US Women's Update: AVCA Connections

By Bill Kauffman | Dec. 17, 2013, 11:37 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 17, 2013) – The current U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team Weekly update released on Dec. 17 includes briefs on U.S. players.

HARMOTTO ENGAGED: Christa Harmotto announced her engagement to Derek Dietzen on Dec. 12 through her social media channels. Harmotto helped the U.S. Women capture the 2012 U.S. Olympic Games silver medal as a starting middle blocker.

AUTOGRAPHS AT NCAA MATCHES: Lindsey Berg (Honolulu), Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) and Tama Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii) will be signing autographs prior to the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship semifinal matches on Thursday, Dec. 19, at Key Arena in Seattle. Berg is a two-time Olympic Games silver medalist, while Sykora earned the silver at the 2008 Olympic Games and Miyashiro earned the 2012 Olympic Games silver medal. Miyashiro is a hometown favorite in Seattle as she played collegiately at University of Washington.

THOMPSON TAKES SPOTLIGHT IN AVCA CONVENTION: Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) will have her story told through the volleyball documentary “Court & Spark”, which debuts this week during the American Volleyball Coaches Association Annual Convention being held in conjunction with the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship in Seattle. The documentary, which will air initially on Dec. 20 at 2:30 p.m. PT during the AVCA Convention followed by a 7 p.m. PT showing that night at Club Live in Key Arena, explores who 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. Thompson will be on hand during the AVCA Convention and the showings. 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. “The everyday life of an American professional female athlete overseas remains little-known to most sports fans,” said Mechelle Voepel of “Court & Spark gives an insightful window into that life, while also providing a look at how volleyball continues to grow in the United States. It's the story of both one woman and the sport that she's turned into her young life's work.” To view the documentary preview, visit click here.

COLLYMORE SIGNING NATIONAL ANTHEM AT NCAA:> Jane Collymore, who was part of the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team from 2005 to 2009, will sing the National Anthem prior to the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship semifinal matches in Seattle’s Key Arena on Thursday, Dec. 19. She released her second album called Zion in October 2013 and signed a record deal with HWY1 Records. Zion, a seven-track album available for $8, follows up her debut album The Garden. Collymore has wrote, performed, produced and engineered both albums she has released. To learn more about Collymore or to purchase her album, visit janecollymore.

HOOKER GIVES BIRTH TO DAUGHTER: Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas), a 2012 Olympic Games silver medalist and Best Spiker of the event, gave birth to her first child last week. Hooker and husband Steven Coulter welcomed daughter Keitany into the world on Dec. 12. On her arrival, Hooker tweeted “She’s here!!!! My Baby girl is here.” Later that day she tweeted “I'm looking forward to getting back on the court. I can not wait!!” To download a computer wallpaper of Hooker and a photo gallery, click here.

KARCH BLOG: Karch Kiraly is well known as a three-time Olympic Games gold medalist and current head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team. Over the past three years, he has been sharing his wisdom through blogs with subscribers to USA Volleyball’s quarterly magazine, VolleyballUSA. Now, readers will have the opportunity to either revisit those share-worthy blogs or read them for the first time online by click here.Through Dec. 17, blogs titled “One Question All Players Should Ask Themselves”, “Pass or Fail” and “10 Things I Learned from Playing in the Olympics” have been published. Additional blogs will be added through the rest of the year.

ALISHA GLASS, BANWARTH HONORED BY USA VOLLEYBALL: Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) was named the 2013 USA Volleyball Female Indoor Athlete of the Year and libero Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa) earned the USA Volleyball Female Indoor Most Improved Player of the Year. “It's quite an honor to be named USA Volleyball Indoor Athlete of the Year,” Glass said. “It's an amazing organization and an amazing group of girls. I want to thank the staff for creating an environment where athletes can truly learn and grow, both on and off the court. I also want to thank my teammates for committing to the process and our team goals; everyone is doing their best to make the team the best that they can be by 2016. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of such a special journey.” For the full story, click here.

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 checking out the USA Volleyball’s social media page clicking here. Below are some sweet tweets from the week.

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. Volero Zurich topped Stiinta Bacau 25-16, 25-23, 26-28, 25-23 on Dec. 12 to improve to 3-2 in the CEV Champions League. Thompson led Volero to a 44 kill percent and was a force on the service line with six of her team’s nine aces. She added a kill on one attack for a seven-point performance. Volero ended the first round on a high-note by defeating pool winner Dinamo Kazan 23-25, 23-25, 25-20, 30-28, 15-8 on Dec. 17. Thompson came off the bench to start the final four sets, lifting Volero to a 52 kill percent for the match. She added one kill and one aces for two points. Volero ends its first-round pool in second place with a 4-2 record.

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 rallied to defeat Jiangsu 26-24, 29-31, 24-26, 25-18, 15-6 on Dec. 12. Faucette scored 21 points with 16 kills on 34 attacks and five blocks in the victory. Hodge picked up 16 kills on 55 attacks as part of a 19-point night. Hodge totaled 17 digs and Faucette added 11 digs. Evergrande, now 5-0 overall in its regular season pool, holds a two-match lead over second place Shanghai and Beijing Automotive.

