COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 25, 2014) – The current U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team Weekly update released on March 25 includes briefs on U.S. players.
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REVIEWING FOURTH RED-BLUE MATCH: San Diego area members of the U.S. Women’s Training Group shined in the fourth and final USA Red-Blue match played on March 19 at the Coast Volleyball Club located in their hometown. Kelly Reeves (San Diego) led all players in scoring with 19 points including 17 kills with a 48 kill percent, while Chloe Ferrari (San Diego) chipped in 14 points for the third-best scoring total. Lauren Plum (Poway, Calif.) was credited with 43 assists, two aces, one kill and six digs. Both Ferrari and Plum played junior volleyball at Coast Volleyball Club before going to University of San Diego and University of Oregon, respectively. Maddie Martin (Tampa, Fla.), who helped Penn State to the 2013 NCAA Division I Women’s National Volleyball Championship title, chalked up 15 points including three aces. Kat Luft (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) and Bailey Webster (Baltimore, Md.) secured 11 points each in the match. Alexis Olgard (Spokane, Wash.) and Kylin Munoz (Monroe, Wash.) reached 10 points apiece. Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.) added eight points and Katie Mathews (Detroit, Mich.) recorded three points. Dana Burkholder, who last played on the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2002 and is currently the club director for Viper Temecula Volleyball Club, joined the Training Group late in the Winter Block and was credited with 33 assists and two kills on two attacks in the match. Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.), a two-time Olympic Games silver medalist, notched 10 digs, while Natalie Hagglund (Encinitas, Calif.) turned in five digs and a kill.
SPOTLIGHT ON JANE WARD - 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF OLYMPIC GAMES VOLLEYBALL: Jane Ward was a dominating player and early volleyball pioneer who helped usher the Americans into the Olympic Games. This year marks the 50th anniversary of volleyball being introduced into the Olympic Games 50 during the 1964 Tokyo Games, and women’s volleyball was the first team sport ever in the Olympics. From 1954 to 1968, Ward was a dominant outside hitter who also set and occasionally saw time at middle blocker. Ward captained the very first two U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Teams in 1964 and 1968. She also played in the 1956 and 1960 FIVB World Championships, along with four Pan American Games (1955, 1959, 1963 and 1967). “Now we’re looked at as the pioneers, and we had a wonderful time,” Ward said. “We had some great travels, and met different people and were exposed to lots of cultures.” In domestic events, Ward led her team to 14 consecutive USVBA national titles. She earned all-American status 13 seasons and was most valuable player at Nationals five times. Ward and her 1964 Olympic Games teammates will be recognized on May 21 during USA Volleyball’s Boyce Banquet in Phoenix, Ariz., as part of the 50th anniversary of Olympic volleyball celebration. For more details and to purchase banquet tickets, click here.
COLLEGE ISN’T THE END FOR STAR VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS: The Associated Press writer Anne M. Peterson delivered a well-written piece on playing opportunities that are available for U.S. athletes following college. The article takes a look into how U.S. players venture across the ocean to play in foreign professional leagues and what it is like in general to be away from family while making a good living from the sport they love. Courtney Thompson, who was the subject of the video documentary Court & Spark describing her life overseas as a professional volleyball, and Rachael Adams were both quoted in the story representing the U.S. Women’s National Team. The story has run in major publications such as the New York Times, Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News, Miami Herald and Charlotte Observer. To read the story, click here.
ALISHA GLASS WITH FENERBAHCE IN TURKEY: Setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) is competing this winter with Fenerbahce in Turkey. In the Turkish League, Fenerbahce (21-1) won a prolonged 25-21, 25-27, 25-22, 16-25, 25-23 match over third-place Eczacibasi on March 20 to stay in the hunt for the regular season title. Glass moved back into the starting lineup and led Fenerbahce to a 34 kill percent of the match while adding three individual kills on five attacks, two aces and a block for six points. Fenerbahce (61.5 points) and Vakifbank (64 points) both own 21-1 records. In CEV Cup action, Fenerbahce will face Russia’s Uralochka-NTMK Ekaterinburg in the home-and-home final round on March 26 and March 29 for the CEV Cup title.
HOOD WITH ILBANK IN TURKEY: Outside hitter Regan Hood (Dallas) is playing for Ilbank of the Turkish League this winter. Ilbank dropped a heart-breaking 21-25, 25-10, 23-25, 25-22, 15-12 match to Sariyer BLD on March 20. Hood captured 13 points in the match, all on kills coming from 32 attacks. She added an 80 positive reception on a 46 of her team’s 104 service receptions. Hood is currently the ninth-best scorer in the league with 273 points scored. Ilbank remains in sixth place with a 10-12 record.
HILDEBRAND NAMED CBV ALL-STAR, LEADER IN STATS: Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah) was named to the Brazil Super League All-Star First-Team upon completion of the regular season. Hildebrand, who helped Volei Amil finish second in the regular season, ranked fourth in the league in attack efficiency with a .230 mark (154 kills, 61 errors, 405 attacks). She ranked atop the league in defense with a 57.1 success efficiency on 186 total digs. Danielle Scott (Baton Rouge, La.) finished the regular season ranked 15th in blocking with 66 blocks as part of a 21.7 success percent while with Brasilia Volei. Alaina Bergsma (Chandler, Ariz.), playing her first professional club season, ranked 20th in attack efficiency and serving while competing for Minas. In addition to Hildebrand, the Brazil Super League All-Star team included outside hitter Tandara (Volei Amil), setters Dani Lins (Sesi Sao Paulo) and Yael Castiglione (Maranhao), opposite Sheilla (Molico/Nestle), middle blockers Thaisa (Molico/Nestle) and Roberta (Sao Caetano), and libero Vere (Brasilia).
