COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 21, 2008) – The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Training Team opened its eight-match exhibition tour of China on Friday evening with a 25-22, 25-21, 25-21 loss to Tianjin, a professional club team based in the host town of Tianjin. The match was televised live by Tianjin TV China before a sellout crowd.
The U.S. will play Tianjin again on March 22 at 3 p.m. China Local Time (1 a.m. Mountain Time). Team USA will train in four different cities with some matches in outlying areas of the towns during the current three-week training period in China, which will host the 2008 Olympic Games Aug. 8-24 in Beijing. The U.S. qualified for the Olympics by finishing with the bronze medal at the 2007 FIVB World Cup.
U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach “Jenny” Lang Ping returned to her native China for the first time to coach Team USA since qualifying the Americans into the Olympics in November 2007. The trip was arranged to better evaluate a younger group of athletes in international match situations, many who have not played international volleyball above the U-20 level or at any level.
The U.S. started Juliann Faucette (San Diego) and Angie Pressey (Lake Mary, Fla.) at outside hitter, Tracy Stalls (Denver) and Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) at middle blocker, Heather Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.) at opposite and Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) at setter. Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) served as the libero for the match. Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas) subbed into the match during the second and third sets, while Lindsey Hunter (Papillion, Neb.) saw action late in the third set. Alix Klineman (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) entered into the match briefly in the second set.
Faucette led Team USA in scoring with 14 points all on kills. She converted 48 percent of her attacks into kills. Stalls contributed seven kills on 11 errorless attacks to go with three blocks. Hughes added eight kills on 25 swings with two errors, plus a kill and block for 10 points. Akinradewo chipped in eight points with three kills, team-high four blocks and an ace. Hooker and Pressey each totaled four points in the match. McGinnis charted two setter dumps for kills and two blocks for four points. Davis supplied 11 digs on defense and handled 26 of the team's 63 service receptions. Team USA held an 11-7 advantage in blocks and converted 41 percent of its attacks into kills.
“The team remained composed, but not aggressive enough to challenge for the match,” U.S. Assistant Coach Tom Hogan said. “‘Adjustment’ is a good word for the night.”
“It was a good start for the young team, especially considering most girls not having experience with the quick Asian style of offense,” said Davis, captain of the U.S. team.
Tianjin was led by Yin Nan’s 15 points, followed by Yan Ya Nan with 13 points. As a team, Tianjin converted 45 percent of its attacks into kills and held a 6-2 margin in aces.
“Big difference compared to college,” Hooker said after the match. “(When blocking) in college, I would have my hands high, but here they just shoot between your arms.”
All three sets remained close throughout with neither team holding more than a three-point lead. In the first set, the U.S. scored three straight points on two Stalls kills and a Faucette kill to give Team USA a 9-8 advantage. However, Tianjin came back to take a 11-10 lead that it never relinquished. The U.S. remained within two points in the set until Yin Nan scored a kill at 23-20. McGinnins dumped a kill followed by a Faucette kill to narrow the deficit to 23-22, only to have Tianjin score the final two points.
After falling behind 3-1 in the early stages of the second set, the U.S. tied the set at 3-all with a Hughes kill and Tianjin error. Hughes followed a Akinradewo kill with an ace to yield a 5-4 U.S. advantage. Tianjin used a 4-1 spurt to take a 9-7 lead, which was quickly erased with kills from McGinnis and Stalls to tie the score at 9-all. Tianjin regained a two-point cushion at 14-12 and the U.S. answered with an Akinradewo block after a Tianjin service error to put the scoreboard at 14-all. Tianjin ran off a deciding 3-0 run to take a 17-14 lead. Team USA challenged right back to come within one at 19-18 after a Stalls block. Tianjin returned to a three-point edge at 22-19 and went on to win 25-21.
