U.S. Women's Update - Nov. 24

Nov. 24, 2009, 5:14 p.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800
E-Mail: bill.kauffman@usav.org

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 24, 2009) – The current U.S. Women's National Team Weekly update released on Nov. 24 includes briefs on U.S. players competing overseas, player information, trivia questions and much more.

For the complete PDF version including a complete list of players training at the team’s facility at American Sports Centers in Anaheim, the U.S. international transfer list, current “They Said It” feature, 2009 season stats and other fan interaction sections, click here.

TRIVIA QUESTIONS: 1. Who won the 2009 FIVB Women’s Grand Champions Cup? 2. How many nations participated in the year-long qualifying process to reach the 2010 FIVB Women’s World Championship? Answers can be found on page two in the full PDF version (click here) of the current U.S. Women’s National Team Weekly update.

U.S. LEARNS FIRST ROUND WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POOL: The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team was placed into Pool C of the 2010 FIVB Women’s World Championship Tournament that will be held Oct. 29 to Nov. 14 in various Japanese cities. Team USA, ranked second in the world by the FIVB, joins NORCECA rival and No. 5 Cuba to headline Pool C being held Oct. 29 to Nov. 3 at Matsumoto, Japan. Other teams participating in Pool C are No. Germany, No. 13 Kazakhstan, No. 17 Thailand and No. 39 Croatia. The order of matches for the Americans will be Thailand on Oct. 29, Croatia on Oct. 30, Germany on Oct. 31, Kazakhstan on Nov. 2 and Cuba on Nov. 3. “Pool C is a strong group to contend against - as are all of the teams who have earned the right to compete in the World Championship,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “We're excited to compete in this event and build on the foundation we established in 2009. While we hope to do well in this tournament, our initial focus and goal is to get out of our pool and qualify for the next round of competition.” A total of 24 countries were drawn across four pools for the final round of the 16th edition of the FIVB Women’s World Championship, which will be held in six venues across five Japanese cities (Tokyo, Nagoya, Hamamatsu, Matsumoto and Osaka). The FIVB World Championship is held every four years in the second year of the Olympic quadrennial. For the full press release, click here.

U.S. WOMEN CONTINUE TRAINING: The 12 U.S. Women’s National Team players taking part in the fall training session continue to show improvements as they are being put to the test by U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) and his coaching staff. The session started on Oct. 12 and will go through December at the team’s training headquarters – the American Sports Centers in Anaheim, Calif. Training sessions, generally starting at 9:30 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday, are open to the public at no cost. On Fridays, the team has weights and either an indoor or beach training session. Middle blockers training include Jen Joines Tamas (Milpitas, Calif.), Tracy Stalls (Denver), Alexis Crimes (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) and Mekana Barnes (Highlands Ranch, Colo.). The outside hitter group includes Angie Pressey (Lake Mary, Fla.) and Julie Rubenstein (Camarillo, Calif.). Setters in the fall training session are Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.), Nellie Spicer (Barrington, Ill.) and Bryn Kehoe (North Bend, Ohio). Heather Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.) is the only opposite in training during the fall. The libero position has Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) and Jessica Fine (Tarzana, Calif.) working out at American Sports Centers. McCutcheon is hopeful the current training group will expand during the second phase of the off-season training period starting in mid-January with the addition of current collegiate seniors.

