U.S. Women's Update: Brazil, Red-Blue Matches, Tryouts

By Bill Kauffman | Feb. 27, 2014, 9 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 27, 2014) – The current U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team Weekly update released on Feb. 27 includes briefs on U.S. players.

BRAZIL COMING FOR USA VOLLEYBALL CUP: The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, ranked second in the world, will host top-ranked Brazil in the second annual USA Volleyball Cup to be held July 5-12 in Southern California. The series of matches could potentially be a preview of the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympic Games finals as both teams have played for the gold in 2008 and 2012. Check the USA Volleyball web site for further details as available. Save the dates to get the hottest volleyball tickets when they go on sale.

UPCOMING USA RED-BLUE MATCHES: The U.S. Women’s Volleyball Training Team will participate in four USA Red-Blue matches in the Southern California area to complement its on-going eight-week training block that started Jan. 27.

  • Feb. 28: at Fullerton College North Gym, Fullerton, Calif. (hosted by Goldenwest VBC)
  • March 7: at Del Mar, Calif. (hosted by Wave VBC)
  • March 14: at Carson, Calif. (hosted by Team Mizuno VBC)
  • March 19: at San Diego, Calif. (hosted by Coast VBC)

The Red-Blue roster features these athletes: Setters – Sydney Gedryn (Cal St. Northridge – San Jose, Calif.), Molly Kreklow (Missouri, Delano, Minn.) and Lauren Plum (Oregon, Poway, Calif.); Outside Hitters – Haley Eckerman (Texas, Waterloo, Iowa), Hayley Hodson (Tstreet Volleyball Club, Newport Beach, Calif.), Kat Luft (Loyola Marymount, Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Maddie Martin (Penn State, Tampa, Fla.), Kelly Reeves (San Diego, UCLA), Kelsey Robinson (Nebraska, Bartlett, Ill.) and Taylor Simpson (Colorado, Colorado Springs, Colo.); Liberos – Nicole Davis (Southern California, Newport Beach, Calif.), Natalie Hagglund (Southern California, Encinitas, Calif.), Betsi Metter (Loyola Marymount, Phoenix) and Stevi Robinson (Pepperdine/Southern California, Hermosa Beach, Calif.); Opposites – Kylin Munoz (Washington, Monroe, Wash.) and Bailey Webster (Texas, Baltimore, Md.); Middle Blockers – Chloe Ferrari (San Diego, Clovis, Calif.), Alexis Mathews (Michigan State, Detroit, Mich.), Alexis Olgard (Southern California, Spokane, Wash.) and Katie Slay (Penn State, Raleigh, N.C.). For each USA Red-Blue match hosted by a local club volleyball program, a question and answer session with the athletes will take place at 5:15 p.m. PT and the match follows at 7 p.m. PT. All four USA Red-Blue matches are free and open to the public.

OPEN TRYOUTS A SUCCESS: USA Volleyball had 245 athletes participating in the U.S. Women’s Open Tryouts Feb. 21-23 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Athletes were evaluated for both the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team and U.S. Collegiate National Teams program (formerly U.S. Women’s Senior A2 Teams). Four of the five courts of the tryout were video streamed live to a worldwide audience all weekend generating substantial interest in the program. Social media also played a large role in the tryouts as USA Volleyball and players offered behind-the-scenes insights on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the #usavtryout hashtag. To view a photo gallery of the tryout weekend, click here. For a recap video of the tryout weekend, click here. To view enlightening stories coming out of the tryout on USA Volleyball’s Instagram account, visit instagram.com/USAVolleyball. Two players, libero Stevi Robinson and outside hitter Taylor Simpson, have accepted offers to participate in the U.S. Women’s National Training Team winter block that started Jan. 27 and goes through the third week of March. Additional athletes may be added to the U.S. Women’s National Training Team for the winter block or after the academic semester. Athletes selected to the U.S. Collegiate National Teams program will be announced in late March after all spots have been finalized and accepted by the athletes.

ALISHA GLASS WITH FENERBAHCE IN TURKEY: Setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) is competing this winter with Fenerbahce in Turkey. In CEV Cup action, Fenerbahce handled Azeryol Baku 25-14, 25-12, 25-16 in the home-and-home semifinal round. Glass set her team to a 47 kill percent with 39 kills on 83 attacks. She provided three aces and one kill in the victory. The teams meet again on March 1 with the winner advancing to the championship at the end of March. In the Turkish League, Fenerbahce defeated Halkbank 25-21, 25-16, 25-10 on Feb. 22 as Glass did not suit. Fenebahce is now 17-1 in the league.

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 the Russia Super League, Kazan topped Odintsovo 25-17, 25-17, 25-14 on Feb. 21. Larson-Burbach was credited with 11 kills on 25 attacks and two blocks for 13 points. She added a 58 positive reception percent on 12 chances. In CEV Champions League, Kazan will make its second appearance in the Final Four Tournament of the CEV Champions League. Kazan will travel to Baku, Azerbaijan for the Final Four scheduled for March 15-16.

HODGE, FAUCETTE WITH EVERGRANDE IN CHINA: Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.), a 2012 U.S. 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 defeated top-seed Zhejiang 25-9, 14-25, 25-16, 22-25, 15-12 to open the semifinal round on Feb. 22. Hodge, who missed a substantial portion of the regular and postseason, provided a match-high 31 points in her return to the starting lineup. She added a 57 positive reception percent on 21 attempts. Faucette, who had been playing outside hitter in Hodge’s absence, added 19 points from her customary opposite position. Zhejiang answered with its own five-set win over Evergrande, 15-25, 25-21, 21-25, 25-16, 15-13 on Feb. 23. Hodge secured 22 points and Faucette chipped in 13 points. In the tiebreaker to advance to the final round, Zhejiang won 25-22, 16-25, 25-23, 25-15 on Feb. 25. Hodge charted 21 points and Faucette picked up 17 points.

