Women's Update: Going Head to Head

By Bill Kauffman | April 20, 2015, 7:17 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 20, 2015) – The Italian League playoffs have five members of the U.S. Women’s National Team contributing heavily to their pro clubs’ successes in the semifinal round, while two German clubs with Team USA members are facing off against each other in the Bundesliga championship round. Other American players are competing in their pro league playoffs in Turkey, Puerto Rico, France, Switzerland and Poland. For details, read the complete Weekly Update below.

QUICK HITS:

  • Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.), Tama Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii) and Christa Dietzen (Hopewell Township, Pa.) have co-founded the Give it Back Foundation with the intention to inspire and empower the next generation of volleyball players as well as to engage communities by supporting local organizations. The vision of GIBF is to run volleyball camps in the hometowns of the elite athletes. In partnership this summer with Puget Sound Region Volleyball Club, they will cultivate self-confidence, self-awareness, leadership skills, and an excitement that allows every athlete to enjoy the process of working towards their goals. For more details, click here.
  • Several members of the U.S. Women’s National Team responded to questions from Premier 14 Red, a juniors club based in Omaha, through the JamtheGym.com’s Jamming in Five Questions series. Read part one of the blog to find out Tori Dixon’s pre-match routine, what inspired Kayla Banwarth to play volleyball and now to keep getting better, what helped drive Kelsey Robinson at each stage of her career and Nicole Davis’ thoughts on playing against and with the best volleyball players in the world at two Olympic Games.
  • Karch Kiraly is trying to add to his legacy as an Olympic gold medalist, now as a coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team that is ranked No. 1 in the world. Yet, in a conversation with rio2016.com, he deflects the talk of him winning Olympic gold in Brazil as a coach. “It’s not about me, it’s about the program. That is more important by far.” Kiraly has won two Olympic gold medals playing indoor volleyball in 1984 and 1988, and a gold medal on the Olympic sand in 1996. He is the only player to have won Olympic gold medals in both indoor and beach volleyball. For the full interview, click here.

Get your Tickets: FIVB World Grand Prix Finals (July 22-26 in Omaha)

HILL, KLINEMAN WITH NOVARA: Kim Hill (Portland, Ore., Twitter, Instagram), the most valuable player of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Italy 2014, and Alix Klineman (Manhattan Beach, Calif., Twitter, Instagram) are playing for Igor Gorgonzola Novara of the Italian Serie A1 this winter. Novara, the Italian League top-seed after finishing the regular season 19-3, opened its best-of-five semifinal round series on April 18 with a home 25-18, 25-15, 26-24 victory over No. 4 seed Nordmeccanica Rebecchi Piacenza. Klineman totaled a team-leading 14 points with 12 kills on 22 attacks and just one error to go with two blocks. She chipped in a 60 positive reception percent on a team-best 15 chances. Hill contributed 13 points with nine kills on 23 attacks, three blocks and an ace. She was 80 percent positive on 10 reception chances. To view a photo gallery of the match, click here. The series continues on April 21 and April 25. If the series is extended, matches will be played on April 27 and April 28.

GLASS, ADAMS WITH CONEGLIANO: Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich., Twitter, Instagram), the best setter of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Italy 2014, and Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio, Twitter, Instagram) are playing for Imoco Volley Conegliano of the Italian Serie A1 this winter. Conegliano, seeded sixth in the playoffs, capped its best-of-three quarterfinal round series with a thrilling 21-25, 25-23, 25-18, 23-25, 15-13 victory over No. 3 LIU JO Modena on April 14 in Modena to advance to the Italian Serie A1 semifinal round. The match was Conegliano’s second straight five-set win over the Modena after losing the first match of the series. In the rubber match, Glass set her squad to 36 kill percent while totaling two kills on three swings and two blocks for four individual points. Adams notched eight kills on 20 attacks to go with six of her team’s 20 blocks for a 14-point performance. In its opening best-of-five semifinal series with second-seed Pomi Casalmaggiore, Conegliano again rallied for a five-set victory with scores 29-27, 23-25, 18-25, 25-17, 15-13 on April 17. The match marked the third straight playoff win in five sets. Glass set the Conegliano to a 43 kill percent while adding three individual kills on five errorless chances. Adams scored 14 kills on 23 attacks, three blocks and an ace for 18 points in the victory. Conegliano took another step closer to reaching the finals by winning the second match 25-22, 25-21, 25-18 on April 20. Glass set Conegliano to a 41 kill percent whil adding an individual kill and block in the victory. Adams contributed 11 points via seven kills on 12 attacks, three blocks and an ace. To view the match photo gallery, click here. Conegliano will attempt to sweep the series on April 24. If necessary, matches four and five are scheduled for April 26 and April 29.

