Stanford grad Foluke Akinradewo recorded eight kills and a match-high four blocks in helping the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team to a 25-18, 25-21, 25-13 victory over host Thailand Saturday in Pool D action of the FIVB World Grand Prix in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Americans (3-2) finish the weekend with a match against Puerto Rico before heading to Hong Kong next weekend in the final round of preliminary competition. The U.S. currently finds itself in fifth place in the Grand Prix.
"The score cannot say anything," said coach Hugh McCutcheon, who led the U.S. Olympic men's team to the gold medal in Beijing. "Thailand is very strong and caused us a lot of problems. In the second set, we gained composure and played a good game against Thailand and their cheering fans. I think it's a tough match. It's hard to say if we can beat Puerto Rico. We just want to play good one at a time and try to win each match we play."
Cardinal grad Logan Tom, rejoining the national team for the first time in two years, added seven kills, two blocks and an ace.
Tom and Akinradewo were in the starting lineup while Stanford grad Cynthia Barboza was a serving sub in all three sets.
Thailand is a great team," U.S. captain Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) said in the post-match press conference. "They are strong with quick combination. "Our defense and blocking were keys to success," U.S. team captain Stacy Sykora said. "However, I think we have many things to improve. Thailand is one of the strong Asian teams. To play them is not easy."
China leads a group of four countries, which also includes Poland, Japan and Brazil, who are atop the Grand Prix standings, each at 4-1. The U.S. is tied for fifth with Italy, but holds the tie-breaker.
The Americans meet Germany, Thailand again, and China on the final weekend of prelims. The final round is scheduled for the Ningbo Beilun Gymnasium in China.
Stanford incoming freshman Brian Cook was one of 12 players chosen for the U.S. Men's Junior National Team that will compete at the NORCECA Men's Junior (under-21) Continental Championship beginning Monday in Gatineau, Quebec.
The team of 12 was chosen from among 19 members of the junior national training team, which has been training at the Geneva area Recreational, Educational, Athletic Trust (GaREAT) in Geneva, Ohio.
The top two teams at NORCECA will qualify for the 2011 FIVB Men's Junior World Championship at a date and site to be determined.
Cook, a 6-foot-6 outside hitter from Soquel High, will join his older sister, Karissa, at Stanford. Karissa Cook is a setter for the Cardinal.
Stanford grad Matt Fuerbringer and teammate Nick Lucera dropped a 21-16, 12-21, 15-13 decision to Brazil's Marcio Araujo and Ricardo Santos on Saturday in a consolation match of the Otera Open in Kristiansand, Norway.