U.S. Women's Update for May 23

May 23, 2011, 9:02 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 23, 2011) – The current U.S. Women's National Team Weekly update released on May 23 includes briefs on U.S. players competing overseas and other team news.

SYKORA UPBEAT AFTER RELEASE FROM HOSPITAL: Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas), the Best Libero at the 2010 FIVB World Volleyball Championship and a three-time U.S. Olympic Volleyball Team member, was released from in-patient hospital care on May 18, 36 days after suffering serious injuries in a bus accident in Brazil on April 12. On her first day out of the hospital on May 19, Sykora went to what is familiar to her – the American Sports Centers where the U.S. Women’s National Team trains in Anaheim, Calif. “To come here this morning and see my teammates – they are my family, they are my sisters, they are the people that I love to death,” Sykora said of returning to the gym. “To come back to my family and my life and everything that I have ever known has been amazing. When you have a serious injury like this, everything means more to you than back in the day. This means so much to me. It is incredible how great it has been today. I can’t even tell how great it was. It was like I was on a number 10 of 10 of an emotional happiness high today.” Yet, for the iconic member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, Sykora is taking her continued rehabilitation one step at a time. For the full feature, click here.

SUMMER TRAINING BLOCK GROUP INCREASES: 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 23, U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) and his staff are training 26 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), Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) and Tamari Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii). Opposites currently training are Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio), Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.) and Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas). The middle blocker group includes Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.), Alexis Crimes (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.), Christa Harmotto (Hopewell, Pa.) and Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) and Jennifer Tamas (Milpitas, Calif.). Outside hitters in the gym are Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.), Keao Burdine (Pico Rivera, Calif.), Jill Collymore (Bellevue, Wash.), Angie Forsett (Lake Mary, Fla.), Regan Hood (Carrollton, Texas), Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.), Becky Perry (Austin, Texas) and Kristin Richards (Orem, Utah).

MONTREUX PRESS KIT: The U.S. Women’s National Team will compete in the 2011 Montreux Volley Masters set for June 7-12 in Montreux, Switzerland. To view the press kit with bios on the preliminary roster selections, notes on the tournament recap of 2010, click here.

FIVB WORLD GRAND PRIX SITE DETERMINED FOR JAPAN: The U.S. Women’s National Team will compete in Komaki, Japan, during the second preliminary round weekend of the 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix, as confirmed during a meeting between the Japan Volleyball Association and the FIVB on May 21. The U.S. will face host Japan, Serbia and Dominican Republic between Aug. 11-13 in Komaki, which near Nagoya and about 225 miles to the southeast of Tokyo. At the same meeting, Tokyo was confirmed as a host site for the third preliminary round weekend of the World Grand Prix. The decision on Japan’s World Grand Prix host cities was taken during a two-day meeting between the FIVB and JVA. The meeting also included an update on the status of the FIVB World Cup (men and women), which is scheduled to be held in Japan in November and December, in relation to Japan’s recovery from the March earthquake and tsunami. “The confirmation of Komaki and Tokyo as the two World Grand Prix venues in Japan is a great moment for the Japanese Volleyball Association as this serves as great encouragement for the Japanese volleyball community,” JVA president Masao Tachiki said in a FIVB press release. “We are looking forward to welcoming the world’s best women’s team to Japan which has been a very strong tradition.”

BERG, HODGE WITH VILLA CORTESE ADVANCE TO ITALIAN FINALS: U.S. Women’s National Team setter Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) and Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.), who are competing for MC Carnaghi Villa Cortese in the Italian Serie A league during the 2010-11 season, have led their team to a 3-1 best-of-five semifinal round series win over Yamamay Busto Arsizio. Villa Cortese, the top seed in the playoffs as the regular season champion, opened the series on May 17 with a nail-biting 21-25, 25-16, 15-25, 26-24, 24-22 victory capped by the 46-point tie-breaking set. Hodge collected 16 kills on 50 attacks, four blocks and an ace for 21 points. Berg, who had two blocks in the match, set the team to a 30 kill percent for the match, including a 45 percent mark in the fifth set. In the second match, Yamamay Busto Arsizio rebounded with a 25-23, 25-21, 25-18 victory. Hodge totaled seven kills and a block for eight points, while Berg set Villa Cortese to a 34 kill percent in the loss. Villa Cortese held off Yamamay Busto Arsizio 25-20, 25-17, 14-25, 13-25, 16-14 in another five-set victory to go up 2-1 in the series. Berg set the team to a 33 kill percent and added two kills and an ace in the victory, while Hodge charted 10 kills and two blocks for 12 points. Villa Cortese closed out the series on May 23 with a 27-29, 25-21, 25-22, 25-20 victory. Hodge scored a match-high 25 points with 22 kills on 49 attacks and three aces. She also had a 67 excellent reception percent on six attempts. Berg, who had three points, in the match, set the team to a 38 kill percent. Villa Cortese will now face the semifinal series winner of Norda Foppapedretti Bergamo and Asystel Volley Novara in the Italian Serie A final round playoffs.

PAOLINI WITH NOVARA IN ITALY: 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, the sixth seed in the Italian Serie A playoffs, is embroiled in a best-of-five series semifinal round versus Norda Foppapedretti Bergamo. In the opening match on May 18, Bergamo took the series advantage with a 25-22, 25-18, 25-21 victory. Paolini started and played in only the first set, scoring one block with two attack attempts. Bergamo went up 2-0 in the series with a 25-17, 29-27, 25-12 victory in the second match on May 20. Paolini started all three sets and contributed two kills on six attacks and a block for three points. Novara claimed the third match 25-23, 16-25, 25-19, 25-22 as the series shifted to Novara’s home court on May 22. Paolini tallied four kills on 15 attacks, three blocks and two aces for nine points in the victory. For a photo gallery of the match, click here. The two teams will meet again on May 24 as Novara will try to extend the series to a fifth match on May 26.

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