U.S. Women's Update for April 16

April 16, 2012, 7:08 p.m. (ET)
Courtesy CBV

Bill Kauffman
USA Volleyball Communications
Phone: 719-228-6800
Email: bill.kauffman@usav.org

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 16, 2012) – The current U.S. Women's National Team Weekly update released on April 16 includes briefs on U.S. players competing overseas and other team news.

QUICK SET 1 – FIVE MORE CLUB TITLES FOR AMERICANS: Members of the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team pulled in lots of gold over the weekend in closing out their respective club volleyball seasons. Five different foreign leagues completed playoffs this past weekend, and at least one American was on each of those five winning teams. Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas) led her Sollys/Nestle squad to the Brazil Superliga championship title with a three-set victory over Unilever on April 14. In a battle of U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team setters, Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif.) and her top-seeded Yamamay Busto Arsizio teammates defeated second-seed Lindsey Berg’s (Honolulu) MC-Carnaghi Villa Cortese squad in the fifth match of the Italian Serie A1 best-of-five final round on April 15 to capture the gold medal. In the Russia Super League, Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) paced Dinamo Kazan to the league title culminating on April 13 with a 3-1 advantage in the best-of-five championship series over Dinamo Moscow. Catano was led by U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team players Angie Forsett (Lake Mary, Fla.), Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) and Jessica Jones (Naperville, Ill.) in leading Catano to a four-match upset over top-seed Caguas in the best-of-seven series of the Puerto Rico Super League. In the Azerbaijan Super League playoffs, Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) and Nellie Spicer (Barrington, Ill.) were members of the winning Rabita Baku squad that posted a 7-1 record in a double round-robin format.

QUICK SET 2 – GOLDEN OVERSEAS: Aside from the five club titles won by U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team members mentioned above, the U.S. has had players capture several other league titles this club season. Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) and her Turkish Fenerbahce Universal squad won the CEV Champions League, the top European Federation club tournament, and the Turkish League regular season. Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif.) and Yamamay Busto Arsizio won the CEV Cup, the second level tournament in the European Federation system, as well as the Italian Serie A1 regular season title. Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa) and Elisha Thomas (Grass Valley, Calif.) led Azerbaijan’s Lokomotiv Baku to the CEV Challenge Cup title, the third-tier club tournament in the European Federation. Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) and Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) helped Poland’s Atom Trefl Sopot to the Polish Plus Liga playoff title. Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) was a member of Guangdong Evergrande that won the Chinese league. Further, Kayla Banwarth, Jenna Hagglund and Brittnee Cooper helped their Sport-Vereinigung Schwechat team win the Austrian League title.

QUICK SET 3 - RETURNING TO ANAHEIM: As the club season winds down across the various continents, members of the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team will have started to trickle into the American Sports Centers, which serves as the USA National Team Center in Anaheim, Calif. – the Official Host City of USA Men’s and Women’s National Volleyball Teams. It is expected that nearly all members of the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team will arrive back by May 1 for the beginning of the summer training block in preparation for the Olympic Games. The U.S. Women, currently ranked No. 1 in the current FIVB world ranking and already qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games, opens their season at the FIVB World Grand Prix held June 8 to July 1 in various countries. Prior to the 2012 Olympic Games, the U.S. Women will compete in the 11th Annual Pan American Cup scheduled for July 11-21 in Mexico. The Olympic Games will take place July 27 to Aug. 12.

U.S. WOMEN HOST BULGARIA IN PRE-OLYMPIC EXHIBITION SERIES: The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, ranked No. 1 in the world by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), will host Bulgaria in a series of friendly exhibition matches in Southern California prior to departure for the Olympic Games. The City of Anaheim, the official host city for both the U.S. Women’s and Men’s National Volleyball Teams, will serve as host for the first of three exhibition matches with Bulgaria. The initial match will be held on July 14 at 7 p.m. Pacific Time inside the American Sports Centers, the team’s training headquarters located in Anaheim. Ticket information will be available later this month. The University of Southern California will host matches on July 16 and July 18 at the on-campus Galen Center. Both matches are scheduled for 7 p.m. Pacific Time. Admission for the two matches played at USC is $10 for adults per match, while tickets for children 12-and-under and groups of 10 or more are $5 per match. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.gettrojantix.com/usa starting Wednesday, April 18. The U.S. Women will use the matches as final preparations for the 2012 Olympic Games, which take place July 28 to Aug. 11. Team USA qualified for the Olympic Games with its silver-medal finish at the 2011 FIVB World Cup in November. To read the entire press release, usavolleyball.org/news/article/47653.

