U.S. Women's Update: FIVB Grand Prix Expands

Dec. 02, 2013, 7:37 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 2, 2013) – The current U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team Weekly update released on Dec. 2 includes briefs on U.S. players.

FIVB WORLD GRAND PRIX EXPANDS: The FIVB World Grand Prix, the premier annual women’s volleyball tournament, has expanded to a record 28 countries for the 2014 edition. The decision was finalized during the FIVB World Grand Prix Council held Dec. 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The 28 countries have been split across 19 pools with 12 - defending champions and world No. 1 Brazil, USA, Japan, China, Russia, Serbia, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Korea, Turkey and Thailand – playing in Pools A to I while eight - Poland, Peru, Puerto Rico, the Netherlands, Argentina, Canada, Cuba and Belgium - are in Pools J to O. Pools P to S also includes eight teams: Kenya, Algeria, Kazakhstan, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Bulgaria and Australia. In addition to the expanded to the expanded tournament field, the U.S. learned its opponents for the 2014 event. Team USA will face No. 3 Japan, No. 6 Russia and No. 11 Turkey in the opening week held Aug. 1-3 at a site to be announced. The Americans travel to Brazil for matches against No. 1 Brazil, No. 6 Russia and No. 10 Korea held Aug. 8-10. In the final preliminary round stop held Aug. 15-17 in Thailand, the U.S. will face No. 1 Brazil, No. 8 Dominican Republic,and No. 12 Thailand. The top four teams from the preliminary round plus the winner of Pools J to O advance to the Final Round held Aug. 20-24 along with the host that is yet to be confirmed. The pool distribution was based on world ranking with the exceptions Belgium and Cuba, who had qualified via continental qualification tournaments, and Australia who participate as part of the Oceania development program. A draw was conducted during the meeting to determine which positions each country fills in the pool distribution. For the full FIVB press release on pool distribution and schedule, click here.

LICHTMAN TALKS BULLYING: Cassidy Lichtman (Poway, Calif.), an outside hitter with the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, continues to give back to the community in a way that make lives around her better. Her latest venture is a from-the-heart blog on bullying. Here is an excerpt from her blog: “Bullying never makes you cool; it just makes you a jerk. Do you have any idea the power that you have? Every day when you get up in the morning, you have the ability to make other people’s lives better. With one word, one smile, you can brighten someone’s day and make the world a happier place. But every time you make someone feel bad about themselves, every time you judge someone for being different from you, every time you make someone feel like they are alone in this world all you do is make the world a little bit darker. So what do you want to do? Do you want to go to bed at night knowing that you’re responsible for a little more love and light in the world or for a little more pain? That’s the choice that you have every day and you will be remembered for that choice.” Later she discusses how passion shapes the world, but is often times misinterpreted as being different in a negative way leading to bullying. To read the full blog on bullying, click here. Earlier this year she initiated her own series of clinics called “Play With a Purpose” with all money going to benefit the Ronald McDonald House.

SWEET TWEETS: Have you ever wondered what it is like for the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team to compete overseas in the club season where they may be the only American on the team and away from family and friends for months at a time? You can get that inside peek into the players’ lives by clicking here for the USA Volleyball’s social media page. Below are some sweet tweets from the week.

  • @Napela (Dec. 2): Nothing has ever come easy for me…so why expect it to be that way now #motivated #going2makeitwork #cuore
  • @nicolemdavis6 (Dec. 2): New country to my list of many: Off to #Belgium for next #championsleague match on Wednesday #ilovetotravel pic.twitter.com/p2tmSV9NU0
  • @RADAMSS (Dec. 2): New blog post: Starting December off with a 3-0 win and seeing so many familiar and missed faces is always welcomed http://t.co/bVQyYYlqzY
  • @C_jaxon13 (Dec. 2): So proud of @ArizonaVBall!!!!!!!!!
  • @ChristaHarmotto (Dec. 1): Congrats @PennStateVBALL on their Big Ten Title! All the best in NCAA tournament!
  • @LaurenPaolini1 (Dec. 1): First weekend of the V-league and we're off to a 2-0 start! Love the fight this team has!! 💪💪👏💜 #Hitachi #vleague
  • @DScottArruda (Dec. 1): December 1! Lots of great things still to come this year 2013 although time is flying. Make this month your best this year.
  • @KaylaBanwarth2 (Dec. 1): Ooo ooo selection Sunday today! I'm excited to see the brackets AND for LNK to host its first ever regional (hopefully the first of many)!
  • @krishildebrand1 (Nov. 29): Look who I found in Brazil! #sohappy #favoritefancyfriend #dinnerdate 💛💛@itskimglass http://t.co/BYmIIZIMyl
  • @jfaucette (Nov. 29): Super excited to announce the launch of my website!! 💃😁😋😆🎉🎊 It's taken a lot of time, energy and care… http://instagram.com/p/hUrIJ-LWM7/
  • @destineehooker (Nov. 28): Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. #Thankful to see another Thanksgiving, being blessed continuously, having an AMAZING family, and AWESOME fans!
  • @CassidyLichtman (Nov. 28): The whole family at home for a holiday? What?! Happy Thanksgiving everyone! pic.twitter.com/t40rxLqIkY
  • @KellyMurph12 (Nov. 27): It may be freezing cold here but the sunset sure looks nice from in the warm car pic.twitter.com/3yUvjCZ2US

