COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 24, 2005) – The USA Women's Junior National Volleyball Team will be a member of Pool A at the 2005 FIVB Women's U-20 World Championships later this summer, it was announced earlier this week.
The drawing of lots for the preliminary round of the biennial event, to be held in Ankara, Turkey, from July 23-31 July, took place March 22 at the Etap Altinel Hotel in Ankara.
"This promises to be an exciting event since these are all young budding athletes working their way towards the 2006 World Championships in Japan as well as the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing," stated Dr. Rubén Acosta, FIVB President. "The fact that they are all emerging future champions adds an element of surprise—the favorites have not been singled out yet."
The tournament field features a total of 12 teams competing in two pools in two different cities during the preliminary rounds.
Pool A, composed of Brazil, Croatia, Japan, Serbia and Montenegro, Turkey and the United States, will play in Ankara. Pool B, made up of China, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Italy, Puerto Rico and Russia, will compete in Istanbul.
The USA WJNT, guided by head coach Shelton Collier, qualified for the 2005 World Championships by winning the 2004 NORCECA Zone Championships last August in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, with a perfect 4-0 record.
"We are in a very tough pool. Our pool does not have any weak teams, which means every match could go either way," explained Collier, the head coach of the women's volleyball team at Wingate University in North Carolina. "However, we have enough experience on our team and on our staff and we will be very prepared for this great challenge."
In 2003, many of last year's WJNT members competed at the FIVB Youth World Championships in Poland and posted a best-ever fourth-place finish under Collier's tutelage.
"We had a great match with Brazil for the bronze medal at the Youth Worlds a couple years ago so we will look forward to getting another shot at them," he added. "I believe the nucleus of our players have really gained a lot of confidence in their ability to be successful internationally after doing well at the Youth Worlds in Poland in 2003 and by winning the gold medal at last year's NORCECAs."
Prior to the World Championships, the 18 athletes that are selected to be a part of the USA Women's Junior National Training Team will train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York, beginning July 8. The top 12 players will be chosen to form the Women's Junior National Team and will travel from New York to Turkey to compete for the world championship.
"I am already looking forward to assembling the training team in Lake Placid," said Collier. "Although we are still in the process of finalizing our roster, I expect that we will have some veteran players who know what it takes to win at this level, and I also expect we will have some new players challenging for roster spots in Lake Placid as well."
2005 FIVB Women's U-20 World Championships
July 23-31, Ankara and Istanbul Turkey
Pool A: Brazil, Croatia, Japan, Serbia and Montenegro, Turkey, USA
Pool B: China, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Italy, Puerto Rico, Russia
Match Schedule (Preliminary Rounds)
Pool A – BRA vs. JPN, USA vs. SCG, CRO vs. TUR
Pool B – RUS vs. PUR, EGY vs. CHN, DOM vs. ITA
Pool A – JPN vs. TUR, SCG vs. CRO, BRA vs. USA
Pool B – PUR vs. ITA, CHN vs. DOM, RUS vs. EGY
Pool A – USA vs. JPN, CRO vs. BRA, TUR vs. SCG
Pool B – EGY vs. PUR, DOM vs. RUS, ITA vs. CHN
Pool A – JPN vs. SCG, BRA vs. TUR, USA vs. CRO
Pool B – PUR vs. CHN, RUS vs. ITA, EGY vs. DOM
Pool A – CRO vs. JPN, TUR vs. USA, SCG vs. BRA
Pool B – DOM vs. PUR, ITA vs. EGY, CHN vs. RUS
Photo courtesy of NORCECA