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U.S. Women's Update for March 28

March 28, 2011, 7:01 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 28, 2011) – The current U.S. Women's National Team Weekly update released on March 28 includes briefs on U.S. players competing overseas and other team news.

U.S. WOMEN’S TRAINING BLOCK CONCLUDES APRIL 1: The U.S. Women’s National Team will conclude its winter training block on April 1 at the American Sports Center in Anaheim, Calif. A total of 16 athletes have taken part in the training block, which started on Jan. 17. The group has competed in two friendly exhibitions with the Japan Girls’ Youth National Team and two intrasquad scrimmages. The training roster included setters Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif.), Jenna Hagglund (West Chester, Ohio) and Cassidy Lichtman (Poway, Calif.); middle blockers Ashley Benson (Bloomington, Ind.), Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.), Naomi Johnson (Bloomington, Minn.) and Dominique Olowolafe (Lansing, Mich.); outside hitters Becky Perry (Austin, Texas), Kari Pestolesi (Huntington Beach, Calif.), Julianne Piggott (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Kaitlin Sather (Santa Rosa, Calif.); opposite Kindra Carlson (Eaton, Colo.); and liberos Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa), Ellie Blankenship (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) and Cami Croteau (Orange, Calif.). Juliann Faucette (San Diego) trained for a week earlier this month and took part in the two intrasquad scrimmages.

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 18-1 on the season after defeating second-place Dinamo Moscow (16-2) 25-23, 26-24, 23-25, 25-18 on March 25 in a battle of the top two teams in the league. In the process, Kazan gained a sense of revenge over Dinamo Moscow for its only loss during the regular season. The regular season has just three remaining rounds. Kazan challenges fifth-place Odintsovo (12-6) on April 7 in its next match, followed by fourth-place Uralochka-NTMK (13-6) on April 11 and sixth-place Omichka (11-8) on April 15.

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 (13-4, 37 points) swept LIU-JO Volley Modena (5-12, 16-points) 25-10, 25-20, 25-19 on March 27. Berg set the squad to a 52 kill percent with 51 kills on 91 attacks and just six errors. Hodge totaled 13 kills on 25 errorless attacks to go with two blocks and two aces for a team-high 17 points. Villa Cortese, now in second place, will face league leader Foppapedretti Bergamo (13-4, 39 points) on April 2 in a battle of the top two teams in Serie A. During the Italian Cup Serie A, Villa Cortese edged Spes Conegliano in the quarterfinal round after earning a 3-0 on March 9 and lasting to the fifth set in the rematch on March 23 before falling. In the first match, Hodge scored 21 points with 19 kills on 35 attacks and two blocks from the opposite position. Berg set the squad to a 51 kills percent with 45 kills on 89 team attacks and only 10 errors. In the rematch, Villa Cortese won the first two sets assuring advancement to the semifinal round. Berg started only the first set, while Hodge was a reserve only the first set. Villa Cortese now meets Yamamay Busto Arsizio in the semifinals.

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 (10-7, 32 points) lost to third-place Scavolini Pesaro 29-27, 25-21, 25-23 on March 27. Paolini came in off the bench in the first two sets, then started the third set compiling six kills on 10 attacks, two aces and a block for nine points. Novara, now in fifth place place in the Italian Serie A, faces fourth-place Yamamay Busto Arsizio (11-6, 34 points) on April 2 in its next match. In the Italian Cup Serie A quarterfinal round, Asystel Volley Novara lost out on a chance to advance to the semifinals after losing to Norda Foppapedretti in three sets on March 23. Earlier, Novara had won the first of the home-and-home series 25-17, 16-25, 25-20, 25-23 on March 9. Paolini scored three points in a starting role in the victory. In the pivotal rematch, Paolini charted three kills on six attacks and two blocks for five points, but it was not enough as Bergamo won 25-18, 25-23, 25-16.

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. Harmotto returned to Modena’s lineup on March 27 and scored three kills on four attacks with an ace in a 25-10, 25-20, 25-19 loss to second-place MC-Carnaghi Villa Cortese (13-4, 37 points). Harmotto started the first two sets. Modena (5-12, 16 points), now tied for ninth place, will play sixth-place Spes Conegliano (10-7, 28 points) on March 31 in its next Serie A match.

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 semifinal round versus Tirol. In the third match of a best-of-five series, Post Schwechat came away with a 25-23, 25-15, 25-18 victory on March 23. Pressey scored 13 kills on 31 swings to go with two blocks and two aces for 17 points. Jones added seven kills on 11 errorless attacks to go with two blocks and an ace for 10 points. Crimes chipped in seven kills on 11 swings with two blocks for nine points. Thompson set her squad to a 41 kill percent, while Miyashiro handled 14 service receptions with an 86 positive percent. Post Schwechat will face Linz in the final round after it won its semifinal series in four match over Sparkasse Klagenfurt.