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 started the best-of-three quarterfinal series with a 21-9, 21-15, 21-18 victory over seventh-seed Sao Cristovao on March 21. Hildebrand pocketed 11 points with five kills and match-high six blocks. She added an 80 positive reception percent in the victory. The two squads meet again on March 28, and if necessary, on April 4.
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. As the eighth seed in the Brazil Super League playoffs, Brasilia lost to top-seed Molico/Nestle 21-12, 21-14, 21-14 on March 20 to open the best-of-three quarterfinal round series. Scott tallied four points in the loss and was her team’s second-leading scorer. The two teams meet again on March 27 in the second match of the quarterfinals.
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 to fourth-seed Sesi Sao Paulo 19-21, 21-13, 21-13, 21-19 on March 23 to start the best-of-three quarterfinal round. The series resumes on March 29 with the third match played on April 5 if necessary.
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. Fresh off its CEV Champions League title, Kazan defeated Omichka 25-23, 25-23, 25-19 on March 20 in a battle of the top two teams in the Russia Super League. Larson-Burbach contributed six kills and a block for seven points in the victory. On March 24, Kazan swept Tyumen 25-16, 25-20, 25-18 with Larson-Burbach contributing five points in the win. Kazan improves to 16-0 with 47 points in the Russia Super League and now has an 11-point, three-match lead over Omichka (16-3, 36 points).
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 rallied to defeat league-leader Rebecchi Nordmeccanica Piacenza (14-3, 43 points) 25-21, 17-25, 21-25, 25-19, 15-11 on March 22. Lloyd set the squad to a 37 kill percent for the match and added a block. Gibbemeyer turned in five kills and four blocks for nine points in the victory. Conegliano, currently in second place with a 14-3 record and 40 points, takes on eighth-place Openjobmetis Ornavasso (5-12, 17 points) on March 30.
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, which was idle this past weekend in the Italian Serie A1, is currently in a tie for fifth place with a 10-7 record and 29 points. Novara resumes action on March 30 against first-place Rebecchi Nordmeccanica Piacenza (14-3, 43 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 Orlen League Playoffs, Tauron swepts its quarterfinal round best-of-five playoff series with BKS Aluprof Bielsko-Biala following a 25-21, 17-25, 22-25, 25-15, 15-8 victory on March 23. Adams notched 12 points with five kills, four blocks and three aces. Tauron will challenge Chemik in the semifinal phase. Adams is maintaining a blog during her travels, and is open to the public at rachadams.
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. Sopot swept its best-of-five quarterfinal round playoff series with Beef Masters Budowlani Lodz with a 25-18, 25-18, 25-19 victory on March 19. Hill was a sub in the third set providing a 71 positive reception percent on seven chances. Sopot takes on Impel Wroclaw in the upcoming semifinal round.
HOOKER-COULTER WITH CRIOLLAS IN PUERTO RICO: Destinee Hooker-Coulter, the 2012 Olympic Games Best Spiker and silver medalist with the U.S. Olympic Women’s Team, has resumed her playing career this spring after missing the 2013 international season to give birth to her first child, daughter Keitany. She has joined Caguas Criollas of the Puerto Rico Super League and is expected to make her debut on March 29 against Catano. Hooker-Coulter last played in the Puerto Rico Super League in 2010 when she led Corozal to the league title and earned the final series most valuable player honor, then joined the U.S. Women’s National Team that summer.
FAWCETT WITH PONCE IN PUERTO RICO: Opposite Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio), who was part of two 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. She is expected to make her debut with the team on March 28 versus 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. In the Swiss League double round-robin playoffs, Volero completed its near-perfect run in the playoffs. Volero defeated sixth-place Hotel Cristal VFM 25-12, 25-10, 25-20 on March 19, then downed second-place Volley Koniz 25-21, 25-19, 25-23 on March 22 to go 10-0 in the playoffs. Volero lost just one set during the 10 playoff matches.
BANWARTH, JACKSON, DIXON 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 faces Igtisadchi on March 26 and March 27, followed by Lokomotiv Baku on March 28. Rabita Baku is in first place with 27 points and a 9-1 record.
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 is scheduled to play Azerail on March 26 and league-leader Rabita Baku on March 28. Lokomotiv is in fourth place with 14 points.
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. Vilsbiburg ended the regular season with 42 points and tied with Dresdner SC and VC Wiesbaden; however, it dropped to third place for the playoffs based on tiebreakers. Vilsbiburg will challenge sixth-place Potsdam in the quarterfinal round that start on March 29. On a side note, American Becky Perry led the league in points per set with 5.48 average and was fifth overall in scoring with 285 points despite playing just 14 matches. She converted 48 percent of her attacks.