COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. January 15, 2004 - Training for the 2004 Olympic Games resumed on Thursday for the world's No. 2-ranked USA women's national Volleyball team.
With a ticket to Athens, Greece, safely secured thanks to a bronze-medal finish at last year's World Cup, head coach Toshi Yoshida can now focus on preparing his team for an Olympic medal run later this summer.
Four players-Cynthia Barboza, Nicole Davis, Jennifer Joines and Ogonna Nnamani -have joined the team to begin training for that arduous journey that will hopefully lead the United States to the top of the podium in August.
"They will definitely bring up the level of our training," Yoshida said of the newcomers. "I hope they can show us their ability to play at this level. I told them today: 'Our goal is to go for the gold; you have to be good enough.' I have high expectations of them."
Barboza, Joines and Nnamani were members of the USA women's national training team that earned the bronze medal at the 2003 Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic last summer.
Barboza, a 6-foot outside hitter, is 16-years-old and widely considered one of the best high school players in the United States while Davis, a 5-6 libero, averaged 4.2 digs per game during last season. Joines is a 6-3 middle blocker while Nnamani is a 6-1 left side outside hitter.
In addition to Barboza, Davis, Joines and Nnamani, Yoshida also has a very talented group of returning players to work with in the gym at the United States Olympic Training Center.
Three-time Olympian (1992, 1996 and 2000) Tara Cross-Battle and 2000 Olympians Robyn Ah Mow-Santos and Sarah Noriega are the most experienced of the bunch, which also includes: Wiz Bachman, Lindsey Berg, Greichaly Cepero-Febres, Sarah Drury, Tayyiba Haneef, Brittany Hochevar, Tracy Stalls and Elisha Thomas.
The remainder of the national team is currently playing professionally overseas. Heather Bown (Volley Modena), Nancy Metcalf (Despar Perugia), Danielle Scott (Pallavolo Chieri), Stacy Sykora (Volley Modena) and Logan Tom (Monte Schiavo Jesi) are all playing in Italy, while Keba Phipps is playing for MRV/Minas in Brazil.