Associate Director, Communications
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 2, 2012) – The current U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team Weekly update released on April 2 includes briefs on U.S. players competing overseas and other team news.
QUICK SET 1 - THREE TITLES WON BY AMERICANS: Members of the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team won three different titles this past weekend as the overseas club season winds down. Outside hitter Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) and setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) helped Atom Trefl Sopot capture Poland’s Plus Liga playoff title on March 27. Setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif.) was the starting setter for Yamamay Busto Arsizio in its CEV Cup championship round title. The CEV Cup is the second-tier tournament of the Confederation of European Volleyball (CEV). Further, opposite Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa) and middle blocker Elisha Thomas (Grass Valley, Calif.) led their Azerbaijan Lokomotiv Baku team to the CEV Challenge Cup title, which is the third-tier tournament in the CEV system. Added to that, outside hitter Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) was on Fenerbahce Universal that captured the top-tier and prestigious CEV Champions League title on March 25. For details on each of these titles, read the individual sections in this week’s update.
QUICK SET 2 - ON DECK THIS WEEK: U.S. opposite Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas) has helped her team advance to the Brazil Super League playoff championship round, in which it could face Volei Futuro in the finals. U.S. libero Stacy Sykora competes for Volei Futuro, which is 1-1 in its best-of-three semifinal series…U.S. outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) has helped guide her Russia Super League team Dinamo Kazan into the league’s title round against Dinamo Moscow. The best-of-five series begins on April 8…Several U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team players are still in the hunt for the Italian Serie A1 playoff title. Setter Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) has helped her MC-Carnaghi Villa Cortese squad to the semifinal round and a 1-1 record in the best-of-three series. Setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif.) and her Yamamay Busto Arsizio squad is up 1-0 in the best-of-three semifinal round series over Rebecchi Nordmecannica Piacenza, which has U.S. libero Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) and outside hitter Kristin Richards (Orem, Utah)…U.S. outside hitter Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) and her Fenerbahce Universal squad begins the Turkish playoffs as the top seed this week…The five-team Azerbaijan Super League playoffs begin on April 4. The Azerbaijan Super League has several Americans vying for the league title, including outside hitter Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) and setter Nellie Spicer (Barrington, Ill.) on the top-seed Rabita Baku squad…U.S. setter Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.), outside hitter Angie Forsett (Lake Mary, Fla.) and middle blocker Jessica Jones (Naperville, Ill.), competing for Catano of the Puerto Rico Super League, are in the best-of-seven semifinal round…For details on each playoff series, read the individual sections below in this week’s update.
QUICK SET 3 - RETURNING TO ANAHEIM: As the club season winds down across the various continents, members of the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team will start to trickle into the American Sports Centers, which serves as the USA National Team Center in Anaheim, Calif. – the Official Host City of USA Men’s and Women’s National Volleyball Teams. It is expected that nearly all members of the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team will arrive back by May 1 for the beginning of the summer training block in preparation for the Olympic Games. The U.S. Women, currently ranked No. 1 in the current FIVB world ranking and already qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games, opens their season at the FIVB World Grand Prix held June 8 to July 1 in various countries. Prior to the 2012 Olympic Games, the U.S. Women will compete in the 11th Annual Pan American Cup scheduled for July 11-21 in Mexico. The Olympic Games will take place July 27 to Aug. 12.
2012 FIVB WORLD GRAND PRIX SCHEDULE: The FIVB has announced the schedule for the 2012 FIVB World Grand Prix that starts June 8 and goes through July 1. The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, the two-time defending World Grand Prix champions and current No. 1 in the world, opens its title defense on June 8 against Germany in a Pool B match at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Team USA follows with first-round matches against either Algeria or Chinese Taipei (play-in winner decided April 27-28) on June 9 and host Dominican Republic on June 10. The U.S. travels south to Brazil for the second preliminary round weekend with three tough contests. Team USA opens Pool E against 2011 FIVB World Cup winner Italy on June 15, followed by a match against Germany on June 16 and second-ranked Brazil on June 17. The U.S. travels halfway around the world for the third preliminary round weekend with Pool J set in Bangkok, Thailand. Team USA faces Serbia on June 22, followed by Argentina on June 23 and host Thailand on June 25. The top five teams among the 16-teams in the preliminary round advance to the Final Round, along with host China. The six-team Final Round will take place June 27 to July 1 starting with two pools of three. The top two teams in each Final Round pool advance to the crossover semifinal on June 30 before the medal-round matches on July 1. For the full release, click here.
