Prelim U.S. Roster Named for Women's Worlds

By Bill Kauffman | Aug. 29, 2014, 2:19 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 29, 2014) – The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team started its training block for the FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Championship Italy 2014 on Monday at the American Sports Centers in Anaheim, Calif.

The 2014 World Championship, held every four years, is a 24-team event that will take place in various cities across Italy from Sept. 23 to Oct. 12. Each team is grouped into one of four first-round groups that will play a round-robin format from Sept. 23-28 with one off-day. The top four teams in each first-round pool move on to the second round Pools E and F with the top three teams from these pools advancing to the Final Round set for Oct. 8-10 in Milan. The medal-round matches take place Oct. 12 after the Oct. 11 semifinals.

Team USA Head Coach Karch Kiraly and his coaching staff have selected the 22-player preliminary roster for the FIVB World Championship. The roster will be trimmed to 14 players who will travel to Italy with 12 players able to be suited for each match.

The Americans, ranked second in the world by the FIVB, are grouped into the first round Pool C in Verona with No. 6 Russia, No. 12 Thailand, No. 18 Netherlands, No. 23 Kazakhstan and No. 28 Mexico. Team USA opens with NORCECA rival Mexico at 11 a.m. PT on Sept. 23, then has a quick turnaround on the court to face Kazakhstan on Sept. 24 at 1:30 a.m. PT. The U.S. challenges Netherlands on Sept. 25 at 11 a.m. PT before the off day on Sept. 26. Team USA takes on Thailand on Sept. 27 at 11 a.m. PT before concluding Pool C against Russia on Sept. 28 at 11 a.m. PT.

“We’ve got a strong pool, and it starts with Mexico,” Kiraly said. “That is our focus right now, preparing to play the next point as well as we can, no matter which team is across the net.”

Kiraly said the squad gained some valuable lessons from the FIVB World Grand Prix in facing adversity, and that will help them prepare for the World Championship that includes the opening two matches just over 12 hours apart.

“We will be ready for the adversity when it arises, whether a short turnaround between matches or a tough opponent or a tough opponent right after a tough opponent,” Kiraly said. “There are lots of matches, five matches in six days in the first pool and it goes on from there. Lots of great challenges for us, and opportunities for growth and improvement.”

The U.S. will be in search of its first-ever gold medal at the 2014 FIVB World Championship, which would mark the squad’s first-ever title in a major (Olympic Games, FIVB World Championship, FIVB World Cup). Team USA finished fourth in the most recent FIVB World Championship held in 2010. The Americans hold four World Championship medals with silver in 2002 and 1967, and the bronze in 1990 and 1982.

Prior to arriving in Italy for the World Championship, the U.S. will train a few days with the Croatian National Team in Zagreb, Croatia. The two teams will play a friendly exhibition match on Sept. 20.

Team USA is coming off a bumpy 2014 FIVB World Grand Prix campaign that provided the young squad challenges in all nine preliminary round matches. The Americans finished 5-4 and in fifth place in the 12-team Group 1, just one spot outside of qualifying for the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round. The U.S. split two matches with Russia during the preliminary phase and defeated Thailand in Bangkok. Russia edged out the Americans for the last Final Round spot and finished with the bronze medal.

“We’ve certainly identified some areas we need to improve,” Kiraly said in regards to what the team learned following the World Grand Prix. “Our serving can be tougher and go in the court more. And we are improving a few other facets of our game with the World Championships approaching.”

Team USA enters the World Championship with a 22-6 record in 2014. To start the season, USA won the NORCECA World Championship Qualification Tournament Pool O with a young squad earning the ticket to Italy. Webster and Kreklow were both on the roster that won the qualifier gold medal. At the Montreux Volley Masters, Team USA earned the silver medal with a split squad recording a 4-1 record. Five players made their international debuts at Montreux, including Dixon, Natalie Hagglund and Robinson. The Americans, again using a young roster gaining international experience, reached the title match of the Pan American Cup in June before losing to Dominican Republic and its Olympic-laden roster.

Team USA hosted two-time Olympic Games defending champion Brazil in the four-match USA Volleyball Cup series and won all four matches in July. The USA used a roster with four Olympians available, whereas Brazil played with a roster of eight Olympians in the friendly series.

“We certainly played hard and we played with a lot of intent and urgency in the USA Volleyball Cup,” Kiraly said. “We didn't always play cleanly, but we battled hard. And that is for sure easier to do when you are on your home floor, whether in California or Hawaii. We continue to do some things to create scenarios in our training gym that replicate the challenge of traveling far and playing teams on their home floor, as teams will get to do against Italy in Italy at the World Championships.”

