U.S. Women's Update: Gibbemeyer Near Perfect Week

By Bill Kauffman | April 08, 2014, 7:35 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 8, 2014) – Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.), a middle blocker on the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, took a few minutes for the above video interview to discuss her introduction to volleyball, benefits to playing multiple sports as a young player, words of wisdom she gives to young athletes, why she fell in love with volleyball, a turning point in her career that elevated her level of play and who she considers her favorite inspirational athlete in the latest U.S. Women’s Update.

JEAN GAERTNER – 50 YEARS OF OLYMPIC VOLLEYBALL SPOTLIGHT: Jean Gaertner was a two-sport Olympian and helped make history playing in the first-ever Olympic Games for volleyball at the 1964 Tokyo Games. In addition, the 1964 Games marked the first Olympics featuring a women’s team sport. Gaertner and her 1964 Olympic Games teammates will be honored May 21 during USA Volleyball’s Boyce Banquet in Phoenix as part of the 50 Years of Olympic Volleyball celebration. Gaertner, a 1971 USA Volleyball All-Time Great Player honoree, competed in both the 1959 and 1963 Pan American Games as Team USA finished with the silver medal prior to the 1964 Olympics. Domestically, Gaertner won the USA Volleyball National Championships eight times and garnered first-team All-American honors seven times, National Outstanding Player three times and Regional Outstanding Player three times. Away from the volleyball court, Gaertner excelled on the track as she was a 1960 Olympian in the high jump. For more details and to purchase banquet tickets, click here.

FINAL U.S COLLEGIATE NATIONAL TEAM PROGRAM SELECTED: USA Volleyball has selected 36 athletes to participate in the U.S. Collegiate National Team (CNT) program that will train and compete in conjunction with the USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships from June 22 to July 1 in Minneapolis. This CNT program includes nine middle blockers, nine outside hitters, six opposites, six setters and six liberos. To view the roster, click here. For the third consecutive year, USA Volleyball will have its U.S. Collegiate National Team program (formerly known as U.S. Women’s National A2 Team) represented at the USAV Girls’ Junior National Championships. After the training portion of the program, the 36 athletes will be divided into three equal teams which will compete in a round-robin event June 27-30. The round-robin event may add an international team to increase the field to four teams that would complete June 26-30. This program is considered a second tryout for the U.S. Women’s National Team. In April, U.S. Collegiate National Team rosters were announced for the China Tour program (click here) and the European Tour program (click here). A total of 60 athletes have been selected to compete as part of the U.S. Collegiate National Team program.

GIBBEMEYER, 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, while middle blocker Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.) transferred to Conegliano in February. Conegliano concluded the final week of the regular season with two victories, starting with a 25-17, 27-25, 25-18 win over Pomi Casalmaggiore on April 2. Lloyd set the squad to a 47 kill percent and .362 hitting efficiency (44-10-94). Gibbemeyer turned in eight kills on 12 errorless attacks to go with three blocks for 11 points. In the final match, Conegliano topped Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio 33-31, 23-25, 25-21, 28-26 in a lengthy four-set match played in front of 4,400 fans. Gibbemeyer totaled 13 kills on 21 errorless attacks and four blocks for 17 points. Lloyd set the squad to a 36 kill percent and added three individual kills and three blocks for six points. For the week, Gibbemeyer held a .636 hitting efficiency without an attack error. With the two victories, Conegliano finished second in the league standings with a 16-4 record and 47 points, nine more than third-place Foppapedretti Bergamo. Conegliano begins the best-of-three quarterfinal round on April 9 against seventh-seed Pomi Casalmaggiore with the second match scheduled for April 12. The tiebreaker, if needed will be played April 15.

