Former Minnesota volleyball standouts Cassie Busse and Lindsey Berg will both play for the U.S. Women’s National Team in the FIVB Women’s World Cup on Nov. 2-16 in various cities in Japan.
Busse and Berg join Ogonna Nnamani (Stanford), Danielle Scott-Arruda (Long Beach State), Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Long Beach State), Stacy Sykora (Texas A&M), Logan Tom (Stanford), Heather Bown (Hawai’i), Jennifer Joines (Pacific), Kim Glass (Arizona), Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (Hawai’i) and Nicole Davis (USC) on the FIVB World Cup roster.
Minnesota, Stanford, Hawai’i and Long Beach State each have two players on the squad. Arizona, Texas, A&M, USC and Pacific also have one player on the team.
Berg joins Aw-Moh Santos, Brown, Haneef-Park, Scott-Arruda, Tom, Sykora and Nnamani as one of eight players on the roster to have Olympic experience under their belts. Busse, Joines, Davis and Glass are all making their FIVB debuts for the U.S. National Program.
The FIVB World Cup, held every four years in the preceding year to the Olympics, is the first of three Olympic qualification steps for Beijing 2008. The top three teams at the World Cup qualify for the 2008 Olympics. Teams not making the World Cup medal stand will have two other opportunities to qualify for the Olympics with continental qualification tournaments in December 2007 and the World Olympic Qualification Tournament in May 2008 at Japan.
In final preparations for the World Cup, the U.S. Women’s National Team will train with Toyota Queenseis Volleyball Club, which is part of the Japanese V League. Team USA has worked out with Toyota Oct. 27-31 at Kariya, Japan, which is about 30 kilometers from Nagoya. The two teams scrimmaged on Oct. 30. After the training period with Toyota, Team USA will travel to nearby Hamamatsu for its first round matches that start on Nov. 2 against Peru.
The pre-World Cup training segment serves several purposes as the U.S. attempts to reach the medal stand and gain Olympic qualification for 2008. Team USA, which trains at an elevation of over 6,100 feet in Colorado Springs, can acclimate to sea level while working out with Toyota in Kariya. At altitude, serves travel further than at sea level and affects the serve-receive game. Second, the squad is able to familiarize itself with the time change.
Busse gained national recognition in 2003 by receiving AVCA First-Team All-American honors and Big Ten Player of the Year honors. During the NCAA Tournament she was also named the Pacific Region’s Most Outstanding Player, and garnered Final Four All-Tournament honors after recording 23 kills against the eventual national champion USC Women of Troy in the 2003 Final Four.
She is also ranked seventh on the Minnesota kills list with 1,502. Busse is one of only five players in school history to record over 600 kills in a single-season, recording the sixth-highest total in school history at 614 in 2003.
In 2004, Berg became the first player from the Minnesota volleyball program to make the U.S. Olympic team.
As a four-year starting setter for Minnesota from 1998-2001, Berg amassed 5,913 assists, which was good for third on the Minnesota and Big Ten career list. Berg is also second on the Minnesota career list in service aces at 283 and ninth in digs at 1,047.
Berg helped lead Minnesota to a pair of Big Ten second place finishes and NCAA Regional appearances in 1999 and 2000. In 2000, she helped lead the Golden Gophers to their highest winning percentage in school history at .882 (30-4).