U.S. Women's Team upsets Cuba 3-1
The U.S. Womens National Volleyball Team upset Cuba 25-19, 25-22, 21-25, 25-22 during Group E action of the 2007 FIVB World Grand Prix on Friday at the Platinum Arena in Khabarovsk, Russia.
Cuba, along with Brazil, completed the first weekend (Aug. 3-5) of World Grand Prix preliminary action with an undefeated record. Cuba is currently ranked fifth in the world rankings. Last month, Cuba won the Pan American Games gold medal with a five-set victory over Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The U.S. lost to Cuba in the Pan American Games in the final preliminary match (25-16, 25-23, 25-15) on July 16, but only two of the Team USA starters at the World Grand Prix competed in the Pan American Games.
The U.S., ranked seventh in the current FIVB world rankings, continues World Grand Prix Group E action in Russia on Saturday against the host team at 6:30 p.m. local time/1:30 a.m. MT. Team USA defeated Russia, the top-ranked team in the FIVB world ranking, last week in straight sets (25-23, 25-22, 25-13) in Poland.
The U.S. rolled out to a 25-19 opening set win over Cuba, then carried the momentum into the second set with an early 5-1 lead. However, Cuba battled back and held a 19-17 lead before Team USA scored eight of the final 11 points of the set for a 25-22 victory. Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) and Ogonna Nnamani (Normal, Ill.) scored four points apiece after Cuba gained a 13-12 lead in the second set. Cuba used a 3-0 run to break free from a 4-all score in the third set and clung to a 25-21 victory after leading by as many as six points. Team USA came back from a 20-18 deficit in the fourth set by scoring four of the final five points for a 25-22 victory.
"That was a very good match," U.S. Womens National Team Head Coach 'Jenny Lang Ping said. "I am very glad that we have shown a good team performance, and the progress of our team is evident, especially in serving and combination game."
Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.) and Glass paced the U.S. with 15 points apiece. Haneef-Park scored her total on 13 kills, two aces and a 50.00 kill efficiency, while Glass tallied 12 kills, two blocks, an ace, four digs and a team-high 11 excellent service receptions on 20 attempts. Nnamani scored 13 points off the bench with 11 kills on 19 attacks (57.89 kill efficiency) and two blocks. Jennifer Joines (Milpitas, Calif.) tallied 11 points with a team-leading three aces and eight kills on 14 errorless attacks. Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton, Rouge, La.) added nine points on seven kills and two blocks in the victory, whlie Katie Wilkins (Lakeside, Calif.) added two kills. Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (Honolulu) set the American offense to a 47.75 kill efficiency with 31 assists. Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) contributed a team-high eight digs, along with 10 excellent service receptions on 23 attempts.
"Cuba is very strong, especially in the attack and service," Scott Arruda said. "Good team cooperation of all players has helped us to win. Even those who did not participate in the game, tried to support those on the court. Also, we have an excellent setter - Robyn Ah Mow-Santos."
The U.S. took advantage of 31 Cuban errors and held its own miscues to just 13 in the four-set victory. The error margin offset Cuba statistical advantages in kills (59-53), blocks (9-8) and aces (7-4). As a team, the Cuba converted 48.76 percent of its attacks into kills to hold a slim margin of the U.S. However, the Cubans had 21 attack errors to the Americans 11. Further, Cuba had 10 service errors to Team USAs seven.
Lang Ping started Ah Mow-Santos at setter, Scott-Arruda and Joines at middle blocker, Wilkins and Glass at outside hitter hitter, and Haneef-Park at opposite. Davis is the designated libero for the Group C portion of the World Grand Prix schedule. Nnamani entered the second set as a sub and started the third set for Wilkins. Candace Lee (Eugene, Ore.) was a subbed into the match in the final three sets, while Cassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.) entered the match in the second set.
