U.S. Women's Update for May 16

May 16, 2011, 7:38 p.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman
Associate Director, Communications
Phone: 719-228-6800
E-Mail: bill.kauffman@usav.org

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 16, 2011) – The current U.S. Women's National Team Weekly update released on May 16 includes briefs on U.S. players competing overseas and other team news.

SYKORA BACK IN UNITED STATES RECOVERING: U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team libero Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas), a three-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic silver medalist, has been released from the Sirio Libanes hospital in Brazil and traveled back to the United States to continue her rehabilitation after suffering injuries sustained in a bus accident on April 12. “I am delighted that Stacy is back in the United States,” USA Volleyball Chief Executive Director Doug Beal said. “From all indications, the care she received in Brazil was exceptional. I want to thank the Brazilian Volleyball Federation and its president, Dr. Ary Graça, and Stacy’s club Volei Futuro for all their efforts in her recovery. We all look forward to Stacy’s continued progress and the time she will be able to return to the court and continue her career both with USA Volleyball and professionally.” Sykora is currently receiving comprehensive care at Casa Colina in Pomona, Calif., along with the continued involvement of the USA Volleyball medical staff including U.S. Women’s National Team physician Dr. Chris Koutures. Casa Colina is widely considered among the very best neurological care units in the western United States. For the complete press release, click here. For a Fort Worth Star-Telegram story on her recovery, click here.

LARSON WINS RUSSIA SUPER LEAGUE GOLD WITH KAZAN: U.S. Women’s National Team outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) is playing for Dinamo Kazan of the Russia Super League during the 2010-2011 pro club season. Kazan, the top seed in the Russia Super League playoffs after finishing the regular season with a 20-2, captured the best-of-five championship series over Dinamo Moscow in three matches. Kazan opened the championship series by coming back from two sets down to win 17-25, 19-25, 25-17, 25-23, 15-9 on May 10. Larson contributed 17 kills on 34 attacks, two aces and a block for 20 points. She added a 79 positive percent, or 48 excellent percent, on 33 reception attempts. For a photo gallery of the first match, click here. In the second match on May 11, Kazan swept Dinamo Moscow 25-12, 25-22, 25-20. Larson chipped in 10 kills on 18 attacks and an ace in the victory. She charted a 67 positive percent on six reception attempts. For a photo gallery of the second match, click here. Kazan wrapped up the series on May 15 with a 25-19, 25-21, 16-25, 25-21 victory. Statistics for the third match have not been posted. Earlier, Kazan defeated Uralochka-NTMK in the best-of-three semifinal series and Proton in the best-of-three quarterfinal round series. For the season, Larson scored 229 points for the 20th best scorer in the Russia Super League, while ranking fifth in total receptions (518) and seventh in positive reception percent (62 percent) among all players with at least 200 reception attempts.

BERG, HODGE WITH VILLA CORTESE OVER HARMOTTO’S MODENA TEAM IN ITALY: U.S. Women’s National Team setter Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) and Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) squared off against Christa Harmotto (Hopewell, Pa.) and her LIU-JO Volley Modena team in a best-of-three quarterfinal series of the Italian Serie A. Villa Cortese entered the playoffs as the top seed after capturing the regular season with a 17-5 record and 47 points, while Modena bounced back into playoff contention with the return of Harmotto from an injury. After Modena defeated Florens Castellana Grotte in a knock-out round, it came up against Villa Cortese. In the first match on May 9, Modena struck early with a 25-19 first set victory before Villa Cortese bounced back to win 25-16, 25-18, 25-17. Berg set Villa Cortese to a 45 kill percent and .336 hitting efficiency, while Hodge scored 14 points with 10 kills and four blocks. Harmotto did not play in the match. In the second match on May 11, Villa Cortese swept Modena 25-23, 25-16, 25-18 to advance to the semifinal round. Hodge provided a team-high 18 points with 15 kills on 28 attacks, two aces and a block. Berg set the team to a 46 kill percent and .322 hitting efficiency. Harmotto started the match and tallied two kills on three attempts, but did not play in the next two sets. Villa Cortese will face fifth-seeded Yamamay Busto Arsizio in the best-of-five semifinal series with contests on May 17, May 19 and May 21. If necessary, the series will continue on May 23 and May 25 until one team has three victories. Arsizio, which ended the regular season with a 14-8 record, defeated Chateau d’Ax Urbino Volley 3-2 and 3-0 in the quarterfinal round. For video highlights and interviews of the Italian Serie A playoffs, click here.

PAOLINI HELPS NOVARA TO ITALIAN SERIE A SEMIFINALS: Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.), a middle blocker on the U.S. Women’s National Team, is competing this professional season in Italy with Asystel Volley Novara of the Italian Serie A Division. Novara (12-9, 38 points), as the sixth seed in the Italian Serie A playoffs, scored an upset over third-seeded Scavolini Pesaro by winning the best-of-three quarterfinal playoff series. In the opening match on May 9, Novara gained the upper hand with a 25-20, 25-16, 22-25, 27-25 victory. Paolini contributed four kills on eight attacks, two aces and a block for seven total points. Pesaro forced a tie-breaking third match by defeating Novara 20-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-16 on May 11. Paolini charted 13 points with six kills on 16 attacks, a match-high six blocks and an ace. For a photo gallery of the opening match, click here. Novara concluded the series with a thrilling 25-22, 16-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-9 victory on May 13. Paolini was credited with four kills on 11 errorless attacks, two aces and two blocks for eight points. Novara will face second-seeded Norda Foppapedretti Bergamo in the best-of-five semifinal series with contests on May 17, May 19 and May 21. If necessary, the series will continue on May 23 and May 25 until one team has three victories. Bergamo, which finished the regular season with a 15-7 record, advanced to the semifinals after defeating Despar Perugia 3-0 and 3-1 in the quarterfinal round.

SUMMER TRAINING BLOCK STARTS: The U.S. Women’s National Team summer training block started May 2 at the team’s training headquarters at the American Sports Centers in Anaheim, Calif. As of May 4, U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) and his staff are training 20 players with additional athletes to join the group upon completion of their overseas club seasons. The U.S. Women’s National Team training sessions, generally held 9 a.m. to noon on weekdays, are open to the public free of charge. The current group includes setters Ashley Engle (Yorba Linda, Calif.), Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.), Jenna Hagglund (West Chester, Ohio), Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif.) and Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.). Liberos currently training are Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa) and Tamari Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii). Opposites currently training are Kindra Carlson (Eaton, Colo.) and Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas). The middle blocker group includes Alexis Crimes (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Jessica Jones (Naperville, Ill.), Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.), Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.), Tracy Stalls (Denver, Colo.) and Elisha Thomas (Grass Valley, Calif.). Outside hitters in the gym are Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.), Jill Collymore (Bellevue, Wash.), Angie Forsett (Lake Mary, Fla.), Alix Klineman (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Becky Perry (Austin, Texas).

NATIONAL TEAM NEWS CLIPPINGS: To read some of the recent printed material on the U.S. Women’s National Team Program, click here.