Sports

USA women clinch berth in FIVB Grand Prix Final Round

Americans extended their winning streak to four matches on Friday

Stanford grad Logan Tom recorded 14 points, eight of them kills, and the United States women's national volleyball team topped Germany, 29-27, 25-16, 25-15, at the FIVB Grand Prix in Hong Kong on Friday.

The victory clinched a spot in next weekend's final round, which begins Wednesday in Ningbo, China. The win also ended a three-match losing streak to the Germans in FIVB Grand Prix play, dating to last year.

"Our team played very well," U.S. coach Hugh McCutcheon said. "We were strong in tactics and technical skills. We are making improvement from weekend to weekend."

The U.S., which has a four-match winning streak intact, meets Thailand on Saturday.

"The team had a strong evolution after the match against Thailand and Italy last week," McCutcheon said. "Thailand is a very challenging team. They are very fast and play with a different system and combination. However, if we play strong, we are confident that we will have a good chance to win."

Tom, who had a .444 hitting percentage, also recorded four blocks and two aces for her point total. Cardinal grad Foluke Akinradewo had three kills and two blocks while Texas grad Destinee Hooker led the Americans with 20 points on 17 kills and three blocks.

Stanford grad Cynthia Barboza played as a serving substitute in all three sets.

The U.S. qualified for the final round for the first time in two years. The Americans will be looking to finish third or higher for the first time since 2004.

In addition to the United States and host China, defending champion Brazil, Japan, Poland and Italy have also clinched spots in the final round with two pool matches for each remaining.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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