U.S. Women's Update - March 31

March 31, 2010, 12:41 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 31, 2010) – The current U.S. Women's National Team Weekly update released on March 31 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 former U.S. Women’s National Team player earned most valuable player honors at the inaugural USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships held in 1980? 2. Which former U.S. Women’s National Team player was inducted into the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1983 and later the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1990? 3. Since 1983, the U.S. Women’s National Team has faced which country the most times? 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.

UPDATE TO SECOND TRAINING SESSION ROSTER: A total of 16 players are currently training with the U.S. Women’s National Team during its second winter training block that ends April 9. Julie Rubenstein (Camarillo, Calif.) has resumed training with the team as an outside hitter this past week. 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. 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.) 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.

INTERNATIONAL TRANSFERS: Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.), the AVCA Division I National Player of the Year who led Penn State to three consecutive NCAA Division I titles (2007, 2008, 2009), has begun her professional career by signing with Criollas de Caguas of the Puerto Rico Superliga. Other recent athletes who have completed the international transfer process include Kylie Atherstone with Vaqueras de Bayamon of the Puerto Rico Superliga, Christal Morrison switching from Vaqueras de Bayamon to Pinkin de Corozal of the Puerto Rico Superliga and Kaitlin Sather switching from Corozal to Gigantes de Carolina of the Puerto Rico Superliga. For a full listing of the 157 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.

HODGE SEMIFINALIST FOR AAU SULLIVAN AWARD: Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.), who was a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team which competed in China earlier this year, is one of 14 semifinalists for the 80th Annual AAU Sullivan Award as the top amateur of 2009. A part of the award process includes online voting through USA Today. To vote, click here. The AAU Sullivan Award is based on leadership, character, sportsmanship and the ideals of amateurism. Hodge has already earned the prestigious Honda Award for volleyball and the Female Athlete of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus. She helped Penn State to an unprecedented third straight NCAA Division I national title in 2009 with a 102-match win streak intact. Hodge averaged 4.67kills per set during her senior campaign to lead the Big Ten and ranked eighth in the nation. She finished her career with 2,142 kills, second-most in school history. Hodge, a four-time AVCA All-America First-Team selection, was the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2009 for the second time in her career.

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. In the final regular season match of the Italian Serie A, Villa Cortese still had a chance to win the league regular season. It did its part by sweeping Yamamay Busto Arsizio 25-15, 25-15, 25-21 on March 28. Berg set Villa Cortese to a 45 kill percent (.357 hitting efficiency) and served an ace in the victory. However, Scavolini Pesaro ended up winning in four sets over Rio Scotti Pavia. 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). 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. To follow Berg throughout the season, check out her blog at lindseyberg.blogspot.com.

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. Novara let slip away its final Italian Serie A regular season match to Fappapedretti Bergamo in a 25-22, 20-25, 16-25, 25-20, 15-11 loss. Tom notched 12 kills on 38 swings with only three errors to go with three blocks for 15 points in the loss. Novara concludes 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. Novara will play Bergamo once again on April 3 in the CEV Indesit Champions League Final Four semifinal. The other semifinal will have host RC Cannes playing Turkey’s Fenerbahce Acibadem.

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. In its final regular season Italian Serie A match, Jesi started strong by winning the first two sets 25-22 and 25-17 over Despar Perugia on March 28. However, Perugia bounced back to win the final three sets 25-20, 25-20, 15-13 to win the match. Bown, who started the first two sets and came off the bench in the fourth set and started the fifth set, tallied 12 kills on 18 attacks with just one error to go with two blocks and an ace for 15 points in her limited action. With the loss, 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.

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. Omichka finished the Russia Super League with an impressive 25-19, 25-19, 25-15 victory over Dinamo-Yantar to conclude the regular season in third place with a 15-7 overall record and 37 points. Richards notched 15 kills and two blocks in the victory, while Sykora averaged 7.33 digs per set with 22 digs in the sweep. Omichka begins the best-of-three quarterfinal playoff round against the sixth-place team Dinamo-Krasnodar on April 4.

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. She tallied 11 kills on 29 swings with a block for 12 points on March 25, but Dinamo Kazan lost its contest to Dinamo-Yantar 18-25, 25-21, 25-13, 25-19. On March 29, Dinamo Kazan concluded the Russian Superliga regular season against Indesit with a 22-25, 25-17, 23-25, 25-16, 15-11 come-from-behind victory. Larson scorched Indesit for 24 points with 22 kills on 49 swings, an ace and a block. She also accepted 33 of the team’s 87 service receptions. Dinamo-Kazan finishes the Russia Super League regular season with an 11-11 overall record and 33 points for seventh place. In the best-of-three quarterfinal playoff round, Dinamo-Kazan will face second-place Zarechie-Odintsovo starting on April 4.

