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 2002 Info

United States of America

The USA Women’s National Volleyball Team enters the third year of the quadrennial intent on building upon the success it has enjoyed in its first two years with head coach Toshi Yoshida.
In 2001 the United States captured the gold medal at the World Grand Prix, followed in 2003 by the silver medal at the Women’s Volleyball World Championships. But 2003 important because teams can begin qualifying for the 12 available slots at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.  The first qualifier is the World Cup in Japan from Nov. 1-15.
Despite the recent success, Yoshida insists that the players maintain their focus on the ultimate goal—winning a gold medal in Greece.
“Even though we got second, everybody thinks the USA is good enough to maintain this level,” Yoshida revealed.  “I don’t think so.  The players know, I know, everybody knows: We have to keep working hard.

“I think last year it looks like we did a really good job, but we did not peak,” he continued.  “We can be better.  That is my prediction…I think 2002 wasn’t too bad.  But you have to be careful.  Anything can happen.”
To be one of the 12 teams to qualify for the World Cup the USA women, ranked No. 3 in the world to start the year, must perform well at the NORCECA zone championships in September.  World Cup invitations are given to the host country, Japan; the winners of the five respective continental confederation championships; and the next six top teams in accordance with the World Cup regulations.
 “I am looking forward to (this) year,” said Yoshida.  “2003 is a crucial year.  We still have a lot to do.  We have a ways to go.  Right now, the World Cup qualifier in September is our most important tournament of the coming season.”
This season Yoshida will have everyone back from the team he took to the 2002 World Championships, including the tournament’s Best Blocker Danielle Scott; outside hitters Logan Tom, Keba Phipps and Tayyiba Haneef; middle blocker Heather Bown; and libero Stacy Sykora.  All but Haneef have prior Olympic experience.
“The World Championships taught me that volleyball is not only skills, it’s not only systems, but you really need heart and soul,” said Yoshida.  “That tournament, mentally and psychologically, we were very good, I have to say.  We had a very good chemistry together.  That’s why we achieved and went pretty far.  Without heart and soul we would have done very badly, I think.”
Achieving the 2003 goals for the USA Women will not be easy.  But if the players can perform with the same heart and soul that they poured into every match of the most important tournament of the 2002 season, then qualifying for the World Cup, and ultimately, the next Olympics, should be well within their reach.


“The World Championships taught me that
volleyball is not only skills, it’s not only systems,
but you really need heart and soul.”
USA Head Coach, Toshi Yoshida