U.S. Women's Update - April 7

April 07, 2010, 6:41 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 7, 2010) – The current U.S. Women's National Team Weekly update released on April 7 includes briefs on U.S. players competing overseas, player information, Volley-Tweets, trivia questions and much more.

For the complete PDF version including a complete list of players training at the USA National Team Center facility at American Sports Centers in Anaheim, the U.S. international transfer list, 2010 season stats and other fan interaction sections, click here.

TRIVIA QUESTIONS: 1. Which current U.S. Women’s National Team player earned varsity letters in both volleyball and track at Harvard Westlake High School? 2. Which U.S. Women’s National Team player earned “Best Attacker” at the 2005 FIVB Women’s Junior World Championship? 3. Which current U.S. Women’s National Team player served on the NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Council during college? Answers can be found on page three in the full PDF version (click here) of the current U.S. Women’s National Team Weekly update.

SECOND TRAINING BLOCK CONCLUDES APRIL 9: The U.S. Women’s National Team will end its second winter training block on April 9 with a total of 16 players currently training. The team training sessions, held at the USA National Team Center located within the American Sports Centers in Anaheim, Calif., are open to the public. Training times are generally Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., while Fridays often vary on times. After the training session concludes on April 9, the next training block will begin on April 26. Middle blockers include Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.), Tracy Stalls (Denver, Colo.), Christa Harmotto (Aliquippa, Pa.), Alexis Crimes (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Mekana Barnes (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and Brittnee Cooper (Houston). Outside hitters/opposite include Angie Pressey (Lake Mary, Fla.), Brittany Moore (Orange, Calif.), Jill Collymore (Bellevue, Wash.), Julie Rubenstein (Camarillo, Calif.) and Aneli Otineru (Hale’iwa, Hawaii). The setters training include Bryn Kehoe (North Bend, Ohio) and Nicole Vargas (Seal Beach, Calif.). The libero position has Jessica Fine (Tarzana, Calif.) and Tamari Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii) training with the U.S. Women’s National Team. Some players could leave for pro opportunities or other circumstances.

KIRALY TRAVELS TO PUERTO RICO: Karch Kiraly (San Clemente, Calif.), the U.S. Women’s National Team assistant coach and three-time Olympic gold medalist, travels to Puerto Rico this week to take in three matches of the Puerto Rico Superliga. He will be evaluating U.S. Women’s National Team players competing in the league, as well as meeting with the players after matches. Kiraly will be observing the Catano versus Guaynabo match on April 7, followed by the Toa Baja versus Bayamon contest on April 8. He will finish the week watching the Caguas versus Ponce contest. Kiraly will be available to the media prior to matches he attends. Toa Baja currently leads the league with a 20-1 record and has Team USA players Jennifer Joines Tamas (Milpitas, Calif.) and Cassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.). Catano, the second-best team in the league standings, has Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) and Airial Salvo (Farmington, Utah). Nellie Spicer (Barrington, Ill.) is the starting setter for Ponce, while Katie Wilkins Kimmich (Lakeside, Calif.) competes for Guaynabo. Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) and Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa) signed late with Caguas as it attempts to make a run for a spot in the playoffs. Caguas also has former U.S. Women’s National Team member Shonda Cole.

HODGE NAMED FINALIST FOR AAU SULLIVAN AWARD: Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) has been named one of six finalists for this year’s AAU Sullivan Amateur Award. The winner will be announced on April 14 at the AAU James E. Sullivan Award Ceremony at the New York Athletic Club. Hodge, after a brief training period with the U.S. Women’s National Team last summer, she led Penn State to its third straight NCAA Division I title and extended the Nittany Lions’ win streak to 102 matches dating back to the 2007 season. She earned AVCA Division I National Player of the Year last December after being selected AVCA All-America First-Team for the fourth consecutive year. Hodge, who also earned this year’s Honda Award for volleyball, competed with the U.S. Women’s National Team on its three-match trip to China early this year.

