The CenturyLink Center was again the constant as Omaha last week hosted another visiting sports event. Omaha Sports Commission President Harold Cliff said Monday that much of the feedback he received from FIVB, USA Volleyball and the six teams was how well the venue functioned for the five-day World Grand Prix Finals that concluded Sunday.
It has taken all 23 years of the FIVB World Grand Prix before the United States has served as host for the Final round, and it has been well worth the wait that has resulted in a majorly successful international tournament. FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° was on site in Omaha during the World Grand Prix and was impressed with the running of the event in Omaha.
A fifth set looked like a very real possibility Friday night as Team USA couldn’t seem to shake Russia at the World Grand Prix Finals. Next thing you knew, it was over. The U.S. rattled off the final five points of the fourth set, putting away Russia 26-24, 19-25, 25-16, 25-22 at the CenturyLink Center. A Tori Dixon ace delivered the match-winner, thrilling a crowd of 7,500 and leaving the Americans as the only unbeaten remaining after three days of volleyball.
As the U.S. Women’s National Team is anxious to return to the United States to host the FIVB World Grand Prix Finals in Omaha July 22-26, the squad still has some business to accomplish this week in Hong Kong as four veterans return to the lineup.
Jordan Larson-Burbach has had one of the best two-year stretches of any volleyball player in the world. She’s led two different professional clubs — one in Russia and one in Turkey — to the FIVB Women’s Club World Championships. Then in her summer job as an outside hitter for the United States women’s national team, she helped Team USA to its first FIVB World Championship in October 2014. The U.S. women had never before won gold at any of the three major international volleyball events: World Championship, World Cup or Olympics.