U.S. Women Fall to Russia in World Grand Prix Opener

July 15, 2002

Chengdu, China - Artamonova Evgenia scored a match-high 25 points to leadRussia to a 3-2 win over the U.S. women's national volleyball team in theFIVB World Grand Prix opener for both teams in Sichuan Gym Friday night.

Evgenia blasted a match-high 22 kills to go along with two blocks and oneservice ace in the 25-23, 12-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-9 win. Ekaterina Gamovaadded 14 points for Russia (12 kills, one block, one ace), whileElizaveta Tichtchenko scored 12 points (11 kills, one block).

'We fought hard but came up a little short at the end,' said outsidehitter Tara Cross-Battle, one of five U.S. players to score in double-figures. 'At times during the match we were unstoppable but at othertimes we gave up too many points. We have to learn from this loss and useit in tomorrow's match against China.'

Danielle Scott and Heather Bown scored 19 points apiece to lead theUnited States (3-10). Scott had 16 kills, two blocks and one ace, whileBown had 13 kills, a match-high-tying five blocks and one ace.

Cross-Battle scored 16 points (13 kills, three blocks) while Keba Phippsand Logan Tom each chipped in with 12 points. Phipps had 10 kills, oneblock and one ace.

'It was a hard-fought match...There were moments of great play but alsotimes where simple errors needed to be fixed,' said Tom, who had ninekills and three blocks. 'We look to the next match now, China, andhopefully we will learn from this.'

The World Grand Prix, now in its 10th year, is the premier annualtournament for women's volleyball with more the $1 million in prizemoney. Last year, led by Most Valuable Player Scott, the United Stateswon the prestigious tournament for the second time. Team USA also won theGrand Prix in 1995.

China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Macau, Philippines and Thailand will eachhost various rounds of the event. The alternating pool-play rounds of theGrand Prix will be held over a three-weekend period-with matches onFriday, Saturday and Sunday-from July 12-28. The four-team championshipround will take place on the fourth weekend from Aug. 1-4 in Hong Kong.

The USA and Russia are competing in Pool B along with China and Cuba forthe first leg of the event.

In the other Pool B match on Friday, China had little trouble in beatingCuba in three sets (25-15, 25-23, 25-18. In Pool A action in Tokyo,Brazil beat Germany in five games (25-19, 25-22, 19-25, 19-25, 15-8) andJapan swept Thailand (25-14, 25-18, 25-13).

courtesy of USA Volleyball

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