U.S. Women Head to Serbia 2-1 in FIVB World Grand Prix

By Bill Kauffman | Aug. 06, 2013, 12 a.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman, USA Volleyball Senior Manager of Communications, Phone: 719-228-6800, Email: bill.kauffman@usav.org
USAV Facebook * @USA_Volleyball

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 6, 2013) – The top-ranked U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team enters its second weekend of the FIVB World Grand Prix preliminary round in Belgrade, Serbia, with a 2-1 record and six points after having faced welcomed adversity in Brazil.

Team USA starts Pool F versus No. 14 Algeria (0-3, 0 points) on Aug. 9, followed by No. 19 Netherlands (1-2, 3 points) on Aug. 10 and host No. 9 Serbia (3-0, 9 points) on Aug. 11. All three matches take place at 11:15 a.m. PT and can be viewed live online at universalsports.com/watch-live/.

“We have Algeria, Netherlands and Serbia this weekend, and they are all strong teams,” U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “We take every opponent we face as the best one we can possibly face. It starts with Algeria. I have not had a chance to watch much video on them, so I can’t tell much about them. Our goal we will be as it is every time we put on a USA uniform, and that is to maximize our chances to win the next point. We look at it as an opportunity to learn and improve in the course of competition.”

After this coming weekend, the U.S. travels to Sendai, Japan, for the final preliminary round weekend to play No. 24 Czech Republic on Aug. 16, host No. 3 Japan on Aug. 17 and No. 43 Bulgaria on Aug. 18 in Pool M action.

Kiraly, in his first year leading the program after serving as an assistant coach from 2009 to 2012, has selected outside hitters Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah), Kim Hill (Portland, Ore.), Regan Hood (Dallas) and Cassidy Lichtman (Poway, Calif.) to participate in the second weekend of pool competition taking place in Serbia. The middle blockers on the roster are Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio), Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.), Christa Harmotto (Hopewell Township, Pa.) and Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.).

Setters for week two are Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) and Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.). The opposites are Juliann Faucette (San Diego) and Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.). The selected liberos are Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa) and Tamari Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii).

Each team can make changes to its weekly FIVB World Grand Prix roster and carry up to 14-players selected from its 22-player preliminary roster. An hour before each match, head coaches must submit the team’s 12-player roster for that day’s match.

Team USA’s two leading scorers are rookies to FIVB competition. Through the first week of action, Hill ranks 11th overall in scoring with 47 points (37 kills, four blocks and six aces). Murphy has collected 41 points (32 kills, four blocks and five aces) to rank tied for 16th. Murphy is second in Best Spiker with a 49.23 kill percent. Hill ranks third in Best Server with a 0.55 ace average, while Murphy is 10th in the category with 0.45 per set.

Hildebrand, the U.S. team captain, is 28th in Best Spiker with a 36.6 kill percent. Gibbemeyer, also a newcomer to World Grand Prix action, and Glass have averaged 0.73 blocks per set to rank 11th in the category. Despite being a setter, Glass ranks second overall in Best Digger with a 4.00 dig average to go being fourth in Best Setter with a 6.18 running sets average. Miyashiro is ninth in digs with a 3.18 set average.

Serbia’s Jovana Brakocevic was named the most valuable player for Pool B held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic from August 2-4. She currently ranks seventh in scoring (55 points) among all players in the competition. She also ranks third in Best Spiker with a 49.0 kill percent. Her teammate Brankica Mihajlovic is fifth in scoring with 57 points. Milena Rasic has a tournament-best 1.90 blocks average for Serbia.

Netherlands has been led in scoring by Anne Bujis with 43 points, which ranks 15th in the competition. Robin DeKruijf and Quinta Stenbergen of the Netherlands rank second and seventh in block average after the first weekend, while Femke Stoltenborg is the top-rated setter with 8.45 running sets average.

The U.S., the three-time defending FIVB World Grand Prix champions, opened the tournament with a four-set win over No. 6 Russia, followed by a sweep of No. 15 Poland in Campinas, Brazil. In both matches, World Grand Prix rookies Murphy and Hill stood out. Both had an unofficial 16 points (team DataVolley stats) in the win over Russia, while Murphy led the squad with 16 points against Poland.

With an 18-match World Grand Prix win streak on the line and a perfect 10-0 record to start the 2013 season, Team USA met host Brazil in a classic matchup of No. 1 and No. 2 in front of an energetic crowd of 4,500 spectator s in which all tickets to the match were sold within an hour of going on sale. Team USA jumped out in front to win the first set 25-17 against its host. However, Brazil used several strings of unanswered points to claim the next three sets 25-23, 25-18 and 25-20. Hill ended as the team’s leading scorer with 15 points, according to the team’s unofficial DataVolley stats.