MURPHY WITH NOVARA IN ITALY: Opposite Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) joined Igo Gorgonzola Novara in the Italian Serie A1 league midway through the league schedule. Novara eased past Banca Di Forli 25-20, 25-23, 25-11 on April 2. Murphy posted 17 points with 15 kills on 24 attacks and two blocks. Novara ended the regular season with a second-straight sweep with a 29-27, 29-27, 25-21 victory over Pomi Casalmaggiore. Murphy charted 18 points with 14 kills on 33 swings, three blocks and an ace. Novara ended the regular season in fourth place with a 12-8 record and 35 points. Novara begins the best-of-three quarterfinals on April 10 against fifth-seed Liu Jo Modena, followed by an April 13 contest. If necessary, the tiebreaking match will be played April 16.

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. Volei Amil will get back on the court on April 8, 11 days after wrapping up its best-of-three quarterfinal series in two matches, as it faces third-seed Unilever in the best-of-three semifinal round series. The second match of the series is scheduled for April 12, and if necessary, match three will be played April 18.

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, the fifth seed in the Brazilian Super League playoffs, lost the tie-breaking third match of the best-of-three quarterfinal round series with fourth-seed Sesi Sao Paulo but didn’t go down with a fight. Banana Boat went up 2-1 after the first three sets (21-17, 14-21, 21-19). However, Sesi came back to win the final two sets 21-13, 15-9. Glass came off the bench in the third set as a sub and started the final two sets to provide six points including three kills, two aces and a block. With the loss, Banana Boat was eliminated from the playoffs.

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. With its best-of-five semifinal round series tied at 1-1 heading into this weekend, Sopot lost twice to be eliminated from the playoff championships. Impel Wroclaw took a 2-1 series lead with a 25-11, 25-13, 25-19 home victory on April 7. Hill started the first two sets and contributed one point. Impel closed out the series at home with a 21-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-16 victory on April 8. Hill produced five kills on 19 attacks and a block for six points in the loss. She added a 69 positive reception percent on a team-leading 29 chances while starting just the first two sets.

ADAMS WITH TAURON BANIMEX 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 Banimex Dabrowa Gornicza. In the Polish Orlen League Playoffs, was eliminated from the best-of-five semifinal round series agaist KPS Chemik Police after losing 24-26, 25-18, 19-25, 25-22, 15-11 on April 4 in the third match. Adams scored 13 points in the match with six kills on 11 attacks with just one error to go with a team-high six blocks and an ace. Adams is maintaining a blog during her travels, and is open to the public at rachadams.com.

FAWCETT WITH PONCE IN PUERTO RICO: Opposite Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio), who was part of two gold medal-winning U.S. teams this past summer, transferred to Ponce of the Puerto Rico Super League after the completion of her Korea Volleyball League season. In her third match with Ponce, Fawcett scored 18 points with 14 kills, three aces and a block to lead her squad to a 25-18, 25-21, 25-18 victory over Juncos on April 3. Ponce concluded the regular season with a 25-21, 25-23, 25-14 victory over Catano on April 5. Fawcett scored seven kills, five blocks and an ace for 13 points. Ponce is in group A of the playoffs with Carolina and Catano. Group B includes Caguas, Mayaguez and Humacao. Each team in the quarterfinal round group will play four matches, or home-and-home series against each team its group. The top two teams in each group advance to the semifinals. Ponce opens the playoffs on April 9 against Catano, followed by Carolina on April 12, Catano on April 13 and Carolina on April 16.

NOTES FROM PUERTO RICO: Americans Falyn Fonoimoana and Kim Willoughby, a 2008 U.S. Olympian, finished first and second in scoring during the 2014 Puerto Rico Super League. Caguas’ Fonoimoana edged Humacao’s Willoughby by a single point, 423-422. Willoughby led the league with 387 kills. Lauren Cook dominated at setter with 366 assists for Guaynabo. Stephanie Niemer led the league in aces with 44 for Carolina.

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. After winning the Swiss League double-round robin playoffs with a 10-0 record, Volero started the Final Round with a 25-13, 25-23, 25-21 victory over Volley Koniz on April 5. The second match of the best-of-three series will take place on April 9, while the tiebreaking third-match is scheduled for April 12 if needed.

