COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (June 6, 2016) – The U.S. Women’s National Team, ranked No. 1 in the world by the FIVB, has selected its 14-player FIVB World Grand Prix opening weekend roster that will compete in Ningbo, China.
U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly and his staff have chosen four middles, three outside hitters, three setters, two opposites and two liberos to represent Team USA as the defending FIVB World Grand Prix champions.
The FIVB World Grand Prix schedule has each of the 12 teams in Group 1 playing three preliminary round weekends in various cities before the top five teams plus Thailand compete in the Final Round July 6-10 in Bangkok, Thailand.
The U.S. Women open the World Grand Prix against Germany on June 10 at 3 a.m. ET, followed by Thailand on June 11 at 3 a.m. ET and host China on June 12 at 7:30 a.m. ET. All three matches will air on UniHD television with delayed broadcast at 8 p.m. ET each night.
China, ranked No. 2 in the world, captured the 2015 FIVB World Cup title to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games. The Americans, who defeated China in the 2014 FIVB World Championship gold-medal match, finished third at the World Cup and qualified for the Olympic Games at the 2016 NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament held Jan. 7-9 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Germany and Thailand, ranked No. 11 and No. 13 in the world, did not qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Unlike rosters during the first three-plus years of this Olympic quadrennial, Kiraly and his staff have elected to travel with three setters in the first World Grand Prix weekend.
“We have three setters who have been doing a really solid job for us in 2016,” Kiraly said. “We need to get them as much action as possible, including Carli, since she hasn’t travelled with this team as much. We’re eager to learn how much improvement we’ve all accomplished together so far this season.”
The U.S. has won the FIVB World Grand Prix six times since the premier annual international women’s volleyball tournament commenced in 1993, including winning four of the last six titles. The Americans captured the gold last year in Omaha, Nebraska, while hosting the event for the first on USA soil. Overall, Team USA has won six of its last seven tournaments it has competed in dating back to the 2014 FIVB World Championship title won in Italy.
The U.S. coaching staff will be able change its 14-player competition roster heading into the second and third preliminary round weekends plus the Final Round in Bangkok, Thailand, should Team USA qualify as being in the top five in the final preliminary round standings.
After its three matches in China, Team USA returns to home to host a preliminary round weekend at Long Beach State University’s Walter Pyramid with matches against Germany (June 17 at 7 p.m. PT), Japan (June 18 at 7 p.m. PT) and Turkey (June 19 at 5 p.m. PT), marking the final three matches on home soil before competing in the Olympic Games in August. The Americans conclude the World Grand Prix preliminary phase with three matches in Hong Kong. The U.S. faces Germany on June 24 at 6:30 a.m. ET, the Netherlands on June 25 at 1:15 a.m. ET and host China on June 26 at 3:45 a.m. ET.
Team USA officially started its training for the 2016 season on May 2 and held its fourth Red-Blue intrasquad scrimmage on consecutive Fridays on June 3 at Segerstrom High School in Santa Ana, California.
“We’re pumped at the quality of the work we’ve logged in our five weeks of official 2016 training,” Kiraly said. “And I think our team is really ready to compete with someone different across the net … that’s perfect timing, since we’ll get a wonderful opportunity to see new opponents and new styles starting Week One in Ningbo, China.”