USA Women Begin Final Round Of Grand Prix With Sweep Of China

Aug. 2, 2004

Reggio Calabria, Italy - The USA women's national volleyball team certainly hopes it begins the 2004 Olympic Games the same way it began the final round of the World Grand Prix.

Logan Tom scored a match-high 19 points and Keba Phipps added 17 as Team USA posted a stunning 3-0 win over China Thursday evening at Palapentimele Hall.

China and the United States, the world's No. 1 and No. 2 teams, respectively, square off again on Aug. 14 in Athens, Greece, to begin Olympic competition.

Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) had 17 kills, two service aces, 10 digs and a hitting percentage of .424 in the 25-23, 25-18, 25-20 victory that clinched a berth in the Grand Prix semifinals for the Americans.

The top two teams in each pool advance to the tournament semifinals on Saturday, July 31. The third-place and championship matches are scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 1.

Even if Italy were to sweep the USA in Friday's final Pool A match, the Americans would advance to the semifinals because of their advantage over China in set ratio (the USA would be at 1.000; China finished at .750). If Italy loses to Team USA, China will advance to the semifinals as the No. 2 team from Pool A.

Phipps (Las Vegas, Nev.) had 14 kills and three blocks as the United States improved to 7-3 at the Grand Prix and 17-10 overall this season.

Team USA began the 2004 season with an eight-match losing streak to China. However, it has won two of its three matches against the Chinese so far this season. The United States swept China in the semifinals of the Montreux Volley Masters on July 12 before losing in five sets in Grand Prix pool play on July 17.

Danielle Scott (Baton Rouge, La.) added eight points and Elisabeth Bachman (Lakeville, Minn.) chipped in with four points for the Americans, who won Grand Prix championships in 1995 and 2001 and earned a bronze medal last year.

In other championship round action on Thursday, Cuba clinched the top spot in Pool B and a berth in the semifinals with a 3-0 win over Germany. On Wednesday, Cuba handed Brazil its first loss of the tournament, 3-2 (20-25, 26-24, 21-25, 25-19, 15-12).

courtesy of USA Volleyball

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