INTERNATIONAL TRANSFERS: Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa) has transferred from her Brazil Superliga team Usiminas to Caguas of the Puerto Rico Superliga for the stretch run of the regular season. In addition, Christal Morrison (Puyallup, Wash.) has switched Puerto Rico teams, moving to Corozal from Bayamon. For a full listing of the 159 international transfers for American female players to other countries to play professional volleyball, visit the full PDF version of the U.S. Women’s National Team Weekly Update.

RICHARDS, SYKORA HELPING OMICHKA TO RUSSIAN FOREFRONT: Kristin Richards (Orem, Utah), an outside hitter and 2008 U.S. Olympic Team alternate, and three-time U.S. Olympian Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) are playing in the Russia Super League with Omichka in Omsk. As the third-seed in the Russia Super League Championship Playoffs, Omichka opened with a convincing 25-17, 25-23, 25-18 victory over sixth-seed Dinamo Krasnodar on April 4. Richards notched 12 points with 11 kills on 28 swings and an ace. She had 17 of the team’s 50 service receptions with an 82 excellent percent. Sykora received 22 of the team’s 50 service receptions and chipped in 12 digs in the three-set victory. The best-of-three playoff series continues on April 8. If necessary, the playoff series will continue on April 11. Omichka ended the regular season with a 15-7 record behind only Zarechye-Odintsovo (17-5) and league-leader Dinamo Moscow (21-1).

LARSON PUSHING DINAMO KAZAN TO NEW HEIGHTS: Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) is playing in her first professional season of her career in the Russia Superliga with Dinamo Kazan. Dinamo-Kazan finished the Russia Super League regular season with an 11-11 overall record and 33 points for seventh place. As the seventh-seed, Dinamo Kazan started the Russia Super League quarterfinal round against second-seed Zarechye-Odintsovo on April 4. The higher seed prevailed in a five-set marathon – 20-25, 25-15, 25-20, 24-26, 15-13. The best-of-three series continues on April 8.

FAWCETT SCORING IN RUSSIA: Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio), a U.S. Women’s National Team player, continues to pay dividends for Dinamo-Yantar after joining the team in mid-season. Dinamo-Yantar finished the regular season in eighth place and opened the Russia Super League quarterfinal round with No. 1 seed Dinamo Moscow. Fawcett scored 13 points for Dinamo-Yantar with nine kills on 23 swings, a block and three aces, but regular season champion Dinamo Moscow came away with a 25-16, 25-23, 25-13 victory. The best-of-three series resumes on April 8, with an April 11 match to follow if Dinamo-Yantar pulls off the upset.

BARBOZA WITH TORAY IN JAPAN: Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.), an outside hitter with the U.S. Women’s National Team and alternate on both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games rosters, is playing in her first professional volleyball season in Japan V-League with Toray. After finishing the regular season with a 21-7 record and a second-place finish, Toray earned a spot in the four-team, round-robin semifinals held April 2-4. To open the event, Toray edged Hisamitsu 25-19, 16-25, 25-23, 23-25, 18-16 on April 2. It needed to rally from a 14-11 deficit in the fifth set to win. Barboza scored 20 points in the match with 18 kills on 49 swings to go with two aces on 17 serves. On the second day of the semifinals, Toray faced regular season champion JT and lost in three sets with all settled by the minimum two points – 25-23, 28-26, 25-23. Barboza tallied two kills on 12 swings in the loss. Needing a victory on the final day of the semifinals, Toray rallied past Denso 27-25, 24-26, 18-25, 25-23, 15-10. Barboza scored 11 kills on 35 swings – including four back-row kills on eight swings – to go with a block for 12 points. With the victory, JT will meet up with JT in the final match for first place on April 10.