“Overall I think the first weekend of World Grand Prix went well for USA,” Kiraly said. “We had lots of new faces. We only had one player last week who played in her normal role from the London Olympics, and that was Christa Harmotto. All-in-all it was a nice effort. We also learned certainly in the loss to Brazil about some things to improve upon, and that is this team’s number-one job, each athlete’s number-one job, and each coach and staff member’s number one job – to learn and improve and grow. We got some great lessons against Brazil in a match we could have won. We will improve on some things and maybe make it more possible to win next time.”

After the first weekend, four teams among the 20 countries participating in this year’s World Grand Prix old the maximum nine standings points with Japan leading China, Italy and Serbia in the group. Brazil follows in fifth place with a 3-0 record but with eight points. The U.S. is in a group of four teams with 2-1 records and six points. Netherlands, Team USA’s second opponent this weekend, is in 12th place with a 1-2 record with a sweep over Cuba on the opening day. Algeria is in last place with an 0-3 record.

The FIVB World Grand Prix utilizes a grueling format that includes a three-weekend preliminary round schedule with four teams competing in five different cities each weekend from Aug. 2-18. The FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round will take place Aug. 28-Sept. 1 in Sapporo, Japan, with the top five countries from the preliminary round plus Japan as the host country. Japan has hosted the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round four previous times, the most recent being in 2009.

The U.S. has won the last three FIVB World Grand Prix events and has won five titles overall (1995, 2001, 2010, 2011, 2012). The Americans will be attempting to win an unprecedented four straight titles as Brazil won three times from 2004-2006. Since 2010, the U.S. has captured every FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round gold medal and recorded a 40-5 record in the event over the last three years.

U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team World Grand Prix Preliminary Roster
# - Name (Position, Height, Spike Touch, Block Touch, Hometown, College)
1 - #^ Alisha Glass (S, 6-0, 10-0, 9-10, Leland, Mich., Penn State University)
2 - Danielle Scott (MB, 6-2, 10-8, 9-11, Baton Rouge, La., Long Beach State University)
3 - ^ Courtney Thompson (S, 5-8, 9-0, 8-8, Kent, Wash., University of Washington)
4 - Sonja Newcombe (OH, 6-1, 10-0, 9-10, Lake Arrowhead, Calif., University of Oregon)
5 - #^ Tamari Miyashiro (L, 5-7, 9-4, 8-9, Kaneohe, Hawaii, University of Washington)
6 - Nicole Davis (L, 5-4, 9-4, 8-9, Stockton, Calif., University of Southern California)
7 - #^ Cassidy Lichtman (OH, 6-1, 9-10, 9-2, Poway, Calif., Stanford University)
8 - #^ Lauren Gibbemeyer (MB, 6-2, 10-1, 9-7, St. Paul, Minn., University of Minnesota)
9 - Alix Klineman (OH, 6-5, 10-7, 9-8, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Stanford University)
10 - #^ Kristin Hildebrand (OH, 6-1, 9-10, 9-4, Orem, Utah, Stanford University)
11 - Alaina Bergsma (OPP, 6-3, 10-4, 9-10, Chandler, Ariz., University of Oregon)
12 - #^ Kayla Banwarth (L, 5-10, 9-8, 9-3, Dubuque, Iowa, University of Nebraska)
13 - #^ Christa Harmotto (MB, 6-2, 10-7, 9-10, Hopewell Township, Pa., Penn State University)
14 - # Nicole Fawcett (OPP, 6-4, 10-2, 9-7, Zanesfield, Ohio, Penn State University)
15 - #^ Kelly Murphy (OPP, 6-2, 10-4, 10-1, Wilmington, Ill., University of Florida)
16 - #^ Kim Hill (OH, 6-4, 10-6, 10-2, Portland, Ore., Pepperdine University)
17 - #^ Lauren Paolini (MB, 6-4, 10-5, 9-10, Ann Arbor, Mich., University of Texas)
18 - #^ Regan Hood (OH, 6-2, 10-3, 10-0, Dallas, Texas, LSU)
19 - ^ Juliann Faucette (OPP, 6-2, 10-6. 10-1, San Diego, Calif., University of Texas)
20 - # Jenna Hagglund (S, 5-10, 9-7, 9-6, West Chester, Ohio, University of Washington)
21 - Cursty Jackson (MB, 6-2, 10-6, 10-2, Los Angeles, Calif., University of Arizona)
22 - #^ Rachael Adams (MB, 6-2, 10-5, 10-1, Cincinnati, Ohio, University of Texas)
# - Selected for Week 1 Roster
^ - Selected for Week 2 Roster

Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Reed Sunahara, Tom Black (Weeks 1/2), Cecile Reynaud (Week 3, Final Round)
Technical Coordinator: Joe Trinsey
Athletic Trainer: Jill Wosmek Team Leader: Cecile Reynaud (Weeks 1/2), Kenny Sullivan (Week 3, Final Round)

Preliminary Round Standings

# Code Country PTS Matches W L 3-0 3-1 3-2 2-3 1-3 0-3 Sets
Won
Sets
Lost
Set
Ratio
Points
Scored
Points
Given
Points
Ratio
1 JPN Japan 9 3 3   2 1         9 1 9.000 248 175 1.417
2 CHN China 9 3 3   2 1         9 1 9.000 246 191 1.288
3 ITA Italy 9 3 3   2 1         9 1 9.000 252 203 1.241
4 SRB Serbia 9 3 3   2 1         9 1 9.000 250 202 1.238
5 BRA Brazil 8 3 3     2 1       9 4 2.250 302 267 1.131
6 TUR Turkey 6 3 2 1 2       1   7 3 2.333 243 213 1.141
7 USA USA 6 3 2 1 1 1     1   7 4 1.750 253 231 1.095
8 BUL Bulgaria 6 3 2 1 1 1       1 6 4 1.500 230 198 1.162
9 DOM Dominican Republic 6 3 2 1 1 1       1 6 4 1.500 223 219 1.018
10 ARG Argentina 4 3 2 1     2     1 6 7 0.857 257 275 0.935
11 GER Germany 4 3 1 2   1   1 1   6 7 0.857 293 279 1.050
12 NED Netherlands 3 3 1 2 1       2   5 6 0.833 241 235 1.026
13 RUS Russia 3 3 1 2     1 1 1   6 8 0.750 301 322 0.935
14 CZE Czech Republic 3 3 1 2 1       1 1 4 6 0.667 227 228 0.996
15 THA Thailand 3 3 1 2 1         2 3 6 0.500 201 185 1.086
16 POL Poland 1 3   3       1 1 1 3 9 0.333 254 290 0.876
17 KAZ Kazakhstan 1 3   3       1 1 1 3 9 0.333 234 279 0.839
18 PUR Puerto Rico   3   3         1 2 1 9 0.111 197 248 0.794
19 CUB Cuba   3   3           3   9   132 225 0.587
20 ALG Algeria   3   3           3   9   106 225 0.471

2013 FIVB World Grand Prix Schedule (all match times local)

Pool A – Campinas, Brazil
Aug. 2: United States def. Russia 25-20, 17-25, 25-21, 25-12
Aug. 2: Brazil def. Poland 21-25, 25-17, 25-15, 25-20
Aug. 3: Brazil def. Russia 26-28, 26-24, 25-19, 22-25, 15-8
Aug. 3: United States def. Poland 25-22, 25-23, 25-16
Aug. 4: Brazil def. United States 17-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-20
Aug. 4: Russia def. Poland 25-21, 22-25, 29-27, 28-30, 15-13

Pool B – San Domingo, Dominican Republic
Aug. 2: Czech Republic vs. Puerto Rico 25-14, 25-20, 25-18
Aug. 2: Serbia def. Dominican Republic 25-13, 25-20, 25-16
Aug. 3: Serbia def. Czech Republic 28-26, 25-18, 25-23
Aug. 3: Dominican Republic def. Puerto Rico 25-14, 26-24, 25-21
Aug. 4: Serbia def. Puerto Rico 25-22, 22-25, 25-17, 25-17
Aug. 4: Dominican Republic def. Czech Republic 25-22, 25-20, 23-25, 25-18

Pool C – Ankara, Turkey
Aug. 2: Turkey def. Algeria 25-13, 25-18, 25-15
Aug. 2: Japan def. Thailand 25-19, 25-17, 25-21
Aug. 3: Japan def. Algeria 25-10, 25-8, 25-8
Aug. 3: Turkey def. Thailand 25-23, 26-24, 25-22
Aug. 4: Thailand def. Algeria 25-7, 25-14, 25-13
Aug. 4: Japan def. Turkey 25-21, 30-28, 18-25, 25-18

Pool D – Macau, China
Aug. 2: Netherlands def. Cuba 25-20, 25-14, 25-11
Aug. 2: China def. Bulgaria 25-13, 26-24, 25-23
Aug. 3: Bulgaria def. Netherlands 20-25, 25-15, 25-20, 25-23
Aug. 3: China def. Cuba 25-13, 25-20, 25-15
Aug. 4: Bulgaria def. Cuba 25-8, 25-15, 25-16
Aug. 4: China def. Netherlands 26-24, 19-25, 25-17, 25-17

