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U.S. Women Concludes Brazil Exhibition Series with Loss

June 15, 2008, 12:31 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 14, 2008) - The U.S. Women's National Indoor Volleyball Team, ranked fourth in the world, lost to top-ranked Brazil 25-16, 25-20, 25-18, 20-25, 15-8 Saturday night at Air Force Academy's Clune Arena in Colorado Springs to conclude a three-match 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Exhibition for Volleyball Series that started June 11. The teams agreed prior to the first serve to play a non-traditional match to five sets regardless of the outcome to help evaluate players for the Olympics.

Earlier this week, the teams split a pair of five-set matches. Brazil won the first meeting on June 11, while Team USA came back to win the second match in five sets on June 13.

Brazil converted 58 percent of its first set attacks into kills and used a 5-0 run to take a 9-3 lead en route to a 25-16 victory. Brazil recovered from a 9-6 deficit in the second set with a 9-1 run leading, then withheld a late USA rally to win 25-20. Brazil scored seven unanswered points to take a 14-8 lead never allowed Team USA closer than three points in winning 25-18. The U.S. broke a 10-all tie with a 5-1 run in the fourth set and went on to win 25-20. Brazil netted a 4-0 run to take a 7-3 advantage in the fifth to win 15-8.

"We played all the players available over this three-match exhibition and had a chance to evaluate them," U.S. Head Coach "Jenny" Lang Ping said. "Overall, it was pretty positive. Tonight, we moved to a different gym, different court and different ball. We played a lot of young players, and the passing was not as good as the previous two matches. That led to problems on our attack. We did not play well, but we have learned from it and will get better for the Olympic Games as a result."

Both the United States and Brazilian women's volleyball teams qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games with medal-stand performances at the 2007 FIVB World Cup. Brazil finished with the silver medal at the World Cup, while the U.S. finished with the bronze.

Ogonna Nnamani (Bloomington, Ill.) led the U.S. with 16 points via 14 kills and two blocks. Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) added 10 points coming on six kills, two blocks and two aces. Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) contributed nine points with eight kills and a block. Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.) charted eight kills. Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) tacked on six kills and a block for seven points. Jennifer Joines (Milpitas, Calif.) added three kills and three blocks for six points in just the final two sets. Kim Willoughby (Napoleanville, La.) produced six points all on kills. Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) rounded out the scoring with a kill.

Team USA started Nnanami and Willoughby at outside hitter, Bown and Scott-Arruda at middle blocker, Barboza at opposite and Ah Mow-Santos at setter. Sykora was the designated libero for the match. Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) subbed in all five sets. McGinnis started the last three sets, while Berg started the second set. Glass saw action in the last three sets with a starting role. Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) was unavailable for the match.

Paula Pequeno paced Brazil with 17 points coming on 10 kills, two aces and five blocks. Fabiana Claudino added 10 points on four kills and six blocks. Marianne Steinbrecher chipped in eight kills and a block in the victory. Jaqueline Carvalho contributed eight kills and a block for nine points, while Walewska Oliveira and Sheilla Castro added eight points. Valeska Menezes provided six kills and a block, while Joyce Silva turned in five kills. Carolina Albuquerque ran the Brazil offense and added three kills and an ace.

"It was very important for us to play against the United States in these exhibition matches," Brazil Head Coach Jose Roberto Guimaraes said. "They have a very good dynamic as a team. We were able to play 15 sets this week, and it was a good way to see how we will play for the World Grand Prix. The first two matches versus USA, we had good connections, but we had many mistakes in those matches. Tonight, we had good serve receive, digging was working and the offense was working because of it."

According to setter Carolina, the team was very helpful in making the transition without Fofao setting.

"The most important thing is that my teammates are helping a lot and we are making good connections on offense," Carolina said.

At the conclusion of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Exhibition series, the U.S. and Brazil will compete in the 12-team FIVB World Grand Prix in various European and Asian countries from June 20-July 13. The two teams will not face each other in any of the three preliminary round weekends, but could meet in the six-team, round-robin World Grand Prix Final round in Yokohama, Japan.

"The first weekend of the World Grand Prix will be pretty tough for us without Logan Tom, Tayyiba (Haneef-Park) and Robyn available to play," Lang Ping said. "We will have to use some young players, but we now have seen what they can do in these matches against Brazil. In addition, we need to deal with the jet lag and sea-level conditions in traveling to Japan."

The U.S. and Brazil took part in a similar exhibition series to begin the 2005 season. The Front Range Tour was a three-match series in Denver, Fort Collins, Colo., and Colorado Springs. The trio of matches marked U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach Lang Ping's debut leading Team USA. The U.S. won the first and third matches in the series.

Prior to the current three-match U.S. Olympic Exhibition for Volleyball series, Team USA had not played on its own soil against international competition since a May 26, 2006, contest against Poland in Chicago.

Fabiana served an ace at 4-2 to give Brazil a two-point cushion early in the opening set. Brazil scored four unanswered points to go into the first technical timeout leading 8-3, then added a fifth straight point out of the break on a U.S. attack error. Fabiana scored on an overpass to push the Brazil lead to 12-5. Fabiana put up a block after a Sheilla kill to push the advantage to 15-7. Team USA scored consecutive points on Brazil errors to close to within 18-12. Brazil regained an eight-point lead at 23-15 with a Sheilla kill and Team USA attack error. Sheilla put down a kill without a blocker to give Brazil a 24-15 lead and went on to win 25-16 on a Walewska quick attack. Brazil converted 58 percent of its attacks into kills in the opening set and Paula paced the squad with four kills and three blocks.

