Larson Named USAV Female Player of Year

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Dec. 15, 2015, 6 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 15, 2015) – Outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) played a key role in the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team producing a 41-6 overall record in 2015 with four tournament titles and a bronze medal.

For her contributions, Larson has been selected as the 2015 USA Volleyball Female Indoor Player of the Year. Setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) was tabbed as the 2015 USA Volleyball Female Indoor Most Improved Player of the Year.

“First of all, what an incredible honor,” Larson said. “I feel so blessed to not only play on this team, but to play alongside some incredibly talented and giving group of women. Secondly, I couldn't have done it without them. They push me to be the best I can every day.”

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Larson started 20 matches for Team USA in 2015 and compiled a 2.48 scoring average per set. She held a .285 hitting efficiency (144 kills, 41 errors, 362 attacks) with a 39.8 kill percent. However, Larson’s overall game produced averages of 0.32 aces, 0.24 blocks and 1.49 digs per set while holding a 57 percent positive reception mark on 317 chances.

“One of the things we pride ourselves most on is how we handle adversity, and Jordan personified that for USA in 2015,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “She worked through some challenges early in the season, then responded ferociously. As the season wore on, she probably did more to make the team and her teammates better than she’s ever done before - which is even more impressive considering how long and how hard she’s been working for USA.”

Larson also enjoyed success on the court away from Team USA in 2015. Playing for her Turkish club Eczacibasi in 2015, she earned most valuable player honors in both the FIVB Club World Championship and the European Champions League as Eczacibasi captured the title in both events. Larson had also won both events in 2014, but with Russia club team Dinamo Kazan.

“For me, I try to take one day at a time,” Larson said. “Every day is another opportunity to find a way to be the best. Every time I step on the court, I try to find ways to get better and to help those around me be the best they can be. Again, I have been very blessed and fortunate to play at two of the top clubs in Europe and also with the No. 1 team in the world in Team USA. Playing around great talent makes my job easy.”

Kreklow, in her second season with the U.S. Women’s National Team, moved into the starting lineup for the much of the early part of 2015 due to an injury to Alisha Glass, who was the USAV Player of the Year in 2013 and 2014. Kreklow took advantage of the opportunity as she started 20 matches and played in 114 of a possible 162 sets for Team USA in 2015.

Among Kreklow's highlights was leading Team USA to the 2015 FIVB World Grand Prix title in playing her first-ever FIVB event, along with two wins over China in the USA Volleyball Cup. During the World Grand Prix, Kreklow started 13 matches and helped Team USA to a .293 team hitting efficiency.

“We threw Molly into the deep end this season,” Kiraly said. “Her devotion to our number-one job of learning and improving paid big dividends, as she helped lead USA to a World Grand Prix gold medal, in only her second year with the program. There’s so much setters have to learn to compete at the highest international level; she continues to attack that sometimes daunting task, while serving her teammates with humility and caring.”

Larson holds many memories from 2015, which had its peaks and valleys along the way.

“2015 has been an incredible year with some ups and downs along the way,” Larson said. “My first memory in 2015 is I had the opportunity to play in another Final Four of Champions League and bring the title back to my Turkish Club Eczacibasi. It was the first time in their history they have ever won. We had such a great team, with not only some very talented volleyball players, but some really good people.

“Another memory in 2015 that sticks out would probably be World Cup,” Larson continued. “We had an incredible run, but just came up short in qualifying for the Olympics. Not qualifying was a hard pill to swallow, but we can't and will not dwell on that. It will give us great motivation moving forward.”

That motivation leads directly into next month’s NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament as Team USA hosts Canada, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico in a four-team round robin Jan. 7-9 at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Neb. The tournament winner earns one of 12 berths into the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next August.

Larson is stoked to head back to her college alumni town of Lincoln, home of the University of Nebraska. With the potential of three Huskers on the USA roster for the Olympic Qualifier, crowd support for the matches will be high.

“I am super excited to be returning home,” Larson said. “What a great opportunity for us to play at home in front of family and friends wearing the USA uniform. This is also another opportunity for us all to come back from Europe and to play together again, another chance to get better.”

Despite being the No. 1 team in the world and having won the 2015 NORCECA Continental Championship this fall with victories over all three teams in the upcoming Olympic Qualifier, Larson said the team is not looking ahead to Rio. First things first – earning the bid to the Olympic Games.

“In my opinion, we need to focus on qualifying for the Olympics first,” Larson “We have to work hard, together and prove we deserve to be in Rio. Once we can do that, we will take one step at a time and prepare the best we know how.”