SYKORA, ALISHA GLASS SETTING TABLES FOR VOLEI FUTURO IN BRAZIL: Three-time U.S. Olympian Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) and U.S. Women’s National Team setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) are competing for Volei Futuro in the Brazilian Superliga during the 2010-11 professional club season. Volei Futoro, which entered the Brazilian Superliga best-of-three quarterfinal round as the number-three seed, topped sixth-ranked Macae Sports 25-19, 25-19, 25-20 on March 27 in the playoff opener. Sykora was the libero for Volei Futuro, while Glass is still out with an injury. The two teams meet again on March 31, followed by an April 3 match if necessary in the best-of-three format.

FAWCETT IN BRAZIL WITH USIMINAS MINAS: Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio), a U.S. Women’s National Team opposite, is playing the 2010-11 professional club season in Brazil with Usiminas Minas. Usiminas, as the fifth-seed in the Brazilian Superliga best-of-three quarterfinal round, edged Pinheiros/Mackenzie 25-23, 25-14, 25-27, 25-20 on March 26 to open the playoffs. Fawcett notched 12 kills on 35 swings, three blocks and an ace for 16 points in the victory. The teams will meet again on March 29, followed by an April 2 match if necessary in the best-of-three series.

SCOTT-ARRUDA IN BRAZIL WITH SAO BERNARDO: Four-time U.S. Olympian Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) is back on the volleyball court after giving birth last spring and is playing for BMG Sao Bernardo in the Brazilian Superliga. Sao Bernardo, the eighth seed in the Brazilian Superliga playoffs, dropped the quarterfinal opener to top-ranked Unilever 25-21, 25-10, 25-19 on March 26 as Scott-Arruda scored three points in the setback. The teams will meet again on March 29, followed by an April 2 match if necessary in the best-of-three series.

TOM WITH GUANGDONG HENGDA IN CHINA UNDER FORMER U.S. HEAD COACH: Three-time U.S. Olympian Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) is playing for Guangdong Hengda (also known as Evergrande) in the Chinese club league’s top division. Evergrande, led by 2008 U.S. Olympic Games head coach “Jenny” Lang Ping, finished the regular season with a 16-2 record, but dug itself into a hole during the semifinal round after falling to Shanghai in a four-set opener. However, Evergrande rallied to win the next match 14-25, 25-16, 25-13, 25-17 and edge Shanghai for advancement into the final round. Tom scored 16 points with 13 kills, two blocks and an ace. For photos of the semifinal round, click here. In the finals opener, Tianjin dominated Evergrande 25-9, 25-20, 25-17 on March 27. Tom totaled eight kills and a block for nine points in the loss. The teams will meet again on April 2 and April 3 in the best-of-three series.

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 overwhelmed Galatasaray 25-11, 25-21, 27-25 on March 26. Bown was not on the active roster for the victory. Eczacibasi is now 18-1 on the season. Bown’s team is one half-match ahead of Fenerbahce Acibadem (17-1) in the league standings, and a full-match ahead of CEV Champions League gold-medalists Vakifbank (17-2).

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. The semifinal round is expected to begin in mi-April as it has been delayed due to the successes of Azerbaijan teams in CEV competitions. In addition, Rabita competed in the CEV Champions League and was one match away from winning the prestigious European title.

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. In the CEV GM Capital Challenge Cup, Lokomotiv will face Azerbaijan rival Azerrail in the home-and-home final round series on March 29 and April 2. Lokomotiv, as the fourth seed in the Azerbaijan Super League playoffs, defeated Baki 25-19, 25-21, 25-15 in the first of a best-of-three series in the quarterfinal round. The teams will meet again on March 29, with a third match played on April 2 if necessary.

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 CEV GM Capital Challenge Cup action, Azerrail will face Azerbaijan rival Lokomotiv in the home-and-home final round series on March 29 and April 2. In the Azerbaijan Super League playoffs, third-seeded Azerrail defeated Shirvan 25-11, 25-13, 25-14 in the first match of the best-of-three quarterfinal round. The teams will meet again on March 29, with a third match played on April 2 if necessary.

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 and awaits its semifinal opponent. The semifinal round is expected to begin in mi-April as it has been delayed due to the successes of Azerbaijan teams in CEV competitions.

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. Spicer’s side lost to seventh-place Organika Budowlani 25-17, 25-27, 25-20, 25-16 on March 25. Bydgosrzcz, now 9-8 on the season and in a fifth-place tie, was out-blocked 16-8 in the match. Spicer started the first set, the came in off the bench in both the third and fourth sets. GCB Centrostal Bydgoszrcz finishes the regular season on April 2 against last-place Sandeco EC Wybrzeze TPS Rumia (0-17).

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