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Mar 07 U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team Set for 2008 NORCECA Girls’ Youth Continental Championship

July 02, 2008, 4:43 p.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800
E-Mail: bill.kauffman@usav.org

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 2, 2008) – The U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team begins its quest for the NORCECA Girls’ Youth Continental Championship (U-18) gold medal at Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, on July 5 with a roster filled with individuals who have medaled in big tournaments in their young careers. The tournament qualifies the top three teams into the 2009 FIVB Girls’ Youth World Championship to be held Aug. 5-16 in India.

Team USA is in Group B with Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago and U.S. Virgin Islands. The U.S. opens the tournament versus Dominican Republic on July 5 at 6 p.m., followed Trinidad & Tobago on July 6 at 4 p.m. and U.S. Virgin Islands on July 7 at 6 p.m. Group A consists of host Puerto Rico, Mexico and Costa Rica. The quarterfinals are scheduled for July 8, while the semifinals follow on July 9 and the championship and consolation matches on July 10.

Jim Stone (Columbus, Ohio), retired head women’s volleyball coach at The Ohio State University, will serve as head coach of the U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team. He will be assisted by University of West Florida Head Coach Melissa Wolter (Pensacola, Fla.) and TCA Volleyball Club Director and Head Coach Neil Mason (Newport Coast, Calif.).

“Overall, the kids are working hard and will represent USA in a positive way given the fact that we will have no training with all 12 players before our first match,” Stone said. All but one of the 12 players on the roster have recently concluded or are still competing with their club programs at the USA Junior Olympic Girls’ Volleyball Championships in Dallas.

NORCECA Girls’ Youth Continental Championship rosters for all seven countries competing are comprised of girls born in 1992 and 1993. The U.S. has 11 players who are scheduled to graduate high school in 2010, while one athlete is in the class of 2011.

Team USA middle blockers selected to the 12-player roster are Erica Denney (Centennial, Colo.), Tori Dixon (Savage, Minn.), Madelyn Hutson (Brentwood, Tenn.) and Carly Wopat (Goleta, Calif.). The foursome averages just under 6-4 in height.

Outside hitters without designation to left or right side are Lydia Bai (Tustin, Calif.), Jazmine Orozco (Lakewood, Calif.), Kelly Reeves (San Diego, Calif.), Amy Scullion (Salem, Ohio) and Ashley Wittman (Shakopee, Minn.).

The American setters are Molly Kreklow (Hamlake, Minn.) and Carly Thomas (Swansea, Ill.). Jennifer Bonilla (Reseda, Calif.) is the only libero listed on the roster.

Bonilla, Dixon, Hutson, Scullion, Thomas and Wittman were part of the winning USA Select Red Team that won the gold medal at the 2007 USA Volleyball High Performance Championships in the International Junior Division. Bonilla earned the division’s Best Passer award during the tournament. Denney, Kreklow and Orozco won gold medals at the 2007 USA Volleyball High Performance Championships in the International Youth Division while competing on the USA Select Blue Team. Orozco earned the most valuable player award in her division.

The Southern California Volleyball Region is home to five of the 12 players on the 2008 U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team. Bai competes for TCA, Bonilla and Orozco for SCVC, Reeves for Wave and Wopat for Santa Barbara Volleyball Club.

Dixon, Kreklow and Wittman play for the same club, Mizuno Northern Lights, in representing the North Country Volleyball Region.

Denney plays for Front Range in the Rocky Mountain Region, Hutson for Impact VBC in the Southern Region, Scullion competes for Tri-County in the Ohio Valley Region and Thomas plays for Southwest Illinois Volleyball Club in the Gateway Region.

Stories of Interest for the U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team
Lydia Bai and Kelly Reeves hold an interesting connection, albeit through their mothers. Bai’s mother, “Jenny” Lang Ping won a gold medal as an outside hitter for the Chinese National Team at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. She competed against Reeves’ mother, Jeanne Reeves, who was a part of the 1984 Olympic Games championship match as a player for the United States’ silver-medal team. The two mothers met up again at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta as Lang Ping served as head coach of the Chinese, who won a silver medal at the Summer Games. She now is the U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach that will lead Team USA into the 2008 Olympic Games in her hometown of Beijing. Meanwhile, Reeves served as an assistant coach for the U.S. Women’s National Team at the 1996 Olympic Games. Now, their daughters get a chance to play together – on the same team in an international tournament.

Lydia Bai won a gold medal in the 18 Open Division at the 2008 USA Junior Olympic Girls’ Volleyball Championship on June 29 at Dallas. She competed for TCA California, coached by U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team Assistant Coach Neil Mason.

Tori Dixon’s father David played for the Minnesota Vikings from 1992-2004.

Molly Kreklow, who has helped Northern Lights 16-1 to an undefeated season leading up to the 2008 USA Junior Olympic Girls’ Volleyball Championships, comes from an athletic family. Her father Michael played collegiate basketball at University of Wisconsin and Drake (1979-1984), while her mother Marcia played collegiate volleyball at Drake (1981-1985). Her brothers John and Ben play collegiate basketball at University of South Dakota. Her uncle Wayne played with the Boston Celtics (1980-1981) and is currently head volleyball coach at University of Missouri.

