Sports

China women strike again, beating Team USA, 12-9, in exhibition

Seidemann, Villa combine to score five goals for Americans

Stanford junior Melissa Seidemann scored three goals to lead the United States women's national water polo team in scoring, but it was China which once again prevailed in the second of three exhibitions, 12-9, Wednesday night at the Dougherty Valley Aquatic Center in San Ramon.

The Americans have one last chance to beat the Chinese when the two teams met Thursday night at Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center at 7 p.m.

China scored the game's final three goals to earn the victory. Stanford grad Brenda Villa, who had two goals on the evening, scored a goal early in the fourth period to tie the game at 9 before the Chinese rallied for the victory.

Once again Team USA struggled on the power play, going just 1-for-5. China was 5-of-6. The Americans were 0-for-4 in Tuesday night's loss at UC Davis.

Women's volleyball

The United States women's national volleyball team clinched a spot in next year's FIVB World Grand Prix and it didn't even need to play a semifinal match at the Pan American Cup in Tijuana to do so.

The top three finishing teams from NORCECA and the top team from South America are awarded berths. With Peru and Argentina meeting each other for a spot in the semifinals, it means the Americans are guaranteed a spot among the top three teams from NORCECA.

The U.S. went undefeated in pool play and earned an extra day off from competition. That doesn't mean the team will be taking any time off though.

"We are ready to practice," U.S. coach Hugh McCutcheon said. "We have to focus on the next phase of the competition."

Team USA is looking to looking to medal at the Pan American Cup for the first time since 2004. It medaled in the first three events, starting with a bronze in the inaugural event in 2002, followed by its only gold in 2003 and the silver in 2004. Last year, the U.S. finished fourth while hosting the event for the first time.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Women's National Team started out strong by finishing with the silver medal at the 26th Montreux Volley Masters held June 8-13 in Montreux, Switzerland. The Americans swept Cuba in the semifinal round before falling to champion China in four sets during the gold-medal match.

The U.S. reached the semifinals with five consecutive days of victories starting June 18 with a key 27-25, 25-22, 25-17 victory over Peru, which went on to win its next four matches. In its final pool match on Tuesday, the Americans beat host Mexico, 25-14, 25-16, 25-15, in front of 2,500 fans.

Team USA' s balanced offensive attack has been the key to success. Nebraska grad Jordan Larson is the leading American scorer with 50 points on 37 kills, 7 blocks, and 6 aces, tied for 12th place among all players.

Stanford grad Foluke Akinradewo is 14th in scoring with 49 points. She has 34 kills, 11 blocks and 4 aces.

Heather Bown and Akinradewo are among the leaders in the Best Blocker category. Bown has 12 blocks as part of a 0.80 set average for fifth-best. Akinradewo ranks eighth with a 0.73 block average.

The U.S. is converting a tournament-leading 47.96 percent of its kills as part of a .393 hitting efficiency. Team USA also has a tournament-best 3.80 blocks per set.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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