HODGE, ALISHA GLASS WITH POLAND’S ATOM TREFL SOPOT: U.S. Women’s National Team outside hitter Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) and setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.), both Penn State University products, are playing for Poland’s Atom Trefl Sopot in 2011-2012. Despite losing Poland’s Plus Liga best-of-five championship round opener, Sopot bounced back to claim the next three matches to claim the title over top-seed Bank BPS Muszynianka Fakro Muszyna. Sopot claimed a 25-22, 25-22, 26-24 home victory on March 26 to take a 2-1 advantage in the series. Hodge tallied 16 points with 14 kills on 34 attacks, one ace and a block to earn the match most valuable player honor. Hodge also produced a 52 positive reception percent on 23 attempts. Glass set the squad to a 39 kill percent while adding two kills on four errorless attacks and a block for three points. For photos from the match, click here. Sopot needed to rally on March 27 to capture the title with a 25-22, 25-27, 25-27, 25-13, 15-11 victory in the fourth match of the series. Hodge charted 21 points with 20 kills on 50 attacks and just three errors to go with one ace. She added a 58 positive reception percent on a team-high 26 reception attempts. Glass set the squad to a 44 kill percent for the match to go with three individual points. To view photos from the match, click here. To read Glass’ blog, usavolleyball.org/blogs/blog-for-alisha-glass.
LLOYD WITH BUSTO ARSIZIO IN ITALY: U.S. Women’s National Team setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif.) is playing for Yamamay Busto Arsizio of the Italian Serie A1 for the 2011-2012 season. Busto Arsizio captured its second CEV Cup title on March 31, but it needed to rally to do so. Turkey’s Galatasary Istanbul opened the home-and-home championship round series with a 25-16, 22-25, 25-23, 25-22 victory on March 27. Lloyd set Busto Arsizio to a 35 kill percent, but the Turkish squad hit on all cylinders with a 47 kill percent as a team and out-blocked Busto Arsizio 19-11. With its back against the wall, Busto Arsizio came back to win the second match 25-19, 25-13, 23-25, 25-23 on March 31 on its home court to force a Golden Set to determine the CEV Cup champion. Lloyd set her squad to a 46 kill percent while adding two blocks and a kill in the victory. In the Golden Set, Busto Arsizio continued to seize the moment with a 15-9 victory in 13 minutes. With one title in hand, Busto Arsizio will look for another title in the Italian Serie A1 playoffs. After finishing the Italian Serie A1 regular season with a 19-1 record and 57 points to claim the regular season title, playoff-top-seed Busto Arsizio will look to close out its best-of-three semifinal round series versus Rebecchi Nordmecannica Piacenza on April 2. If Piacenza captures the second match, the series will extend to the deciding match on April 4.
BERG, WILSON WITH VILLA CORTESE IN ITALY: U.S. Women’s National Team setter Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) and past U.S. National Team player Makare Wilson (Gardena, Calif.) are playing for MC-Carnaghi Villa Cortese in the Italian Serie A1 in 2011-2012. After opening the Italian Serie A1 best-of-three semifinal round playoffs with a hard-fought five-set victory over Norda Foppapedretti Bergamo on March 29, the tables were turned on April 1 as Bergamo came away with a 25-18, 29-31, 25-19, 20-25, 17-15 victory to extend the playoff series to the third match. Berg set Villa Cortese to a 36 kill percent for the match while adding a block and kill. Wilson charted seven points with five kills and two blocks. The semifinal round series will be decided on April 4 with the winner advance to the championship round to face either top-seed Yamamay Busto Arsizio or fourth-seed Rebecchi Nordmeccanica Piacenza.
