USA not resting on past World Grand Prix success
Campinas, Brazil, August 1, 2013 - The USA women's national team enters the 2013 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix as the No. 1 ranked team in the world and three-time defending champions of the premier annual women's tournament, but its members are not resting on the laurels of the past successes for a chance at making history as 2013 brings about new rosters, opponents and circumstances in the first year of the Olympic cycle.
“I am not thinking too much about it too much,” said USA coach Karch Kiraly in reference to the past World Grand Prix titles won by Team USA. “We have a number of new faces, so it is hard to know what to expect with new people like Kim Hill, Rachael Adams, Kelly Murphy, Jenna Hagglund and others. It is great to have some fresh faces and get them some playing time. But it also makes it a little hard to predict how we are going to do.
Kiraly, in his first year leading the program after serving as an assistant coach from 2009 to 2012, will be making his head coaching debut in an FIVB event.
Team USA faces a challenging schedule, both in terms of opponents and travel. The team will make a complete trip around the world with action in both hemispheres; and will face strong teams Brazil, Russia and Poland.
“Here in Brazil, we have a really tough pool and we have our work cut out for us,” Kiraly said. “Russia is one of the world’s greatest teams. Poland plays some really strong volleyball. They beat us a couple years ago when they hosted a leg of World Grand Prix, and we barely beat them later that year in the Final Round of the World Grand Prix. And of course, we have our work cut out for us playing Brazil on Brazilian soil.”
Although there is a predominance of new faces in Kiraly's team, he remains confident on his team's capabilities in the World Grand Prix.
“The composition of this team is different than the teams in the past that won the Grand Prix, but I am absolutely confident that this team can compete for the gold medal. We have been training really hard, and I am really excited to see how that hard work pays off as we make our way through this tournament.”
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