'Triple Blackjack' Not Enough For USA Women in Grand Prix Semifinals

Aug. 3, 2004

Reggio Clabria, Italy - In the end, the Brazilians held all the best cards, and it earned them a trip to the World Grand Prix finals.Virna Dias and Valeska Menezes scored 15 points apiece as Brazil held on to defeat the USA women's national volleyball team, 3-2, in the semifinals of the World Grand Prix Saturday evening at Palapentimele Hall.Dias had 14 kills and one block while Menezes posted 13 kills and two blocks in the 25-18, 25-19, 25-23, 21-25, 19-17 victory for Brazil, which will now face Italy in Sunday's championship match.Erika Coimbra and Marianne Steinbrecher added 14 points apiece for Brazil, which improved to 10-1 overall at the Grand Prix.Tayyiba Haneef, Ogonna Nnamani and Logan Tom each scored 21 points for Team USA, which will play Cuba in Sunday's bronze medal match. The Americans suffered their second-straight loss in the tournament and fell to 7-5 in tournament action.Haneef (Laguna Hills, Calif.) had 17 kills, two blocks and two service aces, Nnamani (Normal, Ill.) blasted a match-high 19 kills with two blocks and Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) added 16 kills, three aces and two blocks.Tom, the leading scorer in the tournament after the first round with 158 points, is the second-leading scorer in the final round with 52 points. She trails Cuba's Yumilka Ruiz by six-points heading into Sunday's head-to-head match-up.Italy advanced to the championship match with a 3-1 win over Cuba in Saturday's other semifinal, while in the fifth-place match, world No. 1 China needed five sets to defeat Germany.courtesy of USA Volleyball

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