The Americans finished the FIVB World Grand Prix with a 5-4 record and in fifth place at the conclusion of the preliminary round. USA was one of eight teams remaining in contention for the Final Round on the last day of the preliminary round, just missing out on advancing to Tokyo. All four of USA’s losses in the preliminary round came to teams which qualified for the Final Round, including two matches to Brazil.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Championship Italy 2014
# - Name (Position, Ht, Hometown, College)
1 – Alisha Glass (S, 6-0, Leland, Mich., Penn State)
2 – Kayla Banwarth (L, 5-10, Dubuque, Iowa, University of Nebraska)
3 – Courtney Thompson (S, 5-8, Kent, Wash., University of Washington)
4 – Lauren Paolini (MB, 6-4, Ann Arbor, Mich., University of Texas)
5 – Natalie Hagglund (L, 5-9, Encinitas, Calif., University of Southern California)
6 – Nicole Davis (L, 5-4, Stockton, Calif., University of Southern California)
7 – Cassidy Lichtman (OH, 6-1, Poway, Calif., Stanford University)
8 – Lauren Gibbemeyer (MB, 6-2, St. Paul, Minn., University of Minnesota)
9 – Kristin Hildebrand (OH, 6-1, Orem, Utah, Stanford University)
10 – Jordan Larson-Burbach (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., University of Nebraska)
11 – Molly Kreklow (S, 5-9, Delano, Minn., University of Missouri)
12 – Kelly Murphy (OPP, 6-2, Wilmington, Ill., University of Florida)
13 – Christa Dietzen (MB, 6-2, Hopewell Township, Pa., Penn State)
14 – Nicole Fawcett (OPP, 6-4, Zanesfield, Ohio, Penn State)
15 – Kim Hill (OH, 6-4, Portland, Ore., Pepperdine University)
16 – Foluke Akinradewo (MB, 6-3, Plantation, Fla., Stanford University)
17 – Alix Klineman (OPP, 6-5, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Stanford University)
18 – Bailey Webster (OPP, 6-3, Baltimore, Md., University of Texas)
19 – Kelsey Robinson (OH, 6-2, Bartlett, Ill., University of Nebraska)
20 – Jenna Hagglund (S, 5-10, West Chester, Ohio, University of Washington)
21 – Tori Dixon (MB, 6-3, Burnsville, Minn., University of Minnesota)
22 – Rachael Adams (MB, 6-2, Cincinnati, Ohio, University of Texas)

Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Jamie Morrison, Marv Dunphy
Technical Coordinator: Joe Trinsey
Athletic Trainer: Jill Wosmek
Doctors: Dr. Andrew Gregory and Dr. William Stetson
Medical Support: Dustin Glass
Consultant Coaches: David Hunt, Jamison Van Niel
Team Manager: Denise Sheldon

FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Championship Italy 2014 Schedule (all times Pacific Time)

First Round

Pool A at Rome
Sept. 23: Argentina vs. Croatia, 1:30 a.m.
Sept. 23: Dominican Republic vs. Germany, 8 a.m.
Sept. 23: Italy vs. Tunisia, 11 a.m.
Sept. 24: Dominican Republic vs. Tunisia, 1:30 a.m.
Sept. 24: Germany vs. Argentina, 8 a.m.
Sept. 24: Italy vs. Croatia, 11 a.m.
Sept. 25: Germany vs. Tunisia, 1:30 a.m.
Sept. 25: Dominican Republic vs. Croatia, 8 a.m.
Sept. 25: Italy vs. Argentina, 11 a.m.
Sept. 27: Tunisia vs. Croatia, 1:30 a.m.
Sept. 27: Dominican Republic vs. Argentina, 8 a.m.
Sept. 27: Italy vs. Germany, 11 a.m.
Sept. 28: Tunisia vs. Argentina, 1:30 a.m.
Sept. 28: Germany vs. Croatia, 8 a.m.
Sept. 28: Italy vs. Dominican Republic, 11 a.m.

Pool B at Trieste
Sept. 23: Canada vs. Cameroon, 1:30 a.m.
Sept. 23: Serbia vs. Turkey, 8 a.m.
Sept. 23: Brazil vs. Bulgaria, 11 a.m.
Sept. 24: Turkey vs. Canada, 1:30 a.m.
Sept. 24: Brazil vs. Cameroon, 8 a.m.
Sept. 24: Serbia vs. Bulgaria, 11 a.m.
Sept. 25: Brazil vs. Canada, 1:30 a.m.
Sept. 25: Serbia vs. Cameroon, 8 a.m.
Sept. 25: Turkey vs. Bulgaria, 11 a.m.
Sept. 27: Bulgaria vs. Cameroon, 1:30 a.m.
Sept. 27: Serbia vs. Canada, 8 a.m.
Sept. 27: Brazil vs. Turkey, 11 a.m.
Sept. 28: Turkey vs. Cameroon, 1:30 a.m.
Sept. 28: Bulgaria vs. Canada, 8 a.m.
Sept. 28: Brazil vs. Serbia, 11 a.m.