NNAMANI, GLASS PACING PROSTEJOV IN CZECH REPUBLIC: Ogonna Nnamani (Bloomington, Ill.) and Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) continue to lead their Czech Republic professional team Prostejov. In the start of its best-of-five league quarterfinal playoff round against TJ Sokol Sternberk, Prostejov has won the first two contests without much of a threat. Prostejov captured the first match on April 2 with a 25-9, 25-16, 25-17 victory. Nnamani carried much of the scoring load in the opener with 12 kills on 18 swings, two aces and two blocks for 16 points. Glass chipped in nine kills on 13 swings and two blocks for 11 points. For photos of the match, click here. In the second match of the series on April 3, Prostejov topped TJ Sokol Sternberk 25-16, 25-19, 25-14. Glass and Nnamani each scored nine points. Glass totaled six kills on 10 errorless swings to go with two aces and a block. Nnamani scored eight kills and an ace. The third match is slated for April 7, and if necessary, the series will continue on April 8 and April 10. Other quarterfinal series include KP Brno versus Ostrava, Frydek-Mistek versus Slavia Prague and Olymp Praha versus Olomouc. The semifinals take place from April 14 to April 21, followed by the finals from April 24 to May 1.

TOM, ASYSTEL VOLLEY NOVARA: Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah), a three-time Olympian and member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Games silver medal roster, is competing for Asystel Volley Novara in the Italian Serie A professional league this winter. Before the start of the Italian Serie A playoffs begin this coming weekend, Novara was part of the CEC Indesit Champions League semifinals in Cannes, France. In its semifinal match, Novara dropped a 25-20, 21-25, 25-19, 25-15 match to Volley Bergamo of Italy. Tom scored 19 points with 16 kills and three aces in the setback while holding an 88 positive serve reception percent on 33 chances. In the bronze-medal match, host RC Cannes came out on top 26-24, 25-19, 25-18. Tom, who only started the second set, tallied two kills on five attempts along with a block for three points. With the CEV Indesit Champions League over, Novara will concentrate on the Italian Serie A playoffs. Novara concluded the Italian Serie A regular season with a 9-13 record and 26 points, good for eighth place. It will face ninth-place Cfg Recycle Florens Castellana Grotte in a best-of-three series to settle the eight-team Italian Serie A playoff quarterfinal bracket. The first knockout match is scheduled for April 11, followed by matches on April 13 and April 16. During regulars season play, Tom ranked fifth in scoring with 354 points over 85 sets played for a 4.16 scoring average. She added averages of 0.45 blocks and 0.26 aces per set.

BERG PUSHING ITALIAN TEAM TO TOP: Lindsey Berg (Honolulu), a setter on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team which won the silver medal in Beijing, is playing for MC-Carnaghi Villa Cortese of the Italian Serie A professional league this winter. Villa Cortese was idle over the past weekend as it prepares for the Italian Serie A playoffs. Both Villa Cortese and Pesaro ended the regular season with a 17-5 record, but Pesaro earned 53 points to Villa Cortese’s 51 points (three points for a three- or four-set victory, two points for a five-set victory and one point for a five-set loss) to earn the playoff’s top seed. Last season, Villa Cortese competed in the Italian Serie A2 division but earned a spot in this year’s upper division. Villa Cortese will face the playoff knockout winner between Yamamay Busto Arsizio and Riso Scotti Pavia in the quarterfinal round scheduled between April 21-27. Before its quarterfinal round series begins, Villa Cortese has a date in the Italian Serie A Cup semifinals. It will face Monte Schiavo Banca Marche Jesi on April 17 in the semifinal round of the Italian Cup. The winner will face either Scavolini Pesaro or Foppapedretti Bergamo in the championship match on April 18. During the Italian Serie A League regular season, Berg set Villa Cortese to a 43.5 kill percent, second-best in the league behind Bergamo’s 43.9 percent. She also led Villa Cortese to a league-best .364 hitting efficiency for the regular season. To follow Berg throughout the season, check out her blog at lindseyberg.blogspot.com.

