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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 26, 2007) – The U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team roster for the upcoming FIVB World Cup, as announced today by Team USA Head Coach ‘Jenny’ Lang Ping, will have an Olympic feel as eight of the 12 players competed in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
Team USA departed Colorado Springs Oct. 26 for Japan and the World Cup, which is a 12-team round robin event staged Nov. 2-16 in various Japanese cities.
The FIVB 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. 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 final preparations for the World Cup, the U.S. Women’s National Team will train with Toyota Queenseis Volleyball Club, which is part of the Japanese V League. Team USA will work out with Toyota Oct. 27-31 at Kariya, Japan, which is about 30 kilometers from Nagoya. The two teams will scrimmage on Oct. 30. After the training period with Toyota, Team USA will travel to nearby Hamamatsu for its first round matches that start on Nov. 2 against Peru.
The dozen players selected to represent Team USA closely resembles the 2004 Olympic team with eight carryovers. Middle blocker Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) will be making her fourth World Cup appearance as she attempts to match Tara Cross-Battle’s USAV record of four Olympic appearances. Other key veterans include outside hitters Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) and libero Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas), who both are two-time Olympians that recently rejoined the indoor national team after nearly three years away from the program.
Setter Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (Honolulu) and middle blocker Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) are two-time Olympians that have made the 2007 World Cup roster. Other Olympians include outside hitter/opposite Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.), setter Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) and outside hitter Ogonna Nnamani (Normal, Ill.).
Making their FIVB World Cup debuts are outside hitter Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.), middle blocker Jennifer Joines (Milpitas, Calif.), libero Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) and opposite Cassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.).
The U.S. will have a balanced offensive attack with several different players that can step up when called upon. Haneef-Park has scored the most points for the U.S. this season while playing either the outside hitter or opposite position. She averages 3.52 points per set while providing a 3.20 kill average on a .398 attack percentage. Scott-Arruda, who has played all but one tournament this season, has contributed 3.10 points per set that includes a 0.75 block average and .386 hitting percentage. Bown has attacked at a .450 percentage in two tournaments this season with averages of 2.94 points and 0.91 blocks per set.
Nnamani has added 3.40 points per set in the last two tournaments. Glass, with just one international tournament to her credit, averaged 3.39 points per set at the FIVB World Grand Prix in August 2007. Busse, the only player to have made all five tournament rosters in 2007, has chalked up 140 points for the U.S. Joines has played a key role in the middle at various times with 2.16 points per set.
Davis has patrolled the libero position at the 2007 FIVB World Grand Prix and the NORCECA Continental Championship. Ah Mow-Santos has started at setter in three of the four tournaments the U.S. has entered this season, while Berg played a key role at the NORCECA Continental Championship.
The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team opens the 2007 FIVB World Cup played in Japan on Nov. 2 against Peru at Hamamatsu, then concludes the 11-match, 15-day tournament against Italy on Nov. 16 at Nagoya.
The 12-team World Cup field includes the five continental champions, the four best Continental vice-champions based on the 2007 FIVB World Ranking as of Jan. 15, 2007, host country Japan and the two wild cards as chosen by the FIVB and Japan Volleyball Association. The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team earned its spot into the FIVB World Cup as the NORCECA Continental Championship silver medalist.
In addition to Team USA, the tournament field includes host Japan, Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Kenya, Korea, Peru, Poland, Serbia and Thailand. Each team plays all 11 other teams in a round-robin format in four different stages.
After the tournament opener against Peru, the U.S. faces NORCECA rival Cuba on Nov. 3 and Poland on Nov. 4 in the first stage at Hamamatsu. After two days off, Team USA plays Kenya on Nov. 6 and Brazil on Nov. 7 at Sendai. During the third round at Kumamoto, the Americans challenge Dominican Republic on Nov. 9, Thailand on Nov. 10 and Korea on Nov. 11. The U.S. concludes the tournament at Nagoya against Serbia on Nov. 14, host Japan on Nov. 15 and Italy on Nov. 16.
“Our team has been improving a lot this year, and we just finished a great tournament at NORCECA Championship,” Lang Ping said.
But to succeed at the FIVB World Cup, Lang Ping realizes the team must stay healthy and perform at a consistent level.
“It will depend how a team performs for all those 11 matches,” Lang Ping said. “It is pretty tough. Teams need to be able to play consistently and not have a roller-coaster of results.”
China, ranked second in the world by the FIVB and winner of the most recent World Cup in 2003, is not eligible to compete in the FIVB World Cup as it has already secured its spot into the 2008 Olympics as the host country. In addition, top-ranked Russia did not receive a World Cup wild card bid after failing to finish among the top two in its qualification tournament.
“I think the tournament is very strong, even without Russia, if we want to qualify for the top three,” Lang Ping said. “There will be lots of difficult matches. As being ranked number eight, we have nothing to lose. With rally scoring, anything can happen. There is an equal opportunity for the teams to finish in the top three. I don't think anybody can for sure say they will qualify for the Olympics in the top three positions at this tournament. For instance, World Grand Prix champion Netherlands and top-ranked Russia did not even qualify. Anything can happen with this system.”
The pre-World Cup training segment serves several purposes as the U.S. attempts to reach the medal stand and gain Olympic qualification for 2008. Team USA, which trains at an elevation of over 6,100 feet in Colorado Springs, can acclimate to sea level while working out with Toyota in Kariya. At altitude, serves travel further than at sea level and affects the serve-receive game. Second, the squad is able to familiarize itself with the time change.
Sue Woodstra, an assistant coach for the U.S. Women’s National Team, played under current Toyota Head Coach Nobuchika Kuzuwa while the two were part of the NEC team from 1984-1988.
To view the Team USA press kit for the 2007 FIVB World Cup, go to http://www.usavolleyball.org/media/national/07WorldCupPressKit-W.pdf.
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.
The list of the 12 Women’s teams for the FIVB World Cup 2007: (not in any seeded order)