INTERNATIONAL TRANSFERS CLIMB TO 180 U.S. FEMALES: USA Volleyball has processed 180 international transfers allowing U.S. female citizens to compete in foreign professional volleyball leagues for the 2013-2014 season, as of Dec. 2. Additional transfers are expected to be processed over the course of the next few months as professional leagues begin. A total of 25 transfers have been processed for U.S. female athletes to play in both Germany and Switzerland, while another 20 transfers have been processed for athletes heading to compete in France. USA Volleyball has also processed 14 transfers for players going to play in Azerbaijan and 11 in Sweden this season. As of Dec. 2, USA Volley has processed transfers for female athletes to 30 different countries. For the listing showing which clubs and countries U.S. athletes are playing for in 2013-2014, click here.

HODGE, FAUCETTE WITH EVERGRANDE IN CHINA: Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.), a 2012 Olympic silver medalist, and Juliann Faucette (San Diego) are playing in China this winter with Guangdong Evergrande, which is under the direction of 2008 U.S. Olympic head coach “Jenny” Lang Ping. Evergrande opened the Chinese League with a 25-14, 25-19, 25-19 victory over Henan on Nov. 30. Hodge turned in a team-high 20 points with 18 kills on 35 attacks and two blocks. Faucette added eight points with seven kills on 17 attacks and an ace.

BOWN, SPICER WITH SHANGHAI IN CHINA: Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.), a three-time U.S. Olympic Volleyball Team selection and silver medalist in 2008, and former U.S. National Team member Nellie Spicer are competing for Shanghai in the Chinese League this winter. Bown scored 14 points with six kills on 12 attacks, seven blocks and an ace in helping Shanghai to a 25-18, 18-25, 25-22, 22-25, 15-10 victory over Jiangsu on Nov. 30. Spicer chipped in 23 effective sets on 42 chances, one block and one ace while playing the first three sets. To hear a video interview with Bown and Spicer as they begin their first season in China, click here.

PAOLINI WITH HITACHI IN JAPAN: Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.), a middle blocker with the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, is playing for Hitachi Rivale in the Japanese V-League top division. In the team’s season-opener, Hitachi Rivale defeated Pioneer Red Wings 28-26, 25-23, 25-15 on Nov. 30 in Okayama. Paolini tallied 14 kills, one block and one ace for 16 points. Hitachi rallied to win its second match with a 22-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-23 victory over NEC. Paolini recorded 13 kills on 23 attacks with just one error and four blocks for 17 points. Hitachi resumes action in Nishio City on Dec. 7 and Dec. 8 versus Toyota and JT, respectively.

LARSON-BURBACH WITH DINAMO KAZAN IN RUSSIA: Jordan Larson-Burbach (Hooper, Neb.), an outside hitter with the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, is competing once again for Dinamo Kazan in the Russia Super League. In CEV Champions League, Kazan (3-0) remained undefeated with a 25-16, 25-18, 25-16 victory over Romania’s Stiinta Bacau in Russia. Larson-Burbach contributed 11 points with 10 kills on 18 attacks and a block. She added a team-leading 25 reception attempts. Kazan and Bacau meet again on Dec. 5 during the fifth leg of Pool F. Kazan improved to 7-0 in the Russia Super League with a 27-25, 26-24, 21-25, 22-25, 17-5 victory over league rival Dinamo Moscow on Nov. 30. Larson-Burbach, who charted 18 points in the victory, posted on her Facebook page “Big team win last night!...So proud of my team for finding a way!” To view a gallery of images from the match, click here. Kazan challenges Hara Maureen on Dec. 20 in its next Russia Super League match.

