PRESS RELEASE 29.03.2005


USA Women Juniors prepared for big challenge at FIVB U-20

Colorado Springs, Colorado, March 29, 2005 - The USA Women's Junior National Volleyball Team will be prepared to face the big challenge of playing in Pool A at the 2005 FIVB Women's U-20 World Championships later this summer.

Pool A, composed of Brazil, Croatia, Japan, Serbia and Montenegro, Turkey and the United States, will play in Ankara. Pool B, made up of China, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Italy, Puerto Rico and Russia, will compete in Istanbul.

"We are in a very tough pool. Our pool does not have any weak teams, which means every match could go either way," explained Shelton Collier, the head coach of the team. "However, we have enough experience on our team and on our staff and we will be very prepared for this great challenge."

The USA Juniors, guided by head coach Collier, qualified for the 2005 World Championships by winning the 2004 Norceca Zone Championships last August in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, with a perfect 4-0 record.

In 2003, many of last year's junior members competed at the FIVB U-18 World Championships in Poland and posted a best-ever fourth-place finish under Collier's tutelage.

"We had a great match with Brazil for the bronze medal at the Youth Worlds a couple years ago so we will look forward to getting another shot at them," he added. "I believe the nucleus of our players have really gained a lot of confidence in their ability to be successful internationally after doing well at the U-18 Worlds in Poland in 2003 and by winning the gold medal at last year's Norceca."

"I am already looking forward to assembling the training team in Lake Placid," said Collier. "Although we are still in the process of finalizing our roster, I expect that we will have some veteran players who know what it takes to win at this level, and I also expect we will have some new players challenging for roster spots as well."