Mon, Nov 06, 2006 - Page 20 News List

US progresses at volleyball champs

AP , TOKYO

The US finished the first stage of the women's world volleyball championships on a high note yesterday with a straight sets win over Puerto Rico.

The Americans bounced back from the previous day's loss to tournament favorite Brazil to gain their fourth victory 25-14, 25-16, 25-15 and finish second in Group C.

Brazil, the Group B winner, continued its excellent form with a 25-13, 25-14, 25-8 thrashing of Cameroon to preserve its perfect record.

The US, Brazil, Puerto Rico and the Netherlands each face Olympic champion China, Russia, Germany and Azerbaijan in their second-round group at Osaka.

Defending champion Italy, Serbia-Montenegro, Cuba and Turkey will play against Japan, Taiwan, Poland and South Korea at Nagoya in the next stage.

Second-round games begin Nov. 8 and the top two from each group advance to the championship semi-finals.

Katherine Wilkins and Nancy Metcalf both scored 15 points for the US.

Germany handed China its second-straight defeat 20-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-23 to finish the first round 4-1, while the Chinese dropped to 3-2.

Italy powered past Egypt 25-17, 25-7, 25-10 for its fourth win, while Olympic and World Grand Prix silver medalist Russia beat the Dominican Republic 25-17, 20-25, 25-18, 25-19 to remain unbeaten with five wins.

Cuba, a disappointing fifth at the 2002 world championships, made sure of its place in the Nagoya group but was forced to five sets by Peru 22-25, 25-16, 17-25, 25-16, 15-10.

South Korea also booked its spot at Nagoya with a 25-13, 25-13, 25-12 victory over Kenya, while Azerbaijan confirmed its place in the Osaka group with a 25-14, 25-10, 25-16 victory over Mexico.

The Netherlands advanced at the expense of Kazakhstan after a marathon five-setter, winning 25-18, 27-29, 25-18, 22-25, 15-13.

Taiwan ended a surprise winner of Group A with five straight victories after beating Costa Rica 25-10, 25-18, 25-12.

Surprise package Serbia-Montenegro topped Group D with a perfect record after a 27-25, 25-22, 25-15 victory over Turkey.

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