Kelly Reeves plays for Waves Volleyball Club and is coached by her mother, Jeanne Reeves. She is a two-sport star at Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego as she was named All-CIF First-Team in both volleyball and basketball in 2007 leading her team to CIF championships. In 2003, she made history as the first girl to make the All-Stars for Del Mar Little League Majors (baseball).

Amy Scullion has been active in the USA Volleyball High Performance program for several years. She was selected to the Select A1 Camp Blue Team in 2006, followed by her inclusion on the 2007 USA Select Red Team that won the 2007 USA Volleyball High Performance Championship International Junior Division. Scullion has also been selected All-State in girls basketball in Ohio and is being recruited as a NCAA Division I basketball player.

Madelyn Hutson helped her club team, Impact VBC 17, win the 2008 USA Junior Olympic Girls’ Volleyball Championships in the 17 National Division on July 1. She was named to the all-tournament team as well.

Carly Thomas, who has verbaled to play volleyball at Missouri State University, participated in the USA Volleyball High Performance A2 Camp in Colorado Springs in both 2005 and 2006 before winning a gold medal in 2007 at the USA Volleyball High Performance Championship with USA Select Red Team. She led Southwest Illinois Volleyball Club to a bronze medal in the National Division at both the 2007 and 2008 USA Junior Olympic Girls’ Volleyball Championships, as well as being selected all-tournament both years.

Carly Wopat’s father Ron competed in the 1980 Olympic Trials for the decathlon and was a member of the 1981 U.S. Decathlon Team.

Jennifer Bonilla, who won a bronze medal at the 2008 USA Junior Olympic Girls’ Volleyball Championship in the 18 Open Division playing for SCVC 18 Nike while playing with Team USA teammate Jazmine Orozco, has given a verbal commitment to University of Illinois to play volleyball starting in the 2010 season.

# - Name (Pos., Ht, Hometown, Grad Year, Club, Region)
2 - Lydia Bai (Outside Hitter, 6-2, Tustin, Calif., 2010, TCA, Southern California)
3 - Jennifer Bonilla (Libero, 5-9, Reseda, Calif., 2010, SCVC, Southern California)
4 - Erica Denney (Middle Blocker, 6-5, Centennial, Colo., 2010, Front Range, Rocky Mountain)
5 - Tori Dixon (Middle Blocker, 6-3, Savage, Minn., 2010 Mizuno Northern Lights, North Country)
9 - Madelyn Hutson (Middle Blocker, 6-5, Brentwood, Tenn., 2011, Impact VB Club, Southern)
10 - Molly Kreklow (Setter, 6-0, Hamlake, Minn., 2010, Mizuno Northern Lights, North Country)
12 - Jazmine Orozco (Outside Hitter, 6-0, Lakewood, Calif., 2010, SCVC, Southern California)
14 - Kelly Reeves (Outside Hitter, Libero, 6-0, San Diego, Calif., 2010, Wave, Southern California)
15 - Amy Scullion (Outside Hitter, 6-0, Salem, Ohio, 2010, Tri-County, Ohio Valley)
16 - Carly Thomas (Setter, 5-11, Swansea, Ill., 2010, Southwest Illinois VBC, Gateway)
18 - Ashley Wittman (Outside Hitter, 6-1, Shakopee, Minn., 2010, Mizuno Northern Lights, North Country)
19 - Carly Wopat (Middle Blocker, 6-2, Goleta, Calif., 2010, Santa Barbara V-Ball Club, Southern California)
*Kristina Graven (Outside Hitter/Libero, 6-0, San Jose, Calif., 2010, Vision Volleyball Club, Northern California)

Head Coach: Jim Stone (Columbus, Ohio, retired Ohio State University women’s head coach)
Assistant Coach: Melissa Wolter (Pensacola, Fla., University of West Florida head women’s coach)
Assistant Coach: Neil Mason (Newport Coast, Calif., TCA director and head coach)

* NOTE: Kristina Graven was originally selected for the 12-player U.S. Girls' Youth National Team roster, but withdrew due to injury.

2008 NORCECA Girls’ Youth Continental Championship Schedule
July 5-10 at Guaynabo, Puerto Rico

Pool A: Costa Rica, Mexico, Puerto Rico
Pool B: Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago, U.S. Virgin Islands, United States

Pool Matches
July 5: Trinidad & Tobago vs. U.S. Virgin Islands, 4 p.m.
July 5: United States vs. Dominican Republic, 6 p.m.
July 5: Puerto Rico vs. Costa Rica, 8 p.m.
July 6: United States vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 4 p.m.
July 6: Dominican Republic vs. U.S. Virgin Islands, 6 p.m.
July 6: Costa Rica vs. Mexico, 8 p.m.
July 7: Dominican Republic vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 4 p.m.
July 7: United States vs. U.S. Virgin Islands, 6 p.m.
July 7: Puerto Rico vs. Mexico, 8 p.m.

July 8: 3A vs. 2B, 6 p.m. (Quarterfinals)
July 8: 2A vs. 3B, 8 p.m. (Quarterfinals)

July 9: TBA, 4 p.m. (Classification for 5th Place)
July 9: 1B vs. Quarterfinal Winner, 6 p.m. (Semifinal)
July 9: 1A vs. Quarterfinal Winner, 8 p.m. (Semifinal)

July 10: TBA vs. 4B, 2 p.m. (Classification 6-7)
July 10: Semifinal Losers (Bronze Medal Match)
July 10: Semifinal Winners (Gold Medal Match)

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