COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 20, 2013) – USA Volleyball announces the selection of 13 players for the 2013 U.S. Women’s Junior National Volleyball Training Team (WJNTT) that will train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y. beginning June 5. There, the roster will be narrowed to the final dozen players that will comprise the 2013 U.S. Women’s Junior National Team (WJNT). They will directly depart on June 12 to represent the United States at the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Women’s U-21 World Championship being held June 21-30 in the cities of Brno and Prostejov, Czech Republic.
Three of the 2013 WJNT players also competed on the 2012 WJNT that earned the 2012 NORCECA Women’s Junior (U-20) Continental Championship bronze medal to qualify for the 2013 FIVB World Women’s U-20 Championship. Libero Amanda Benson (Litchfield Park, Ariz.), setter Kelsey Humphreys (Newport Beach, Calif.) and outside hitter Amber Rolfzen (Papillion, Neb.) were part of the squad last summer.
While 10 players were not part of the 2012 WJNT program, many have been part of the USA Volleyball High Performance pipeline for several seasons and a number of them gained valuable experience when they competed at the Youth World Championships in 2011, said Rod Wilde, who serving his second year serving as the WJNT head coach.
The 10 incoming players include outside hitters Jordan Burgess (Tampa, Fla.), Kierra Holst (Coppell, Texas), Brittany Howard (Los Altos, Calif.) and Andie Malloy (Allen, Texas), middle blockers Sarah Burrington (Ruskin, Fla.), Chanell Clark-Bibbs (Houston), Canace Finley (Fort Collins, Colo.) and Merete Lutz (Houston), setter Nicole Edelman (Boulder, Colo.) and libero Caitlin Nolan (Southlake, Texas).
“With the addition of these players we should be a deeper and more experienced team as we go into this year's championship,” Wilde said.
Wilde noted that other countries may have more experience competing at the international level, but he remains optimistic and has expectations to competing for a medal at the World Championship.
“Because of the player development system in this country, we are often competing against teams that have much more experience,” he said. “Many of the international teams train together on a full-time basis. They are also able to compete against the highest level of competition by including their athletes in their professional leagues where they play with and compete against Olympic-level athletes. Obviously, this opportunity to train and compete at a high level gives the other international programs a distinct advantage. Even so, our teams have been able to hold their own and still be in the hunt for medals. We hope to be able to bring the USA a medal in this year's championship.”
Wilde is grateful to have a number of players who have competed internationally and expects them to be the core of this year’s team.
“I think two of our strengths will be at the outside hitting and setting positions.” Wilde said, “We have the most international experience among the athletes at these positions.”
During the week-long training in Lake Placid, Wilde hopes to develop a team culture and build a group confidence level that will set them on the right path to a medal at the World Championship.
“Every team develops at its own pace,” Wilde said. “Our hope is to accelerate this process and in the time we have. We need to build on our strengths and try to minimize our weaknesses before going into the tournament.”
In addition to the 13 players training for the final 12 spots for the World Championship event, six additional players will serve as alternates for the event and are part of the U.S. Women’s Junior National Volleyball Training Team. The alternates include outside hitters Mckenzie Willey (Highland, Utah) and Elizabeth Fortado (Flower Mound, Texas), opposite Elizabeth Campbell (Denver), setters Allison Palmer (Laguna Beach, Calif.) and Julia Doyle (Plymouth, Minn.) and libero Karly Drolson (Del Mar, Calif.).
The team is made up of players born in 1994 or 1995, selected through High Performance tryouts across the country.
In addition to Wilde, the coaching staff includes assistants Charlene Whitted (USA Volleyball High Performance and USA Volleyball Olympian) and Blaine Tendler (director of Piedmont Mizuno Volleyball Club).
The FIVB Volleyball Women’s U-20 World Championship Drawing of the Lots Ceremony, which creates the pools and first-round opponents for the event, takes place on May 24 in Istanbul, Turkey.
2013 U.S. Women’s Junior National Volleyball Training Team Roster
# Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 - Sarah Burrington (MB, 6-5, Ruskin, Fla., Florida State University)
3 - Jordan Burgess (OH, 6-0, Tampa, Fla., Stanford University)
5 - Nicole Edelman (S, 6-0, Boulder, Colo., University of Colorado)
6 - Brittany Howard (OH, 6-3, Los Altos, Calif., Stanford University)
7 - Merete Lutz (MB, 6-8, Houston, Stanford University)
8 - Kelsey Humphreys (S, 6-0, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford University)
9 - Andie Malloy (OH, 6-2, Allen, Texas, Iowa State University)
10 - Amanda Benson (L, 5-6, Litchfield Park, Ariz., Spiral/University of Oregon)
14 - Canace Finley (MB, 6-3, Fort Collins, Colo., University of Oregon)
15 - Amber Rolfzen (OH, 6-3, Papillion, Neb., University of Nebraska)
17 - Kierra Holst (OH, 6-4, Coppell, Texas, University of Oklahoma)
18 - Chanell Clark-Bibbs (MB, 6-1, Houston, Georgia Tech)
19 - Caitlin Nolan (L, 5-8, Southlake, Texas, Iowa State University)
2013 U.S. Women’s Junior National Volleyball Alternates
2 - Mckenzie Willey (OH, 6-1, Highland, Utah, Arizona State University)
4 - Elizabeth Campbell (Opp., 6-2, Denver, Colo., Duke University)
11 - Julia Doyle (S, 6-0, Plymouth, Minn., University of Oklahoma)
12 - Allison Palmer (S, 5-9, Laguna Beach, Calif., Arizona State University)
13 - Karly Drolson (L, 5-7, Del Mar, Calif., UCLA)
16 - Elizabeth Fortado (OH, 6-2, Flower Mound, Texas, University of Arkansas)
Head Coach: Rod Wilde (USA Volleyball High Performance, Madison, Wis.)
Assistant Coach: Charlene Whitted (USA Volleyball High Performance, New Albany, Ohio)
Assistant Coach: Blaine Tendler (Piedmont Mizuno Volleyball Club, Burlington, N.C.)
Team Manager: Denise Corlett (Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif.)