Cuba, which runs a 6-2 offense without a libero, had all six of its players score at least 10 points in the match. Captain Yumilka Ruiz Luaces topped the Cubans with 16 points on 14 kills, one block and one ace. Yanelis Santos Allegne added 10 kills, three aces and a block for 14 points. Rosir Calderon Diaz contributed 12 kills in the loss. Nancy Carrillo de la Paz, Daimi Ramirez Echevarria and Zoila Barros Fernandez all tacked on 11 points.
"The team was entering hard into the game," Cuba Head Coach Estrella Perdomo said. "Moreover, our players have made a lot of serious mistakes at the very important moments of the game - in the last part of the set."
Later today in Group E, Russia hosts Kazakhstan. In Group D play held today in Tokyo, Brazil was challenged by Netherlands but came out with a 25-23, 25-23, 26-24 victory. Japan hosts Chinese Taipei later in Group D. In Group F play held in Hong Kong, Italy challenges Poland and China hosts Dominican Republic.
The top five teams in addition to Finals Round host China advance for the chance for the Grand Prix title in Ningbo, China. A round-robin format will declare the champion.
The U.S. rolled to a 4-1 lead to open the second set with a Joines kill and Haneef-Park block around two Cuba errors. The Cubans cut into the lead with consecutive points to close to within 6-4, then moved to within one at 7-6 on a 4-1 spurt. Team USA answered with consecutive kills from Glass and Joines to push the lead back to three at 9-6. Haneef-Park scored consecutive points on a kill and block to extend the U.S. lead to four at 12-8. Cuba netted four straight points to knot the score at 12-all, then went ahead on its fifth unanswered point. Nnamani was inserted into the match for Wilkins and broke the run with a kill tying the score at 13-all, and Scott-Arruda followed with a kill to put the Americans back in the lead at 14-13. Team USA went into the second technical timeout on a 2-0 run and with a 16-14 advantage. However, Cuba came out of the break with three straight points to retake the lead at 17-16. Cuba secured its first two-point cushion of the second set at 19-17. The U.S. responded with two Glass kilsafter a Cuba error to regain the advantage at 20-19. With the score tied at 22-all, Nnamani provided a kill and block, followed by a Haneef-Park kill to close out the set on a 3-0 run at 25-22.
Cuba obtained the first two-point cushion of the third set with a 3-1 margin. Joines tied the set with an ace at 3-all. Cuba built a three-point advantage at 7-4 on a 3-0 run. Cuba pushed the gap to five points at 14-9. Scott-Arruda and Nnamani racked up consecutive kills to close the U.S. to within three at 14-11. The Americans closed to within two at 17-15 after a Haneef-Park kill, but Cuba answered with a back-to-back points of its own for a 19-15 lead. Cuba extended its lead to five points at 21-16. Consecutive Cuban errors allowed the Americans to whittle the deficit to three at 22-19, but the U.S. could not get any closer in a 25-21 loss.
Cuba jumped to a 2-0 lead to begin the fourth set, but the U.S. answered with kills from Nnamani and Haneef-Park and Cuban error to assume a 3-2 advantage. Cuba responded with back-to-back points to claim a 4-3 lead, the gained a two-point edge at 6-4. The Cubans built a three-point lead at 9-6 with a point out of the technical timeout. The U.S. scored back-to-back points on a Nnamani kill and Glass block to move to within one at 9-8, then tied the set at 10-all on a Cuban error and Glass ace. Nnamani added a block for the Americans third straight point at 11-10. Team USA gained a two-point cushion after an error and Joines ace at 13-11. Scott-Arruda added a block to yield a three-point advantage at 14-11. Cuba scored three points in a row after the second technical timeout to tie the set at 16-all. Team USA answered with kills from Scott-Arruda and Glass for an 18-16, only to see Cuba come back with a 4-0 run to assume a two-point cushion of its own at 20-18. Nnamani and Glass connected for consecutive kills to move the score square at 20-all. Nnamani added a kill at 22-all, then the U.S. took the lead on a Cuban error at 23-22. Cuba would not score the rest of the way as Joines connected for an ace along with a Cuban error for a 25-22 victory.
