USA Volleyball Advances At Grand Prix With Win Over Brazil

Aug. 24, 2001

Macau, China - The USA Women's National Volleyball Team faced a must winsituation here Friday night in their final Pool B match and came outequal to the task. After a close start the Americans decisivelydefeated Brazil in a four set match (31-29, 23-25, 25-13, 25-20) toadvance to the semi-finals of the 2001 FIVB World Grand Prix. If thematch would have lasted five-sets, regardless of the winner, Brazilwould have secured the fourth spot in the semi-finals. Instead, the USjoins the world's elite, Russia, Cuba and China, in the semi-finals witha chance to win their first Grand Prix title since 1995.

A balance attack by the USA offense finished Brazil's chances in thematch. Stanford University junior Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) ledthe US with 17 kills in the match. Middle blocker Danielle Scott (BatonRouge, La./Long Beach State) led all scorers with 19 points, including12 kills and seven blocks. Middle blocker Heather Bown (Yorba Linda,Calif./Univ. of Hawai'i) added seven kills and six blocks, whileopposite hitter Sarah Noriega (Ulysses, Kan./Loyola Marymount) talliedthree blocks and 15 kills.

USA head coach Toshiaki Yoshida was happy with the victory, but knowsthe US cannot savor the win. 'We played with a lot of energy and wereable to break through in the first game to give us the momentum,' saidYoshida. 'I would have to say that Sarah Noriega played very well andhelped us to score a lot of points. I would also have to give our twoveterans, Danielle and Tara, a lot of credit in the win. Altogether itwas a team effort, but we need to concentrate on Russia for tomorrow.

The US will take on second-ranked Russia Saturday evening in thesemi-finals. The second semi-final features top-ranked Cuba againstChina. Both matches will be played in Macau.

Veteran USA outside hitter and coach Tara Cross-Battle (Houston,Texas/Long Beach State Univ.) was elated with the victory and thechance to advance in the tournament. 'I'm on a serious high right now,'said Cross-Battle. 'I just want to congratulate the team. We playedfocused and aggressive. We jumped on them for the beginning and stayedon top. This team decided that it did not matter what Brazil did, wewere going to take care of our side of the net and we did a great job.We accomplished our goal of making the top four and now we are setting anew goal.'

Team USA faced Russia twice in the tournament and defeated them bothtimes. USA stunned the Russians on August 5 with a three set sweep(25-23, 25-23, 25-17) in Thailand. Their next meeting occurred inChinese Taipei on August 11 with the Americans pulling out a five setvictory (25-20, 17-25, 25-22, 20-25, 15-13). The gold and bronze medalmatches will be held on Sunday in Macau.

courtesy of USA Volleyball

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