U.S. Women's Update for April 11

April 11, 2011, 3:55 p.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman
Associate Director, Communications
Phone: 719-228-6800
E-Mail: bill.kauffman@usav.org

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 11, 2011) – The current U.S. Women's National Team Weekly update released on April 11 includes briefs on U.S. players competing overseas and other team news.

OLYMPIC QUALIFICATION SYSTEM UPDATED FOR 2016 OLYMPICS: The Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Board of Administration approved a new qualification system for indoor volleyball to be implemented for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The 12 vacancies will be decided by the following process: one host country; five continental championships or continental qualification tournaments; two from FIVB World Cup; and four from intercontinental qualification tournaments to be organized with four teams per tournament. The major change is the reduction by one team qualifying through the FIVB World Cup and the introduction of four intercontinental qualification tournaments on four separate continents.

NEW FORMAT APPROVED FOR 2014 FIVB WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: The Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Board of Administration confirmed a new formula for the 2014 FIVB World Championship. The new formula, for both men’s and women’s tournaments, will see 23 of the 24 teams go through the qualifying with the host team the only confirmed country. In recent World Championships, the defending champion was also granted a spot into the next World Championship. The 24 teams will be divided into four pools of six teams in a first-round round robin with the top four teams advancing to the second round, which will involve two pools of eight teams. The top four teams from each pool will then advance to the quarterfinal phase. For the 2014 FIVB Women’s World Championship, NORCECA will have six spots in the event, while CEV (Europe) will have 10 positions including the host. AVC (Asia) will have four teams, while CAVB (Africa) and CSV (South America) will have two countries each.

BERG, HODGE WITH VILLA CORTESE IN ITALY: U.S. Women’s National Team setter Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) and Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) are competing for MC-Carnaghi Villa Cortese in the Italian Serie A league during the 2010-11 professional club season. In Italian Serie A action, Villa Cortese (15-4, 41 points) edged third-place Scavolini Pesaro 22-25, 25-15, 25-18, 19-25, 23-21 on April 10. Hodge, playing at outside hitter, charted 23 kills on 42 attacks to go with three aces for a match-high 26 points. Berg set the squad to a 41 kill percent for the match while chipping two kills on three attacks and an ace for three points. For a photo gallery of the match, click here Villa Cortese, now in second place and two points behind first-place Bergamo, returns to the court next weekend to compete in the Italian Cup. Villa Cortese will meet Yamamay Busto Arsizio in the semifinals on April 16, with the finals on April 17. The opposite Italian Cup semifinal match has Norda Foppapedretti Bergamo facing Scavolini Pesaro. After the Italian Cup, Villa Cortese will have another meeting with third-place Yamamay Busto Arsizio (12-7, 37 points) in Italian Serie A regular season competition on April 23, which will air live on Rai Sport 1.

HARMOTTO WITH LIU-JO VOLLEY MODENA IN ITALY: U.S. Women’s National Team middle blocker Christa Harmotto (Hopewell, Pa.) is playing for LIU-JO Volley Modena in Italy’s Serie A League during the 2010-11 professional club season. Modena (7-12, 22 points) defeated Riso Scotti Pavia 25-21, 25-22, 25-15 on April 9. Harmotto scored five kills on 10 attacks to go with two blocks for seven points as part of a balanced team offensive attack. On the opposite side of the net, Harmotto faced former Penn State teammate Blair Brown, who had a team-high 15 points with 13 kills on 29 swings, one block and an ace. Modena returns to Italian Serie A action on April 23 against third-place Scavolina Pesaro (11-8, 37 points).

PAOLINI WITH NOVARA IN ITALY: Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.), a middle blocker on the U.S. Women’s National Team, is competing this professional season in Italy with Asystel Volley Novara of the Italian Serie A Division. Novara (11-8, 35 points) lost a grueling five-set match to 10th-place Despar Perugia 18-25, 29-27, 25-18, 23-25, 15-13 on April 10. Paolini collected seven kills on 12 attacks while starting all but the fourth set. Novara, now in fifth place, takes on top-ranked Norda Foppapedretti Bergamo (14-5, 43 points) on April 23 in its next league match.