BOWN COMPETING FOR JESI: Heather Bown (Yorba Linda,Calif.), a three-time Olympian with the U.S. Women’s National Team, is competing for Monte Schiavo Banca Marche Jesi in the Italian Serie A professional league. Jesi finished the regular season in fourth place with a 13-9 record and 39 points. During the best-of-three quarterfinal playoff round, Jesi will play fifth-place Chateau d’Ax Urbino Volleyball between April 21 and April 27. During the regular season, Bown ranked third among all league middle blockers in scoring with 274 points. She averaged 2.55 kills per set with a 50.7 kill percent and .388 hitting efficiency. Bown added a 0.64 block average as part of her 3.30 points per set average. Before its playoff schedule starts, Jesi has a date in the Italian Serie A Cup held April 17-18. It faces MC-Carnaghi Villa Cortese in the semifinal round on April 17. The winner will face either Scavolini Pesaro or Foppapedretti Bergamo in the championship match on April 18.

JOINES TAMAS, BUSSE WITH TOA BAJA: Jen Joines Tamas (Milpitas, Calif.) and Cassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.), both members of the U.S. Women’s National Team, are playing for 2009 Puerto Rico League champion Toa Baja in 2010. Joines Tamas and Busse had matching 17-point performances to lead Llaneras to a 25-23, 23-25, 25-23, 25-19 victory over Guaynabo on April 3. Joines Tamas had 10 kills, six blocks and an ace, while Busses tallied 15 kills and two blocks in the victory. Toa Baja increased its win streak to 20 matches with a 25-16, 25-23, 25-23 sweep of Carolina on April 5. Joines Tamas chipped in 13 kills, two blocks and an ace for 16 points in helping the Llaneras to victory. Busse added 10 points and 10 digs. With the two victories, Toa Baja clinched the regular season title with one match left on the schedule against sixth-place Bayamon on April 8. The Llaneras opened the season with a loss against second-place Catano, but have not dropped a contest since that season-opening match.

THOMPSON, SALVO WITH CATANO: Setter Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) and outside hitter Airial Salvo (Farmington, Utah), both members of the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team and products of University of Washington, are playing for Catano de Lancheras of the Puerto Rico Superliga. Salvo produced 20 points with 15 kills, two blocks and three aces in a 17-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-16 victory over Carolina on April 3. Thompson chipped in eight assists, nine digs, two aces and a kill in the victory. Catano earned another victory on April 5 with a four-set victory over Bayamon. Salvo was credited with 18 points and 13 digs in the victory, while Thompson contributed 10 assists, three blocks, one ace and a kill. Catano improves to 15-5 on the season and resides in second place. The Lancheras conclude the regular season with last-place Guaynabo on April 7 and sixth-place Bayamon on April 10.

SPICER WITH PONCE: Nellie Spicer (Barrington, Ill.), a setter with the U.S. Women’s National Team, is competing for Ponce of the Puerto Rico Superliga in 2010. Spicer recorded four assist, nine digs and ace in Las Leonas’ 25-20, 25-20, 25-18 loss to Corozal on April 1. Ponce dropped a 25-18, 22-25, 15-25, 25-20, 15-10 match to Juncos on April 4. Spicer provided 19 assists, seven digs, three aces and a block in the loss. Ponce, now in a sixth-place tie at 8-12 and fighting for a playoff spot, ends the regular season against third-place Mayaguez on April 8 and sixth-place Caguas on April 10.

METCALF, HODGE LATE SIGNEES WITH CAGUAS: Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa) and Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) signed late in the Puerto Rico Superliga season in hopes of rejuvenating the team and advancing into the playoffs. They join past U.S. Women’s National Team member Shonda Cole on the team. Hodge, who competed with the U.S. Women’s National Team on a trip to China earlier this year, started her professional career with Caguas on March 27. Metcalf, who was playing in Brazil this season before her Usiminas team lost in the quarterfinals, joined the team on April 3. Hodge scored 14 points and Cole notched a team-high 19 points in pacing the Criollas to a 25-23, 20-25, 25-22, 25-22 victory over Mayaguez on April 3. In Metcalf’s first action with Caguas, she shredded the Juncos defense for 24 kills in a 25-19, 12-25, 25-20, 25-19 victory on April 4. Hodge added 15 points and 13 digs in the victory. Caguas, currently in a tie for sixth place with an 8-12 record but only one win out of fourth place, finishes the regular season against fourth-place Corozal on April 7 and sixth-place Ponce on April 10.

