U.S. Women's Update: Court & Spark A Winner

April 22, 2014, 5:37 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 22, 2014) – Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) recently helped her professional club Volero Zurich win the Swiss National League championship for the ninth time in 10 years, but she is the subject of a different kind of honor that was awarded last week.

Thompson was the main subject in “Court & Spark: A Volleyball Documentary”, which debuted in Seattle in December of 2013 during the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship. The film was awarded a Platinum Remi (best in classification) in the Sports Documentary Category at the Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival. At its debut in Seattle, the documentary received high marks on describing the life of a volleyball player overseas as it followed Thompson in the dead of winter in the heart of Poland where she was playing for Lodz Boat Builders for the 2012-13 season. Through Thompson’s experiences, the film touched on sport, gender, parents, coaches, competition, ethics, money and success.

Some of the feedback on the documentary:

  • “ENGAGING and INSPIRING ... a solid ACE” – Volleyball Magazine
  • “An INSIGHTFUL window into a little-known world” – Mechelle Voepel, ESPN.com
  • “A lesson in CHASING DREAMS—and catching them—without losing yourself in the process” – Nicole Brodeur, The Seattle Times
  • “An INCREDIBLE story” – Kevin Barnett, Broadcaster/Olympian

If you missed out on buying your copy of “Court & Spark: A Volleyball Documentary”, it is now available for download for $9.99 or streaming rental for $4.99. Click here for purchasing information. All proceeds from the film will be re-invested in the creation of volleyball programs in the Puget Sound Region of USA Volleyball.

Court & Spark, a co-production by Jack and Leslie Hamann for the Puget Sound Region, has an affiliate program that allows USA Volleyball clubs and teams to use the online distribution of the film as a fundraiser. By simply sharing a link through their social media or embedding a player on their website, teams and clubs can share 20 percent of all the revenue they generate in Court & Spark online sales and share the film with their members and their friends at affordable prices. Clubs wishing to use Court & Spark as a fundraiser need to email mati@psrvb.org to get started.

MARY JO PEPPLER – 50 YEARS OF OLYMPIC VOLLEYBALL SPOTLIGHT: Mary Jo Peppler had a Volleyball Hall of Fame career, which included playing in the first-ever Olympic Games to feature volleyball at the 1964 Tokyo Games – the first Olympics to include a women’s team sport. Peppler would later help Team USA to the gold medal at the 1967 Pan American Games and was named most outstanding player of the 1970 FIVB World Championship. Domestically, she was named the USA Volleyball National Open Tournament most valuable player four times and competed on gold-medal winning teams in 1966, 1973 and 1981. Overall, Peppler earned All-American honors 11 times. Professionally, she was a player/coach for the El Paso Sol (1975) and Phoenix Heat (1976) of the International Volleyball Association, as well as Major League Volleyball’s New York Liberties in 1987 and 1988. Peppler 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. For more details and to purchase banquet tickets, click here.

GET YOUR WORLD QUALIFIER TICKETS NOW: USA Volleyball will host concurrent men’s and women’s 2014 FIVB World Championship NORCECA third-round qualification tournaments May 15-18 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Colorado Springs. Both the men’s and women’s champions earn a spot into their respective FIVB World Championship. The U.S. Women will host Guatemala, Honduras and Panama in round-robin action on May 15-17 with the medal-round matches on May 18. The U.S. Men will host Guatemala, Haiti and St. Lucia. Daily passes for both the men’s and women’s tournaments are $10, while event passes for all four days is $30. To order tickets, click here. The Colorado Springs Sports Corp will serve as the local organizer. Additional details for both gender tournaments will be posted on the event landing page (click here) as available.

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, the top seed in the Russia Super League playoffs, opened the quarterfinal round with a 25-20, 25-20, 25-20 victory over No. 8 Fakel Novy Urengoy on April 22. Larson-Burbach contributed 13 points in the victory. For a photo gallery of the match, click here. The second and final match in the home-and-home series takes place on April 23.