LARSON WITH KAZAN IN RUSSIA: U.S. Women’s National Team outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) is playing for Dinamo Kazan of the Russia Super League during the 2010-2011 pro club season. Kazan is now 19-1 on the season and atop the league standings after defeating fifth-place Odintsovo (12-8) 22-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-15, 15-12 on April 7. Kazan challenges fourth-place Uralockha-NTMK (14-6) on April 11 in its next match, followed by sixth-place Omichka (12-8) on April 15 in the final regular season match. For the season, Larson has compiled 205 points and averaged 3.55 points per set, including a 40 kill percent on 419 attacks. She has compiled a 60 positive percent on 486 service receptions.

MORRISON, SIX AMERICANS ON ONE AUSTRIAN TEAM: U.S. Women’s National Team Assistant Coach Jamie Morrison (Dana Point, Calif.) is serving as head coach of the Austrian Post Schwechat team during the 2010-11 season. The team has six American players including Jill Collymore (Seattle), Alexis Crimes (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Jessica Jones (Naperville, Ill.), Tamari Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii), Angie Pressey (Lake Mary, Fla.) and Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.). Post Schwechat competes in the Middle European Volleyball Zonal Association (teams from Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia). Post Schwechat is nearing the completion of its 2010-11 season and is taking part in the Austrian Bundesliga Final round versus Linz. After winning the first of a best-of seven finals round meeting with Linz, Post Schwechat went on the verge of winning the series with two additional victories last week. Post Schwechat won the second match 25-20, 25-11, 25-6 on April 6. Pressey turned in 11 kills on 17 attacks and three blocks for a match-high 14 points. Jones added five kills on seven attacks and a match-high six blocks for 11 points. Crimes was credited with four kills on five swings and an ace. Thompson set the team to a 68 kill percent and .517 hitting efficiency. In the third meeting, Post Schwechat swept Linz 25-19, 25-20, 25-16 on April 10. Crimes pocketed eight kills on 13 attacks, three blocks and two aces for a match-high 13 points. Pressey chipped in nine kills as part of an 11-point performance. Jones added 10 points with eight kills on 15 attacks. Thompson set the squad to a 42 kill percent, while Miyashiro was credited with a 62 positive reception percent on 13 attempts. The series continues on April 13, and if necessary, matches on April 16, April 20 and April 23.

SYKORA SETTING TABLES FOR VOLEI FUTURO IN BRAZIL: Three-time U.S. Olympian Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) is competing for Volei Futuro in the Brazilian Superliga during the 2010-11 professional club season. Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) was playing for the squad until an injury curtailed her first professional season. Volei Futoro, which entered the Brazilian Superliga as the number-three seed, advanced to the semifinals with two victories over Macae Sports in the best-of-three quarterfinals. Volei Futuro begins the semifinals on April 12 against Sollys/Osasco, followed by an April 23 match. If necessary, the third match will be played April 26.

KIM GLASS WITH RABITA BAKU IN AZERBAIJAN: Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.), a 2008 Olympic Games silver medalist with the U.S. Women’s National Team, is competing for Rabita Baku of the Azerbaijan professional league in 2010-11. By finishing first in the Azerbaijan Super League regular season, Rabita received a quarterfinal round bye in the Azerbaijan Super League playoffs. During the Final Four Round, Rabita will play Lokomotiv on April 18, Igtisadchi on April 19 and Azerrail on April 20. All matches of the Azerbaijan Final Four Round will be televised live on Idman Azerbaijan TV at http://www.yildiz.tv/?act=dvr&chan=idmanaz.