Pool C at Verona
Sept. 23: Netherlands vs. Kazakhstan, 1:30 a.m.
Sept. 23: Russia vs. Thailand, 8 a.m.
Sept. 23: United States vs. Mexico, 11 a.m.
Sept. 24: United States vs. Kazakhstan, 1:30 a.m.
Sept. 24: Russia vs. Mexico, 8 a.m.
Sept. 24: Thailand vs. Netherlands, 11 a.m.
Sept. 25: Thailand vs. Mexico, 1:30 a.m.
Sept. 25: Russia vs. Kazakhstan, 8 a.m.
Sept. 25: United States vs. Netherlands, 11 a.m.
Sept. 27: Mexico vs. Kazakhstan, 1:30 a.m.
Sept. 27: Russia vs. Netherlands, 8 a.m.
Sept. 27: United States vs. Thailand, 11 a.m.
Sept. 28: Mexico vs. Netherlands, 1:30 a.m.
Sept. 28: Kazakhstan vs. Thailand, 8 a.m.
Sept. 28: United States vs. Russia, 11 a.m.

Pool D at Bari
Sept. 23: China vs. Puerto Rico, 1:30 a.m.
Sept. 23: Japan vs. Azerbaijan, 8 a.m.
Sept. 23: Cuba vs. Belgium, 11 a.m.
Sept. 24: China vs. Azerbaijan, 1:30 a.m.
Sept. 24: Belgium vs. Japan, 8 a.m.
Sept. 24: Puerto Rico vs. Cuba, 11 a.m.
Sept. 25: Puerto Rico vs. Azerbaijan, 1:30 a.m.
Sept. 25: Japan vs. Cuba, 8 a.m.
Sept. 25: China vs. Belgium, 11 a.m.
Sept. 27: Azerbaijan vs. Belgium, 1:30 a.m.
Sept. 27: Japan vs. Puerto Rico, 8 a.m.
Sept. 27: China vs. Cuba, 11 a.m.
Sept. 28: Azerbaijan vs. Cuba, 1:30 a.m.
Sept. 28: Japan vs. China, 8 a.m.
Sept. 28: Belgium vs. Puerto Rico, 11 a.m.

Second Round (Match times to be announced)

Pool E
Oct. 1: A2 vs. D3 (at Bari)
Oct. 1: A1 vs. D4 (at Bari)
Oct. 1: A4 vs. D1 (at Trieste)
Oct. 1: A3 vs. D2 (at Trieste)
Oct. 2: A2 vs. D4 (at Bari)
Oct. 2: A1 vs. D3 (at Bari)
Oct. 2: A4 vs. D2 (at Trieste)
Oct. 2: A3 vs. D1 (at Trieste)
Oct. 4: A2 vs. D1 (at Bari)
Oct. 4: A1 vs. D2 (at Bari)
Oct. 4: A4 vs. D3 (at Trieste)
Oct. 4: A3 vs. D4 (at Trieste)
Oct. 5: A2 vs. D2 (at Bari)
Oct. 5: A1 vs. D1 (at Bari)
Oct. 5: A4 vs. D4 (at Trieste)
Oct. 5: A3 vs. D3 (at Trieste)

Pool F at Verona
Oct. 1: B2 vs. C3 (at Verona)
Oct. 1: B1 vs. C4 (at Verona)
Oct. 1: B4 vs. C1 (at Modena)
Oct. 1: B3 vs. C2 (at Modena)
Oct. 2: B2 vs. C4 (at Verona)
Oct. 2: B1 vs. C3 (at Verona)
Oct. 2: B4 vs. C2 (at Modena)
Oct. 2: B3 vs. C1 (at Modena)
Oct. 4: B2 vs. C1 (at Verona)
Oct. 4: B1 vs. C2 (at Verona)
Oct. 4: B4 vs. C3 (at Modena)
Oct. 4: B3 vs. C4 (at Modena)
Oct. 5: B2 vs. C2 (at Verona)
Oct. 5: B1 vs. C1 (at Verona)
Oct. 5: B4 vs. C4 (at Modena)
Oct. 5: B3 vs. C3 (at Modena)

Third Round at Milan (2nd and 3rd Place teams from Pools E and F are drawn into Pools G and H)

Pool G
Oct. 8: E1 vs. E2/F2
Oct. 9: E2/F2 vs. E3/F3
Oct. 10: E1 vs. E3/F3

Pool H
Oct. 8: F1 vs. E2/F2
Oct. 9: E2/F2 vs. E3/F3
Oct. 10: F1 vs. E3/F3

Final Round Semifinals
Oct. 11: G1 vs. H2
Oct. 11: G2 vs. H1

Medal Round Matches
Oct. 12: Bronze-Medal Match
Oct. 12: Gold-Medal Match