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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 6, 2007) – Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.) and Jennifer Joines (Milpitas, Calif.) scored 10 points apiece as the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team overwhelmed Kenya 25-9, 25-20, 25-10 Tuesday afternoon on the fourth day of the FIVB World Cup at Sendai, Japan.
The U.S., ranked eighth in the FIVB world ranking, improves to 4-0 in the World Cup. Team USA is one of only three undefeated teams remaining in the World Cup as Italy defeated Serbia 23-25, 25-14, 16-25, 25-17, 15-7 in a battle of unbeatens today at Osaka.
Team USA faces Brazil on Nov. 7 at 6:05 p.m. local time (2:05 a.m. MT) in a key battle among medal contenders. Should Brazil defeat Peru later today, the matchup will feature two 4-0 teams at the World Cup.
The U.S. set the tone against Kenya early with a 9-1 lead in the opening set and finished out the 19-minute frame with a 25-9 victory that included five blocks. Using three new starters for set two, Team USA could not separate itself from Kenya until a 6-1 run broke a 19-all tie. The U.S. recorded four blocks and four aces in the third set as it scored 17 of the final 23 points of the match for a 25-10 third set victory.
“Before the match, I told my players we had to concentrate on winning, improving our skills and also we need to improve our teamwork,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach ‘Jenny’ Lang Ping said. “Today, we started out strong but in the second set Kenya played great volleyball with some very good blocking and defensive play -- and some great swings. Winning is important, but we also need to improve our skills. We still have seven matches to go and the way is still pretty difficult and there will be a lot of tough matches waiting for us. We need to be patient and take each one as it comes.”
The FIVB Volleyball World Cup, held every four years in the preceding year to the Olympics, is the first of three Olympic qualification steps for Beijing 2008. The top three teams at the World Cup qualify for the 2008 Olympics. The FIVB World Cup is a 12-team event with a round-robin playing format of 11 matches in 15 days.
The U.S. started Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) and Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) at middle blocker, Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Ogonna Nnamani (Normal, Ill.) at outside hitter, Park at opposite and Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) at setter. Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) is Team USA’s designated libero for the World Cup. Joines started the second and third sets in place of Scott-Arruda in the middle. Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) and Robyn Ah Mow-Santos were inserted as starters in the second and third sets. Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) came off the bench as a replacement in the third set.
Joines, despite playing just two sets, scored double digit points with seven kills on eight errorless attacks and three blocks. Haneef-Park tallied eight kills and two aces for 10 points. Logan Tom, playing just the first two sets, and Bown each added nine points on eight kills and a block. Bown tallied her eight kills on 11 errorless swings. Tom added five digs and a team-high nine excellent reception attempts on 14 errorless chances. Nnamani tacked on four kills, two blocks and two aces in the victory. Glass recorded four kills and two aces in two sets of action, while Scott-Arruda tallied three kills and two blocks in just the first set. Ah Mow-Santos rounded the scoring with an ace to go with 20 assists. Berg added 15 assists in the victory. Davis paced the American defense with 11 digs and five excellent service receptions on 12 errorless attempts.
“I think our team played well together,” Joines said. “It was a fun match. I think we look at every single match as something we want to approach aggressively and communicate together and play as well as possible. I think we did well today.”
As a squad, Team USA hit .446 with 42 kills on 83 swings and just five attack errors. The U.S. held advantages in all three scoring columns. Team USA totaled 42 kills to Kenya’s 23. The American defense at the net yielded a 9-2 block advantage, while the serve provided a 7-2 margin. Team USA committed just three service errors during the match. Kenya contributed 17 other points to the U.S. ledger on errors, while the U.S. limited its miscues to 12. Kenya hit .069 (23 kills, 17 errors, 87 attacks) for the match.
“I think today in the first and third sets we played very well,” Haneef-Park said. “We were aggressive and had a lot of energy, and we were able to serve and pass well. During the second set, we struggled as Kenya got a lot of blocks in and we weren't ready for them. Also, their receiving was good today. I think they played very, very well today. They deserve a big round of applause.”
Dorcas Ndasaba led Kenya with 11 points all on kills. Brackcides Khadambi and Edna Rotich each put up five points in the loss.
“As I said before, in a big championship like this, we are learning a lot,” Kenya Head Coach Sammy Kirongo said. “Even when it goes like this, we are learning from the matches. Today against the USA, we discussed things again and let us play a good game. But still, we are behind in some things and as we continue playing matches we are going to do some better reception and blocking and improve in all departments of volleyball. Lastly, about the height and strength of the players, we don't have that power like other teams and we are learning how to deal with it. I will talk to coaches from different countries and see what they are doing with their players so we can do better.”
The U.S. now shifts its focus to third-ranked Brazil, the top team entered into the 2007 FIVB World Cup.
“I think Brazil is a team with no weaknesses,” Lang Ping said. “All the skills are there and they play very well. So, we have to play perfectly as well to have a chance. I think the players must concentrate on both sides. They don't just have two outside hitters; they have five hitters. Everyone can hit strongly. It will be a tough match and we haven't beaten them for three years so it's a big challenge for us.”
