USA Women Fall to China in Eltsin Cup Semifinals

June 17, 2003

Nizhnyi Tagil, Russia - Ruirui Zhao scored 19 points to lead a balancedattack as China posted a 3-2 win over the USA women's national volleyballteam in the championship semifinals at the Eltsin Cup tournament inRussia Sunday night.

Zhao had 16 kills, two service aces and one block in the 29-27, 25-27, 25-20, 25-27, 15-13 victory for the Chinese, the second in 10 days over theAmericans~both in five sets.

Yanan Liu scored 17 points, Hao Yang and Jinling Chu each added 14 pointsand Suhong Zhou tallied 10 for China, which will meet Russia in thechampionship match on Monday night.

Five players scored in double-figures for the United States, led by NancyMetcalf with 20 points and Logan Tom with 19. Team USA, which lost toChina in pool play of the Montreux Volley Masters on June 6, playsAzerbaijan for third place on Monday.

'Our team played better tonight overall, but we struggled to convert onkey transition plays,' said Metcalf (Hull, Iowa/Nebraska), who had 18kills and two aces. 'We expected another tough match with China, and weknow they are a very good sideout team.

'We can take several things out of the match to work on, includingfinishing the play on an out-of-system ball,' she added. 'Our nextimmediate goal is to play well and win in the third-place match onMonday.'

Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah/Stanford) had 16 kills, two blocks and one acefor the Americans, who fell to 4-5 on the season.

Danielle Scott (Baton Rouge, La./Long Beach State) scored 16 points on 15kills and one block in the loss, while Sarah Noriega (Ulysses,Kan./Loyola Marymount) scored 14 points on 11 kills and a team-high threeblocks.

Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif./Hawai'i) chipped in with 13 points on12 kills and one block for the United States, who earned a silver medalat the 2002 World Championships.

'Tonight's match was back and forth, at times dead even and other timeswith momentum changes,' said setter Lindsey Berg (Honolulu,Hawaii/Minnesota). 'But the outcome of the match came down to thecrucial points at the end of the games. Unfortunately, China playedbetter at crucial times.

'We will continue to work on the things we did not execute and learn fromeach match,' Berg added. 'We will use each match to get better and helpus with our ultimate goal of qualifying for the Olympics.'

courtesy of USA Volleyball

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