PRESS RELEASE 26.02.2004


USA Volleyball's 2003 Athletes and Team of the Year

Colorado Springs, Colo., February 25, 2004 - Danielle Scott, Jeff Nygaard and the Beach Volleyball team of Misty May and Kerri Walsh are among the nominees for the 2003 United States Olympic Committee (USOC) SportsMan, SportsWoman and Team of the Year honors, USA Volleyball announced Wednesday.

The nominees are the 2003 Athletes and Teams of the Year representing Olympic, Pan American, Affiliated and Disabled Sport Organizations within the U.S. Olympic Movement.

Each year the USOC recognizes the top male and top female athletes and the top team as selected by their respective member organizations. The names of the athletes and teams are placed on ballots used to select the USOC SportsMan, SportsWoman and overall Team of the Year.

Members of the USOC Board of Directors and Athletes Advisory Council, along with representatives of the national media, comprise the voting panel that selects the USOC SportsMan, SportsWoman and Team of the Year.

Forty-four females and 46 males, as well as 28 teams, are being honored by the USOC for their athletic accomplishments in 2003.

Scott led the USA women's national Volleyball team in scoring and blocking at the first Olympic qualifier of the quadrennial, the World Cup in Japan (Nov. 1-15), as Team USA finished third to reserve a ticket to the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. Scott ranked second among all players on all teams with 40 blocks in 11 matches (3.64 per match) and finished eighth overall in scoring with 152 points (13.82 per match). On the year, Scott led the team in total blocks (89) and hitting percentage (.486) and was second on the team in total points (433) and points per set (3.38) as Team USA finished the season ranked No. 2 in the world with a record of 29-15. Along the way the United States won gold medals at the Pan American Cup and the NORCECA Zone Championships and captured bronze medals at the World Grand Prix and the World Cup.

At 6-8 and 215 pounds, Nygaard, named 2003 Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) Most Valuable Player in just his third season on the tour, was a powerful force as he teamed with first-year partner Dain Blanton to win three tournaments. The duo also finished second once, seventh twice and ninth once in eight tournaments en route to earning 2003 AVP Team of the Year honors. Nygaard and Blanton also took the international sand by storm, winning in their first tournament together on the Swatch-FIVB World Tour (Hellas Open, Rhodes, Greece, June 8). They also teamed to earn a bronze medal at the French Grand Slam. Overall, they finished in the top four three times in eight matches internationally to become the top American pairing on the World Tour rankings.