HOOD WITH ILBANK IN TURKEY: Outside hitter Regan Hood (Dallas) is playing for Ilbank of the Turkish League this winter. Ilbank battled past Besiktas 25-23, 21-25, 25-13, 32-34, 15-11 on Dec. 1 to improve to 5-4 in the league. Rood pocketed a match-high 27 points with 22 kills on 53 attacks, four blocks and an ace. She contributed a 71 positive reception percent on 34 reception chances. Ilbank, which is in fifth place, resumes action on Dec. 7 versus seventh-place Bursa BLD B Sehir (3-6).

ALISHA GLASS WITH FENERBAHCE IN TURKEY: Setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) is competing this winter with Fenerbahce in Turkey. In the Turkish League, Fenerbahce defeated Galatasaray 25-21, 25-17 in the first two sets before the match was suspended in the third set with Fenerbahce leading 23-13. Glass did not play in the match. In CEV Cup action, Fenerbahce has advanced to the 8th Final Round and will play Orbita-ZTMC-ZNU ZAPOROZHYE in a home-and-home series with matches on Dec. 5 and Dec. 11.

HARMOTTO WITH ECZACIBASI IN TURKEY: Middle blocker Christa Harmotto (Hopewell Township, Pa.), a 2012 Olympic Games silver medalist, is competing for Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul in the Turkish professional league. In CEV Champions League action, Eczacibasi disposed of RC Cannes 26-24, 25-21, 25-23 on Nov. 28. Harmotto was a sub in the third set after several matches over the last month. The two teams meet again on Dec. 5 in France during the fourth leg of Pool D. Eczacibasi blanked BDL Canakkale 25-13, 25-21, 25-20 on Nov. 30 in Turkish League action. Eczacibasi (8-1), one of three times with just one loss in the Turkish League trailing undefeated VakifBank (9-0), plays third-place Galatasaray (7-1) on Dec. 8 its next match.

THOMPSON WITH VOLERO ZURICH IN SWITZERLAND: Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.), a silver medal-winning setter on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team, arrived in mid-November to play for Volero Zurich in the Swiss League. The CEV Champions League resumed last week and Volero Zurich came out with a 25-12, 16-25, 25-15, 25-18 victory over Tauron MKS Dawbrowa Gornicza during the third leg of Pool F. Thompson stated the first two sets, which included leading Volero to a 50 kill percent in the first set. The teams meet again in the fourth leg on Dec. 4 in Poland. In the Swiss League, Thompson helped Volero Zurich to a 25-17, 25-22, 25-18 victory over second-place Volley Koniz on Nov. 30. Volero Zurich takes on third-place VC Kanti Schaffhausen on Dec. 7 in its next match. Thompson is the subject of a volleyball documentary entitled “Court & Spark”, which will debut during the week of the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship held in Seattle Dec. 19-21. The documentary explores who Courtney Thompson is, how it is to live a life as a professional American Volleyball star overseas, how she has overcome staggering odds and mixed in with experts of the game speaking about her. The one-hour documentary is aimed at players, parents, coaches, fans, media and policymakers who can support the creation and maintenance of sports facilities and opportunities for our youth. To view the documentary preview, click here.

DONAHUE WITH SM’AESCH PFEFFINGEN IN SWITZERLAND: Caitlyn Donahue (Kansas City, Kan.), who trained with the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team this past summer, is playing for Sm’Aesch Pfeffingen I in the first division of the Swiss League. Sm’Aesch Pfeffingen was edged 25-17, 23-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-9 by Sagres NUC on Nov. 30. Donahue was named her team’s most valuable player of the match after contributed three kills on 13 attacks, two blocks and an ace for six points. She added 33 assists in leding her team to a 33 kill percent for the match. Sm’Aesch Pfeffingen, currently eighth in the top Swiss League with a 2-5 record with three of its matches going five sets, resumes action on Dec. 7 against sixth-place Dudingen (2-5).

HILL WITH ATOM TREFL SOPOT IN POLAND: Kim Hill (Portland, Ore.), an outside hitter with the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, is competing this winter with Atom Trefl Sopot in the Polish Oren Liga. In CEV Champions League, Sopot lost a 19-25, 25-14, 25-19, 25-18 match to Turkey’s VakifBank Istanbul on Nov. 26. Hill started the fourth set after being a sub in the second and third sets. She compiled four kills and an ace for five points in the loss. VakifBank, which has now won 63 consecutive matches, will host Sopt on Dec. 4 in the fourth round of Pool C. In the Polish Orlen League, Sopot handled eighth-place Siodemka SK Bank Legionovia (2-7) 19-25, 25-15, 25-15, 25-17 on Nov. 29. Hill subbed into the match during the first set and started the rest of the match. She provided 15 points via 14 kills on 27 attacks with just one error to go with one ace. Hill added a 50 positive reception percent. Sopot, now 7-2 and in second place in the Orlen League standings with 21 points, returns to regular season action on Dec. 8 against league-leader KPS Chemik Police (9-0, 26 points).