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. Shanghai was edged by Beijing Automotive 25-23, 25-15, 25-27, 20-25, 15-6 on Dec. 12. Bown contributed 16 points with 14 kills in the loss. Spicer was credite with 56 running sets in starting the final two sets after subbing in the first and third sets. Shanghai is now 3-2 overall for a second-place tie with Beijing Automotive.

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 blanked Dresdner SC 25-18, 25-22, 25-20 on Dec. 14 in the DVV Cup semifinal round. Hagglund set Vilsbiburg to a 53 kill percent as Bartsch turned in a match-high 17 points with 13 kills on 27 attacks, three aces and a block to be named most valuable player of the match. Lamb added five kills on seven errorless attacks, four aces and five blocks. In CEV Cup action, Vilsbiburg won the second home-and-home 8th Final Round match versus LP Salo with a 26-24, 13-25, 23-25, 25-12, 15-7 victory on Dec. 11. However, LP Salo advanced to the next round as it won the first match in four sets.

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 (5-0, 15 points) remained undefeated with a 25-22, 25-21, 25-20 victory over Poland’s Tauron MKS Dabrowa Gornicza on Dec. 11. Larson-Burbach produced nine points with seven kills, one block and one ace in the victory, while also turning in a 62 positive reception percent on 13 errorless chances. In its final first-round CEV Champions League pool match, Kazan rested three starters including Larson-Burbach and the younger squad was not able to finish a five-set loss to second-place Volero Zurich 23-25, 23-25, 25-20, 30-28, 15-8 on Dec. 17. Kazan’s loss was its first in the opening round, finishing with a 5-1 record to Volero’s 4-2. Both teams advanced to the CEV Champions League Round of 12. In the Russia Super League, Kazan (7-0) is idle until Dec. 20 when it challenges Hara Maureen on Dec. 20.

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. Minas stopped Maranhao 19-21, 21-17, 21-17, 21-14 on Dec. 10. Bergsma started for Minas and tallied four points in the first two sets. Minas earned its second win of the week on Dec. 13 with a 21-18, 9-21, 21-14, 13-21, 15-12 victory over Barueri. Bergsma started the first three sets, scoring six points in the process.

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 blanked Mananhao 21-17, 21-18, 21-8 on Dec. 13. Hildebrand contributed five points as Amil had balanced scoring in over-matching the visitors.

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 had its two-match win streak halted on Dec. 10 with a 16-21, 19-21, 21-14, 21-12, 15-9 loss to Banana Boat. Scott pocketed a team-high 16 points with nine kills on 16 attacks and seven blocks. Brasilia suffered a second straight loss on Dec. 13 in falling to Unilever 21-18, 22-24, 21-13, 21-11. Scott collected six points in the match.

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 overcame a two-set deficit to defeat Brasilia 16-21, 19-21, 21-14, 21-12, 15-9 on Dec. 10 as Glass did not suit for the match. Glass returned to the lineup and tallied 11 points in Banana Boat’s 16-21, 21-15, 21-23, 21-14, 15-13 victory over Sao Cristovao on Dec. 13. To follow her blog, click here.

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 (1-4, 4 points) lost to undefeated Dinamo Kazan 25-22, 25-21, 25-20 on Dec. 11 in a Pool F match. Adams pocketed five kills on 10 attacks with a block for six points. Tauron lost its final CEV Champions League first-round match 20-25, 31-29, 25-16, 25-23 to Stiinta Bacau on Dec. 17. Adams scored 10 points in the setback with five kills on 11 attacks, four blocks and an ace. With the loss, Tauron was knocked out of the CEV Champions League, finishing with a 1-5 record and six points. In the Polish Orlen League, Tauron rallied past Atom Trefl Sopot 26-24, 16-25, 22-25, 26-24, 16-14 on Dec. 14. Tauron trailed 12-7 in the deciding fifth set before scoring nine of the final 11 points. Adams scored six kills on 12 attacks, two blocks and two aces in the victory. Tauron, now in fifth place with a 6-5 record and 18 points, challenges league-leader KPS Chemik Police (9-2, 27 points) on Dec. 21 in its next Olen League match. Adams is maintaining a blog during her travels, and is open to the public at

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 blanked GENT Dames 25-23, 25-14, 25-21 on Dec. 11 with Hill not playing. Sopot ended the first round with a 23-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-20 victory over Romania’s Dinamo Romprest Bucuresti (2-4) to advance to the Round of 12 with a 4-2 record and 12 points. Hill started the final two sets in compiling 10 points with seven kills and three aces in the victory. In the Polish Orlen League, Sopot led 12-7 in the deciding fifth set against Tauron MKS Dabrowa Gornicza before falling 26-24, 16-25, 22-25, 26-24, 16-14 on Dec. 14. Hill did not play in the match. Sopot (8-3, 24 points), which is in third place in the Orlen League, looks to get back in the win column on Dec. 30 against seventh-place Polski Cukier Muszynianka (5-5, 14 points).