HOOKER WITH SOLLYS/NESTLE IN BRAZIL: Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas) is competing for Sollys/Nestle in the Brazil Superliga during the 2011-2012 club season. Sollys/Nestle swept Unilever 25-14, 25-18, 25-23 in the championship final match on April 14 in Rio De Janeiro to claim the playoff title. Hooker scored a match-high 20 points with 17 kills on 33 attacks, two blocks and an ace. Sollys/Nestle, which ended the season with 16 consecutive victories, completed the playoffs without a single loss in five matches. Further, the squad did not show any rust after 15 days without a match following its best-of-three semifinal round series sweep that concluded on March 30. To follow Hooker in social media platforms, visit destineehooker19.blogspot.com for her blog and click here for her Facebook page.

LLOYD WITH BUSTO ARSIZIO IN ITALY: U.S. Women’s National Team setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif.) is playing for Yamamay Busto Arsizio of the Italian Serie A1 for the 2011-2012 season. After finishing the Italian Serie A1 regular season with a 19-1 record and 57 points to claim the regular season title, playoff-top-seed Busto Arsizio played a back-and-forth best-of-five championship round series with second-seed MC Carnaghi Villa Cortese. After winning the first match in four sets on April 7, Busto Arsizio could not rally in the second match in a 25-27, 25-23, 25-17, 20-25, 15-7 loss on April 9. Lloyd set the squad to a 39 kill percent and added five points with three blocks and two kills. Busto Arsizio bounced back from the setback with a convincing 25-17, 25-16, 25-17 victory over Villa Cortese on April 11 to take a 2-1 lead in the series. Lloyd scored five her team’s 18 blocks in the match as Busto Arsizio hit for a 44 kill percent and .273 hitting efficiency. However, Busto Arsizio could not keep the momentum in the fourth set with a 25-22, 25-23, 25-18 loss on April 13 to force a deciding fifth match. Lloyd set the offense to a 32 kill percent, but Busto Arsizio was out-blocked 14-5 in the match. As the entire series was back-and-forth, so was the deciding fifth match before Busto Arsizio came away with a 25-14, 28-30, 25-15, 23-25, 16-14 victory on April 15. Busto Arsizio rallied from a 12-11 deficit in the fifth set to win its second major title in less than a month (won the CEV Cup on March 31). In the clinching match, Lloyd set the squad to a 40 kill percent and a .338 hitting efficiency while adding a kill and block. With the victory, Busto Arsizio captured its first Italian Serie A1 title in its first-ever appearance in the final round. For photo galleries of the Italian Serie A1 playoffs, click here.

BERG, WILSON WITH VILLA CORTESE IN ITALY: U.S. Women’s National Team setter Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) and past U.S. National Team player Makare Wilson (Gardena, Calif.) are playing for MC-Carnaghi Villa Cortese in the Italian Serie A1 in 2011-2012. Villa Cortese, seeded second in the Italian Serie A1 playoffs, bounced back from a best-of-five championship round series loss to top-seed Yamamay Busto Arsizio with a 25-25, 25-23, 25-17, 20-25, 15-7 victory on April 9. Wilson notched a team-high 20 points with 15 kills on 24 attacks and just two errors to go with five blocks. Berg set the squad with a 39 kill percent. Villa Cortese lost the third match of the series 25-17, 25-16, 25-17 on April 11. Wilson again was the team’s leading scorer in the third match with 11 points via six blocks and five kills. The squad connected for only a 26 kill percent as Busto Arsizio scored 18 blocks in the three-set victory. Villa Cortese turned right around with a 25-22, 25-23, 25-18 victory on April 13 to force a fifth and deciding match. Wilson provided seven of her team’s 14 blocks as part of an 11-point performance, while Berg set the squad to a 38 kill percent. Villa Cortese continued to fight for the championship all through the fifth and deciding match before falling 25-14, 28-30, 25-15, 23-25, 16-14. Berg set the squad to a 32 kill percent for the match, while Wilson tacked on 13 points via 10 kills on 26 attacks and three blocks. The loss marks the third straight year Villa Cortese’s playoff season ended in the championship round, and second consecutive time in a deciding fifth set. For photo galleries of the Italian Serie A1 playoffs, click here.