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. Kazan defeated fourth-place Dinamo Moscow 25-18, 25-15, 25-20 on April 2. Larson-Burbach contributed nine kills on 24 attacks with just one error to go with a block for 10 points. She also converted 17 receptions into a 65 positive percent (59 excellent percent). With the league title wrapped up, Dinamo Kazan used its youth team to play Hara Maureen on April 6 and lost 25-10, 25-14, 25-11 – its first setback in 19 league matches. Kazan, 18-1 and with a nine-point lead over second-place Dinamo Krasnodar, challenges Ufimochka-UGNTU on April 10 in its second-to-last league match.

NEWCOMBE WITH TYUMEN IN RUSSIA: Sonja Newcombe (Lake Arrowhead, Calif.), an outside hitter on the U.S. Women’s National Team, is playing for Tyumen in the Russia Super League. Tyumen battled past Proton 23-25, 25-19, 25-22, 23-25, 22-20 in a lengthy five-set victory on April 2. Newcombe, who started the second and third sets and sub in the other three, compiled 10 points with eight kills on 28 attacks, one block and once ace. Tyumen lost to Dinamo Moscow 25-19, 25-12, 25-18 on April 6. Newcombe, who was a sub in the opening set and started the second set, had 10 attacks and four receptions in the match. Tyumen, which is in sixth place with 22 points, faces Odintsovo on April 10 in its second-to-last league match.

ALISHA GLASS WITH FENERBAHCE IN TURKEY: Setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) is competing this winter with Fenerbahce in Turkey. On the heels of capturing the CEV Cup title, Fenerbahce opened the Turkish League best-of-three quarterfinal final series with a 25-20, 25-22, 25-16 victory over Besiktas on April 3. Fenerbahce closed out the series with a 25-16, 25-21, 25-22 victory on April 6. Glass, who was instrumental in the CEV Cup title, did not play in the match. Fenerbahce has advanced to the semifinals along with VakifBank, Ecacibasi and Galatasaray.

HOOD WITH ILBANK IN TURKEY: Outside hitter Regan Hood (Dallas) is playing for Ilbank of the Turkish League this winter. Ilbank lost its opening best-of-three quarterfinal series with Eczacibasi 25-22, 25-22, 25-16 on April 2. Hood notched 11 points in the loss with seven kills on 20 attacks and four blocks. Eczacibasi closed out the series with a 25-19, 25-27, 25-14, 25-15 victory on April 5. Hood tallied nine points with nine kills on 20 attacks in the season finale for Ilbank. She added a 43 positive reception percent, handling 40 of 82 service receptions.

BANWARTH, JACKSON WITH RABITA IN AZERBAIJAN: Libero Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa), Cursty Jackson (Los Angeles) and Tori Dixon are part of Rabita Baku for the 2013-14 club season. In the Azerbaijan Super League, Rabita Baku defeated Azerrail 25-13, 25-13, 25-15 on April 2. However, Rabita lost for the second time in the Azerbaijan Super League with a 23-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-19 setback to AzerYol Baku on April 4. However, Rabita Baku captured the regular season title with 38 points versus 34 points for second-place AzerYol Baku. Rabita Baku opened the best-of-three semifinal round series with a 22-25, 25-11, 25-23, 25-21 victory over Azerrail on April 7. Dixon scored 11 points with 10 kills and a block. The series continues on April 9, and if necessary, the tiebreaking match will be played April 11.

LICHTMAN WITH LOKOMOTIV IN AZERBAIJAN: Cassidy Lichtman (Poway, Calif.), an outside hitter with the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, joined Lokomotiv Baku late in the 2013-14 season to compete in Azerbaijan Super League. Lokomotiv lost to AzerYol Baku 23-25, 25-22, 26-24, 26-24 on April 2. Lokomotiv did not qualify for the semifinal round.