FAWCETT WITH EXPRESSWAY IN KOREA: Opposite Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio), who was part of two medal-winning U.S. teams this past summer, is playing for Korea Expressway in the Korean Volleyball League for the second consecutive year. Korea Expressway lost to IBK Industrial Bank 25-16, 25-20, 25-16 on Feb. 19. Fawcett scored 12 kills in the loss. Korea Expressway bounced back to defeat KGC Ginseng 25-15, 20-25, 25-19, 19-25, 15-10 on Feb. 26. Fawcett tallied 29 kills, four blocks and an ace in for a match-high 34 points in the victory.

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. In the Swiss League, Volero rallied past VC Kanti Schaffhausen 21-25, 22-25, 25-19, 25-23, 16-14 on Feb. 23. In its third playoff match of the double-round robin, Volero handled Hotel Cristal VFM 25-16, 25-19, 25-11 on Feb. 26. Volero is tied with Volley Koniz for first place with 11 points through the first three matches, and the two teams meet next on March 1.

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. Hitachi lost to NEC 25-19, 26-24, 16-25, 22-25, 15-11 on Feb. 22. Paolini notched 16 kills on 26 attacks without an error to go with four blocks for 20 points. Hitachi lost its second match of the week on Feb. 23 to Toyota by the scores 25-17, 25-19, 21-25, 25-21. Paolini collected 15 kills on 23 attacks and one block for 16 points. On the other side of the net, American Kanani Danielson scored 23 kills on 46 attacks. With the two losses, Hitachi falls to fifth place with a 10-10 record and one match behind fourth-place Toyota. Next week Hitachi faces Toray on March 1 and Toyota on March 2.

HOOD WITH ILBANK IN TURKEY: Outside hitter Regan Hood (Dallas) is playing for Ilbank of the Turkish League this winter. Ilbank fell to Bakirkoy Bld Yesilyurt 25-14, 19-25, 25-22, 25-21 on Feb. 22. Hood tallied 15 points in the loss with 11 kills on 26 attacks, two aces and two blocks. Ilbank, 9-9 overall with 26 points, is in sixth place in the league standings.

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 lost to league-leader Molico/Nestle 25-23, 22-20, 17-21, 21-17 on Feb. 21 in a closely contested match. Hildebrand produced eight points in the loss, including two blocks and two aces. Amil recovered to defeat Maranhao 21-13, 21-10, 21-11 on Feb. 25. Hildebrand contributed five points in the victory, along with a match-high nine digs. Amil is currently in second place with a 19-4 record and 56 points, one point ahead of third-place Unilever (19-4, 55 points.

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 dropped a heart-breaking 22-20, 22-24, 12-21, 21-16, 21-19 match to Maranhao on Feb. 21. Bergsma tallied 11 points in starting just the final three sets. Minas lost to Barueri 21-19, 31-33, 21-19, 21-17 on Feb. as Bergsma returned to the starting lineup contributing a match-high 21 points with 19 kills on 43 attacks and two aces.

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 lost to Banana Boat 21-19, 21-18, 11-21, 21-9 on Feb. 21. Scott contributed seven points in the match. Brasilia dropped its next contest to Unilever 21-18, 19-21, 21-18, 21-18 on Feb. 25. Scott turned in eight kills on 17 attacks, three blocks and an ace for 12 points. Brasilia is in seventh place with a 10-13 record and 35 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 Tori Dixon are part of Rabita Baku for the 2013-14 club season. Rabita blanked Igtisadchi 25-21, 25-15, 25-20 on Feb. 21. Dixon totaled six kills and four blocks as one of four players reaching figure scoring. On the opposite of the net American Deja McClendon tallied a team-high 11 kills. Rabita Baku was selected to host the CEV Champions League Final Four scheduled for March 15-16 and has a direct spot in the semifinals.

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 Azerrail Baku 25-22, 22-25, 25-13, 21-25, 15-13 on Feb. 21. Lichtman scored six kills and two aces in the loss. American Alexis Crimes also tallied 14 points with seven kills, six blocks and an ace in the setback.

HAGGLUND, MIYASHIRO WITH VILSBIBURG IN GERMANY: 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. With both Hagglund and Miyashiro out of the lineup, Vilsbiburg handled Dresdner SC 27-25, 27-29, 25-14, 25-20 on Feb. 19. Bartsch totaled 11 points and Lamb added seven in the victory. Vilsbiburg is now in second place with 37 points.

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 Cup quarterfinals, Tauron beat Impel Wroclaw 14-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-16 on Feb. 22. In the second match of the home-and-home series, Impel won in five sets, but Tauron advanced to the semifinals on set ratio. In the Polish Orlen League Playoffs, Tauron opens the best-of-five quarterfinal round on March 16 against BKS Aluprof Bielsko-Biala. Adams is maintaining a blog during her travels, and is open to the public at rachadams.com.

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 the Polish Cup quarterfinals, Sopot lost consecutive matches to Muszynianka with the first match scores 23-25, 25-13, 25-20, 25-23followed by a 25-22, 25-17, 25-21 loss. Sopot opens the best-of-five quarterfinal round on March 15 against Beef Master Budowlani Boat.