USA Volleyball Off To Good Start At Grand Prix Tournament

Aug. 8, 2001

Suphanburi, Thailand - Over the next month, cumulating with the final round in Macau 22-26 August, Brazil, Korea, China, USA, Russia, Japan, Germany and Olympic gold medallists and defending champions Cuba, will battle for their share of the $1 million in prize money. Held over four weeks in six cities and three countries throughout Asia (Hong Kong, Thailand, China, Chinese Taipei, Japan and Macau), the World Grand Prix 2001 is expected to produce dramatic results with teams in the rebuilding phase after the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

On the first weekend of play, the US women's indoor team won two and lost one. In their first match against Korea, the US women came up short, losing 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-23). The entire match only lasted one hour and 14 minutes. Logan Tom led US hitters with 15 kills, while Heather Bown added 11. Danielle Scott tallied 4 blocks. Korea got 13 kills from team captain Ku Min-Jung.

The next night, the US team played tough against a scrappy German team, winning 3-0 (28-26, 25-19, 25-16). In game one, Germany took an early lead 5-1, but shortly after that the USA started to bounce back and tied the score at 7-7. The battle then gained in tempo with the lead changing hands several times. The Americans, however, performed well under pressure, winning the see-saw first set 28-26.

Conceding the one-set deficit, Germany regained their composure, with hard-hitting Angelina Gruen executing strong attacks from all positions to put her team in front 7-3. The US team, however, got their act together again to close the margin at 15-15 and continued their aggressive play from there, winning the set 25-19.

USA took command in the third set to lead 19-11, thanks to the strong offensive combination of Logan Tom and Sarah Noriega. The Germans tried to make a comeback, but great team defense by the US stopped them. The US team finished the set at 25-16. Logan Tom again led the US effort with 14 kills, and Sarah Noriega had 11. Angelina Gruen tallied 15 kills for Germany.

The third night, USA ended Russia's two-match winning streak, stunning the former four-time world champions in straight sets 25-23, 25-23, 25-17. Russia, powered by hard-hitting Lioubov Chachkova, who had 17 kills in 29 attempts in the previous match against Korea, took the lead initially in the first set, but fell into making hasty mistakes. USA seized the chance, bouncing back to tie the score at 22-22 and moved ahead to capture the hard-fought set 25-23. USA's improved play continued in the second set and they won again by the same margin. USA took control of the third set, dominating with strong hitting from Logan Tom and solid blocking by Danielle Scott and Liz Bachman. For the US, Logan Tom had 12 kills and Danielle Scott added 10, while tallying 5 blocks as well. Chachkova led Russia with 15 kills.

Next weekend the US women will face Cuba, Russia and Korea. On the third weekend they will come up against China, Cuba and Germany. That will finish the prelimnary round. All eight teams will then enter the playoffs, seeded according to their records in the prelimary round.

The big surprise of the weekend was Cuba losing all three of its matches. Cuba brought a team with many new players, not all the veterans from the Olympics. In other highlights, Japan is the only undefeated team with wins over China, Cuba and Brazil.

First Weekend Results

1. 03-Aug RUS def GER 3-0 (25-17 25-18 25-21)
2. 03-Aug KOR def USA 3-0 (25-17 25-23 25-23)
3. 04-Aug USA def GER 3-0 (28-26 25-19 25-16)
4. 04-Aug RUS def KOR 3-0 (25-23 25-12 25-13)
5. 05-Aug GER def KOR 3-2 (25-19 22-25 25-23 20-25 22-20)
6. 05-Aug USA def RUS 3-0 (25-23 25-23 25-17)

Hong Kong
7. 03-Aug JPN def CHN 3-0 (25-19 30-28 25-23)
8. 03-Aug BRA def CUB 3-2 (16-25 25-18 22-25 25-13 15-7)
9. 04-Aug JPN def CUB 3-1 (25-23 16-25 25-16 25-21)
10. 04-Aug CHN def BRA 3-2 (26-28 26-24 25-22 27-29 15-8)
11. 05-Aug JPN def BRA 3-0 (25-21 26-24 25-17)
12. 05-Aug CHN def CUB 3-0 (25-20 25-17 25-22)

Current Standings

Rank     Country          Points       Won        Lost1        Japan            6            3          02        Russia           5            2          13        USA              5            2          14        China            5            2          15        Korea            4            1          26        Brazil           4            1          27        Germany          4            1          28        Cuba             3            0          3

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