Tianjin built an early 4-2 lead in the third set, but the U.S. responded with three straight points with blocks coming from Hooker and McGinnis around a Tianjin attack error to give the Americans a 5-4 lead. The U.S. earned its first two-point advantage at 8-6. After the first technical timeout, Tianjin scored three unanswered points and continued to climb into a 14-11 lead. Trailing 15-12, the U.S. scored four unanswered points of its own with blocks from Stalls and Hughes, along with kills from Akinradewo and Hughes to reach the second technical timeout leading 16-15. Faucette downed consecutive kills to provide the U.S. with an 18-16 lead. Tianjin recovered with four straight points including two service aces to build a 20-18 lead. Hughes and Hooker tallied consecutive kills tie knot the score at 20-all, but Tianjin would score five of the next six points to end the match.
For additional information on the U.S. Women’s National Team, check the team’s home page at http://www.usavolleyball.org/National/wnthome.asp.
Q: Describe your leadership with the young team
A: I try to lead by example with how I play and being communicative and helping blockers with their responsibilities and being a leader in passing.
Reflections on the game
A: We did “really well adjusting to their style of offense. They used a lot of pump fakes they didn’t use during the scrimmage, [but] toward the end we got a lot more touches. Tomorrow will be better.”
A: “[I] was not expecting such a large crowd. I’m glad the young team got to experience that.”
Q: So was your height a disadvantage in a way?
A: “My height was effective when I hit but not when I blocked.”
Q: Changes for next game?
A: Serve more aggressive, help out defense, give energy and feedback to my team.
Q: What do you think about the atmosphere?
A: “Packed. I’ve seen lots of college arenas, but nothing like this. It shows how much people love volleyball. It’s a privilege for us.
Sue Woodstra (U.S. Assistant Coach)
“The team adjusted well.”
Team USA Tour of China Match Information
March 21: Team USA vs. Tianjin club at Tianjin, 7:30 p.m.
March 22: Team USA vs. Tianjin club at WuQing, 3 p.m.
March 24: Team USA vs. Chinese Army Club at YiYang, 3 p.m.
March 26: Team USA vs. Chinese Army Club at ChangShu, 7:30 p.m.
March 28: Team USA vs. TBA in Hangzhou, 7:30 p.m.
March 29: Team USA vs. TBA in FuYang, 7:30 p.m.
April 1: Team USA vs. TBA in Nanjing, Time TBA
April 2: Team USA vs. TBA in Nanjing, Time TBA
U.S. Women’s National Training Team Roster on China Tour
# - Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 - Juliann Faucette (OH, 6-2, San Diego, Calif., Texas)
2 - Destinee Hooker (OH, 6-4, San Antonio, Texas, Texas)
3 - Therese Crawford (OH, 5-11, Kalamazoo, Mich., Hawai'i)
4 - Alix Klineman (OH, 6-4, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Stanford)
5 - Angie Pressey (OH, 5-8, Lake Mary, Fla., California)
6 - Foluke Akinradewo (MB, 6-3, Plantation, Fla., Stanford)
7 - Tracy Stalls (MB, 6-4, Denver, Colo., Nebraska)
9 - Lauren Paolini (MB, 6-5, Ann Arbor, Mich., Texas)
11 - Heather Hughes (OPP, 6-2, Fallbrook, Calif., Loyola Marymount)
13 - Nellie Spicer (S, 5-9, Barrington, Ill., UCLA)
15 - Nicole Davis (L, 5-6, Stockton, Calif., Southern California)
16 - Lindsey Hunter (S, 5-10, Papillion, Neb., Missouri)
17 - Angie McGinnis (S, 5-11, Fraser, Mich., Florida)
18 - Cassie Busse (OPP, 6-1, Prior Lake, Minn., Minnesota)
Head Coach: “Jenny” Lang Ping
Assistant Coaches: Sue Woodstra, Li Yong, Tom Hogan
Technical Coordinator: Diane French
Picture by Alex Broadway/SWpix.com