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, the No. 7 seed in the Russia Super League playoffs, lost its opening quarterfinal round series match to No. 2 seed Omichka 25-18, 25-15, 25-15 on April 20. Newcombe started the match and scored two points in the first set. The series continues on April 23.

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. Ponce defeated Mayaguez 25-23, 24-26, 28-26, 25-21 on April 19 to open its best-of-seven semifinal round series. Fawcett tallied 19 points with 15 kills, two blocks and two aces while adding 19 digs. American teammate Airial Salvo added a match-high 25 points to go with 21 digs and 21 receptions in the victory. On the opposite side of the net, past U.S. Women’s National Team member Shonda Cole scored 25 points, while Diane Copenhagen turned in 20 points. Ponce opened up a 2-0 lead in the semifinal series after claiming a 25-21, 25-13, 25-27, 25-16 victory on April 21. Fawcett notched a team-high 22 points with 20 kills, one block and one ace while adding 10 digs. Salvo tacked on 17 points and 12 digs in the victory. Cole led all players with 26 points in the loss, while Copenhagen chipped in 16 points. The series continues on April 23 and April 25. If necessary, the series will extend to April 27, April 29 and May 1.

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, the second seed in the Italian Serie A1 playoffs, lost its opening best-of-three semifinal round series to third-seed Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio 19-25, 25-17, 25-16, 25-15 on April 18. Gibbemeyer collected seven kills on 18 attacks. Lloyd chipped in two blocks and one kill on three errorless attacks while setting the team to a 34 kill percent for the match. In the second match of the semifinal round, Conegliano nearly rallied from a 2-1 set deficit only to lose 25-20, 16-25, 25-17, 24-26, 18-16 despite leading 12-10 in the tiebreaking fifth set. Lloyd set the squad to a 33 kill percent while adding two kills and an ace. Gibbemeyer contributed nine kills on 22 attacks in the loss which eliminated Conegliano from the playoffs.

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, the fourth seed in the Italian Serie A1 playoffs, lost its best-of-three semifinal round series with top-seed Rebecchi Nordmeccanica Piacenza 25-21, 25-21, 20-25, 25-20 on April 19. Murphy scored 10 points with nine kills on 39 attacks and one ace in the loss. In the second match on April 22, Novara was eliminated from the playoffs with a 25-13, 25-12, 25-15 loss to Piacenza. Murphy scored eight points while starting the first two sets.

HAGGLUND WITH VILSBIBURG IN GERMANY: Setter Jenna Hagglund (West Chester, Ohio) is playing for Rote Raben Vilsbiburg in the German league this winter. In addition, Americans Dominique Lamb, Michelle Bartsch and Norisha Campbell are competing on the squad. Vilsbiburg, the third seed in the playoffs, lost to VC Wiesbaden 26-24, 25-19, 13-25, 25-18 in the second match of the best-of-three semifinal round on April 19. Hagglund, who was injured for most of the second half of the season (click here to read her blog on her injury and road to recovery), returned to the lineup as a sub in the first three sets and started the fourth set. She tallied one kill in the match. Bartsch contributed 11 points in the loss, while Lamb added nine points. Campbell, who was elevated from the second to first team, chipped in two points off the bench. The decisive third match will be held on April 23 with the winner advancing to the finals to play the other semifinal winner of Aachen versus Dresden, who also will be playing a tiebreaking match on April 23.

BANWARTH, DIXON WITH RABITA IN AZERBAIJAN: Libero Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa) and Tori Dixon are part of Rabita Baku for the 2013-14 club season. In the Azerbaijan Super League, Rabita Baku captured the Azerbaijan Super League title with a 25-22, 28-26, 25-16 victory over AzerYol Baku on April 18, finishing the best-of-five final round series with a 3-0 record.

ALISHA GLASS WITH FENERBAHCE IN TURKEY: Setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) is competing this winter with Fenerbahce in Turkey. Fenerbahce downed Eczacibasi 25-21, 22-25, 25-22, 26-24 on April 17 to open the Turkish League semifinals. In the second match of the series, Fenerbahce beat Eczacibasi 25-21, 25-16, 20-25, 25-17 on April 20. Glass did not suit for either match.