Kiraly Names USAV Cup Roster for Matches vs Brazil

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Aug. 24, 2017, 6:03 p.m. (ET)

Foluke Akinradewo
U.S. Olympic medalists Foluke Akinradewo (pictured), Rachael Adams, Kim Hill and Jordan Larson set to return to the court in Red, White and Blue for the first time since 2016 Olympic Games

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 24, 2017) – The U.S. Women’s National Team will have four Olympians making their 2017 debuts at the upcoming USA Volleyball Cup as U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly announced the team’s 14-player roster. The USA Volleyball Cup is a two-match exhibition series with Brazil on Aug. 27 and Aug. 29 at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena.

The U.S. Women are ranked No. 2 in the world, while Brazil is ranked No. 4. The opening USA Volleyball Cup match on Aug. 27 has a 4 p.m. PT first serve, while the Aug. 29 match has a 7:30 p.m. PT start. The second match will air live on NBC Sports Network. USA Volleyball premier partner adidas will have a premium giveaway item to the first 500 fans through the gate for Tuesday’s match. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.

Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio), Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Florida), Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon) and Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska) – who all helped the U.S. claim bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games – will all be making their first appearances for the National Team in 2017. The Olympians were given time off this summer from competition to recover from a long 2016 Olympic year and 2016-17 pro club season overseas.

Setters selected to compete in the USA Volleyball Cup are Olympian Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California) and Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois). Team USA opposites selected for the USAV Cup are Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana) and Aiyana Whitney (Norwood, New Jersey). Liberos are Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio) and Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, California).

Outside hitters on the USAV Cup roster are Olympians Hill and Larson, Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Maryville, Illinois) and Madi Kingdon (Phoenix, Arizona). Middles are Olympians Adams and Akinradewo, Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota) and Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota).

"As the season winds down, we're excited to integrate many of our veterans back into training and competition,” Kiraly said. “This should be a wonderful test, playing a very strong Brazil team, just off their great performance while winning World Grand Prix.”

The vast majority of the USA Volleyball Cup roster carries over from the core unit that competed in the FIVB World Grand Prix this summer. With just two Olympians – Lloyd and Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois) on the team and mostly first- and second-year players, Team USA qualified for the World Grand Prix Finals Round with a 6-3 record. The Americans finished fifth overall after losses to Serbia and Italy in the Finals Round pool play.

Did You Know 1: Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois), a 2016 Olympic Games bronze medalist, is taking a short break from volleyball as she has returned to the University of Florida this semester to finish her undergraduate college degree in elementary education. Murphy is expected to return to the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2018.

Kiraly will have Tama Miyashiro and Marv Dunphy as assistant coaches, Jeff Hicks as technical coordinator, Kara Kessans as athletic trainer, Jimmy Stitz as team leader and Traci Statler as mental performance coach.

Whitney will also be making her first appearance for the National Team.

Did You Know 2: Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, California), the only player on the U.S. Women’s National Team from Orange County where the U.S. Women train, has accepted a volunteer assistant coach role with Long Beach State University’s women’s volleyball team.

Sport Court is the official athletic flooring for the USA Volleyball Cup.

Playing in Anaheim: The U.S. Women will be playing an international match for the first time in Anaheim since moving its training headquarters there in 2009. The squad hosted Bulgaria in a pre-2012 Olympic Games exhibition match in nearby Anaheim Hills, California. Last December USA Volleyball extended its partnership with the City of Anaheim to serve as the official host city of the U.S. Women’s and Men’s National Volleyball Teams through the 2020 Olympic quadrennial.

About USA Volleyball Cup: The USA Volleyball Cup was initiated in 2013 and the U.S. Women have played in the event every year since except for 2016 due to a constricted Olympic year schedule. Team USA hosted Japan in the inaugural event in 2013, followed by Brazil in 2014 and China in 2015. During the 2014 USA Volleyball Cup, the Americans defeated Brazil in all four matches of the series with two matches in Southern California and two matches in Hawaii.