DAVIS, RICHARDS WITH PIACENZA IN ITALY: U.S. Women’s National Team libero Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) and outside hitter Kristin Richards (Orem, Utah) are part of the Italian Serie A1 Rebecchi Nordmeccanica Piacenza squad in 2011-2012. With its Italian Serie A1 semifinal round opponent Yamamay Busto Arsizio competing in the CEV Cup title series last week, Piacenza has been idle on the court during that time. The teams will meet again on April 2, along with April 4 if necessary. Busto Arsizio, the Italian Serie A1 regular season winner and recent CEV Cup winner, holds a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three semifinal round series.
PAOLINI WITH ICOS CREMA IN ITALY: U.S. Women’s National Team middle blocker Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.) is playing for Icos Crema Volley in the Italian Serie A2 Division for 2011-2012. Icos Crema (20-5, 58 points) upset Serie A2 leader Banca Reale Yoyogurt Giaveno 22-25, 25-27, 26-24, 29-27, 15-8 in a heated battle on April 1 in which three of the five sets extended past 25 points. Paolini totaled 17 points with nine kills on 22 attacks, six blocks and two aces. Icos Crema, now in a tie for second place, returns to the court on April 8 versus fourth-place Pomi Casalmaggiore (19-6, 57), which is just one point out of second place.
HOOKER WITH SOLLYS/NESTLE IN BRAZIL: Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas) is competing for Sollys/Nestle in the Brazil Superliga during the 2011-2012 club season. As the top seed in the Superliga playoffs, Sollys/Nestle topped fourth-seed Usiminas 25-18, 25-18, 25-18 on March 30 to sweep the best-of-three semifinal round series to advance to the championship round. Hooker tallied 13 points, all on kills coming from 24 swings. Sollys/Nestle, winners of 15 straight matches including all four playoff matches, will now await the winner of second-seed Unilever and third-seed Volei Futuro in the rubber match of the best-of-three semifinal round series taking place on April 6. To follow Hooker in social media platforms, visit destineehooker19.blogspot.com for her blog and click here for her Facebook athlete page.
SYKORA WITH VOLEI FUTURO IN BRAZIL: Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) has returned to Brazil to compete with her club team Volei Futuro in the Brazil Superliga. Sykora returned to the court for her first official appearance on Jan. 20 after suffering serious injuries in an April 2011 bus accident as Volei Futuro was traveling to a post-season match in the Brazil Superliga. As the third seed in the Superliga playoffs, Volei Futuro lost its best-of-three semifinal round opener with second-seed Unilever 25-17, 25-13, 25-15 on March 27. Sykora was the libero for the first and second sets. Volei Futuro evened the series on March 31 with a 22-25, 25-22, 25-20, 22-25, 15-7 victory in which Sykora suited but did not play. The deciding third match of the series will be played April 6 in Rio De Janeiro’s Maracanazinho Hall.
LARSON WITH DINAMO KAZAN IN RUSSIA: U.S. Women’s National Team outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) is competing for Dinamo Kazan of the Russia Super League. After ending the Russia Super League regular season in first place with a 17-5 record and 49 points, Kazan completed its best-of-three semifinal round series with consecutive four-set victories over fourth-seed Omichka. In the second match played on March 31, Kazan took a 25-21, 22-25, 25-23, 25-14 victory over Omichka as Larson scored 14 points with 10 kills, two aces and two blocks. She also handled eight receptions. Kazan will now face third-seed Dinamo Moscow in the best-of-five championship series. The first three matches are scheduled for April 8, April 9 and April 12. If necessary, matches four and five will be played with dates not announced. Dinamo Moscow advanced to the title series by defeating second-seed Uralochka-NTMK in consecutive four-set matches in its best-of-three semifinal round series. To read Larson’s blog, usavolleyball.org/blogs/blog-for-jordan-larson.
AKINRADEWO WITH DINAMO KRASNODAR IN RUSSIA: U.S. Women’s National Team middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) is competing for Dinamo Krasnodar of the Russia Super League in 2011-2012. Krasnodar, which finished the regular season in fifth place, is competing in the double round-robin playoff series to determine positions 5-8. Krasnodar was one of three teams to win two of three matches in the first final round series held in Krasnodar. The second final round will take place April 5-8 in Saratov with Krasnodar facing District Odintsovo on April 6, Proton on April 7 and Torch on April 8.
