Manager, Media Relations and Publications
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (July 15, 2007) –
photo US Volleyball
Barboza and Akinradewo are currently starting for Team USA at the XV 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The U.S. has won both its preliminary matches to date, and have earned a spot in the Pan American Games medal round regardless of the team’s outcome against Cuba on July 16.
Barboza, a 2004 U.S. Olympic Team alternate, has 22 points on 18 kills, three blocks and an ace after victories over Costa Rica on Saturday and Puerto Rico on Sunday at the Pan American Games. Barboza also has contributed 18 digs, along with 17 excellent receptions on 40 attempts with just one error. Akinradewo holds 24 points on 18 kills, two blocks and four aces. She is averaging 1.00 digs per set as a middle blocker.
As college teammates, and now playing together representing the United States in international competitions, Barboza and Akinradewo are enjoying the summer break they have scheduled for themselves.
“It has been really fun,” Barboza said. “We are really lucky to be able to play with such experienced players. We are learning a lot from the people around us on the court. And of course, I love playing with Foluke.”
Akinradewo echoed her collegiate and national teammate, and has used the Pan American Games as a learning experience for the future.
“I agree with Cynthia,” Akinradewo said. “It a great playing with experienced players. Everyday we are learning something new every. It is a different feel than playing with your college team that you play with for so long. Our chemistry is definitely growing on this team.”
The current experience on the national team should prove beneficial when the pair returns to the college game in August.
“I think we can learn a lot from the leadership that a lot these players bring, how to win in tough situations, and how to make plays on the big points,” Barboza said. “Any experience that we can get at this level is invaluable. It is a great opportunity to play against some of the best players in the world and play with some of the best players. This experience can only help us in the future.”
For Barboza, the Pan American Games is already her second tournament of the 2007 international season. Barboza helped the U.S. Women’s National Team qualify for the 2008 FIVB World Grand Prix as the Americans finished fourth at the Pan American Cup held June 21-29 in Colima, Mexico.