ADAMS WITH TAURON MKS DABROWA IN POLAND: Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio), a middle blocker on the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, is playing in Poland this winter with Tauron MKS Dabrowa Gornicza. In CEV Champions League action, Tauron MKS Dabrowa (1-2) dropped a 25-12, 16-25, 25-15, 25-18 match to Switzerland’s Volero Zurich on Nov. 28. Adams racked up 10 points with nine kills on 19 attacks and an ace. The two teams meet again in the fourth leg of Pool F on Dec. 4 in Poland. In the Polish Orlen League, Tauron topped ninth-place KS Palac Bydgoszcz (1-8, 3 points) 25-19, 25-20, 25-21 on Dec. 1. In a starting role, Adams contributed eight kills on 11 attacks, three blocks and an ace for 12 points. Tauron, now 4-5 with 10 points for seventh place, takes on eighth-place Siodemka SK Bank Legionovia (2-7, 9 points) on Dec. 7 in its next league match. Adams is maintaining a blog during her travels, and is open to the public at rachadams.com.

HAGGLUND, MIYASHIRO WITH VILSBIBURG IN GERMANY: Libero Tamari Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii), a libero on the 2012 U.S. Olympic silver-medal team, and setter Jenna Hagglund (West Chester, Ohio) are playing for Rote Raben Vilsbiburg in the German league this winter. In addition, Americans Dominique Lamb and Michelle Bartsch are competing on the squad. Vilsbiburg (17-11 in sets, 15 points) was idle in the German league this past week and resumes action on Dec. 7 against VC Wiesbaden. In CEV Cup action, Vilsbiburg will challenge LP Salo in the 8th Final Round home-and-home series with matches on Dec. 4 and Dec. 11.

LLOYD WITH CONEGLIANO IN ITALY: Setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif.) is competing for Imoco Volley Conegliano in the Italian Serie A league for this winter season. In the Italian Serie A1 regular season, In CEV Champions League action Conegliano improved to 3-0 by edging Azeryol Baku 23-25, 25-19, 22-25, 25-15, 15-10 in a home match on Nov. 28. Lloyd set Conegliano to a 43 kill percent of the match while adding two individual kills on four errorless attacks and two blocks for four points. On the other side of the net, American Jessy Jones tallied 10 points including a match-high eight blocks in a starting role for Azeryol. The teams meet again on Dec. 3 in the fourth leg of Pool E. In Italian Serie A1 action, Conegliano handed its first loss of the season by Liu Jo Modena 25-23, 25-15, 25-23 on Nov. 30. Lloyd set Conegliano to a 38 kill percent for the match, while adding a kill and ace for two individual points. Conegliano (3-1, 9 points), which is in second place, moves into the Italian Serie A1 Sixth Round on Dec. 8 as it faces 11th-place Banca di Forli (0-5, 0 points).

HILDEBRAND WITH AMIL IN BRAZIL: Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah), an outside hitter with the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, is playing this winter with Volei Amil in the Brazil Super League. Amil defeated Banana Boat/Praia Clube 19-21, 21-16, 14-21, 21-18, 15-9 on Nov. 29. Hildebrand turned in six points on three kills and three blocks as Amil’s offense centered on Tandara Caixeta and her match-leading 37 points. Amil travels to Sao Paulo on Dec. 3 to face Sesi-Sao Paulo.

KIM GLASS WITH BANANA BOAT/PRAIA CLUBE IN BRAZIL: Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.), a 2008 U.S. Olympic silver medalist, is playing in the Brazilian Super League this winter with Banana Boat/Praia Clube. Banana Boat/Praia Clube lost a heart-breaking 19-21, 21-16, 14-21, 21-18, 15-9 match to Volei Amil on Nov. 29 as the Brazilian Super League resume action after a break for the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup. Glass contributed a team-high 15 points with 12 kills on 28 attacks and three aces. She added 17 digs in the match. Banana Boat resumes action on Dec. 3 versus Molico/Nestle. To follow her blog, click here.

