World Grand Prix: USA v. Russia Preview

The 8th place US Women (2-4) resume their quest for a World Grand Prix medal this Friday in Bankok, Thailand, where they will take on the 6th place Russian team (3-3). The match will be available online from Universal Sports.

To date, the Russians have defeated Korea twice 3-0 and 3-2, and Dominican Republic 3-2, and have lost to 3rd ranked China (5-1), 3-2, 10th ranked Puerto Rico in a stunning 3-1 upset, and 5th ranked Japan, 3-1.

The US Women have wins over Puerto Rico, 3-2 (after trailing 2-0), and Dominican Republic, 3-2, with two losses to Germany — a 3-0 sweep in Rio de Janeiro and another in Chinese Taipei — as well as losses to undefeated and #1 ranked Brazil, 3-0, and undefeated and #2 ranked Netherlands, 3-2.

Russia has been led by 20 year old Tatiana Kolvesheva, the #2 Best Scorer to date (#17 ranked Nicole Fawcett, former Penn State All American, leads the USA), 23 year old middle blocker Maria Borodakova, the #5 Best Blocker (#12 ranked Foluke Akinradewo leads the USA), and Ekaterina Kabeshova, the #6 Best Libero (the USA’s Nicole Davis is ranked #10). Russia’s Captain is Marina Sheshenina, and the Head Coach is Vladimir Ivanovich Kuzyutkin, who was appointed following the 2008 season to lead Russia through the 2012 Olympic cycle.

Following the match with Russia, the US Women will face 10th ranked Puerto Rico (Saturday, August 15th), and 9th ranked Thailand (Sunday, August 16th).