IGTISADCHI LOADED WITH AMERICANS IN AZERBAIJAN: Two-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic silver medalist Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.) is playing for Igtisadchi of the Azerbaijan Super League. By finishing second in the Azerbaijan Super League regular season, Igtisadchi received a quarterfinal round bye of the Azerbaijan Super League playoffs. During the Final Four Round, Igtisadchi will play Azerrail on April 18, Rabita on April 19 and Lokomotiv on April 20. All matches of the Azerbaijan Final Four Round will be televised live on Idman Azerbaijan TV at http://www.yildiz.tv/?act=dvr&chan=idmanaz.

TAMAS WITH AZERRAIL BAKU: Jennifer Tamas (Milpitas, Calif.), a 2008 Olympic Games silver medalist playing middle blocker for Team USA, is playing for Azerrail Baku of the Azerbaijan Super during the 2010-11 professional club season. In the Azerbaijan Super League playoffs, third-seeded Azerrail defeated Shirvan 25-11, 25-13, 25-14 in the quarterfinal round to advance to the Final Four Round. Azerrail is set to play Igtisadchi on April 18, Lokomotiv on April 19 and Rabita on April 20. All matches of the Azerbaijan Final Four Round will be televised live on Idman Azerbaijan TV at http://www.yildiz.tv/?act=dvr&chan=idmanaz.

DAVIS, METCALF, RICHARDS HEADLINE LOKOMOTIV BAKU IN AZERBAIJAN: U.S. Olympians Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) and Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa), along with 2008 U.S. Olympic Team alternate Kristin Richards (Orem, Utah), are playing for Lokomotiv Baku of the Azerbaijan Super League. By defeating Baki in the quarterfinal round, Lokomotiv advanced to play in the Azerbaijan Final Four Round. Lokomotiv will play Rabita on April 18, followed by matches against Azerrail on April 19 and Igtisadchi on April 20. All matches of the Azerbaijan Final Four Round will be televised live on Idman Azerbaijan TV at http://www.yildiz.tv/?act=dvr&chan=idmanaz.

BOWN WITH TURKEY’S ECZACIBASI: Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.), a three-time Olympic Games middle blocker for the U.S. Women’s National Team, is competing in Turkey for Eczacibasi during the 2010-11 professional club season. In the Turkish League, Eczacibasi topped Karsiyaka Izka 25-11, 25-13, 25-8 on April 5. Bown scored seven kills on nine attacks to go with two blocks for nine points. In its second match of the week, Eczacibasi dropped 23-25, 20-25, 27-25, 25-22, 15-12 match to top-ranked Vakifbank Gunes Sigorta on April 9. Bown was not on the active roster for the match. Eczacibasi is now in second place with an 193 record on the season, while Vakifbank Gunes Sigorta widened its lead on first place with a 21-1 record.

SPICER WITH POLAND’S GCB CENTROSTAL BYDGOSZCZ: Nellie Spicer (Barrington, Ill.), a setter for the U.S. Women’s National Team, is competing in the Polish professional league this winter for GCB Centrostal Bydgoszrcz. During the 2011 Enea Fnału Polish Cup, GCB Centrostal Bydgoszrcz defeated Sandeco Rumia TPS 25-11, 25-11, 25-19 in the quarterfinal round on April 8. However, Spicer’s club lost in the semifinals to Bank BPS Muszynianka Fakro 25-17, 25-17, 25-22. GCB Centrostal Bygoszrcz starts the Polish League best-of-five quarterfinal round on April 16 against BKS Aluprof Bielsko-Biała. Other matches in the quarterfinal round will take place on April 17 and April 30, and if necessary, on May 1 and May 4.

MONTREUX VOLLEY MASTERS POOLS DETERMINED: The U.S. Women’s National Team will compete in the Montreux Volley Masters event held June 7-12 in Montreux, Switzerland. The U.S. opens the tournament on June 7 versus Peru. After its off-day in pool play, Team USA faces Germany on June 9 followed by a June 10 match against China. Semifinal round matches will take place on June 11, followed by the classification matches on June 12. In the opposite Montreux Volley Masters Pool, the four teams competing for the title are Cuba, Italy, Japan and Netherlands.

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