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. Fawcett scored eight points in an 18-25, 25-21, 25-13, 25-19 victory over Dinamo-Kazan on March 25. She played just the first two sets of the match, recording six kills on 12 swings and two blocks. On March 29, Dinamo-Yantar faced off against Omichka and Fawcett’s U.S. Women’s National Team teammates Kristin Richards and Stacy Sykora. Omichka came away with a 25-19, 25-19, 25-15 victory, dropping Dinamo-Yantar to 10-12 on the season and in eighth place. Dinamo-Yantar, as the eighth-seed in the best-of-three quarterfinal playoff round, will face top-seed Dinamo Moscow starting on April 4.

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. The squad concluded its regular season with a 20-0 record, while also winning the Czech Cup and Czech-Slovakian Cup. Glass contributed six kills on 14 swings with only one attack error to go with a block and ace for eight points in Prostejov’s 25-16, 25-18, 25-19 victory over PVK Olymp Praha on March 25. Nnamani did not play in the contest. Prostejov concluded the round of Extraliga on March 27 with a 25-22, 25-22, 25-22 victory over Olomouc to improve to 28-0 on the season. Nnamani returned to the lineup and scored a match-high 22 points with 21 kills on 37 swings and a block. In this match, Glass rested and did not play. Prostejov begins the league’s quarterfinal playoff round against TJ Sokol Sternberk. The best-of-five series has matches on April 2, April 3 and April 7. 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.

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 rattled off 17 points with 12 kills and only one error, three aces and two blocks in leading the Llaneras to a 25-23, 25-20, 28-30, 25-20 victory over Caguas on March 27. Busse chipped in 14 points, all on kills, in the victory. Toa Baja met up with Corozal on March 28, and the Llaneras continued its win streak with a 25-23, 25-15, 26-28, 25-14 victory. Joines Tamas powered down a season-high 25 points with 15 kills and no attack errors, six blocks and four aces to lead Toa Baja in the victory. Busse added 14 points with 11 kills and three blocks. On March 30, Toa Baja edged second-place Catano 22-25, 25-15, 26-24, 22-25, 15-12. Busse charted a team-high 21 points with 18 kills and three blocks to go with 10 digs. Joines Tamas added 12 points with eight kills, two blocks and two aces. Toa Baja is now 18-1 on the season and on a 18-match winning streak after falling in the season opener to Catano. The Llaneras face Guaynabo on April 3 followed by an April 5 contest against sixth-place Carolina.

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. Catano topped Carolina 25-21, 25-23, 25-23 on March 23. Salvo provided 12 points and 13 digs in the victory, while Thompson charted nine assists and eight digs. Catano returned to the court two days later and rallied to defeat Guaynabo 26-28, 23-25, 25-19, 25-14, 15-5 in a close five-set match. Salvo scored 17 kills and five aces for 22 points to go with 14 digs. Thompson, who set three teammates to at least 22 points in the victory, tallied nine assists, four aces and seven digs in the victory. The Lancheras faced Corozal on March 27, and again rallied for a five-set victory with scores of 25-23, 17-25, 23-25, 25-17, 25-12. Thompson tallied 17 assists, 10 digs, two aces and a kill in the victory. Salvo added 10 kills and 16 digs in the victory. Catano shut down Juncos 25-10, 25-23, 25-17 on March 28 as Salvo scored 17 points in the victory. Thompson set the Lancheras with six assists, 13 digs, an ace and a kill. Catano battled league-leader Toa Baja on March 30 and extended the Llaneras to five sets before falling 22-25, 25-15, 26-24, 22-25, 15-12. Thompson tallied 18 assists, 16 digs, two aces and a block in the loss. Salvo was credited with 13 points on nine kills, two blocks and two aces to go with 23 digs. Catano is currently in second place with a 13-5 record. The Lancheras will battle sixth-place Carolina on April 1 and Bayamon on April 5.

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 notched eight assists, 11 digs, three kills and an ace as Ponce lost to Juncos 21-25, 25-23, 25-12, 25-22 on March 27. Spicer produced an all-around performance in leading the Leonas to a 25-20, 25-23, 25-17 victory over Mayaguez on March 28. She notched six assists, 12 digs, five aces, a block and a kill for seven individual points. Spicer delivered 14 assists, seven digs and two aces in a 21-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-21 loss to Carolina on March 30. Ponce, 8-10 on the season and tied for fourth place, resumes its schedule on April 1 against sixth-place Corozal, followed by an April 4 contest versus Juncos.

HODGE STARTS PRO CAREER WITH CAGUAS: Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.), who competed with the U.S. Women’s National Team on a trip to China earlier this year, has signed mid-season with Caguas of the Puerto Rico Superliga. She will compete with the Las Criollas part-time as she finishes her education at Penn State University. In her professional league debut, Hodge scored a match-high 21 points with 20 kills and a block as Caguas fell to league-leader Toa Baja 25-23, 25-20, 28-30, 25-20 on March 27. Caguas, ranked eighth in the league with a 6-12 record, takes on third-place Mayaguez on April 1 and fourth-place Juncos on April 3.

