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USA women fall to the Netherlands in World Grand Prix opener

Ningbo, China, June 24, 2005 – Francien Huurman scored a match-high 12 points to lead three players in double figures as the Netherlands posted a decisive 3-0 win over USA in the World Grand Prix opener for both teams on Friday afternoon.

Huurman had nine kills, two service aces and one block in the 25-17, 25-14, 25-17 victory as the Dutch ruined the homecoming of Chinese superstar and Team USA head coach “Jenny” Lang Ping at Ningbo Beilun Gym.

Chaine Staelens and Manon Flier each scored 11 points for the Netherlands, who play defending Olympic gold medallists China in their next match on Saturday.
Pic: One of USA's more experienced players - Lindsey Berg
“The result was not surprising because these players have trained together for only three days,” said Lang Ping. “Moreover, our two outside hitters are both college students; they have never played such important games. Today we struggled in our offense as the Netherlands destroyed our receiving with quality serves. They also did very well in blocking today.”

Jane Collymore scored 10 points on seven kills, two blocks and one service ace to lead the Americans, who captured the bronze medal in this event in each of the last two years after winning Grand Prix titles in 1995 and 2001.

Two Athens Olympians, Elisabeth Bachman and Nancy Metcalf scored eight points each for Team USA. Bachman, playing in her first match of the year, had seven kills and one block. Metcalf, who was named the “Best Scorer” at last week’s Pan American Cup in the Dominican Republic, blasted eight kills.

“Our players tried their best, but we just need time to play better,” added Lang Ping.

The United States will try to even its record in Group A against Thailand tomorrow before taking on China on Sunday to cap the first weekend of the World Grand Prix.

On the second weekend of pool play (July 1-3), the USA will play the Dominican Republic, Japan and Korea in Seoul, Korea, as a member of “Group D.” On the third weekend of pool play (July 8-10), the USA will play Japan, Poland and Thailand in Bangkok, Thailand, as a member of “Group I.”

The top five ranked teams after pool play will advance to the championship round along with the host team, Japan, from July 13-18 in Sendai, Japan.