Tired U.S. Girls’ Youth Team Falls to Italy

Jan. 03, 2009, 8:08 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 3, 2009) - A travel-weary U.S. Girls' Youth Team, in cooperation with Bring It Promotions, lost a 26-28, 25-23, 30-28, 25-18 tightly contested scrimmage to the Italian Girls' Youth National Team on Jan. 3 at Rome. The two teams played a friendly fifth set with the U.S. coming away with a 15-9 victory.

The Americans traveled overnight to Italy via train from Slovenia and arrived in Rome after 6 a.m. in the morning. Along with some quick sightseeing and shopping, the squad had a training session before its 8 p.m. contest today with the Italians.

 "In spite of our all night train ride, and people being tired, we won the first set and were in positions to win games two and three," U.S. Girls' Youth Team Head Coach Jim Stone said. "We have to build on that and continue to improve. We have our last match tomorrow... Let's see if we can come up with a little more effort and finish this tour with a win."

Team USA had six players reach double-figure scoring. Anna Dorn (Munster, Ind.) chipped in 15 points via 12 kills on 19 swings, two blocks and an ace while starting the final four sets. Ashley Wittman (Shakopee, Minn.) scored 10 kills and three blocks for 13 points in just the first and third sets. Jazmine Orozco (Lakewood, Calif.) contributed 10 kills on 28 swings, two aces and a block for 13 points in the first four sets.

Amy Scullion (Salem, Ohio) tacked on 11 kills on 21 attacks to go with an ace for 12 American points in the second through fourth sets. Jane Croson (Lakewood, Calif.) added 12 points on nine kills and two aces. Tori Dixon (Savage, Minn.) started the first two sets and the fourth set to pick up nine kills and an ace.

Erica Denney (Centennial, Colo.) and Carly Thomas (Swansea, Ill.) each scored five and four points, respectively. Molly Kreklow (Hamlake, Minn.), who started the third and fourth sets at setter in place of Thomas, provided two aces in her time leading the offense. Jennifer Bonilla (Reseda, Calif.) connected on a 62 positive reception percentage on 21 attempts. Stephanie Holthus (Elgin, Ill.), who was a reserve in the first four sets, started the fifth set at outside hitter and tallied a kill on three swings.

Italy, one of the top girls' youth teams in the world, was limited to a 37 kill percent for the match. However, it benefited from a 13-7 block advantage and a 17-13 service ace margin.

Additional statistics, photos and journal entries on the match will be posted later on the Bring It Promotions Web site.

Team USA wraps up its European Tour with a second exhibition match against the Italian Girls' Youth National Team on Jan. 4 at 5:30 p.m. local time at Tofla, a suburb of Rome.

Prior to leaving Slovenia, the U.S. earned a 25-19, 25-23, 25-23 victory over the Slovenia Girls' Youth National Team on Jan. 2 in an exhibition match. Team USA added a 25-17 victory in a friendly fourth set.

Earlier on the trip, the U.S. squad won the bronze medal at the MEVZA Tournament at Pula, Croatia. The Americans won their pool play matches against Israel and host Croatia. However, it lost a five-set match to Slovenia in the semifinals before defeating Croatia in three sets in the third-place match.

The U.S. Girls' Youth Team will now travel to Maribor, Slovenia, for additional training team and a friendly exhibition against the Slovenian team that captured the MEZVA Tournament with a sweep over Slovakia on Dec. 29. Afterwards, the U.S. squad will be based in Rome, Italy, and face the Italian Youth Team at least twice between Jan. 2 and Jan. 5 before returning to the United States on Jan. 6.

For additional information on the European Trip, including player journals, visit the Bring It Promotions Web site.

Although not the official U.S. Girls' Youth National Team, the 12-player roster playing in Croatia includes eight players who competed for the 2008 U.S. Girls' Youth National Team which captured the NORCECA Girls' Youth Championship in Puerto Rico to qualify for the 2009 FIVB Girls' Youth World Championship. All 12 players on the roster were born in either 1992 or 1993.

U.S. Girls' Youth Team Roster for European Training Trip.

# - Name (Hometown, Position, Club, Region)
2 - Stephanie Holthus (Elgin, Ill., Libero/Outside Hitter, Fusion, Great Lakes)
3 - Jennifer Bonilla (Reseda, Calif., Libero, SCVC, SCVA)
4 - Erica Denney (Centennial, Colo., Middle Blocker, Front Range, Rocky Mountain)
5 - Tori Dixon (Savage, Minn., Middle Blocker, Northern Lights, North Country)
6 - Anna Dorn (Munster, Ind., Middle Blocker, Dunes, Hoosier)
7 - Adrienne Gehan (Dallas, Texas, Outside Hitter, Skyline Juniors, North Texas)
13 - Molly Kreklow (Hamlake, Minn., Setter, Mizuno Northern Lights, North Country)
14 - Jane Croson (Lakewood, Calif., Outside Hitter, Cal Juniors, SCVA)
15 - Amy Scullion (Salem, Ohio, Outside Hitter, Tri-County, Ohio Valley)
16 - Carly Thomas (Swansea, Ill., Setter, Southwest Illinois VBC, Gateway)
17 - Jazmine Orozco (Lakewood, Calif., Outside Hitter, SCVC, SCVA)
18 - Ashley Wittman (Shakopee, Minn., Outside Hitter, Mizuno Northern Lights, North Country)

Head Coach: Jim Stone (Columbus, Ohio, retired Ohio State Women's Head Coach)
Assistant Coach: Melissa Wolter (Pensacola, Fla., University of West Florida Head Coach)
Stats: Herb Summers (Burbank, Calif.)