HOOD WITH ILBANK IN TURKEY: Outside hitter Regan Hood (Dallas) is playing for Ilbank of the Turkish League this winter. Ilbank swept Sariyer 28-26, 25-14, 25-15 on Dec. 15. Hood totaled 11 points with six kills on 15 attacks with just one error to go with a match-high four blocks and one ace. She also handled 19 of 48 service receptions with a 42 positive percent.

ALISHA GLASS WITH FENERBAHCE IN TURKEY: Setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) is competing this winter with Fenerbahce in Turkey. In the Turkish League, Fenerbahce edge Eczacibasi 25-20, 22-25, 25-21, 20-25, 15-11 on Dec. 14. Glass did not suit in the match. In CEV Cup action, Fenerbahce completed its 8th Final Round home-and-home series sweep of Orbita-ZTMC-ZNU Zaporozhye on Dec. 11 to advance to the 4th Final Round. Fenerbahce will face LP Salo in the home-and-home series on Jan. 14 and Jan. 21.

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 stopped Schweriner SC 25-15, 25-17, 25-15 on Dec. 11, followed by a 17-25, 28-26, 25-19, 25-23 victory over Czech Republic’s Agel Prostejov on Dec. 17 to advance to the Round of 12. Eczacibasi, which went undefeated (6-0, 18 points) in the first round, claimed both victories without Harmotto being available for the match.

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 4-1 in Pool E after blanking Italian rival Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio 25-20, 25-15, 26-24 on Dec. 11. Lloyd set her squad to a 42 kill percent for the match with a .299 hitting efficiency. She added two blocks and an individual kill in the victory, which secured Conegliano a ticket to the Playoff 12 round. In a battle of the top two teams in Pool F, Conegliano was unable to hold a two-set advantage over Turkey’s Galatasaray Daikin Istanbul, falling 24-26, 23-25, 25-19, 25-15, 15-3 on Dec. 17 to finish in second place. However, Conegliano had already assured itself a spot into the CEV Champions League Round of 12 regardless of the match outcome. Lloyd set Conegliano to a 34 kill percent for the match while scoring a block and kill for herself. In Italian Serie A1 action, Conegliano lost to Foppapedretti Bergamo 26-24, 25-19, 22-25, 25-19 on Dec. 14 to fall to 4-2 overall with 12 points. Lloyd set Conegliano to a 36 kill percent and provided one individual kill. Conegliano (4-2, 12 points), now in fourth place in the Italian Serie A1, resumes Italian League action on Dec. 22 against league-leader Rebecchi Nordmeccanica Piacenza (6-0, 18 points).

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. In CEV Champions League play, Rabita Baku held off Beziers Volley 25-15, 23-25, 25-10, 27-25 on Dec. 11. Jackson tallied 10 points with seven kills on 11 errorless attacks, two aces and a block. Banwarth saw her first action in the CEV Champions League after subbing in the second and fourth sets. Rabita Baku concluded the first round of the CEV Champions League with a 25-19, 25-22, 23-25, 19-25, 15-11 victory over Russia’s Omichka on Dec. 17. Cooper scored eight points in starting the final three sets, while Jackson tallied two points in playing the first two sets. Banwarth was a sub and handled both her service receptions without fault. Rabita finished the first round with a 6-0 record and 16 points out of a possible 18. Omichka finished second with a 4-2 record.

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 Russia’s Dinamo Moscow (4-1, 13 points) 25-23, 25-17, 25-18 in Moscow on Dec. 10. Willoughby scored three points and totaled five reception attempts in the loss. Igtisadchi concluded the first round with a 27-29, 25-13, 25-13, 25-12 victory over Crvena Zvezda Beograd to even its record to 3-3 overall. Willoughby was one of five Igtisadchi players in double digits as she scored 11 kills on 28 attacks with an ace for 12 points. She added 15 service receptions. The victory propelled Igtisadchi into the Round of 12 as the best third-place finishing team in the opening round.

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. In CEV Cup action, Lokomotiv Baku swept the home-and-home series against Hapoel Kfar Saba with a 25-18, 25-14, 25-11 victory in the 8th Final Round on Dec. 11. Lokomotiv will now face Polski Cukier Fakro Muzyna in the 4th Final Round home-and-home series on Jan. 14 and Jan. 21. To follow her blog throughout the year, click here.

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. In the CEV Champions League, Dinamo Romprest lost to Pool C leader VakifBank Istanbul (5-0, 15 points) 25-23, 25-21, 25-17 on Dec. 11. Davis handled 15 receptions with a 53 positive percent. However, Dinamo Romprest could not keep the momentum in falling to Poland’s Atom Trefl Sopot 23-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-10 on Dec. 17 to conclude the opening round. Davis handled 25 of the team’s 87 service receptions with a 48 excellent percent. With the loss, Dinamo Romprest (2-4, 6 points) falls into the Challenge Round of the CEV Cup in February.

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, click here.