PAOLINI WITH ICOS CREMA IN ITALY: U.S. Women’s National Team middle blocker Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.) is playing for Icos Crema Volley in the Italian Serie A2 Division for 2011-2012. Icos Crema (20-7, 59 points) lost to Puntotel Sala Consilina 25-17, 16-25, 20-25, 25-23, 16-14 on April 15. Paolini scored 12 points with 10 kill on 19 attacks and two blocks. Icos Crema, which remained in fourth place after the loss, returns to action on April 22 against ninth-place Terre Verdiane Servizi Italia Fontanellato (12-15, 36 points).

LARSON WITH DINAMO KAZAN IN RUSSIA: U.S. Women’s National Team outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) is competing for Dinamo Kazan of the Russia Super League. After ending the Russia Super League regular season in first place with a 17-5 record and 49 points, Kazan captured the best-of-five championship round playoff series over Dinamo Moscow in four matches. After Dinamo Kazan capturing the final round opening match on April 8 in an impressive three sets, Dinamo Moscow evened the series on April 9 with an 18-25, 25-21, 25-23, 28-26 victory. Larson scored 14 points with 10 kills on 30 attacks, two aces and two blocks. She added a 75 positive percent and 58 excellent percent on 36 service receptions. Kazan gained a 2-1 series lead on April 12 with a 25-16, 25-16, 24-26, 25-19 victory. Larson contributed eight kills on 24 attacks, two blocks and an ace for 11 points. She charted a 91 positive percent and 56 excellent percent on 34 reception attempts. Kazan closed out the series on April 13 with a nail-biting 22-25, 26-24, 25-27, 25-22, 15-12 victory. Larson collected 16 points in the win with 12 kills on 39 attacks and four blocks. She added a 56 positive service reception on a team-high 41 chances. Larson finished second in the Russia Superleague most valuable player voting (3 first-place votes, 2 second-place votes, 2 third-place votes) behind winner Angelina Grun.Three weeks earlier Kazan finished with the bronze medal in the CEV Champions League for the best club team in Europe. To read Larson’s blog, click here.

FORSETT, THOMPSON, JONES, WITH CATANO IN PUERTO RICO: U.S. Women’s National Team setter Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.), outside hitter Angie Forsett (Lake Mary, Fla.) and middle blocker Jessica Jones (Naperville, Ill.) are playing for Catano in the Puerto Rico Super League. Jones led the league in blocks with 80 during the regular season and finished second in the most valuable player voting with 10 votes. In the Puerto Rico Super League championship best-of-seven final round, Catano captured the title in four sets in upsetting fashion over top-seed Caguas. Catano started the final round by defeating Caguas 25-21, 25-17, 25-23 on April 10. “We prepared for this match and were able to stabilize our blocking throughout the match,” said Jones, who scored 13 points including seven blocks. Forsett added 12 points in the series opener. Thompson chipped in 20 assists and 14 digs in the victory. Catano showed the opening match was not a fluke by stopping Caguas 25-23, 23-25, 25-22, 25-17 on April 12. Jones piled up 16 points in including four blocks, while Forsett downed 13 points with four blocks. Thompson provided 27 assists, 14 digs, two blocks and three points in the victory. Catano moved to within one victory of the title with a 27-25, 29-27, 13-25, 22-25, 15-10 win in the third match of the series on April 14. Jones notched 19 points with 16 kills and three blocks, while Forsett matched her point total with 13 kills and six blocks. Thompson set 30 assists to go with 16 digs and three points. In the fourth match on April 15, Catano started strong with a 25-20 victory, only to look shaky with 25-21 and 25-9 losses in the second and third sets. Catano rallied back to win the fourth set 25-18, then put away the match and series with a 15-12 victory in the final set. Forsett scored a team-high 15 points, while Jones added 11 points. Thompson amassed 31 assists to go with three points. “We started to click at the right moment,” Thompson said. “We won eight strong matches in the semifinal and final series and we have a lot of respect for a great opponent like Caguas.” Thompson was honored as the most valuable player of the final round. By winning the Puerto Rico Super League playoff, Catano will represent NORCECA at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship to be held in October at Doha, Qatar.

OTHER AMERICAN HIGHLIGHTS IN PUERTO RICO: Meagan Ganzer of Ponce was selected as the top opposite for the Puerto Rico Superior League All-Star Team after finishing as the league’s top scorer during the regular season. Bayamon’s Erin Moore was named to the All-Star Team at outside hitter after finishing as the overall best spiker and second best scorer during the regular season...Sonja Newcombe scored six points in Caguas’ four-set loss to Catano on April 12.