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 notched 12 kills and two aces in helping the Pinkin to a 25-21, 25-18, 17-25, 19-25, 15-7 victory over Carolina on March 25. Hughes provided 15 kills and two blocks for 17 points as Corozal lost a heart-breaking 25-13, 17-25, 23-25, 25-17, 15-12 match to second-place Catano on March 27. One day later, Corozal met up with the league-leader and was able to take a set from Toa Baja before falling 25-23, 25-15, 26-28, 25-14. Hughes scored a team-high 17 points, all on kills, in the loss. She pounded out 10 kills and a block in helping the Pinkin to a 25-16, 25-18, 25-22 victory over Juncos on March 30. Corozal, tied for fourth place with an 8-10 record, challenges fourth-place Ponce on April 1 and third-place Mayaguez on April 4.

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. Former U.S. National Team player Marcie Hampton was picked up by the team in mid-season. Kimmich was credited with 17 points via 13 kills, two blocks and two aces in Guaynabo’s heartbreaking 26-28, 23-25, 25-19, 25-14, 15-5 loss to Catano on March 25. Hampton added eight points in the loss. Kimmich held a team-high 10 points in a 25-16, 25-22, 25-18 loss to Mayaguez on March 26. She provided Guaynabo with a team-high 15 points in the Mets’ 26-24, 25-14, 25-19 loss to Bayamon on March 28. Guaynabo, now 4-14 on the season, takes on ninth-place Bayamon on March 31 and league-leader Toa Baja on April 3.

OTHER AMERICAN HIGHLIGHTS IN PUERTO RICO: Jessica Jones scored 13 points for Carolina in its three-set loss to Catano on March 23…Juncos’ Kelly Wing notched a match-high 24 points in leading the Valencianas to a four-set victory over Bayamon on March 25. Erica Lott added 10 points in the victory, and both tallied 10 digs. On the opposite side of the net, Erin Moore collected a Bayamon-high 17 points and Kylie Atherstone picked up 13 points in the loss…Jessica Jones charted 14 points and teammate Kaitlin Sather added 12 in Carolina’s five-set loss to Catano on March 25…Carolina got back in the win column with a three-set victory over Bayamon on March 26 as Jessica Jones was credited with 10 points and Kaitlin Sather and additional nine points. Erin Moore led Bayamon with 23 points all on kills in the loss to Carolina…Kelly Wing scored a match-high 22 points in leading Juncos to a four-set victory over Ponce on March 27. In the loss, Ponce’s Sonja Newcombe contributed a team-high 16 points and Sarah Ammerman added seven points…Carolina’s Jessica Jones provided 10 points in helping the Las Gigantes to a three-set victory over Bayamon on March 26. Erin Moore hammered down 23 kills for Bayamon in the loss for a 7.67 kills per set average…Bayamon topped Guaynabo in three sets on March 28 as Erin Moore logged 12 points in the victory…Sonja Newcombe collected a team-high 15 points with 13 kills and two blocks in helping Ponce to a three-set victory over Mayaguez on March 28. Teammate Sarah Ammerman added 12 kills in the victory…Christal Morrison contributed nine points for Corozal in Las Pinkin’s four-set loss to league-leader Toa Baja on March 28…Erin Moore turned in 13 points for Bayamon as it beat Mayaguez in three sets on March 30…Jessica Jones totaled 24 points and teammate Kaitlin Sather added 10 points in leading Carolina to a four-set victory over Ponce on March 30. Sonja Newcombe chipped in 18 points for Ponce…Juncos’ Kelly Wing scored 19 points in a three-set loss to Corozal on March 30.

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. Barboza’s squad finished second in the V-League regular season with a 21-7 record. Toray will compete in the semifinal round held April 2-4 in Aichi. Toray plays Hisamitsu on April 2, followed by JT on April 3 and Denson on April 4.

METCALF PROVIDING OFFENSE IN BRAZIL: Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa), a member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Games roster, is in Brazil playing for Usiminas/Minas of the Brazilian Superliga. Usiminas, which was idle last week, ended the regular season in fifth place in the league standings with a 17-7 overall record (10-2 in the second half). Usiminas started its quarterfinal best-of-three playoff series with Blausiegel/Sao Caetano on March 26. Blausiegel rallied from a first-set loss to win 20-25, 25-18, 25-16, 25-19. Metcalf scored a team-high 14 points, all on kills via 46 attacks. Blausiegel had all five of its starting hitters reach double-figure scoring. The two teams met again on March 29 with Blausiegel coming away with a 25-14, 25-23, 25-18 victory to end Usiminas’ playoff run. Metcalf scored a team-high 14 points with 11 kills on a match-high 34 attacks and three blocks.

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 is 1-2 in the second phase of the Azerbaijan Super League. The federation has decided to postpone the second round of the second phase until the start of April. The For an azerisport.com article translated into English on Davis, click here.

TRIVIA ANSWERS: 1. Paula Weishoff; 2. Mary Jo Peppler; 3. The U.S. Women’s National Team has faced Japan 205 times (94-111 record)