HUGHES WITH COROZAL: Heather Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.), an opposite with the U.S. Women’s National Team, was picked up in mid-season by Corozal of the Puerto Rico Super League. She had a match-high 16 points with 14 kills and two aces in leading Las Pinkin to a 25-20, 25-20, 25-18 victory over Ponce on April 1. Corozal extended Mayaguez to five sets before falling 23-25, 25-18, 25-18, 24-26, 15-12 on April 4. Hughes scored 17 points with 13 kills, three aces and a block. Corozal, ranked fourth in the league standings with a 9-11 record, plays sixth-place Caguas on April 7 and Juncos on April 9 to conclude the regular season.

KIMMICH, HAMPTON WITH GUAYNABO: Katie Wilkins Kimmich (Lakeside, Calif.), an outside hitter with the U.S. Women’s National Team, is competing for the Mets of Guaynabo in the Puerto Rico Superliga. She scored 10 points with eight kills and two aces in Guaynabo’s 25-19, 25-22, 25-18 loss to Bayamon on April 2. Kimmich scored a match-high 28 points on April 4, but it wasn’t enough as Las Mets lost to league-leader 25-23, 23-25, 25-23, 25-19. Guaynabo, currently 4-16 on the season, concludes the regular season with matches against second-place Catano on April 7 and Carolina on April 10.

OTHER AMERICAN HIGHLIGHTS IN PUERTO RICO: Erin Moore scored 16 points for Bayamon in its three-set win over Guaynabo on April 2. Teammate Kylie Atherstone added 13 points in the victory…Carolina’s Jessica Jones contributed 14 points with eight kills, five blocks and ace in her team’s four-set loss to Catano on April 3. Teammate Kaitlin Sather added 12 kills in the loss…Sonja Newcombe notched 15 points in Ponce’s three-set loss to Corozal on April 3…Christal Morrison charted 15 points in helping Corozal to a sweep of Ponce on April 3…Kelly Wing provided Juncos with 14 points in its four-set loss to Caguas on April 4…Bayamon’s Kylie Atherstone recorded 10 kills, five aces and four blocks for 19 points as the Vaqueras secured a three-set win over Carolina on April 4. Erin Moore added 16 points the victory…Christal Morrison scored 18 points in Corozal’s five-set loss to Mayaguez on April 4…Kaithlin Sather scored 15 kills in Carolina’s three-set loss to league-leader Toa Baja on April 5…Kelly Wing tallied 22 pionts and 14 digs in leading Juncos to a five-set victory over Ponce on April 5. Sonja Newcombe scored 28 points, including five blocks, in the loss…Kelly Wing contributed 13 points in a four-set loss to Mayaguez on April 5…Erin Moore tallied 10 points and 15 digs in Bayamon’s four-set loss to Catano on April 5.

DAVIS PICKS UP AZERBAIJAN: Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.), the U.S. Women’s National Team libero during the 2008 Olympic Games, has shifted her professional season from China to Azerbaijan. After helping the Evergrande Volleyball Club to a perfect 12-0 season in the Chinese club season, she is now part of Lokomotiv of the Azerbaijan Super League. Her team has nine points and is in third place – one point out of first place – after the second round of the second phase of the Azerbaijan Super League. According to azerisports.com, Lokomotiv plays Azerreyl on April 16 and April 18 in the Azerbaijan Super League semifinal playoff round. If necessary, the teams will play April 20 as part of the best-of-three series.

TRIVIA ANSWERS: 1. Jessica Fine; 2. Alexis Crimes; 3. Julie Rubenstein