Fabiana tallied a kill and block as part of a 3-0 run to yield a Brazil 4-2 advantage in the second set. Willoughby tooled the Brazil block and Barboza slammed an overpass to tie the set a 4-all. Willoughby crushed a kill and the U.S. gained a Brazil error to assume a 6-5 lead. Bown added to the 3-0 run with a kill on the second touch for a 7-5 cushion. The U.S. extended the lead to 9-6 on a Bown slide and Brazil error. However, Sheilla downed a kill and Team USA was called for a ball handling error and attack error to tie the set at 9-all. Paula scored a fourth straight point with an ace to put Brazil in the lead at 10-9 and forcing a Team USA timeout. Out of the break, Walewska added two kills and block to run the streak to seven unanswered points, 13-6. Brazil extended the gap to five, 15-10, with a Walewska kill and Fabiana block. Brazil scored consecutive points on long rallies to take a 19-13 edge and leading to Team USA's second timeout of the period. Paula added a block out of the break to 20-13. Walewska tallied a kill and block and U.S. followed with an attack error to give Brazil a 23-14 lead. Bown followed a Brazil service error with an ace and Brazil hit wide to close the gap to 24-18. Scott-Arruda put up a block and Carolina hit into the net to get the U.S. within four at 24-20. Jaqueline ended the 5-0 run with a kill at 25-20. Brazil had seven blocks and two aces in the second set to offset a 27 kill percent. Scott-Arruda tallied five points for Team USA in the frame.

Scott-Arruda carded a kill and ace on consecutive plays to lead to a 3-2 U.S. advantage. The teams traded points through the first technical timeout with the Americans reaching the break up 8-7. Out of the break, Brazil scored five straight points with three U.S. miscues and kills from Sheilla and Jaqueline for a 12-8 lead. Brazil added to the 7-0 run with a Fabiana block and American net violation at 14-8. Barboza started a 3-0 run with a kill followed by two Nnamani kills to close to 14-11. Brazil reached the second technical timeout up 16-11 as Paula ended the U.S. run with a kill and Team USA was called for an attack error. Nnamani netted a kill and block to close the U.S. to within 20-17. Jaqueline and Paula converted on consecutive plays to return Brazil back into a five-point advantage, 22-17. Brazil reached set point at 24-18 with a U.S. attack error and Paula kill. Walewska finished the set with a kill at 25-18, the fourth unanswered by the U.S.

Thaisa put up a block after a Joyce kill to give Brazil a 2-0 start to the fourth set. Glass and Joines blocked Brazil at 3-2 after a service error. Glass tallied consecutive kills and Brazil hit wide to yield a 6-3 lead for the Americans. Brazil cut into the gap with two U.S. errors at 8-7. Brazil tied the set at 10-all on a Valeskinha block. Nnamani answered with two kills and Joines followed with two blocks to move the Americans in front 14-10. Glass extended the lead to 17-12 with a kill off the block. Brazil inched to three at 22-19 on a Joyce kill around two U.S. errors. Glass and Nnamani scored the final two points with kills for a 25-20 victory.

Brazil jumped to a 2-0 lead in the fifth set with a Mari kill and Thaisa block. Nnamani scored a back-row kill after a Glass kill to knot the score at 3-all. Valeskinha hammered an overpass after a Mari kill to put Brazil ahead 5-3. U.S. called timeout down 6-3 after Brazil's third straight point. Out of the break, Thaisa served an ace to increase the margin to 7-3. Brazil doubled-up Team USA as the Americans committed two errors at 10-5. Thaisa scored a block at 13-7. Mari tacked on a kill and U.S. followed with an error to conclude the match at 15-8.

U.S. Women's National Team Roster for 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Exhibition for Volleyball
# - Name (Pos., Ht, Hometown, College)
1 - Ogonna Nnamani (OH, 6-1, Bloomington, Ill, Stanford)
2 - Danielle Scott-Arruda (MB, 6-2, Baton Rouge, La., Long Beach State)
3 - Tayyiba Haneef-Park (OPP/OH, 6-7, Laguna Hills, Calif., Long Beach State)
4 - Lindsey Berg (S, 5-8, Honolulu, Hawai'i, Minnesota)
5 - Stacy Sykora (L, 5-10, Burleson, Texas, Texas A&M)
6 - Nicole Davis (L, 5-4, Stockton, Calif., Southern Calif.)
7 - Heather Bown (MB, 6-3, Yorba Linda, Calif., Hawai'i)
8 - Cynthia Barboza (OH/OPP, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Stanford)
9 - Jennifer Joines (MB, 6-4, Milpitas, Calif., Pacific)
10 - Kim Glass (OH, 6-2, Lancaster, Pa., Arizona)
11 - Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (S, 5-7, Honolulu, Hawai'i, Hawai'i)
12 - Cassie Busse (OPP, 6-2, Prior Lake, Minn., Minnesota)
13 - Heather Hughes (OPP, 6-2, Fallbrook, Calif., Loyola Marymount)
14 - Kim Willoughby (OH, 5-10, Napoleonville, La., Hawai'i)
15 - Logan Tom (OH, 6-1, Salt Lake City, Utah, Stanford)
16 - Tracy Stalls (MB, 6-3, Denver, Colo., Nebraska)
17 - Angie McGinnis (S, 5-11, Fraser, Mich., Florida)
18 - Kristin Richards (OH, 6-1, Orem, Utah, Stanford)
19 - Foluke Akinradewo (MB, 6-3, Plantation, Fla., Stanford)

Head Coach: "Jenny" Lang Ping
Assistant Coaches: Sue Woodstra, Li Yong, Tom Hogan
Technical Coordinator: Diane French


Bill Kauffman


USA Volleyball