PRESS RELEASE 15.11.2003


USA defeats Cuba 3-0 on Saturday

Osaka, Japan, Nov 15, 2003 - USA crushed Cuba 3-0 in their final match of the World Cup of Women's Volleyball series but still must wait for remaining matches to see if they have qualified for the Olympic tournament.

Italy must now win 3-0 against Brazil to steal the final Olympic Qualifier. China and Brazil are already qualified. In other Site B action, emerging Volleyball power Turkey crushed Korea 3-0 to finish with a 5-6 win-loss ratio and pick up valuable World Ranking points.

USA went out fired with fighting spirit to attack their arch rivals Cuba and quickly gathered a handy 16-12 lead in the first set.

Heather Brown pounded home a spike for 18-14 and the Americans closed out another five points with the pace of play fast and furious. Ziola Barros and Martha Sanchez aced for Cuba to bring them within a point and a block error by the USA leveled the score at 20-all. The lead then changed hands until Daniella Scott the American captain tipped the ball over the net with one finger for 25-23.

It was a match of temperament and of power and Logan Tom was doing well in backline defense for the USA. Haneef, Phipps and Brown, 579cm of collective obstacle at the net, let little through and USA were in firm control at 24-18 and took the set with the next point for a 2-0 lead.

No ground was given in the third, with Cuba sharper and more concentrated and level at 11-all. Prikeba Phipps slapped and open-handed shot over for 13-12 and by then the USA were bristling with confidence and quickly closed out the set 25-17 to force Cuba to have to contest Olympic qualification in other tournaments.

The result also meant Japan, who have fought courageously during the tournament, was out of contention in this round robin contest.