Monday, 22 Jul 2024

Grand Prix Finals Preview: U.S. Aims for 7th Title

The U.S. Women’s National Team is gearing up for the Olympic Games and is determined to improve with every point. This drive for excellence could lead them to their seventh FIVB World Grand Prix title as they prepare to compete in the Final Round from July 6-10 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Road to the Finals

The World Grand Prix Final Round features the top five teams from the preliminary round, along with host country Thailand. The U.S., currently ranked number one in the world, finished the preliminary stage in first place with an impressive 8-1 record and 24 points. They secured their position in the Finals with a convincing three-set victory over second-ranked China in their final match in Hong Kong on June 26. China and Russia, both with 8-1 records in the preliminary round, are seeded second and third in the Finals phase. Brazil, with a 7-2 record, takes the fourth seed, followed by the Netherlands at 5-4. Host country Thailand finished with a 2-7 record in the preliminary phase.

The Finals Format

The U.S., as the defending World Grand Prix champions, will kick off the Finals week with a match against the Netherlands on July 6 at 4 a.m. ET. Following a rest day in the three-team pool play, they will face second-ranked China on July 8 at 4 a.m. ET. The opposite three-team pool consists of Brazil, Russia, and host country Thailand.

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The top two teams from each pool will advance to the crossover semifinals on July 9. The Finals Round will conclude on July 10 with the medal round matches and a fifth-place match between the two third-place teams from the pools.

The Importance of the World Grand Prix

The World Grand Prix is a prestigious annual international women’s volleyball tournament. This year, it serves as the last major event for teams preparing for the 2016 Olympic Games. All teams participating in the World Grand Prix Finals, except for Thailand, have already qualified for the Olympic Games next month.

Team USA’s Roster

U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly and his staff have selected a talented roster to represent Team USA in the Finals. The team consists of three middles, four outside hitters, three setters, two opposites, and two liberos.

The three middles are Rachael Adams, Foluke Akinradewo, and Christa Dietzen. The outside hitters are Michelle Bartsch, Kim Hill, Jordan Larson, and Kelsey Robinson. The three setters chosen for the World Grand Prix Finals roster are Alisha Glass, Carli Lloyd, and Courtney Thompson. Karsta Lowe and Kelly Murphy will serve as the team’s opposites, while Kayla Banwarth and Natalie Hagglund will fill the libero positions.

Key Players to Watch

During the preliminary round matches, Team USA showcased their depth and versatility by frequently changing their lineup. As a result, they did not have any players in the top 15 for scoring. However, their success can be attributed to their exceptional passing, with three players ranking in the top six in the Best Receiver category. Jordan Larson led the way with a 51.2% efficiency, while Kelsey Robinson and Kim Hill ranked fifth and sixth, respectively.

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Kim Hill was the team’s top scorer in the preliminary round with 87 total points, while Larson finished 23rd overall with 77 points. Alisha Glass stood out as the team’s top setter, with a running set average of 4.57. Christa Dietzen showcased her blocking skills, recording 18 blocks in the preliminary round and ranking seventh in the Best Blocker category. Rachael Adams and Kim Hill both impressed in serving, with a 0.30 ace average.

FAQs

Q: Which teams have qualified for the World Grand Prix Finals?

A: The top five teams from the preliminary round, along with host country Thailand, have qualified for the World Grand Prix Finals.

Q: When and where will the Finals take place?

A: The Finals will be held from July 6-10 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Q: Who is the defending World Grand Prix champion?

A: The U.S. Women’s National Team is the defending World Grand Prix champion.

Summary

The U.S. Women’s National Team is determined to continue their journey towards excellence as they compete in the FIVB World Grand Prix Finals in Bangkok, Thailand. With their top-ranked position in the world, the American team enters the Finals with high hopes of securing their seventh title. The World Grand Prix serves as a vital competition for teams fine-tuning their systems before the Olympic Games. Team USA, led by Head Coach Karch Kiraly, has assembled a strong roster comprising three middles, four outside hitters, three setters, two opposites, and two liberos. With their exceptional passing and versatile lineup, they are expected to showcase their skills and compete fiercely against the world’s best teams. Don’t miss the excitement as the U.S. Women’s National Team battles for victory in this thrilling tournament!

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