USA Volleyball Cup Kicks Off Inaugural Matchups in 2013

From July 10 to 13, the first USA Volleyball Cup matchups were played before sellout crowds in San Diego, Long Beach and Orange County.



The U.S. women’s volleyball team won the cup, winning three out of five against rival Japan, the bronze medal winners at the 2012 London Olympic Games. The American women are currently ranked No. 1 in the world and finished with the silver medal at the London Olympics. Coach Karch Kiraly has an 8-0 record for the Americans since taking over the team post-Olympics.
Considering the sellout crowds and the Cup’s lead-in to the Federation of International Volleyball (FIVB) World Grand Prix, this event could become a regular fixture in the summer volleyball schedule. When you’re going through a potential list of sports betting sites, make sure volleyball is included. It’s a sport fewer people bet on, so you can potentially find sharp lines or wagers with higher betting limits.

What the USA Volleyball Cup Is About
Essentially, both the U.S. Men and Women’s National Volleyball Teams initiated the USA Volleyball Cup to help prepare for the FIVB World Grand Prix. The event is designed to help strengthen ties to Southern California, where both teams train. Both teams plan to hold one match in Southern California each year followed by a second match in different venues each year throughout the country. The men will play their matches on Aug. 14, 16 and 17.
The men’s team is currently ranked No. 5 in the world and they won’t play in the FIVB World Grand Prix this year. With a 4-4 record, the American men would have had to beat top-ranked Brazil twice, and they would have had to hope that Poland and Bulgaria split their matches. This scenario, unfortunately, didn’t work out. However, they will still play the NORCECA Continental Championships in Langley, Canada, from Sept. 21 to 29.

Why Japan?
Since 1983, the U.S. and Japan have played 211 women’s volleyball matches. That’s more than the U.S. has played any other rival. To compare, the second most-often played team for the U.S. is Cuba, with which the women have had 148 contests. Most of the matches have happened on tours similar to the USA Volleyball Cup. However, the U.S. hadn’t hosted the Japanese women since 2000, when Japan won three of four matches.
Both the U.S. and Japanese women’s volleyball teams are top contenders at the FIVB World Grand Prix. The Americans have won the last three Grand Prix events, but Japan beat the U.S. in 2010 for the bronze medal and ended the Americans’ chances for the FIVB World Cup gold medal in 2011. Still, the U.S. holds a 13-7 record over Japan, and most of the wins have been at FIVB events.

FIVB World Grand Prix-view
The American women will travel to Brazil on Aug. 2 to play against Russia, Poland and Brazil. The team plays three consecutive preliminary weekends with a total of nine matches. The top five teams plus Japan will head to the final round in Sapporo, Japan, on Aug. 28. In total, the Grand Prix pool consists of 20 teams.

Players to watch include:
Nicole Davis. Davis has played on the U.S. Olympic teams in both London and Beijing. The veteran libero ranked second in Best Libero at the London Olympics and sixth in Best Digger despite missing the last two matches of the final round.
Danielle Scott-Arruda. Five-time Olympian Scott brings considerable experience to the team. At the 2012 World Grand Prix, she averaged 2.5 points, 1.08 blocks and 1.35 kills per set.
Nicole Fawcett. The young outside hitter led the team in points three times at the Pan American Cup. She was also named MVP and Best Server of the tournament. She scored 31 points versus Puerto Rico and 15 points against the Dominican Republic to help the U.S. win the title match.

For a change of pace, bet on volleyball. It’s not only a great sport to watch but also a great sport to wager on. Oddsmakers don’t always have as much knowledge about volleyball as they do about a sport like football.
Image by Ebouscher From Flickr’s Creative Commons

About the Author: Tamara Kosczinski is an avid volleyball fan who lives in—where else—Southern California.

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