Teams not making the World Cup medal stand will have two other opportunities to qualify for the Olympics with continental qualification tournaments in December 2007 and the World Olympic Qualification Tournament in May 2008 at Japan.
In addition to Italy’s rally against Serbia at Osaka, other matches include host Japan versus Thailand and Dominican Republic against Korea. Other Sendai matches include Cuba versus Poland and Brazil against Peru.
Team USA matches during the FIVB World Cup can be seen on a delayed basis on NBC’s Universal HD network. For more details and broadcast times, click here for the release.
The U.S. started the opening set strong with a 4-0 lead as Nnamani turned in a kill and block around a Haneef-Park kill and Kenyan error. Scott-Arruda produced a kill and block on consecutive plays followed by a Haneef-Park kill to push the lead to 7-1. Team USA went into the first technical timeout up 8-1 on a 4-0 run as Tom put up a block, which was followed by a Scott-Arruda kill after the break. Kenya scored back-to-back points at 10-4. Bown connected for consecutive kills to extend the Team USA lead to eight points at 12-4. Tom scored two kills in a 3-1 U.S. scoring spurt to lift the margin to nine points at 15-6. Nnamani and Scott-Arruda stuffed consecutive Kenyan attacks between two other Kenya errors to stretch the gap to 12 points, 19-7. Nnamani added a kill for the fifth straight U.S. point at 20-7. Nnamani served an ace around kills from Haneef-Park and Scott-Arruda to place the score at 23-8. Tom ended the set at 25-9 on consecutive kills. Nnamani, Scott-Arruda and Tom all finished the opening set with five points, while Haneef-Park chipped in four points. Kenya was held to just six kills in the period and scored three of its points on U.S. errors.
Kenya scored three unanswered points to assume a 4-2 advantage early in the second period. The U.S. regained the lead at 6-5 after two straight Kenya errors and a Glass kill. Kenya reached the first technical timeout leading 8-7 on back-to-back points, then added to the lead with another point at 9-7. The U.S. returned to the lead with an Ah Mow-Santos ace around two Kenyan errors at 10-9. Joines scored her first point of the tournament with a kill to push the gap to two, 11-9. Haneef-Park and Tom put down consecutive kills to widen the margin to three, 13-10, only to see Kenya answer immediately with two straight points. The Kenyans tied the set at 14-all. Bown and Joines collected consecutive kills and Kenya followed with an error to lift the U.S. into a three-point cushion, 19-16. Kenya answered with three consecutive points to tie the set at 19-all. Glass and Haneef-Park canned consecutive kills to give the U.S. a 21-19 advantage. Joines, Tom and Glass downed three straight kills to yield a 24-20 set point for Team USA, and the U.S. took advantage on its first opportunity with a Kenya error. Tom and Glass finished the second set with four points apiece, while the U.S. picked up seven points on Kenyan errors.
Joines turned in a kill around two Kenya errors to give the U.S. an early 3-0 lead in the third set. Nnamani aced Kenya after a Haneef-Park kill to push the gap to four, 5-1. Bown put up a kill and block around a Glass ace to increase the margin to six points, 10-4. Joines gained consecutive points on a kill and block followed by a Haneef-Park kill to extend Team USA’s lead to 14-6. After a Kenya error, Joines stuffed consecutive Kenya attacks to conclude a six-point run that put the U.S. ahead 17-6. Bown powered a kill down followed by a Haneef-Park ace to push the gap to 21-9. After a Nnamani kill, Haneef-Park turned in her second ace in a 4-0 run to put the score at 23-9. Bown ended the match with consecutive kills at 25-10. Joines led the U.S. attack in the third set with seven points, while Bown added six points. As a team, the U.S. turned in four blocks and four aces in the final period.
For additional information on the FIVB World Cup, two web sites have been created. To view the FIVB World Cup web site, click here. To view the Japan Volleyball Association's World Cup web site, click here.
U.S. Women’s National Team for FIVB World Cup
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 (OH, 6-7, Long Beach State, Laguna Hills, California)
4 – Lindsey Berg (S, 5-8, Minnesota, Honolulu, Hawai’i)
5 – Stacy Sykora (L, 5-10, Texas A&M, Burleson, Texas)
6 – Logan Tom (OH, 6-1, Stanford, Salt Lake City, Utah)
7 - Heather Bown (MB, 6-3, Hawai’i, Yorba Linda, California)
9 - Jennifer Joines (MB, 6-3, Pacific, Milpitas, California)
10 - Kim Glass (OH, 6-3, Arizona, Lancaster, Pennsylvania)
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, Yong Li, Tom Hogan
Team Manager: Kerry Klostermann
Technical Coordinator: Diane French
Technical Consultant: Darrell Akimoto
Team Doctor: Dr. Sherwin Ho
Medical Support: Emery Hill, Jr.
Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com
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