BERG, TOM MEET IN ITALIAN LEAGUE SHOWDOWN: Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) and Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah), both members of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team which won the silver medal in Beijing, were on opposite sides of the net in an early key test for their respective teams in the Italian Serie A professional league. Berg has provided MC-Carnaghi Villa Cortese with stability from her starting setter role as the team has moved up to Serie A in 2009-2010 after a second-place finish in Serie A2 last year. Tom is part of a talented Asystel Volley Novara Team that routinely is in the hunt for the Serie A title. However, on Nov. 22, it was the up-and-coming Villa Cortese squad that earned a hard-fought five-set victory (25-21, 23-25, 25-15, 17-25, 15-13). Berg helped Villa Cortese to a 35 kill percent on 174 attacks, translating to a .184 hitting efficiency with 29 errors over the five sets. Meanwhile, Tom scored a Volley Novara-leading 21 points with 18 kills on 50 attacks and three blocks. She also converted 16 service receptions into 56 percent excellent reception mark. Villa Cortese improves to 4-1 on the season, but is in a three-way tie for second place based on points. Berg’s squad returns to the court on Nov. 25 against seventh-place Chateaux d’Ax Urbino Volley. To follow Berg throughout the season, check out her blog at http://lindseyberg.blogspot.com. Volley Novara, now 3-2 and in fifth place with eight points, will face league-leader Monte Schiavo Banca Marche Jesi on Nov. 25. The match will feature a battle Tom and Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.), both three-time Olympians with the U.S. Women’s National Team. Volley Novara will also be part of the CEV Indesit Champions League as it takes on Russia’s Zarechie Odintsovo to open Pool D play on Dec. 3.

BOWN, JESI ON TOP OF ITALIAN LEAGUE: Heather Bown (Yorba Linda,Calif.), a three-time Olympian with the U.S. Women’s National Team, has helped her Italian Serie A professional team to the top spot in the league standings after the fifth round of matches. She scored 12 points for Monte Schiavo Banca Marche Jesi in its Nov. 22 sweep (25-20, 25-17, 25-13) over RebecchiLupa Piacenza. Bown tallied nine kills on 14 attacks with just one error as part of a .571 hitting efficiency and 64 kill percent. She tacked on three blocks of her team’s 13 blocks in the victory. Piacenza features two players familiar with the U.S. collegiate ranks and Pacific-10 Conference. Joanna Kaczor, who played for University of Southern California, tallied 10 points in the loss. Mia Jerkov, who played for University of California-Berkeley, came off the bench to score three points. Jesi improves to 5-0 on the season and has 14 points in the Serie A standings, two better than the three-way tie for second place.

RICHARDS HELPING OMICHKA TO RUSSIAN LEAD: Kristin Richards (Orem, Utah), an outside hitter and 2008 U.S. Olympic Team alternate, is playing in the Russia Super League for a second year in a row – this time with Omichka in Omsk. After starting the year off with a 3-0 record, Omichka lost its first match of the season to Uralochka-NTMK 25-18, 20-25, 25-22, 25-22 on Nov. 22. Statistics for the match are unavailable at this time. Omichka is currently tied for third in the Russia Super League with seven points and a 3-1 record. Richards and her team are idle until meeting up with Universitet-Tekhnolog on Dec. 5.

NNAMANI PACING PROSTEJOV IN CZECH REPUBLIC: Ogonna Nnamani (Bloomington, Ill.) continues to lead her Czech Republic professional team Prostejov to a 9-0 start to the season and a second-place ranking in the league standings. Nnamani scored 12 points in a sweep of Prerovsky Volejbalovy Klub on Nov. 19. She reached her dozen points with 10 kills on 25 attacks and just two errors to go with two blocks. Nnamani contributed 11 kills on 25 attacks, two blocks and an ace for 14 points in a three-set victory over PVK Olymp Praha on Nov. 21. Prostejov faces eighth-place Sternberk on Nov. 26 before starting CEV Indesit Champions League Play in December. Prostejov is part of Pool C and opens the first round against Turkey’s Fenerbahce Acibadem on Dec. 3.