METCALF, THOMAS WITH LOKOMOTIV BAKU IN AZERBAIJAN: U.S. Women’s National Team opposite Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa) and middle blocker Elisha Thomas (Grass Valley, Calif.) are playing for Lokomotiv Baku of the Azerbaijan Super League in 2011-2012. In CEV Challenge Cup action, Lokomotiv captured the event title on April 1, but needed a Golden Set to reel in the gold medal over country rival Baki Baku. Lokomotiv started the home-and-home championship round series with a hard-fought 25-23, 25-23, 17-25, 15-25, 15-13 victory on March 28. In the deciding fifth set, Lokomotiv held a five-point lead before Baki came back to tie the set at 12-all on five unanswered points. However, Lokomotiv scored the next two points and held on for the 15-13 victory. Metcalf led Lokomotiv with a match-high 26 points via 17 kills on 55 attacks, six blocks and three aces. Thomas added 10 points with five kills, three blocks and two aces. In the loss, American Regan Hood scored 12 points. Baki Baku came back to win the second match in similar five-set fashion with a 25-27, 25-19, 21-25, 25-20, 15-13 victory on April 1. Lokomotiv led 13-11 in the deciding fifth set before Baki scored the final four points to force a Golden Set. However, Lokomotiv came back to win another nail-biter 15-13 in the deciding set to capture the CEV Challenge Cup title – its first CEV tournament title. Lokomotive clawed back from a 12-10 deficit in the Golden Set to win. Metcalf was named the most valuable player of the final round. For a photo gallery of the CEV Challenge Cup final round, click here. Last year Lokomotiv reached the CEV Challenge Cup title round, only to lose to country rival Azerrail. In the Azerbaijan Super League, Lokomotiv finished fifth in the regular season with a 6-5 record and has advanced to the five-team, double-round round playoff. Lokomotive will open the playoffs on April 4 against top-seed Rabita, followed by Azerrail on April 5, Baki on April 6 and Igtisadchi on April 7. The second round of the playoffs take place April 11-15.
KIM GLASS, SPICER WITH RABITA BAKU IN AZERBAIJAN: U.S. Women’s National Team outside hitter Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) and setter Nellie Spicer (Barrington, Ill.) are competing for Rabita Baku of the Azerbaijan Super League. Rabita Baku enters the Azerbaijan Super League playoffs as the top seed after finishing the regular season 11-0. Rabita plays Lokomotiv Baku on April 4, Igtisadchi on April 5, Baki on April 7 and Azerrail on April 8 in the first of two round robin sessions. The second round robin takes place April 11-15.
BOWN, TAMAS WITH AZERRAIL BAKU IN AZERBAIJAN: U.S. Women’s National Team middle blockers Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Jennifer Tamas (Milpitas, Calif.) are playing for Azerrail Baku in the Azerbaijan Super League in 2011-2012. In the Azerbaijan Super League, Azerrail finished the regular season with a 9-3 record and second-place finish. Azerrail, which enters the double round-robin Azerbaijan Super League playoffs as the second seed, challenges Baki on April 4, Lokomotiv on April 5, Igtisadchi on April 6 and top-seed Rabita on April 8 in the first round of the playoffs. The second round-robin takes place April 11-15.
HANEEF-PARK WITH IGTISADCHI BAKU IN AZERBAIJAN: U.S. Women’s National Team opposite Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.) is playing in the Azerbaijan Super League with Igtisadchi Baku in 2011-2012. Igtisadchi finished the regular season with a 6-6 record and in fourth place. Igtisadchi will take on top-seed Rabita on April 5, Azerrail on April 6, Lokomotiv on April 7 and Baki on April 8 during the first of two round robin tournaments to settle the playoff race. The second round robin takes place April 11-15.
TOM WITH FENERBAHCE UNIVERSAL IN TURKEY: U.S. Women’s National Team outside hitter Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) is competing for Fenerbahce Universal of the Turkish League in 2011-2012. After Fenerbahce captured the prestigious CEV Champions League title on March 25, the squad concentrated on the Turkish League Playoffs. Fenerbahche enters the Turkish League playoffs as the number-one seed and placed in Pool A. Fenerbahce will play Yesilyurt on April 3, IBA Kimya TED Kolejliler on April 4 and Galatarasay on April 4.