2007 U.S. Womens National Team Roster for FIVB World Grand Prix
No. - Name (Pos., Hgt., School, Hometown)
1 - Ogonna Nnamani (OH, 6-1, Stanford, Normal, Illinois)
2 - Danielle Scott-Arruda (MB, 6-2, Long Beach State, Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
3 - Tayyiba Haneef-Park (OH, 6-7, Long Beach State, Laguna Hills, California)
7 - Heather Bown (MB, 6-3, Hawaii, Yorba Linda, California)
8 - Katherine "Katie" Wilkins (OH, 6-4, Pepperdine, Lakeside, California)
9 - Jennifer Joines (MB, 6-3, Pacific, Milpitas, California)
10 - Kim Glass (OH, 6-3, Arizona, Lancaster, Pennsylvania)
11 - Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (S, 5-9, Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii)
14 - Candace Lee (L, 5-7, Washington, Eugene, Oregon)
15 - Nicole Davis (L, 5-6, Southern California, Stockton, California)
17 - Courtney Thompson (S, 5-8, Washington, Kent, Washington)
18 - Cassandra "Cassie" Busse (OPP, 6-1, Minnesota, Prior Lake, Minnesota)
Head Coach: "Jenny" Lang Ping
Assistant Coaches: Sue Woodstra, Tom Hogan
Team Managers: Joan Powell and Fred Wendelboe
Technical Coordinator: Diane French
Medical Support: Emery Hill, Jr.
Team Doctors: Lori Boyajian-ONeill and William Briner, Jr.
2007 World Grand Prix Standings (After First Weekend, Aug. 3-5)
Team - Record (Point Ratio)
1. Brazil 3-0 (1.404)
2. Cuba 3-0 (1.225)
3. Italy 2-1 (1.199)
4. Japan 2-1 (1.131)
5. Russia 2-1 (1.100)
6. USA 2-1 (1.060)
7. China 2-1 (1.018)
8. Netherlands 1-2 (0.884)
9. Kazakhstan 1-2 (0.859)
10. Poland 0-3 (0.863)
11. Dominican Republic 0-3 (0.844)
12. Chinese Taipei 0-3 (0.578)
Group A - Tokyo, Japan (Ariake Coliseum)
Aug. 3: Cuba def. Dominican Republic, 25-23, 25-22, 25-15
Aug. 3: Japan def. Kazakhstan, 25-23, 25-21, 25-20
Aug. 4: Cuba def. Kazakhstan, 25-17, 25-17, 25-14
Aug. 4: Japan def. Dominican Republic, 25-19, 25-11, 25-22
Aug. 5: Kazakhstan def. Dominican Republic 25-19, 25-23, 21-25, 21-25, 15-13
Aug. 5: Cuba def. Japan 20-25, 25-18, 21-25, 25-20, 15-13
Group B - Verona, Italy (Palaolimpia)
Aug. 3: Brazil def. Netherlands, 25-20, 25-12, 25-12
Aug. 3: Italy def. Chinese Taipei, 25-10, 25-13, 25-18
Aug. 4: Brazil def. Chinese Taipei 25-19, 25-9, 25-13
Aug. 4: Italy def. Netherlands 25-22, 25-18, 25-16
Aug. 5: Netherlands def. Chinese Taipei, 25-16, 25-19, 25-13
Aug. 5: Brazil def. Italy 25-19, 24-26, 26-24, 24-26, 15-8
Group C - Rzeszow, Poland (Na Podpromium)
Aug. 3: Russia def. China, 27-25, 21-25, 25-16, 25-15
Aug. 3: USA def. Poland 19-25, 18-25, 25-17, 25-15, 15-12
Aug. 4: USA def. Russia, 25-23, 25-22, 25-13
Aug. 4: China def. Poland 28-26, 24-26, 25-15, 23-25, 15-12
Aug. 5: China def. USA, 25-21, 30-28, 25-20
Aug. 5: Russia def. Poland, 25-17, 25-16, 25-21
Group D - Tokyo, Japan (Ariake, Coliseum)
Aug. 10: Brazil def. Netherlands, 25-23, 25-23, 26-24
Aug. 10: Japan vs. Chinese Taipei, 6 p.m.
