May 30, 2008
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Former Lion Heather Hughes continues to make headlines as a part of the U.S. Women's National Volleyball squad, this time earning a spot to play in the Pan American Cup from May 30 to June 7 at Mexicali and Tijuana, Mexico.
The Pan American Cup will be used to evaluate young talent for Team USA. While many of the players will likely see time with the National Team in subsequent Olympic games, some of the American players will also be evaluated for one of 12 roster spots at the 2008 Olympic Games. For Hughes and the others on the team, the hope is the future is now. According to U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach `Jenny' Lang Ping, "We will use the Pan American Cup Tournament for evaluation. For our veterans, we will decide later as they are not in their best physical condition to play in this event. Also, some of them came in really late from their professional teams."
It is clear that Hughes and the group of athletes who have trained in Colorado Springs has impressed the coaching staff thus far. "You take this group that has been training since January, Heather Hughes is one that definitely sticks out," U.S. National Team Assistant Coach Tom Hogan said. "She has impressed her teammates and coaching staff, while her level of play continues to elevate. It is important for players like her to gain this international experience at the Pan American Cup."
Hughes and the U.S. will play pool play matches at Mexicali with five days of consecutive matches. Team USA opens against Dominican Republic on May 30, followed by Costa Rica on May 31, Argentina on June 1, host Mexico on June 2 and Trinidad & Tobago on June 3. After an off-day for all 12 teams on June 4 to relocate all teams to Mexicali, classification round starts on June 5 with the quarterfinals or crossover matches for places five through eight. The semifinal round follows on June 6 and the championship match and final classification contests on June 7.
The Pan American Cup will yield four berths into the 2009 World Grand Prix. The top three teams from NORCECA and the top South American team will advance to next year's annual FIVB tournament.
For the complete release from USA Volleyball, please click the following link:http://usavolleyball.org/VolleyballNews/news.asp?id=2187