2004 FIVB

 


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USA/USA 

The United States women’s Volleyball team is on a mission. With a ranking of second on the FIVB’s official rankings and their place in the 2004 Olympic Games having been assured since finishing third at the World Cup in November 2003, USA is seeking now to swipe the top ranking away from their Chinese rivals. Gold at Athens would go along way to USA achieving their goal.

In 2001 the United States captured the gold medal at the World Grand Prix, followed in 2002 by the silver medal at the World Championship. Add bronze medal finishes at the 2003 World Grand Prix and at the Pan Am Games and a gold medal at the 2003 NORCECA Continental Championships and USA are definitely shaping up as one of the favourites for Athens.

Despite the recent success, USA coach Toshi Yoshida insists that the players must maintain their focus on the ultimate goal – winning a gold medal in Greece. “Our goal is to go for the gold, but you have to be good enough and I have high expectations of them,” he said. “But we have to keep working hard”. “I think during the last year it looks like we did a really good job, but we did not peak,” he continued. “We can be better …. but you have to be careful. Anything can happen”.

Yoshida, besides tactics and system, is begging his players, which include outside hitter Logan Tom, explosive Keba Phipps, amazing receiver Stacy Sykora and net wizard Heather
Bown, to give it all they’re wo rth and contest every match as if it was their last.

Achieving success at the Athens Olympics will not be easy. But if the players perform in this, the USA’s eighth appearance in the Olympic Games (silver in 1984, bronze in 1992), with the same heart and soul that they poured into every match of the most important tournaments of the last four seasons, then they will be favoured to add to their already impressive medal collection.