KIM GLASS, SPICER WITH RABITA BAKU IN AZERBAIJAN: U.S. Women’s National Team outside hitter Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) and setter Nellie Spicer (Barrington, Ill.) are competing for Rabita Baku of the Azerbaijan Super League. Rabita Baku enters the Azerbaijan Super League playoffs as the top seed after finishing the regular season 11-0. Already with a 4-0 record in the Super League playoffs, Rabita Baku rallied to defeat Lokomotiv 20-25, 25-23, 25-14, 25-20 on April 11 to start the second round robin. Rabita lost its first match of the Azerbaijan season – regular or playoffs – with a 27-25, 25-23, 13-25, 25-19 setback to Igtisadchi on April 12. Needing to win just two sets to win the Azerbaijan title after losing its first playoff match, Rabita came out on a mission and claimed a 25-15, 25-17, 25-15 victory over Baki to claim gold on April 14 with one match remaining in the playoffs. Rabita closed out the playoffs with a 25-16, 25-12, 25-19 victory over Azerrail on April 15 to claim a 7-1 playoff record.

METCALF, THOMAS WITH LOKOMOTIV BAKU IN AZERBAIJAN: U.S. Women’s National Team opposite Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa) and middle blocker Elisha Thomas (Grass Valley, Calif.) are playing for Lokomotiv Baku of the Azerbaijan Super League in 2011-2012. In the Azerbaijan Super League, Lokomotiv finished fifth in the regular season with a 6-5 record and has advanced to the five-team, double-round round playoff. Lokomotive started the second round of the double round robin playoffs with a 20-25, 25-23, 25-14, 25-20 loss to leader Rabita Baku on April 11 to fall to 2-3. Lokomotiv evened its playoff record to 3-3 with a convincing 25-19, 26-24, 25-20 victory over Azerrail on April 12. Lokomotiv absorbed a 25-7, 25-20, 25-18 loss to Baki on April 13. Lokomotiv ended the playoffs with a 4-4 record following a 25-20, 28-26, 25-19 victory over Igtisadchi on April 14. Lokomotiv, which ended the playoffs with 12 points and in second place, will compete in the CEV Cup in 2012-13.

HANEEF-PARK WITH IGTISADCHI BAKU IN AZERBAIJAN: U.S. Women’s National Team opposite Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.) is playing in the Azerbaijan Super League with Igtisadchi Baku in 2011-2012. Igtisadchi finished the regular season with a 6-6 record and in fourth place. Igtisadchi improved to 2-3 in the playoffs with a 27-25, 25-23, 13-25, 25-19 victory over regular season champion and playoff leader Rabita Baku on April 12. However, they could not hold the momentum on April 13 with a 25-21, 21-25, 25-17, 23-25, 15-13 loss to Azerrail. Igtisadchi lost to Lokomotiv 25-20, 28-26, 25-19 on April 14 to fall to 2-5 in the playoffs. In the playoff finale, Igtisadchi lost to Baki 25-17, 25-21, 25-19 on April 15 to end its chances at a bronze medal. Igtisadchi, which finished the playoffs in fourth place with a 2-6 record and eight points, will compete in the CEV Challenge Cup in 2012-13.

BOWN, TAMAS WITH AZERRAIL BAKU IN AZERBAIJAN: U.S. Women’s National Team middle blockers Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Jennifer Tamas (Milpitas, Calif.) are playing for Azerrail Baku in the Azerbaijan Super League in 2011-2012. In the Azerbaijan Super League, Azerrail finished the regular season with a 9-3 record and second-place finish. Azerrail opened the second round of the round robin playoff format with a 15-25, 25-18, 25-23, 26-24 loss to Baki to fall to 2-3 in the playoffs. Azerrail lost its second match of the second round on April 12 as Lokomotiv won 25-19, 26-24, 25-20. Azerrail turned back Igtisadchi 25-21, 21-25, 25-17, 23-25, 15-13 on April 13 to improve to 3-4 in the playoffs. Azerrail ended the playoffs with a 25-16, 25-12, 25-19 loss to regular season and playoff champion Rabita on April 15. Azerrail, which finished with seven points in the playoffs and in fifth place, will now compete in the CEV Challenge Cup next year.