Grand Champions Cup Press Conference

By Bill Kauffman | Nov. 11, 2013, 6:24 a.m. (ET)

NAGOYA, Japan (Nov. 11, 2013) – The coaches for the six countries competing in the 2013 FIVB Women's World Grand Champions Cup participated in a press conference Monday evening in Nagoya, Japan, on the eve of the tournament's opening day.

U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly discussed the team's opportunity to get better in the season-ending tournament. He also talked about Team USA's opening day opponent Brazil. The teams will face off on Tuesday at 3:40 p.m. local time (10:40 p.m. PT on Monday). The U.S., ranked second in the world, opens against No. 1 Brazil for the second consecutive FIVB event in Japan. Brazil won the most recent head-to-head match 3-0 to start the FIVB World Grand Prix in Sapporo on Aug. 28.

The FIVB Grand Champions Cup features continental winners United States (NORCECA), Thailand (Asia), Russia (Europe), Brazil (South America), along with wildcard Dominican Republic and host Japan. The tournament uses a round-robin format with each team playing five matches over the course of six days. The first stage will be held Nov. 12-13 at the Nagoya Nippongaishi Hall, which seats 10,000 fans. After a travel day on Nov. 14, the teams resume action Nov. 15-17 at the 5,000-seat Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, which was used during the 1964 Olympic Games and completely remodeled in the early 1990s.

Team USA will face Japan on Nov. 13 and will try to improve to 6-0 against its Asian rival this year. After the travel day, the Americans challenge Russia on Nov. 15. Team USA defeated Russia 3-1 on the opening day of the 2013 FIVB World Grand Prix. The U.S. plays Thailand on Nov. 16 in the first meeting of the two teams in 2013. The Americans conclude the World Grand Champions Cup on Nov. 17 against Dominican Republic. The U.S. is 2-0 against Dominican Republic in 2013, with both victories coming in gold-medal matches (Pan American Cup and NORCECA Continental Championship).

The U.S. Women qualified for the World Grand Champions Cup by winning the Visit Omaha NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship, which was held Sept. 16-21. Team USA defeated Mexico and Cuba in pool play, Canada in the semifinal round and No. 8 Dominican Republic in the championship match. For tournament details, click here.

U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team for FIVB Volleyball Grand Champions Cup
# - Name (Pos, Ht, Spike, Block, Hometown, College)
1 - Alisha Glass (S, 6-0, 10-0, 9-10, Leland, Mich., Penn State University)
4 - Cursty Jackson (MB, 6-2, 10-6, 10-2, Los Angeles, Calif., University of Arizona)
5 - Tamari Miyashiro (L, 5-7, 9-4, 8-9, Kaneohe, Hawaii, University of Washington)
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 - Kristin Hildebrand – Captain (OH, 6-1, 9-10, 9-4, Orem, Utah, Stanford University)
10 - Jordan Larson-Burbach (OH, 6-2, 9-11, 9-8, Hooper, Neb., University of Nebraska)
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)
20 - Jenna Hagglund (S, 5-10, 9-7, 9-6, West Chester, Ohio, University of Washington)

Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Reed Sunahara, Mike Hebert
Technical Coordinator: Joe Trinsey
Athletic Trainer: Jill Wosmek
Team Leader: Kenny Sullivan

FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Grand Champions Cup Schedule

Nov. 12 - Nagoya, Japan
Thailand vs. Dominican Republic, 12:10 p.m. (7:10 p.m. PT on Nov. 11)
United States vs. Brazil, 3:40 p.m. (10:40 p.m. PT on Nov. 11)
Japan vs. Russia, 7:10 p.m. (2:10 a.m. PT on Nov. 12)

Nov. 13 - Nagoya, Japan
Brazil vs. Thailand, 12:10 p.m. (7:10 p.m. PT on Nov. 12)
Russia vs. Dominican Republic, 4:10 p.m. (10:40 p.m. PT on Nov. 12)
United States vs. Japan, 7:10 p.m. (2:10 a.m. PT on Nov. 13)

Nov. 15 - Tokyo, Japan
Dominican Republic vs. Brazil, 12:10 p.m. (7:10 p.m. PT on Nov. 14)
United States vs. Russia, 4:10 p.m. (10:10 p.m. PT on Nov. 14)
Japan vs. Thailand, 7:10 p.m. (2:10 a.m. PT on Nov. 15)

Nov. 16 - Tokyo, Japan
United States vs. Thailand, 12:10 p.m. (7:10 p.m. PT on Nov. 15)
Russia vs. Brazil, 4:10 p.m. (10:10 p.m. PT on Nov. 15)
Japan vs. Dominican Republic, 7:10 p.m. (2:10 a.m. PT on Nov. 16)

Nov. 17 - Tokyo, Japan
United States vs. Dominican Republic, 12:10 p.m. (7:10 p.m. PT on Nov. 16)
Thailand vs. Russia, 3:10 p.m. (9:10 p.m. PT on Nov. 16)
Japan vs. Brazil, 6:10 p.m. (1:10 a.m. PT on Nov. 17)