COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 20, 2013) – It is not every year a team is inscribed in the history books, but the 2013 U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team (GYNT) left its legacy in black ink, setting a path for future teams to follow.
The GYNT experienced unprecedented success in 2013, earing the silver medal at the FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship in August. With silver, the GYNT became the first U.S. volleyball team of either gender to win a world championship medal at the youth or junior level.
For that reason, the GYNT was voted the 2013 USA Volleyball Indoor Team of the Year.
The members of the 2013 GYNT are Danielle Cuttino (Indianapolis, Ind.), Audriana Fitzmorris (Overland Park, Kan.), Mikaela Foecke (West Point, Iowa), Molly Haggerty (Glen Ellyn, Ill.), Hayley Hodson (Newport Beach, Calif.), Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wis.), Kenzie Maloney (Louisville, Ky.), Jordyn Poulter (Aurora, Colo.), Molly Sauer (Louisville, Ky.), Tia Scambray (Monarch Beach, Calif.), Alexa Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Taylor Tashima (Wilmette, Ill.).
Several players were recognized for their outstanding performances at the event. Middle blocker Fitzmorris was named the tournament’s Best Blocker (averaging .93 blocks per set), setter Poulter was named Best Setter (averaging 7.78 running sets per set) and Foecke ranked as the second best attacker with a .500 overall hitting percentage.
One challenge this group overcame was the short amount of time they had to train together before competing. The U.S. teams have a month-long training block whereas teams from other countries have been training together for years.
Foecke said this group was full of team players.
“I believe that we defined a team by the way we worked together on and off the court,” Foecke said. “It shows that it is possible to come together for a month, work hard, and walk away with a medal at a world championship.”
Head Coach Jim Stone said this group of athletes had their eyes set on a medal no matter how it happened or who was on the court.
“I was honored to coach a group of talented athletes that performed well as a team,” Stone said. “That alone made this an enjoyable experience for me and the staff. To achieve a medal at an international event is challenging at every level, so to accomplish this is really satisfying for all involved.”
Tashima, the team captain, was humbly grateful to be recognized for this award and said the leadership was a guiding light to the podium.
“To be a part of the USA Volleyball Team of the Year is an unbelievable honor,” Tashima said. “I loved playing with this incredible group of girls and I was privileged to be trained by one of the nation’s best staffs.”
Along with Stone, the team was led by assistants Nick Cheronis and Lindsey Devine, technical assistant Spike Summers and team leader Denise Sheldon. Stone said he is thankful for the team behind this team who made it an unforgettable experience.
Sheldon said the 2013 GYNT was a unique group which made strides that will impact the USAV pipeline for years to come.
“Their accomplishment is monumental for USA Volleyball,” Sheldon said, “and it will only push USAV High Performance to continue to bring together America’s top volleyball athletes in the quest for gold medals.”
Player (Position, Grad Year, Hometown, Club, Region)
1 - Jordyn Poulter (S, 2015, Aurora, Colo., Front Range, Rocky Mountain)
2 - Audriana Fitzmorris (MB, 2016, Overland Park, Kan., Asics MAVS, Heart of America)
3 - Hayley Hodson (OH, 2015, Newport Beach, Calif., T Street, Southern California)
5 - Simone Lee (OH, 2014, Menomonee Falls, Wis., Club Fusion, Great Lakes)
6 - Molly Sauer (L, 2015, Louisville, Ky., KIVA, Pioneer)
7 - Kenzie Maloney (L, 2015, Louisville, Ky., KIVA, Pioneer)
8 - Tia Scambray (OH, 2014, Monarch Beach, Calif., T Street, Southern California)
9 - Molly Haggerty (OH, 2016, Glen Ellyn, Ill., Sports Performance, Great Lakes)
11 - Mikaela Foecke (MB, 2015, West Point, Iowa, Iowa Rockets, Iowa)
12 - Taylor Tashima (S, 2014, Wilmette, Ill., Wildcat Juniors, Great Lakes)
13 - Danielle Cuttino (MB, 2014, Indianapolis, Ind., CCVBC, Hoosier)
15 - Alexa Smith (OH, 2015, Colorado Springs, Colo., Colorado Juniors, Rocky Mountain)
Head Coach: Jim Stone
Assistant Coaches: Nick Cheronis, Lindsey Devine
Technical Assistant: Spike Summers
Team Leader: Denise Sheldon
USA Volleyball has also announced its players, most improved players and beach teams of the year. Click the links to read the stories.
Female Indoor Player of the Year
Female Indoor Most Improved Player of the Year
Male Indoor Player of the Year
Male Indoor Most Improved Player of the Year
Beach Volleyball Team of the Year
Men’s Beach Player of the Year
Women’s Beach Player of the Year