Aug. 11: Brazil vs. Chinese Taipei, 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 11: Japan vs. Netherlands, 6 p.m.
Aug. 12: Netherlands vs. Chinese Taipei, 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 12: Japan vs. Brazil, 6 p.m.
Group E - Khabarovsk, Russia (Platinum Arena)
Aug. 10: USA def. Cuba 25-19, 25-22, 21-25, 25-22
Aug. 10: Russia vs. Kazakhstan, 6:30 p.m.
Aug. 11: Cuba vs. Kazakhstan, 4 p.m.
Aug. 11: Russia vs. USA, 6:30 p.m. (1:30 a.m. MT)
Aug. 12: USA vs. Kazakhstan, 4 p.m. (11 p.m. MT on Aug. 11)
Aug. 12: Russia vs. Cuba, 6:30 p.m.
Group F - Hong Kong, China (Hong Kong Coliseum)
Aug. 10: Italy vs. Poland, 7 p.m.
Aug. 10: China vs. Dominican Republic, 9:30 p.m.
Aug. 11: Italy vs. Dominican Republic, 1:15 p.m.
Aug. 11: China vs. Poland, 3:45 p.m.
Aug. 12: Dominican Republic vs. Poland, 1:15 p.m.
Aug. 12: China vs. Italy, 3:45 p.m.
Group G - Osaka, Japan (Osaka Municipal Gym)
Aug. 17: Poland vs. Russia, 3 p.m.
Aug. 17: Japan vs. Kazakhstan, 6 p.m.
Aug. 18: Kazakhstan vs. Russia, 3 p.m.
Aug. 18: Japan vs. Poland, 6 p.m.
Aug. 19: Kazakhstan vs. Poland, 3 p.m.
Aug. 19: Japan vs. Russia, 6 p.m.
Group H - Taipei, Chinese Taipei (Ksingchuang Gym)
Aug. 17: Brazil vs. Dominican Republic, 3 p.m.
Aug. 17: Chinese Taipei vs. Italy, 6:20 p.m.
Aug. 18: Italy vs. Dominican Republic, 3 p.m.
Aug. 18: Chinese Taipei vs. Brazil, 5 p.m.
Aug. 19: Chinese Taipei vs. Dominican Republic, 3 p.m.
Aug. 19: Italy vs. Brazil, 5 p.m.
Group I - Macau, China (Macau Forum)
Aug. 17: Cuba vs. Netherlands, 6 p.m.
Aug. 17: China vs. USA, 9 p.m. (7 a.m. MT)
Aug. 18: Cuba vs. USA, 4:30 p.m. (2:30 a.m. MT)
Aug. 18: China vs. Netherlands, 7 p.m.
Aug. 19: USA vs. Netherlands, 1 p.m. (11 p.m. MT on Aug. 18)
Aug. 19: China vs. Cuba, 4 p.m.
Finals - Ningbo, China
Aug. 22: Team 2 vs. Team 5, 1:30 p.m.
Aug. 22: Team 3 vs. Team 4, 3:30 p.m.
Aug. 22: China vs. Team 6, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 23: Team 4 vs. Team 2, 1:30 p.m.
Aug. 23: Team 3 vs. Team 6, 3:30 p.m.
Aug. 23: Team 5 vs. China, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 24: Team 2 vs. Team 6, 1:30 p.m.
Aug. 24: Team 4 vs. Team 5, 3:30 p.m.
Aug. 24: Team 3 vs. China, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 25: Team 6 vs. Team 5, 1:30 p.m.
Aug. 25: China vs. Team 4, 3:30 p.m.
Aug. 25: Team 2 vs. Team 3, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 26: Team 6 vs. Team 4, 1:30 p.m.
Aug. 26: Team 5 vs. Team 3, 3:30 p.m.
Aug. 26: China vs. Team 2, 7:30 p.m.
Source: USA Volleyball