GIBBEMEYER WITH CASALMAGGIORE: Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn., Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Pomi Casalmaggiore of the Italian Serie A1 in 2014-15. Casalmaggiore, as the second seed in the playoffs, started its best-of-five Italian Serie A1 semifinal round series with a 29-27, 23-25, 18-25, 25-17, 15-13 loss against No. 6 Imoco Volley Conegliano on April 17. Gibbemeyer collected nine kills on 24 errorless attacks to go with a team-leading six blocks for a total of 15 points. Casalmaggiore lost the second match of the series 25-22, 25-21, 25-18 on April 20. Gibbemeyer was held to five points with four kills and a block. Casalmaggiore now must win the final three matches of the series on April 24, April 26 and April 28 to advance to the championship round.

LARSON-BURBACH WITH ECZACIBASI: Jordan Larson-Burbach (Hooper, Neb., Twitter, Instagram), a 2012 U.S. Olympian and starting outside hitters, is playing for Eczacibasi Vitra of the Turkish League this winter. Eczacibasi started its best-of-three quarterfinal round series with a 25-17, 14-25, 26-24, 25-7 victory over Bursa B. Sehir on April 15. Larson-Burbach netted 13 points in the victory with 10 kills on 27 attacks, two aces and a block. She added a 36 of her team’s 63 receptions with a 47 positive and 42 excellent percent. In the second match, Eczacibasi captured the series with a 25-19, 25-19, 25-23 victory on April 18. Larson-Burbach, in playing just the first two sets, scored eight kills on 23 attacks with a 32 positive reception percent on 19 chances. Eczacibasi starts the round-robin playoffs on April 22 against Fenerbahce, followed by VakifBank on April 23 and Galatasaray on April 24.

HILDEBRAND WITH FENERBAHCE: Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah, Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Fenerbahce of the Turkish League this winter. Fenerbahce, on the heels of winning the Turkish Cup last weekend, started its Turkish League quarterfinal round series with a 25-23, 27-25, 25-14 victory over Sariyer on April 15. Hildebrand contributed four kills on 12 attacks and a block for five points in playing just the first two sets. She added 17 receptions in the victory. Fenerbahce concluded its best-of-three series on April 18 with a 25-18, 25-20, 25-23 victory as Hildebrand did not suit in the victory. In the next round-robin playoff stage, Fenerbahce meets Eczacbasi on April 22, Galatasaray on April 23 and VakifBank on April 24.

NEWCOMBE WITH IDMAN OCAGI: Sonja Newcombe (Lake Arrowhead, Calif., Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Trabzon Idman Ocagi of the Turkish League this winter. Idman Ocagi, the eighth seed in the Turkish playoffs, dropped its opening best-of-three quarterfinal round series to top-seed VakifBank 25-13, 25-17, 27-29, 25-21 on April 15. Newcombe scored eight points with two kills, three blocks and three aces. She added a 72 positive reception percent on 18 chances. Idman Ocagi’s playoff run for the title ended on April 18 with a 25-11, 25-16, 25-11 loss to VakifBank. Newcombe scored a team-best 13 points with 10 kills on 26 swings, two aces and a block. Idman Ocagi will now play in the 5-8 classification round to determine teams that will play in the European Cups in 2015-16.

ROBINSON WITH PONCE IN PUERTO RICO: Kelsey Robinson (Bartlett, Ill., Twitter, Instagram), who played for BIAC Motors in the short-season Chinese professional league to start the 2014-15 season, has transferred to Ponce in the Puerto Rico Super League. Ponce concluded its quarterfinal round with a 25-18, 25-18, 25-20 victory over Catano on April 13. Robinson charted 16 points via 14 kills and two blocks. American teammate Haley Eckerman added nine points in the victory. Ponce, which won its quarterfinal round group with a perfect 4-0 record, started its best-of-seven semifinal series with Caguas with a 25-21, 25-17, 25-21 victory. Robinson scored 18 points with 15 kills and three blocks to go with 13 digs and 12 receptions. Eckerman tacked on 18 points via 14 kills, three aces and a block to go with 10 digs in the victory. On the opposite side of the net, American Regan Hood tallied four points after recently joining the club following her Turkish League season. On April 19, Caguas evened the semifinal series at 1-1 with a 27-25, 25-21, 18-25, 25-18 victory. Robinson scored a match-high 24 points all on kills to go with 12 digs. Eckerman added 10 points and 14 digs in the loss. For Caguas, Hood totaled a team-best 18 points. The series continues April 21, April 23 and April 25. If necessary, matches 6-7 will be played April 27 and April 29. The opposite semifinal has Mayaguez leading Juncos 1-0 in its best-of-seven series.

