Volleyball's Scott-Arruda, Haneef-Park Balance Motherhood and Olympics
After taking 2010 off to start their respective families, returning Olympians Danielle Scott-Arruda and Tayyiba Haneef-Park try to keep balance between motherhood and in helping Team USA's pursuit of the gold medal at the London Games.
Both women were part of 2008 Olympic team that won the silver.
Scott-Arruda has played in four consecutive Olympics, since 1996 in Atlanta.
She took time away from the national team in 2010 for the birth of her daughter, Julianne, but the former Long Beach volleyball standout carted her daughter along through another season on the court.
According to the Scott-Arruda, the presence of her daughter was a motivation for her.
"The idea of her seeing me play has been a motivation for me," she said via the Press-Telegram.
Despite sitting out the 2010 season, Scott-Arruda did not miss a beat as she returned to help the United States capture the silver at the 2011 FIVB World Cup to qualify for the London Games.
Regarded for her solid play in the middle of the court, Scott-Arruda, whose leaping ability and superb timing made her a dominating presence on the front lines of any match is headed to London with the No. 1 ranked U.S. women's national squad which is shooting for its first gold medal in volleyball.
The 39-year-old middle blocker Scott-Arruda is set to appear in her fifth Olympics.
Her U.S. teams placed seventh, fourth and fifth at the Olympics, before taking silver in the '08 Games, where she averaged 2.17 kills and .57 blocks with a .549 hit rate.
Scott-Arruda will become the first U.S. volleyball player, male or female, to appear in five Olympics. Russia's Yevgeniya Artamonova-Estes and Brazil's Helia Souza have played in five consecutive Olympic Games.
Scott-Arruda, a three-time All-American at Long Beach State, led the 49ers to the NCAA Final Four three times. She led the 49ers to the national title in 1993, and was recognized with the national player of the year award in the same year.
Scott-Arruda, who has played several positions, finished her collegiate career with 1,778 kills, 604 blocks, a school record, and a .421 hit percentage, also a school mark.
Haneef-Park, on the other hand, was a two-sport star at Long Beach as a volleyball player and a track high jumper. Haneef-Park was a three-time All-American in the high jump, but focused on volleyball after earning All-American status in 2001.
The lean but lethal outside hitter Haneef-Park, who is appearing in her third Olympics, started national team play in 2001, and became a starter the following year.
At the '04 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, where the U.S. women's finished 5th place, Haneef-Park registered 84 kills and six blocks. In the 2008 Games, she averaged 2.73 kills per set and .40 blocks.
Haneef-Park gave birth to Ajani Jamal Park, who weighed 9 pounds, 21 inches, on March 7, 2010.
According to Haneef-Park, 33, she devoted herself into private workouts after giving birth to her son as preparation for her comeback for the 2012 Games.
Haneef-Park, who has indicated she is set to leave the sport after 2012, said via the Press-Telegram, "I love it, but I love my son more and I want to be there with him through all the special moments."
Meanwhile, the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team wrapped its three-match USA-Bulgaria Challenge Series in Los Angeles, Calif., last July 18 with sweep of the European side before heading to London.
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