Roster Selection Process: After finishing fifth at the FIVB World Grand Prix earlier this month, the U.S. Women resumed training on Aug. 14 in Anaheim – host city for the U.S. Women’s and Men’s National Teams – in preparation for the USA Volleyball Cup and season-ending FIVB World Grand Champions Cup in September. Kiraly and his staff made roster selections for the USA Volleyball Cup based on player performances in the Pan American Cup and FIVB World Grand Prix earlier this summer, along with evaluations of other players training in Anaheim over the past few weeks.

USA-Brazil Rivalry Renewed: The U.S. and Brazil had competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games gold-medal match with the Brazilians winning both times. Until the 2016 Olympic Games, Team USA’s final match in four straight Olympics were losses to Brazil – including the bronze-medal match in 2000 and quarterfinal round in 2004. The two rivals have played 25 times since 2011 with the USA holding a 14-11 edge. Six of the 25 matches have been in tournament gold-medal matches. Since 1983, USA and Brazil have played 115 times with Brazil leading the series 68-47. Brazil won the most recent match, a four-set win to conclude the 2017 FIVB World Grand Prix preliminary round and pushing Brazil into the Finals Round where it went on to win its 12th title.

U.S. Men’s Team Coming to USA Volleyball Cup: The U.S. Men’s National Team, including several members from the 2016 Olympic Games bronze medal squad, will be in attendance for the Aug. 29 USA Volleyball Cup match to support the U.S. Women in their match against Brazil.

1992 Olympic Games 25th Anniversary Recognition: Several members of Team USA’s 1992 Olympic Games bronze medalists on both the women’s and men’s teams will be present to commemorate the 25th anniversary of their accomplishments in Barcelona.

Olympian Crossover Support: Several U.S. Olympians will be in the house showing crossover support for their Team USA family at the USA Volleyball Cup. In addition to the 1992 Olympians, two-time Olympic beach volleyball medalist April Ross will be in attendance on Tuesday. Tayyiba Haneef-Park, a three-time Olympian, and 2016 Olympic Games bronze medalist Kawika Shoji will also be at the match rooting on Team USA. All three are current members of the USA Volleyball Board of Directors. Liane and Gary Sato, who both have been part of past Olympic Games, are expected to be in attendance.

Special Recognitions During Aug. 29 Match: USA Volleyball will have two other special recognitions during the Aug. 29 match with Brazil. USA Volleyball will honor and celebrate Anaheim philanthropist Bruno Serato, owner of the Anaheim White House restaurant, for his charity work, commitment to USA Volleyball and his pursuit to rebuild his famed restaurant following a February 2017 fire. Serato is the founder of Caterina’s Club, an Orange County-based charity that feeds nearly 3,000 children per night seven days a week. In addition, USA Volleyball will recognize its past Board member Bill Barnum for his eight years of service to the organization.

Upcoming: Both the U.S. and Brazil will have little time to rest following the USA Volleyball Cup as they head to Japan for the season-ending FIVB World Grand Champions Cup (WGCC) being held Sept. 5-10 in Tokyo and Nagoya, Japan.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for USA Volleyball Cup
# - Player (Position, Height, College, Hometown)
3 – Carli Lloyd (S, 5-11, California, Bonsall, California)
4 – Justine Wong-Orantes (L, 5-6, Nebraska, Cypress, California)
5 – Rachael Adams (M, 6-2, Texas, Cincinnati, Ohio)
6 – Tori Dixon (M, 6-3, Minnesota, Burnsville, Minnesota)
7 – Lauren Carlini (S, 6-2, Wisconsin, Aurora, Illinois)
8 – Lauren Gibbemeyer (M, 6-2, Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota)
9 – Madi Kingdon (OH, 6-1, Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona)
10 – Jordan Larson (OH, 6-2, Nebraska, Hooper, Nebraska)
11 – Annie Drews (OPP, 6-4, Purdue, Elkhart, Indiana)
14 – Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (OH, 6-3, Illinois, Maryville, Illinois)
15 – Kim Hill (OH, 6-4, Pepperdine, Portland, Oregon)
16 – Foluke Akinradewo (M, 6-3, Stanford, Plantation, Florida)
17 – Megan Courtney (L, 6-1, Penn State, Dayton, Ohio)
29 – Aiyana Whitney (OPP, 6-5, Penn State, Norwood, New Jersey)</strong.#>

Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Tama Miyashiro, Marv Dunphy
Technical Coordinator: Jeff Hicks
Athletic Trainer: Kara Kessans
Team Manager: Jimmy Stitz
Mental Performance Coach: Traci Statler

Most Recent U.S. Women vs. Brazil Matches (since 2011)
July 23, 2017: Brazil def. USA 25-20, 25-13, 16-25, 25-18 in FIVB World Grand Prix (pool play)
July 10, 2016: Brazil def. USA 18-25, 25-17, 25-23, 22-25, 15-9 in FIVB World Grand Prix (gold-medal match)
July 25, 2015: USA def. Brazil 25-22, 25-21, 28-26 in Pan American Games (gold-medal match)
July 25, 2015: USA def. Brazil 25-16, 25-22, 25-21 in FIVB World Grand Prix (gold-medal match)
July 20, 2015: Brazil def. USA 22-25, 25-21, 18-25, 25-22, 15-11 in Pan American Games (pool play)
Oct. 11, 2014: USA def. Brazil 25-18, 29-27, 25-20 in FIVB World Championship (semifinals)
Oct. 5, 2014: Brazil def. USA 25-23, 25-22, 25-21 in FIVB World Championship (pool play)
Aug. 15, 2014: Brazil def. USA 29-31, 22-25, 25-22, 25-19, 15-9 in FIVB World Grand Prix (pool play)
Aug. 10, 2014: Brazil def. USA 25-20, 25-22, 29-27 in FIVB World Grand Prix (pool play)
July 12, 2014: USA def. Brazil 22-25, 27-25, 23-25, 25-23, 15-11 in USA Volleyball Cup
July 11, 2014: USA def. Brazil 25-19, 22-25, 27-25, 25-27, 15-11 in USA Volleyball Cup
July 6, 2014: USA def. Brazil 25-21, 25-23, 25-20 in USA Volleyball Cup
July 5, 2014: USA def. Brazil 25-22, 25-27, 25-19, 25-19 in USA Volleyball Cup
Nov. 12, 2013: Brazil def. USA 26-24, 26-24, 25-20 in FIVB World Grand Champions Cup
Aug. 28, 2013: Brazil def. USA 25-19, 25-12, 25-10 in FIVB World Grand Prix Finals Round
June 15, 2013: USA def. Brazil 25-11, 25-20, 25-22 in Pan American Cup (semifinals)
Aug. 11, 2012: Brazil def. USA 11-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17 in Olympic Games (gold-medal match)
July 30, 2012: USA def. Brazil 25-18, 25-17, 22-25, 25-21 in Olympic Games (pool play)
July 20, 2012: USA def. Brazil 28-30, 18-25, 25-22, 25-21, 15-11 in Pan Am Cup (gold-medal match)
June 27, 2012: USA def. Brazil 25-19, 25-20, 20-25, 13-25, 15-13 in FIVB World Grand Prix Finals (pool play)
June 17, 2012: USA def. Brazil 20-25, 25-18, 25-18, 25-23 in FIVB World Grand Prix (pool play)
Nov. 4, 2011: USA def. Brazil 25-22, 17-25, 27-25, 25-19 in FIVB World Cup
Aug. 28, 2011: USA def. Brazil 26-24, 25-20, 25-21 in FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round (gold-medal match)
Aug. 26, 2011: Brazil def. USA 22-25, 26-24, 25-21, 25-20 in FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round (pool play)
July 5, 2011: Brazil def. USA 28-30, 25-18, 25-19, 17-25, 15-11 in Pan American Cup (pool play)