FAUCETTE WITH RC CANNES: U.S. Women’s National Team opposite Juliann Faucette (San Diego, Calif., Twitter, Instagram) is playing with RC Cannes in France this winter, along with four-time U.S. Olympian Logan Tom and Carly Wopat. RC Cannes, the top seed in the French League playoffs, capped its best-of-three quarterfinal round series with No. 8 seed Istres with a 23-25, 25-18, 31-29, 25-14 victory in the second match on April 14. Faucette scored five points in the victory, all on kills. Tom came off the bench as a sub in the third set and started the fourth in tallying two kills on eight swings, two aces and a block. RC Cannes will challenge Beziers in the best-of-three semifinal round series with matches on April 24 and April 28. If necessary, the tiebreaking match is scheduled for May 1. The championship match between semifinal winners is set for May 9.

DAVIS, LICHTMAN WITH Le CANNET: Two-time U.S. Olympic libero Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif., Twitter, Instagram) and outside hitter Cassidy Lichtman (Poway, Calif., Twitter) are competing for Le Cannet in the French LAF this winter. Le Cannet, the second seed in the French League playoffs, bounced back from its surprise opening quarterfinal round match to No. 7 Venelles with a 25-18, 23-25, 25-9, 25-14 road victory on April 15 to force a deciding third match. Lichtman scored a match-high 14 points with 12 kills on 28 errorless attacks to go with two aces. She added 15 receptions as part of a 53 positive reception percent. Davis handled 17 receptions with a 65 positive percent. Le Cannet wrapped up the series with a 25-18, 25-20, 26-24 home victory on April 18. Davis was 72 percent positive on a team-leading 25 receptions. Lichtman pocketed 11 kills on 30 attacks and one block for 12 points. Le Cannet will face SF Paris-St. Cloud in the best-of-three semifinal round series with matches on April 25 and April 29. If necessary, the tiebreaking match is scheduled for May 2. The championship match between semifinal winners is set for May 9.

U.S. Women hosting China in USA Volleyball Cup June 5-12

JACKSON, KREKLOW WITH DRESDNER: Cursty Jackson (Los Angeles, Twitter, Instagram) and Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn., Twitter, Instagram) are playing for Dresdner SC of the German Bundesliga. In the German Bundesliga, No. 1 seed Dresdner rallied to defeat No. 2 seed Allianz MTV Stuttgart 23-25, 25-16, 23-25, 25-22, 15-7 to start the best-of-five championship series on April 19 in Dresden. Kreklow set Dresdner to a 39 kill percent while scoring two aces and a block. Jackson added six kills on 19 swings, two blocks and an ace for nine points. The series continues on April 25 and April 29. If necessary, the fourth match is scheduled for May 2 and the concluding match on May 6.

MIYASHIRO WITH ALLIANZ MTV STUTTGART: Tama Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii, Twitter), a 2012 U.S. Olympic silver medalist, joined Allianz MTV Stuttgart of the German Bundesliga in mid-November. Stuttgart, the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, lost the opening match of the best-of-five championship series with No. 1 seed Dresdner SC 23-25, 25-16, 23-25, 25-22, 15-7 on April 19 in Dresden. Miyashiro handled 26 of the team’s 95 receptions with a 65 positive percent. American teammate Katherine Harms contributed 15 points in the loss, while Nikki Lindow added eight points. The series continues on April 25 and April 29. If necessary, the fourth match is scheduled for May 2 and the concluding match on May 6.

THOMPSON, NATALIE HAGGLUND WITH VOLERO ZURICH: Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash., Twitter, Instagram) and Natalie Hagglund (Encinitas, Calif., Twitter, Instagram) are playing for Volero Zurich of the Swiss League this winter. In the Swiss Volley playoffs, Volero captured the playoff title with a 25-20, 25-20, 25-20 victory over Volley Koniz on April 16. Volero won the best-of-five championship series round, dropping just one set in its three victories. Volero now will train in preparation of hosting the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship being staged in Zurich May 6-10. For a photo gallery of the championship celebration, click here.

JENNA HAGGLUND WITH IMPEL WROCLAW: U.S. setter Jenna Hagglund (West Chester, Ohio, Twitter, Instagram) signed with Impel Wroclaw of Poland’s Orlen Liga late in 2014 and has started to competition. Impel Wroclaw, the fourth seed in the playoffs, lost three consecutive matches last week in its best-of-five semifinal round series after upsetting the top-seed Chemik Police in the opening match. In the second match of the series, Chemik Police won 25-21, 25-13, 25-18. Hagglund set the team to a 27 kill percent while scoring two kills on eight swings and a block for three points. Impel Wroclaw fell behind 2-1 in the series with a 25-14, 20-25, 25-18, 27-25 loss on April 16 in Wroclaw. Hagglund set Wroclaw to a 39 kill percent and chipped in two kills on six attacks and an ace for three points. Chemik Police wrapped up the series with a 25-18, 21-25, 25-19, 25-21 victory on April 17 in Wroclaw. Hagglund set her team to a 30 kill percent while scoring four points via two blocks and two aces.