Pool E – Montichiari, Italy
Aug. 2: Germany def. Kazakhstan 25-23, 23-25, 25-19, 25-17
Aug. 2: Italy def. Argentina 25-21, 25-20, 25-17
Aug. 3: Argentina def. Germany 25-23, 13-25, 18-25, 25-21, 15-12
Aug. 3: Italy def. Kazakhstan, 28-26, 25-17, 25-13
Aug. 4: Argentina def. Kazakhstan 15-25, 25-15, 23-25, 25-20, 15-9
Aug. 4: Italy def. Germany 25-23, 25-20, 24-26, 25-20

Pool F – Belgrade, Serbia
Aug. 9: Serbia vs. Netherlands, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 9: United States vs. Algeria, 8:15 p.m.
Aug. 10: Algeria vs. Serbia, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 10: United States vs. Netherlands, 8:15 p.m.
Aug. 11: Netherlands vs. Algeria, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 11: United States vs. Serbia, 8:15 p.m.

Pool G – Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
Aug. 9: Dominican Republic vs. Brazil, 5 p.m.
Aug. 9: Puerto Rico vs. Bulgaria, 8 p.m.
Aug. 10: Brazil vs. Bulgaria, 5 p.m.
Aug. 10: Dominican Republic vs. Puerto Rico, 8 p.m.
Aug. 11: Bulgaria vs. Dominican Republic, 2 p.m.
Aug. 11: Puerto Rico vs. Brazil, 5 p.m.

Pool H – Plock, Poland
Aug. 9: Germany vs. Japan, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 9: Poland vs. Kazakhstan, 8 p.m.
Aug. 10: Japan vs. Kazakhstan, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 10: Poland vs. Germany, 8 p.m.
Aug. 11: Kazakhstan vs. Germany, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 11: Poland vs. Japan, 8 p.m.

Pool I – Hong Kong, China
Aug. 9: Turkey vs. Argentina, 6 p.m.
Aug. 9: China vs. Czech Republic, 8:30 p.m.
Aug. 10: Turkey vs. Czech Republic, 1:15 p.m.
Aug. 10: China vs. Argentina, 3:45 p.m.
Aug. 11: Argentina vs. Czech Republic, 1:15 p.m.
Aug. 11: China vs. Turkey, 3:45 p.m.

Pool J – Ekaterinburg, Russia
Aug. 9: Italy vs. Russia, 5 p.m.
Aug. 9: Cuba vs. Thailand, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 10: Thailand vs. Russia, 5 p.m.
Aug. 10: Cuba vs. Italy, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 11: Russia vs. Cuba, 5 p.m.
Aug. 11: Italy vs. Thailand, 7:30 p.m.

Pool K – Almaty, Kazakhstan
Aug. 16: Cuba vs. Brazil, 3 p.m.
Aug. 16: Kazakhstan vs. Netherlands, 6 p.m.
Aug. 17: Brazil vs. Netherlands, 3 p.m.
Aug. 17: Kazakhstan vs. Cuba, 6 p.m.
Aug. 18: Cuba vs. Netherlands, 3 p.m.
Aug. 18: Kazakhstan vs. Brazil, 6 p.m.

Pool L – Bangkok, Thailand
Aug. 16: Thailand vs. Puerto Rico, 4 p.m.
Aug. 16: Germany vs. Russia, 6:30 p.m.
Aug. 17: Russia vs. Puerto Rico, 2 p.m.
Aug. 17: Thailand vs. Germany, 4:30 p.m.
Aug. 18: Puerto Rico vs. Germany, 2 p.m.
Aug. 18: Russia vs. Thailand, 4:30 p.m.

Pool M – Sendai, Japan
Aug. 16: United States vs. Czech Republic, 3:30 p.m.
Aug. 16: Japan vs. Bulgaria, 6:15 p.m.
Aug. 17: Japan vs. United States, 12:30 p.m.
Aug. 17: Czech Republic vs. Bulgaria, 3:30 p.m.
Aug. 18: Japan vs. Czech Republic, 12:30 p.m.
Aug. 18: United States vs. Bulgaria, 3:30 p.m.

Pool N – Wuhan, China
Aug. 16: Serbia vs. Poland, 4 p.m.
Aug. 16: China vs. Argentina, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 17: Argentina vs. Serbia, 4 p.m.
Aug. 17: China vs. Poland, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 18: Poland vs. Argentina, 4 p.m.
Aug. 18: China vs. Serbia, 7:30 p.m.

Pool O – Kaohsiung City, Chinese Taipei
Aug. 16: Italy vs. Algeria, 3 p.m.
Aug. 16: Turkey vs. Dominican Republic, 6 p.m.
Aug. 17: Algeria vs. Turkey, 3 p.m.
Aug. 17: Italy vs. Dominican Republic, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 18: Dominican Republic vs. Algeria, 3 p.m.
Aug. 18: Italy vs. Turkey, 5:30 p.m.

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