U.S. Collegiate Team for China Tour Tabbed

By Bill Kauffman | April 01, 2015, 2:01 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 1, 2015) – USA Volleyball is proud to announce its 12-player roster for its U.S. Collegiate National Team (CNT-China) that will tour China.

The squad, which is part of USA Volleyball’s High Performance pipeline, will train and compete in a series of six matches in China between June 13-26. After a brief training session in the United States and landing in Shanghai on June 16, the team is expected to play three matches in Changxing City from June 17-21 against the Chinese Women’s Junior National Team and a professional club team as opponents. The CNT-China squad will fly to Beijing to train and compete June 21-26 against the Chinese Women’s U-23 National Team and a professional club team.

Selected CNT-China setters are Mackenzie Dagostino (University of Florida, Tampa, Fla.) and Ashley Evans (Purdue University, Liberty Township, Ohio). Middle blockers chosen to the team are Abby Cole (University of Michigan, Grand Haven, Mich.), Hannah Tapp (University of Minnesota, Stewartville, Minn.) and Kiara Wright (Florida State University, Houston).

Outside hitters named to the team are Morgan Kurht (Iowa State University, Waverly, Iowa), Mary-Kate Marshall (Oregon State University, Coppell, Texas) and Sarah Wilhite (University of Minnesota, Eden Prairie, Minn.). Opposites tabbed for the CNT-China team are Brittany Abercrombie (University of Southern California, Carlsbad, Calif.) and Savannah Blinn (Gonzaga University, Lewiston, Idaho). Serving as liberos for the team are Tiffany Morales (University of Michigan, Hermosa Beach, Calif.) and Taylor Morey (University of Wisconsin, Muncie, Ind.).

Jason Watson, head coach at Arizona State University, will lead the program as head coach. He will be assisted by Katelyn Panzau, an assistant coach at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and Abbi Hayes, an assistant at Wingate University.

The Big Ten will have six representatives on the team with two players each from the Minnesota and Michigan, along with one each from Purdue and Wisconsin. The Pac 12 will have players from USC and Oregon State. Other conference representatives for the CNT-China team hail from the Southeastern Conference (Florida), Atlantic Coast Conference (Florida State), Big 12 (Iowa State) and West Coast Conference (Gonzaga).

“I'm excited to be a part of this program,” Watson said. “It's a tremendous opportunity to work with some of the select collegiate volleyball athletes in the country. Each athlete has an impressive resume. They are familiar with hard work and the importance of competing on every play. These traits have only been enhanced playing for outstanding coaches at their respective colleges.”

The CNT-China Tour roster has five players who will be seniors in college in the 2015 season, along with four juniors-to-be and three sophomores-to-be. Morey participated on the 2014 U.S. Collegiate National Team’s European Tour, while Cole and Dagostino were members of the U.S. Collegiate National Team that trained and competed in conjunction with the 2014 USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships.

Athletes were selected through the U.S. Women’s National Team Open Tryouts held Feb. 20-22 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The CNT-China roster is one of three programs within USA Volleyball's High Performance U.S. Collegiate National Team program. USA Volleyball announced the 12-player roster for the World University Games earlier this week. An additional 36 players, which will be announced next week, will train and compete in conjunction with the 2015 USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships in June at New Orleans.

U.S. Collegiate National Team for 2015 Tour of China
Name (Position, School, 2015 College Year, Hometown)
Brittany Abercrombie (OPP, University of Southern California, So., Carlsbad, Calif.)
Savannah Blinn (OPP, Gonzaga University, Sr., Lewiston, Idaho)
Abby Cole (MB, University of Michigan, Jr., Grand Haven, Mich.)
Mackenzie Dagostino (S, University of Florida, Sr., Tampa, Fla.)
Ashley Evans (S, Purdue University, So.-R, Liberty Township, Ohio)
Morgan Kurht (OH, Iowa State University, Jr.-R, Waverly, Iowa)
Mary-Kate Marshall (OH, Oregon State University, So., Coppell, Texas)
Tiffany Morales (L, University of Michigan, Sr., Hermosa Beach, Calif.)
Taylor Morey (L, University of Wisconsin, Sr., Muncie, Ind.)
Hannah Tapp (MB, University of Minnesota, Jr., Stewartville, Minn.)
Sarah Wilhite (OH, University of Minnesota, Jr., Eden Prairie, Minn.)
Kiara Wright (MB, Florida State University, Sr., Houston, Texas)

Head Coach: Jason Watson (Arizona State University head coach)
Assistant Coach: Katelyn Panzau (University of Maryland-Baltimore County assistant coach)
Assistant Coach: Abbi Hayes (Wingate University assistant coach)