June 8, 2004 - The USA women's national Volleyball team begins its pre-Olympic journey to the Summer Games in Athens, Greece, this week in Montreux, Switzerland, to compete in the Montreux Volley Masters.
The Americans qualified for the Olympics after posting a third place finish during the 2003 World Cup last November in Japan.
As soon as they finish playing in the traditional Swiss event, the squad of head coach Toshi Yoshida will fly to Mexico to compete in the third annual Pan American Cup from June 18-26 to be played in Tijuana and Mexicali, which serves as a qualifier for the 2005 World Grand Prix.
In Mexico, the Americans will be defending the title they won last year in Saltillo where they beat the Dominican Republic team in the match for the gold medal.
Team USA began the 2004 season by finishing sixth at the Yeltsin Cup in
Russia back in April with a 2-3 record. However, the Americans played that tournament without six regulars who had been playing professionally overseas - Heather Bown, Nancy Metcalf, Keba Phipps, Danielle Scott, Stacy Sykora and Logan Tom.
The six players resumed training with the national team in May.
Last year, USA won the Pan American Cup after defeating the Dominican
Republic in straight sets overpowering their rivals by score of 25-20,
En route to the crown, the Americans beat Canada in quarterfinals 25-14, 25-15, 25-21 and then defeated the young squad of Brazil 25-20, 22-25, 25-20, 25-16 using only a couple of regular players.
American Liz Bachman was selected as the best blocker of the tournament
while fellow teammates Logan Tom and Lindsay Berg were chosen as best
receiver and setter respectively.
The USA squad will consist of Scott, Berg, Bachman, Bown, Metcalf, Phipps, Sykora, Tayyiba Haneef, Robyn An Mow-Santos, Tara Cross-Battle, Cynthia Barboza and Ogonna Nnamani.