SCOTT WITH BRASILIA IN BRAZIL: Danielle Scott (Baton Rouge, La.), a five-time U.S. Olympian playing middle blocker and two-time Olympic silver medalist, is competing in Brazil this club season with Brasilia Volei. Brasilia has been idle since a Nov. 1 victory and will not resume Brazil Super League action until facing Minas on Dec. 3.

BERGSMA WITH MINAS IN BRAZIL: Alaina Bergsma (Chandler, Ariz.), who trained with the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team in the summer of 2013 after winning the 2012 AVCA Division I National Player of the Year, is playing for Minas Tenis Clube in Brazil this season. After a Brazil Super League hiatus due to the FIVB Grand Champions Cup in Japan, Minas resumed league action on Nov. 29 with a 22-20, 21-16, 21-13 loss to Unilever. Bergsma compiled seven points with six kills on 26 attacks and a block. Minas takes on Brasilia on Dec. 3 in its next league match.

AKINRADEWO, BANWARTH, JACKSON WITH RABITA IN AZERBAIJAN: Middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.), a 2012 U.S. Olympic silver medalist, libero Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa), Cursty Jackson (Los Angeles) and Brittnee Cooper are part of Rabita Baku for the 2013-14 club season. Rabita Baku swept Dresdner SC 25-19, 25-23, 25-20 on Nov. 27 to improve to 3-0 in the CEV Champions League. Jackson started the match and provided three kills and two blocks in the victory as Banwarth and Cooper did not play. On the other side of the net, American Becky Perry led Dresdner with 17 points in the loss. In the fourth round of Pool A, Rabita Baku returns home in a re-match with Dresdner SC on Dec. 5.

WILLOUGHBY WITH IGTISADCHI IN AZERBAIJAN: Kim Willoughby (Napoleonville, La.), a 2008 U.S. Olympic Games silver medalist, is competing for Igtisadchi of the Azerbaijan Super League in 2013-14. In CEV Champions League action, Igtisadchi lost to Italy’s Rebecchi Meccanica Piacenza 25-16, 25-18, 21-25, 25-20 on Nov. 27. Willoughby came off the bench in the first two sets and started the final two sets in contributing seven kills on 15 attacks with just one error. Wilson did not play in the match. The two teams meet again in the fourth leg of Pool B on Dec. 5 in Italy.

GIBBEMEYER, CRIMES AND DOSTY WITH LOKOMOTIV BAKU: Middle blocker Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.) is playing for Lokomotiv Baku in the Azerbaijan Super League. In addition, former National Team middle blocker Alexis Crimes (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) and American Whitney Dosty are playing for Lokomotiv. Lokomotiv topped Azerreyl 25-23, 25-21, 25-21 on Nov. 30 in the third round of the Azerbaijan Super League to improve to 5-6 in sets played with four points. In CEV Cup action, Lokomotiv Baku faces Hapoel KFAR SABA in the 8th Final Round home-and-home series with matches on Dec. 5 and Dec, 11. To follow her blog throughout the year, visit laurengibby.blogspot.com.

DAVIS WITH DINAMO ROMPREST IN ROMANIA: Libero Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.), a two-time Olympic Games silver medalist with the U.S., is playing for Dinamo Romprest Bucharest in Romania this winter. After a break in the CEV Champions League, Dinamo Romprest defeated GENT Dames 25-20, 25-17, 25-15 on Nov. 27 for its first victory in the league in three matches. Davis was credited with a 78 positive reception percent (56 excellent percent) on nine chances to help Dinamo Romprest to a 56 kill percent as a team. Dinamo Romprest (1-2) challenges GENT Dames in a rematch on Dec. 4 in Belgium. Dinamo Romprest lost its first league match of the season, a 25-23, 25-21, 25-21 match to Stiinta Bacua on Nov. 30. Dinamo Romprest will look to regroup on Dec. 7 against CSM Bucuresti.

OPEN TRYOUTS: The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team will hold its annual open tryout Feb. 21-23, 2014, at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo. The tryout process will be used primarily to identify prospective athletes for the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team. Athletes not invited to participate with the National Team may be invited to attend a second tryout as part of the U.S. Collegiate National Teams program (formerly U.S. Women’s Senior A2 Teams). To be eligible for the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team through this tryout, athletes must have concluded their collegiate eligibility. This program could begin as early as the spring of 2014, or when the athlete’s academic year or professional club season has concluded. Athletes with remaining collegiate eligibility will be eligible for the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, as well as the U.S. Collegiate National Teams program, which consists of two different options if selected. For the complete press release, visit click here.