aug. 9: Germany def. Dominican Republic 25-19, 19-25, 22-25, 25-16, 16-14
Aug. 9: Turkey def. Serbia 18-25, 25-19, 22-25, 25-20, 17-15
Aug. 10: Serbia def. Dominican Republic 25-21, 25-22, 27-25
Aug. 10: Turkey def. Germany 25-15, 25-19, 21-25, 25-20

Pool F (at Hong Kong)
Aug. 8: Italy def. Japan 25-20, 25-17, 21-25, 20-25, 15-11
Aug. 8: China def. Thailand 29-27, 25-18, 20-25, 25-15
Aug. 9: Italy def. Thailand 25-19, 25-21, 25-23
Aug. 9: China def. Japan 25-16, 25-14, 25-22
Aug. 10: Japan def. Thailand 25-18, 25-18, 19-25, 25-20
Aug. 10: China def. Italy 25-20, 25-18, 22-25, 25-16

Pool G (at Bangkok, Thailand)
Aug. 15: Thailand vs. Dominican Republic, 2 a.m. PT
Aug. 15: USA vs. Brazil, 4:30 a.m. PT
Aug. 16: Brazil vs. Dominican Republic, midnight PT
Aug. 16: USA vs. Thailand, 2:30 a.m. PT
Aug. 17: USA vs. Dominican Republic, midnight PT
Aug. 17: Thailand vs. Brazil, 2:30 a.m. PT

Pool H (at Kaliningrad, Russia)
Aug. 15: Turkey vs. Germany, 6:40 a.m. PT
Aug. 15: Russia vs. Italy, 10:10 a.m. PT
Aug. 16: Italy vs. Germany, 6:40 a.m. PT
Aug. 16: Russia vs. Turkey, 10:10 a.m. PT
Aug. 17: Italy vs. Turkey, 6:40 a.m. PT
Aug. 17: Germany vs. Russia, 10:10 a.m. PT

Pool I (at Macau, China)
Aug. 15: Japan vs. Serbia, 2 a.m. PT
Aug. 15: China vs. Korea, 5:30 a.m. PT
Aug. 16: Japan vs. Korea, 11:30 p.m. PT on Aug. 15
Aug. 16: China vs. Serbia, 2 a.m. PT
Aug. 17: Korea vs. Serbia, 10 p.m. PT on Aug. 16
Aug. 17: China vs. Japan, 12:30 a.m. PT

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