COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 24, 2008) –
The U.S. will play a Chinese Army Club in ChangShu, 7:30 p.m. China time (5:30 a.m. Mountain Time) on March 26. Team USA dropped 3-0 and 3-2 matches to Tianjin, a professional club team in China, to open the tour. Tianjin is the China League champions the past two seasons. Team USA is on a three-week training tour of China to evaluate a younger group of players in preparation for Olympic Games roster selections. The U.S. qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games, held Aug. 8-24 in Beijing, by finishing with a bronze medal at the 2007 FIVB World Cup.
Team USA started middle blockers Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) and Tracy Stalls (Denver, Colo.), outside hitters Juliann Faucette (San Diego) and Angie Pressey (Lake Mary, Fla.), opposite Heather Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.) and setter Lindsey Hunter (Papillion, Neb.). Team captain Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) served as the libero for the match. Destinee Hooker (San Antonio) entered as a sub in the first set and started the final three sets in place of Faucette. Alix Klineman (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) started the last two sets in place of Pressey. Cassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.), who is recovering from an injury, and Nellie Spicer (Barrington, Ill.) were part double switches in all but the second set.
Hughes led the U.S. offense with 16 points on 15 kills via 27 attacks and an ace. She recorded kills on 56 percent of her attacks during the victory. Akinradewo chipped in 15 points on 12 kills on 17 attacks with just one error (71 kill percent) and three aces. Stalls totaled 10 kills on 21 swings with one error to go with a team-high four blocks for 14 points. Despite not starting, Hooker placed 13 points on the stat sheet with 10 kills and three blocks. Klineman added five kills, one block and one ace for seven points. Angie Pressey collected four points in just the first two sets, while Hunter provided three aces and an ace for four points. Busse added a kill and block in limited action due to her injury. Davis charted 12 of Team USA's 24 digs.
"I think we had a couple of rough points, but we played really well and we've seen improvements," Hunter said. "We're really happy. The team we beat won the league. We're happy with our improvement and we can only improve from there."
The Chinese Army club team held slim advantages in blocks (11-10) and aces (9-8), but the U.S. held a 58-50 advantage in kills. Team USA also earned kills on 44 percent of its attacks compared to the hosts’ 40 percent.
Both teams traded points to open the first set until the China Army scored consecutive points to reach the first technical timeout leading 8-7 and added a point out of the break for a two-point cushion. Team USA tied the set at 10-all with kills from Hughes and Stalls to go with a China Army error. With the scored tied 11-all, China Army blistered the serve on a 5-0 run with two aces. The U.S. cut into the deficit at 19-16 with kills from Hooker and Hughes around a Hunter ace as part of a 3-0 run. The China Army increased its lead back to four points at 23-18, only to have Akinradewo and Pressey connect for back-to-back kills at 23-20. Unfortunately, the teams traded points the rest of the way for a four-point China Army victory.
China Army jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the second set and reached the first technical timeout with an 8-4 advantage. Down 9-5, Team USA put together a 6-1 scoring run to take an 11-10 lead with Stalls providing three kills and a block after Hooker started the run with two kills. China Army regain the lead at 14-13, but the advantage was short-lived as Akinradewo connected for back-to-back kills for a 15-14 lead. However, China Army reached the second technical timeout first at 16-15 on consecutive points. Akinradewo took over the next three points with kills to lift Team USA into an 18-16 advantage. After a U.S. attack error cut the margin to one at 18-17, Team USA rattled off the next six points as Hunter served two aces, Stalls added a kill and block, and Hughes and Hooker provided a kill apiece for a 24-17 lead. Although the China Army won the next three points, it could not stop the U.S. in the end as Hooker put up a block to close the set at 25-21.
After falling behind 4-3 in the opening parts of the third set, Team USA assumed a 7-4 lead on four unanswered points. China Army moved to within one at 7-6, just to see Klineman serve an ace after Akinradewo and Hooker put up quick attacks for kills at 10-6. China Army whittled the deficit down and tied the score at 15-all. Team USA rolled out a 6-2 scoring run that included a kill and block from Busse, along with an ace from Akinradewo for a 21-17 advantage. Stalls collected a kill and block after a Hughes kill to give the U.S. a set point opportunity at 24-18. After China Army saved two set points, the U.S. closed out the frame at 25-19.
After falling behind 2-0 to open the fourth set, Klineman tallied two kills and a block after a Hughes kill to put the U.S. in front 4-2. The lead was short as China Army scored the next three points to regain a 5-4 lead and went on to reach the first technical timeout up 8-6. After the break, Stanford University teammates Akinradewo and Klineman put down back-to-back kills to tie the set at 8-all. The China Army broke the spurt and gained a 9-8 lead, only to have Hooker step up with back-to-back kills followed by an Akinradewo ace for an 11-9 Team USA advantage. China Army regained its composure with a 6-0 run including two aces for a 15-11 lead. After trailing 16-12 at the second technical timeout, Stalls hammered back-to-back kills between China Army errors to tie the set at 16-all. The U.S. regained the lead at 18-17, just to see China Army recover the lead back at 19-18 on consecutive kills. Down 21-20, the U.S. scored four straight points on a kill from Akinradewo, block from Hooker and two China Army errors to yield three match opportunities at 24-21. China Army saved all three chances with the third coming on an ace to tie the set at 24-all. Stalls stopped the bleeding with a kill to give the U.S. its fourth match point try, and Hooker followed with a block for the victory.
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.
Team USA Tour of China Match Information
March 21: Team USA lost to Tianjin club at Tianjin (25-22, 25-21, 25-21)
March 22: Team USA lost to Tianjin club at WuQing (23-25, 21-25, 25-16, 25-21, 15-9)
March 24: Team USA def. Chinese Army Club at YiYang (21-25, 25-21, 25-19, 26-24)
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
photo Getty Images