USA Team Update: Stanford Alums Return To World Grand Prix

July 28, 2009

Stanford, Calif. - When the United States Women's National Team takes the court in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Friday to begin the 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix, three Stanford alums are slated to be key players. Outside hitters Kristin Richards '07 and Cynthia Barboza '09, along with middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo '09, are all members of the 19-player roster that was named this week.

All three 2008 Olympic alternates, Richards, Barboza and Akinradewo are among newcomers who will have a chance to shine in the event.

'We are at the beginning of the Olympic quadrennial and this seems like a very appropriate time to look at a new generation of athletes in order to see if they can help sustain and build on this program's success,' said head coach Hugh McCutcheon.

McCutcheon will choose a maximum of 14 players for each round, the first of which starts in Brazil on Friday.

The 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix involves 12 national teams playing a total of 69 matches over four consecutive weeks in 10 cities. The preliminary weekend rounds are set to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Kielce, Poland and Ningbo, China, on the first weekend, Miao Li, Chinese Taipei, Macau, China, and Osaka, Japan, the second weekend and Hong Kong, Mokpo, Korea and Bangkok, Thailand, the third weekend. The Final Round - composed of the top five teams plus host Japan - is a five-day round-robin event in Tokyo settling the overall title.

The U.S. Women's National Team opens the FIVB World Grand Prix at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as part of Pool A. The Americans begin the tournament versus Germany on July 31, followed by NORCECA rival Puerto Rico on Aug. 1. On Aug. 2, the FIVB will have its featured match of the preliminary round as top-ranked and 2008 Olympic Games gold medalist Brazil hosts second-ranked and 2008 Olympic Games silver medalist Team USA.

The U.S. Women travel from Rio de Janeiro to Miao Li, Chinese Taipei, the following weekend for Pool D action. Team USA plays NORCECA rival Dominican Republic on Aug. 7, Netherlands on Aug. 8 and Germany on Aug. 9.

The Americans conclude the preliminary action in Pool I Aug. 14-16 at Bangkok, Thailand. The U.S. Women face Russia on Aug. 14, Puerto Rico on Aug. 15 and host Thailand on Aug. 16.

The U.S. Women's National Team qualified for the 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix through the 2008 Pan American Cup in which the Americans were the third highest placing team from NORCECA.

Last year, with the help of Richards, Barboza and Akinradewo, as well as Stanford alums Logan Tom and Ogonna Nnamani, the United States placed fourth in the event.

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