FIVB SETS WORLD GRAND PRIX PRELIMINARY ROUND POOLS: The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team will travel to Poland, Thailand and Hong Kong in consecutive weekends next summer as part of the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix, according to a release distributed by the FIVB. The FIVB World Grand Prix is the top annual international tournament. The tournament format consists of nine preliminary round matches with three consecutive weekends of three matches each. The top five countries in the preliminary round plus the World Grand Prix Final Round host advance to a five-day, five match round robin to determine the overall winner. The 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round will take place in Ningbo, China. The U.S. opens FIVB World Grand Prix action Aug. 6-9 in Poland with matches against host Poland, Germany and NORCECA rival Dominican Republic in Group B. Team USA travels to Asia for the second and third preliminary round weekends. The Americans will face Italy, Puerto Rico and host Thailand Aug. 13-15 in an undetermined city in Thailand as part of Group D. The U.S. concludes the preliminary round Aug. 20-22 in Hong Kong as part of Group G. Team USA will challenge China, Germany and Thailand. For the full press release, click here.

U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM OPEN TRYOUTS: USA Volleyball will hold its annual open tryouts for the U.S. Women’s National Team and Associated Training Programs Feb. 19-21, 2010, at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo. Hugh McCutcheon, the U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach, will lead the evaluation process for the tryout. The online tryout registration, which must be completed by Jan. 14, 2010, can be found by clicking here. Upon confirmation of registration, tryout participants will receive and must complete additional USOTC forms to be fully enrolled in the tryout. As part of the tryout, athletes will compete for spots on the U.S. Women’s Volleyball National Team program and the U.S. Women’s Senior A2 teams. The U.S. Women’s National Team program is open to athletes who have concluded their college eligibility and who wish to train full-time. This program could begin as early as February 2010, or when an athlete’s scholastic or professional club season has concluded. Athletes who will have remaining collegiate eligibility may still participate in the program with participation beginning May 2010 or when their scholastic calendar ends. For the full press release, click here.

SYKORA TABBED ALL-UIL CENTURY FIRST TEAM: Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas), a three-time Olympian with the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, was placed on the University Interscholastic League (UIL) All-Century First Team with nine other athletes to represent the highest levels of volleyball achievement in Texas high school history. Since 1909, the UIL has grown into the largest inter-school organization of its kind in the world. The UIL provides high school students in the state of Texas with educational experiences through competition, while promoting good sportsmanship and cooperation among member schools. In addition to Sykora, three other athletes with U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team connections were named to the UIL All-Century Teams. Demetria Sance (San Antonio, Texas), a 2000 U.S. Women’s Olympic Team member, was named to the UIL All-Century Second Team. She was a standout at San Antonio John Jay High School. Erin Aldrich (Dallas, Texas), who joined the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team in 2001 after being a member of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team in the high jump, was named to the UIL All-Century Third Team for her accomplishments at Richardson Lake Highlands High School. Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas), who trained with the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team last spring, was named to the UIL All-Century Second Team for her career at San Antonio Southwest High School and is a current member of the University of Texas volleyball and track and field teams. For the full press release, click here.

AH MOW-SANTOS PART OF CLINIC: Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (Honolulu), a three-time U.S. Olympian and part of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team that won the silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games, will be part of clinic coaching girls ages 9-18. She along with three-time AVCA All-American Tanya Fuamatu are hosting Advanced Girls’ Setters and Hitters Sessions from Dec. 2-30. For additional information, contact Melissa Lum at info@efchawaii.com or click here.

HODGE NAMED CoSIDA ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN OF THE YEAR: Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.), who trained with the U.S. Women’s National Team briefly this summer before starting her senior collegiate season at top-ranked Penn State, has been named the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American of the Year as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of American (CoSIDA). Current U.S. Women’s National Team player Christa Harmotto (Aliquippa, Pa.) won the honor in 2008. Hodge is a business major with a 3.45 grade point average. She is a three-time American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) First-Team All-American and most likely earn the honor again in December. Hodge has led Penn State to back-to-back NCAA Division I National Volleyball Champioships. In 2009, she is averaging 4.69 kills per set (ninth in the nation) with a .400 attack efficiency (10th in the nation). For the complete press release, click here.

TRIVIA ANSWERS: 1. Italy won the 2009 FIVB Women’s Grand Champions Cup with a 5-0 record. Brazil was second. 2. A record-number 101 nations participated in the year-long qualifying process to reach the 2010 FIVB Women’s World Championship.