Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Courtney Thompson’s Olympic volleyball dream on the line


It all comes down to this weekend in Thailand; Tama Miyashiro also in the running

Courtney Thompson—the irrepressible former University of Washington setter from Kent, WA—will get the shot she’s wanted to compete for a USA volleyball roster spot at August’s London Olympics.

Courtney Thompson (15)
Volleyblog Seattle has learned that Thompson and Penn State’s Alisha Glass will be the two American setters on the 12-person roster at the 2012 World Grand Prix’s (WGP) third preliminary round in Bangkok this weekend.

The USA (6-0 in WGP play) faces Serbia (2-4) Friday, Argentina (0-6) Saturday and host Thailand (5-1) Sunday. [schedule below]

In the first two rounds, Minnesota’s Lindsey Berg was the setter for all but a handful of rotations, sharing the roster with Glass in Round One (Santo Domingo, D.R. June 8-10) and with Thompson in Round Two (Sao Paolo, June 15-17). Although undefeated USA dropped just two sets over six matches, Berg was often inconsistent. She is currently ranked 11th among WGP setters.

The USA’s top two defenders are Nicole Davis (USC) and Washington’s Tama Miyashiro. Davis—wearing the libero jersey—had several dreadful runs during the WGP second round, while Miyashiro sparkled during limited action as designated server. Will USA head coach Hugh McCutcheon give Miyashiro a shot at libero in Bangkok?

With the Olympic Games just a few weeks away, McCutcheon has yet to announce which 12 athletes he will take to London. Based on his WGP lineups, the picture is getting a bit clearer:


SETTER (2 spots):
  • Lindsey Berg (Minnesota) has likely earned one of the two setter spots, despite her recent inconsistency.
  • Either Courtney Thompson (Washington) or Alisha Glass (Penn State) will likely grab the second setter spot after this weekend's competition in Bangkok.
  • Carli Lloyd (California) and Nellie Spicer (UCLA) are available, but were not included in the WGP competition.


LIBERO/DEFENSIVE SPECIALIST (2 spots):
  • Nicole Davis (USC) seems to have one defensive spot sewn up, although—like Berg—her WGP play has been erratic.
  • Tamari Miyashiro (Washington) has played well in her limited WGP opportunities; she seems likely to grab the second defensive slot.
  • Stacy Sykora (Texas A&M) has been a Team USA fixture, but is still recovering from injuries suffered last year in a Brazilian bus accident.


OUTSIDE HITTER/OPPOSITE (5-6 spots):
  • Logan Tom (Stanford) has looked determined during WGP play, although she and Berg have not really clicked. Her strong serve is a plus, especially because Hooker and Akinradewo are in the front row during her server rotation.
  • Jordan Larson (Nebraska) is getting tons of WGP playing time; she, too, has not connected well with Berg, but she's been passing better than Hodge.
  • Destinee Hooker (Texas) is unstoppable when she’s on her game, especially on the right side. Perhaps the most obvious lock for a spot in London.
  • Megan Hodge (Penn State) seemed to be a natural to pair with Hooker, but Larson and Tom have shown better overall skills. I’d still want her on my Olympic bench.
  • Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Long Beach State) has seen spot play during WGP; McCutcheon may want the two-time Olympian’s  veteran leadership.
  • Several top hitters are on the 25-member preliminary roster, but have not yet been on the WGP teams, making them longshots. Cynthia Barboza (Stanford) is looking for her first-ever Olympic selection; others hoping for a minor miracle are Kim Glass (Arizona), Nancy Metcalf (Nebraska), Nicole Fawcett (Penn State), Alix Klineman (Stanford) and Kristin Richards (Stanford).


MIDDLE BLOCKER (2-3 spots):
  • Foluke Akinradewo (Stanford) is an amazing athlete. No way she’s not on the London roster.
  • Christa Harmotto (Penn State) has had a marvelous WGP. Of particular note, she’s used her big wing span to cover blocks when opponents try to hit line over Berg.
  • Olympic veterans Heather Bown (Hawai’i) and Danielle Scott-Arruda (Long Beach State) have split limited time as WGP backups to Akinradewo and Harmotto. One may make it to London.
  • Jennifer Tamas (Pacific) and Lauren Gibbemeyer (Minnesota) are also on the 25-member roster.

Team USA middle blocker Christa Haramoto covers block over setter Lindsey Berg (4) against Brazil


2012 World Grand Prix
Third Round
Pool J – Bangkok, Thailand
June 22: USA vs. Serbia, 1:50 p.m. (11:50 p.m. PT on June 21)
June 22: Thailand vs. Argentina, 4:20 p.m.
June 23: USA vs. Argentina, 1:50 p.m. (11:50 p.m. PT on June 22)
June 23: Serbia vs. Thailand, 4:20 p.m.
June 24: Argentina vs. Serbia, 1:50 p.m.
June 25: USA vs. Thailand, 4:20 p.m. (2 a.m. PT)



2012 World Grand Prix
Standings after two rounds
(ties broken by sets and points won)




1
USA
6
0
2
China
6
0
3
Turkey
5
1
4
Thailand
5
1
5
Cuba
5
1
6
Brazil
5
1
7
Japan
3
3
8
Germany
3
3
9
Poland
3
3
10
Serbia
2
4
11
Puerto Rico
2
4
12
Italy
1
5
13
Korea
1
5
14
Dominican Republic
1
5
15
Argentina
0
6





4 comments:

  1. I thought Courtney brought good energy when she played in Brazil. Berg had a good role in 2008, when she was an inspiring setter coming off the bench. I think that Courtney could play a similar role.

    When Tama was getting on a good run this weekend against Germany, maybe one of the most telling signs of confidence Hugh showed in her abilities, she was put in a position to set as Berg came out for Haneef-Park's big block and Logan Tom was in the front row. Germany kept hitting at Tama and she kept digging and didn't get to show her setting abilities, but that was the play that Hugh called.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Washington may be the team I disliked most in the pac 12 but I really like Thompson and Tama individually . I think they are really amazing and Thompson is just a fighter and overachiever. I hope both can make the team

    ReplyDelete
  3. All Courtney and Tama do is win. If he wants to bring home the gold he nedds Courtney and Tama.

    ReplyDelete
  4. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete

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