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Volleyball - 17. September 2007.

U.S. Women’s National Team Prepares to Defend NORCECA Championship Title


Bill Kauffman
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800
E-Mail: bill.kauffman@usav.org

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 15, 2007) –


The NORCECA Continental Championship will not only crown the top team among North American, Central American and Caribbean nations, it will qualify its top two teams into the FIVB World Cup held Nov. 2-16 in Japan. According to the FIVB, the World Cup field includes the five continental champions, the four best Continental vice-champions based on the 2007 FIVB World Ranking, host country Japan and two wild cards as chosen by the FIVB and Japan Volleyball Association. The three World Cup medal winners earn spots into the 2008 Olympics.

The Americans have won the bi-annual NORCECA event five times (1981, 1983, 2001, 2003 and 2005) and have played in the last eight championship matches against rival Cuba. At the last NORCECA Championship tournament held in 2005, Team USA won its third consecutive title with a five-set victory over Cuba in the gold medal match at Trinidad & Tobago. Overall, Cuba has won the most zonal championships with 12 titles, while Mexico captured the first championship in 1969 and repeated in 1971. The U.S. has earned a medal in every NORCECA Championship except in 1971.

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For the 2007 event, Team USA is grouped into Pool B with Dominican Republic, Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago. Pool A consists of host Canada, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica. The U.S. opens pool play versus Trinidad & Tobago on Sept. 17 at 1 p.m. CT, followed by matches against Mexico on Sept. 18 at 3 p.m. CT and Dominican Republic on Sept. 19 at 6 p.m. CT.

The winner of each pool advances directly to the medal round starting on Sept. 21, while the second- and third-place teams compete in cross-over quarterfinals on Sept. 20. The gold medal match is scheduled for 4 p.m. CT on Sept. 22.

Heading into the NORCECA Championship, Team USA received a boost this week with the addition of two-time Olympian Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) to the roster after being away from the team since the conclusion of the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Unfortunately, the U.S. lost the services of Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) for the NORCECA Championship due to injury. Glass excelled at the FIVB World Grand Prix last month in her first-ever international tournament with the U.S. National Team.

“Logan’s addition to the team is very good news,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach ‘Jenny’ Lang Ping said. “She has quality international tournament experience that will be beneficial to the team.”

Joining Tom on the 12-player U.S. roster include setters Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (Honolulu) and Lindsey Berg (Honolulu), middle blockers Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.), Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) and Jennifer Joines (Milpitas, Calif.), opposites Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.) and Cassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.), outside hitters Ogonna Nnamani (Normal, Ill.) and Katie Wilkins (Lakeside, Calif.), and liberos Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) and Sarah Drury (Louisville, Ky.).

The team has trained this past week at Soka University of American in Southern California to adjust to sea-level conditions. According to Lang Ping, the team benefited from the experience.

“We really wanted to get used to playing at sea level, especially the speed of the serve,” Lang Ping said. “Passing is still the key for us. Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico all have great jump servers and the speed is fast. The tournament is so short, we cannot afford to take a week to adjust.

“The facility to train in at Soka has been great, and the players also enjoyed the nice weather,” Lang Ping added.

Japan and Thailand have secured spots into the FIVB World Cup through the 14th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship that concluded Sept. 13. Japan captured the title, while Thailand placed third. However, Thailand secured a spot with two teams hosting future events. Japan secured its spot into the World Cup as the tournament host and second-place China is ineligible to participate in the World Cup as it already holds a spot in the 2008 Olympics Games as its host.

The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team press kit for the 2007 NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship can be found at http://www.usavolleyball.org/media/national/07NORCECAPressKit-W.pdf.

2007 U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship
No. – Name (Pos., Hgt., School, Hometown)
1 - Ogonna Nnamani (OH, 6-1, Stanford, Normal, Illinois)
2 - Danielle Scott-Arruda (MB, 6-2, Long Beach State, Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
3 - Tayyiba Haneef-Park (OPP, 6-7, Long Beach State, Laguna Hills, California)
4 – Lindsey Berg (S, 5-8, Minnesota, Honolulu, Hawai’i)
5 – Sarah Drury (L, 5-5, Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky)
7 - Heather Bown (MB, 6-3, Hawai’i, Yorba Linda, California)
8 - Katherine “Katie” Wilkins (OH, 6-4, Pepperdine, Lakeside, California)
9 - Jennifer Joines (MB, 6-3, Pacific, Milpitas, California)
10 - Logan Tom (OH, 6-1, Stanford, Salt Lake City, Utah)
11 - Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (S, 5-9, Hawai’i, Honolulu, Hawai’i)
15 - Nicole Davis (L, 5-6, Southern California, Stockton, California)
18 - Cassandra “Cassie” Busse (OPP, 6-1, Minnesota, Prior Lake, Minnesota)

Head Coach: “Jenny” Lang Ping
Assistant Coaches: Sue Woodstra, Tom Hogan
Team Managers: Tom Pingel
Technical Coordinator: Diane French
Team Doctors: Dr. David Dyck
Medical Support: Emery Hill, Jr.

2007 NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship Schedule (all times listed as Central Time)

Pool A Standings
Canada 0-0
Costa Rica 0-0
Cuba 0-0
Puerto Rico 0-0

Pool A
Sept. 17 (M3): Canada vs. Costa Rica, 6 p.m.
Sept. 17 (M4): Cuba vs. Puerto Rico, 8 p.m.
Sept. 18 (M7): Cuba vs. Costa Rica, 6 p.m.
Sept. 18 (M8): Canada vs. Puerto Rico, 8 p.m.
Sept. 19 (M10): Puerto Rico vs. Costa Rica, 3 p.m.
Sept. 19 (M12): Canada vs. Cuba, 8 p.m.

Pool B Standings
Dominican Republic 0-0
Mexico 0-0
Trinidad & Tobago 0-0
USA 0-0

Pool B
Sept. 17 (M1): USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 1 p.m.
Sept. 17 (M2): Dominican Republic vs. Mexico, 3 p.m.
Sept. 18 (M5): Trinidad & Tobago vs. Dominican Republic, 1 p.m.
Sept. 18 (M6): Mexico vs. USA, 3 p.m.
Sept. 19 (M9): Mexico vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 1 p.m.
Sept. 19 (M11): USA vs. Dominican Republic, 6 p.m.

Quarterfinals
Sept. 20 (M13): Pool A2 vs. Pool B3, 6 p.m.
Sept. 20 (M14): Pool B2 vs. Pool A3, 8 p.m.

Classifications (5-8)
Sept. 21 (M15): Loser M13 vs. Pool B4 or Pool A4, 1 p.m.
Sept. 21 (M16): Loser M14 vs. Pool A4 or Pool B4, 3 p.m.

Semifinals
Sept. 21 (M17): Pool A1 vs. Winner M13 or M14, 6 p.m.
Sept. 21 (M18): Pool B1 vs. Winner M13 or M14, 8 p.m.

Consolations
Sept. 22 (M19): Loser M15 vs. Loser M16, 9 a.m. (Seventh Place)
Sept. 22 (M20): Winner M15 vs. Winner M16, 11 a.m. (Fifth Place)

Medal Finals
Sept. 22 (M21): Loser M17 vs. Loser M18, 2 p.m. (Third Place)
Sept. 22 (M22): Winner M17 vs. Winner M18, 4 p.m. (Championship)

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