While Poland’s men were breaking new ground, the women
of USA and Brazil were once again fighting for supremacy in
the World Grand Prix. The 20th edition of the event saw the
world’s No.1 team, USA, take their third crown in as many
years following five consecutive wins in the round-robin finals
in Ningbo, China.
Brazil were left to contemplate a third straight silver medal, having
lost 3-2 to USA (25-19, 25-17, 19-25, 13-25, 15-13) in the opening
match of the finals. While many teams had one eye on the Olympics,
USA coach Hugh McCutcheon’s blend of youth and experience
proved to be the winning combination. MVP Megan Hodge, 23, was
in devastating form, also picking up the Best Scorer award.
Turkey claimed their first ever FIVB medal by finishing third. Neslihan
Darnel was Best Server and third-highest scorer, pushing her team
forward with power and skill and providing brilliant leadership on
court. Thailand, in only their second Finals appearance, finished a
commendable fourth with the help of Sittirak Onuma, scorer of a
tournament-best 30 points in a thrilling 3-2 defeat of China.
FIVBWORLD GRAND PRIX 2012
Megan Hodge was the standout performer for winners USA in Ningbo
Neslihan Darnel was at her best as usual for Turkey, who finished third