FORSETT, THOMPSON, JONES, WITH CATANO IN PUERTO RICO: U.S. Women’s National Team setter Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.), outside hitter Angie Forsett (Lake Mary, Fla.) and middle blocker Jessica Jones (Naperville, Ill.) are playing for Catano in the Puerto Rico Super League. During the Puerto Rico Superliga quarterfinal round robin playoffs, Catano dropped a 25-20, 25-15, 6-25, 25-22 match to conclude the round on March 27. Forsett scored 18 points, while Jones added eight points. Thompson provided 15 assists and 13 digs in the loss. Catano ended the quarterfinal round in second place after edging Ponce 25-15, 18-25, 25-20, 25-15 in a quarterfinal round tiebreaker match on March 28 to advance to the semifinals. Forsett scored 18 points with 22 digs, while Jones charted 12 points. Thompson set 13 assists to go with 16 digs. In the first match of the best-of-seven semifinal series with Mayaguez, Catano walked away with a 25-10, 25-22, 27-25 victory on March 30. Forsett provided 16 points and Jones added 10 points. Thompson chipped in 15 assists. On April 1, Catano needed five sets before collecting its second semifinal round victory – a 25-16, 25-15, 19-25, 23-25, 15-12 victory. Forsett notched 23 points, while Jones added 13 points.
OTHER AMERICAN HIGHLIGHTS IN PUERTO RICO: Corozal pulled off a three-set win over Bayamon on March 26 to close out Pool B of the double round-robin quarterfinal round. Julie Bennett tallied 11 points, while Shonda Cole added 10 points. Kelly Wing contributed 13 points and Erin Moore scored 11 points in the loss. Brianne Barker provided nine assists and four kills in the losing effort…Morgan Beck secured 20 points and Kristy Jaeckel added 16 points in leading Guaynabo to a four-set win over Mayaguez to conclude the double-round robin quarterfinal Pool B. Kelly Murphy added 10 points and six assists. Stephanie Niemer totaled 16 points in the loss, while Sydney Anderson provided 11 assists and 10 digs…Airial Salvo tallied 19 points and Kelsey Black contributed 15 points leading Ponce to a three-set win over Juncos on March 27 to conclude the Pool A quarterfinal double round-robin. Meagan Ganzer added nine points in the win. Erin Moore tallied 13 points in the loss, while Blair Brown added 10 points…Stephanie Niemer pocketed 14 points and Erin Moore added seven points in Mayaguez’s semifinal round opening loss to Catano on March 30. Sydney Anderson added 25 assists and four points in the loss…Guaynabo lost to regular-season champion Caguas in four sets to open the best-of-seven semifinal round series on March 30 as Morgan Beck collected 13 points, followed by Kelly Murphy’s 10 points and Kristy Jaeckel’s eight points…Caguas went up 2-0 in the semifinal round over Guaynabo with a three-set win on March 31. Kelly Murphy led Guaynabo with 14 points, while Morgan Beck contributed nine points and Kristy Jaeckel seven points...Stephanie Niemer tallied 23 points in Mayaguez's April 1 semifinal loss to Catano, while Erin Moore added 13 points.
GIBBEMEYER WITH TOYOTA AUTO BODY IN JAPAN: U.S. Women’s National Team middle blocker Lauren Gibbemeyer is playing for Toyota Auto Body of the Japan V-League during the 2011-2012 club season. Toyota competed in the challenge round on March 31 and April 1 with the goal to stay in the top division of the V-League. On March 31, Toyota defeated Ageo Medics 25-13, 25-16, 25-21 as Gibbemeyer contributed 23 points over the second-place team from the second division. In the second match against Ageo Medics on April 1, Toyota won 25-14, 25-18, 29-27 as Gibbemeyer collected 15 points. With the two victories, Toyota kept its spot in the top division of the V-League, as did NEC with its two victories over Hitachi.