American women volleyball team heads for Turkey

The U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team will be in search of its sixth FIVB World Grand Prix title when it opens the tournament's first of three preliminary round weekends on Friday in Ankara, Turkey.

The second-ranked Americans open against No. 6 Russia and will also play No. 11 Turkey and No. 3 Japan.

Universal Sports will stream all three matches, in addition to several other matches of the World Grand Prix. For schedule and other details, visit their website.

Among the 14-player roster are Stanford grads Kristin Richards Hildebrand, Cassidy Lichtman, Foluke Akinradewo and Alix Klineman.

The Americans defeated Russia in last year's FIVB World Grand Champions Cup in November. Since 1983, the Russians lead the all-time series, 68-33, including 11-9 in World Grand Prix matches.

The U.S. is 8-2 all-time against Turkey, which includes a three-set win to conclude the 2012 Olympic Games' pool play.

In the last FIVB World Grand Prix meeting between the them, Team USA stopped Turkey, 3-1, during the final round in 2012 in China en route to winning the gold a few weeks before the 2012 Olympics.

The Americans and Japanese have played 217 times since 1983, the most of any opponent for the U.S. While Japan holds the upper hand, 113-104, in the series, Team USA won all six meetings last year, including twice in the FIVB World Grand Prix in Japan and once in the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup, also in Japan.

The U.S. won the FIVB World Grand Prix title three consecutive years from 2010 to 2012, but is looking to bounce back from a disappointing sixth-place finish last year in Japan.

The Americans are five-time champions of the event, all of which have been decided in China.

Team USA's nine-match schedule in the 2014 FIVB World Grand Prix preliminary round has a 6.44 average world ranking, highlighted by two matches against top-ranked Brazil, a single match against No. 3 Japan and two matches against No. 6 Russia.

In the second preliminary weekend, Team USA travels to Sao Paulo, Brazil, to face Russia, Korea and Brazil.

— USA volleyball


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