Women's Update: Club Races Heat Up

By Bill Kauffman | Jan. 26, 2015, 6 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 26, 2015) – The U.S. Women’s National Team players remain busy in their club seasons with many athletes having impacts on the CEV Champions League and other national league races.


  • Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) has been an elite international opposite hitter in her two seasons with Team USA after being an AVCA All-American setter/hitter for four seasons at the University of Florida. She has won several individual honors in FIVB and NORCECA tournaments, while helping the Americans to the gold medal at the 2014 FIVB World Championship. Now she is playing in her third professional club season with teams on three different continents. Murphy has enjoyed her time this season in Japan, but longs to return to the Team USA gym this summer. For an interview with Murphy, click here.
  • Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) spoke to Polish blog media site blokaut.net regarding her being the subject of the volleyball documentary “Court and Spark: A Volleyball Documentary.” For an English translation of the interview, click here.

LIVE VIDEO STREAM MATCHES THIS WEEK: Several U.S. Women’s National Team members will be competing in CEV Champions League this week with matches streamed live on laola1.tv.

  • Jan. 28 at 5 a.m. PT – Rabita Baku (Akinradewo, Dixon) vs. Chemik Police - CLICK HERE
  • Jan. 28 at 5 a.m. PT – Eczacibasi (Larson-Burbach) vs. Omichka Omsk - CLICK HERE
  • Jan. 28 at 8 a.m. PT – Dresdner (Jackson, Kreklow) vs. Dinamo Moscow - CLICK HERE
  • Jan. 28 at 9 a.m. PT – Fenerbahce (Hildebrand) vs. Stiinta Bacau - CLICK HERE
  • Jan. 28 at 10 a.m. PT – Volero Zurich (Thompson, N. Hagglund) vs. Impel Wroclaw (J. Hagglund) - CLICK HERE
  • Jan. 28 at 11 a.m. PT – RC Cannes (Faucette, Tom, Wopat) vs. Nordmeccanica Piacenza - CLICK HERE

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 CEV Champions League action, Volero dominated Russia’s Omichka Omsk 25-15, 25-17, 25-17 on Jan. 22. Thompson set her squad to a 55 kill percent for the match with a .403 hitting efficiency. She added four individual points with two aces, one block and one kill. After the match, Thompson said “It’s just amazing to play in front of such a home crowd; they really inspired us. There’s no better feeling than celebrate your secured spot in the Playoffs with your supporters. Nevertheless, we want to stay focused. It’s just a first step in our big campaign and this game proved how much we developed as team. We are on the right track.” Volero, which remains one point (12-11) behind Eczacibasi for the Pool D leadership, concludes the first round Pool D against Poland’s Impel Wroclaw (0-5). Volero remained undefeated in the Swiss League at 15-0 following a 25-18, 25-13, 25-13 victory over Sagres NUC I on Jan. 24. Volero (15-0, 45 points), with a nine-point lead over second-place Volley Koniz (12-3, 36 points), meets seventh-place TS Volley Dudingen I on Jan. 31, followed by a Feb. 1 match against ninth-place FC Luzern I.

MURPHY WITH AGEO MEDICS: Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill., Twitter, Instagram) is competing in Japan this winter for Ageo Medics in the V-League’s top division. Ageo edged NEC 25-20, 25-23, 24-26, 19-25, 15-10 on Jan. 24. Murphy produced 20 kills on 64 attacks, two blocks and an ace for 23 points. Ageo captured its second match of the weekend with a 25-21, 25-23, 25-16 victory over Denso on Jan. 25. Murphy pocketed 16 kills on 39 attacks with only one error in the victory. Ageo (7-6), now in fourth place, seeks to extend its win streak on Jan. 31 against fifth-place Toray (5-8), followed by a Feb. 1 match against second-place NEC (8-5).

PAOLINI WITH HITACHI: Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich., Instagram) is playing for Hitachi in the Japan V-League this winter. Hitachi lost a heart-breaking five-set match to Toyota – 25-20, 25-10, 22-25, 16-25, 20-18 – on Jan. 24. Paolini turned in 14 kills on 26 attacks, three blocks and an ace for 18 points in the setback. On the other side, American Kanani Danielson scored 30 kills on 54 attacks, two blocks and an ace for 33 points. For the second match of the weekend, Hitachi again lost in five sets, falling to Hisamitsu Springs 25-17, 25-19, 22-25, 22-25, 15-9 on Jan. 25. Paolini totaled 23 kills on 41 attacks with just one error, while adding two aces and a block for 26 points. Hitachi (5-8), which is in sixth place, looks to break its losing streak next weekend against Okayama on Jan. 31, followed by Denso on Feb. 1.

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. In the CEV Challenge Cup, Novara needed a 3-0 victory over Alterno Apeldoorn to force a Golden Set and chance to move on to the 4th Final Round and they came away with a 25-15, 25-11, 25-9 victory on Jan. 21. In the Golden Set, Novara raced to a 10-3 lead and came away with a 15-5 victory to advance. Hill scored 16 kills on 33 attacks, three blocks and an ace for a match-high 20 points. She added a 53 positive reception percent on 15 chances. Klineman did not play in the match. Novara will now face Germany’s Schweriner in the quarterfinal round with dates to be confirmed. Novara topped 12th-place Zeta System Urbino Volley 25-20, 25-17, 25-20 on Jan. 24 in Urbino. Hill contributed 12 kills on 20 attacks with just one error to go with a block and ace for 14 points. She was credited with a 68 positive reception percent on a team-leading 25 chances. Klineman was a sub in in the first set registering one serve. On the opposite side of the net, American Hayley Spelman scored seven kills on 26 attacks, while teammate Kiesha Leggs had two points. Novara (13-2, 39 points), now with a five-point cushion over second-place LIU JO Modena, challenges sixth-place Nordmeccanica Rebecchi Piacenza (9-6, 26 points) on Feb. 7 in the next league match. During the regular season hiatus, Novara will play Metallaghe Sanitars Montichiari in the Italian Serie A1 quarterfinal round with the home-and-home series taking place on Feb. 1 and Feb. 4.

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. Micha Hancock (Edmond, Okla.), the 2014 AVCA Division I Player of the Year, was signed in mid-January as Glass recovers from an injury. In the second match of the CEV Cup 4th Final Round home-and-home series, Conegliano lost to Poland’s PGE Atom Trefl Sopot 25-20, 25-18, 25-12 on Jan. 22 forcing a Golden Set to advance to the next round. Sopot won the winner-take-all set 15-9 to move on. Adams contributed four kills and a block in the loss, while Hancock was a sub in all three sets while providing all three of her team’s aces on 12 serves. Conegliano took down seventh-place Foppapedretti Bergamo 25-18, 20-25, 25-21, 25-17 on Jan. 25 in a road contest in Bergamo. Adams scored 16 points with 11 kills on 15 attacks, four blocks and an ace. Hancock was a sub in the first three sets and served twice. Glass remains out of action with an injury. Conegliano (10-5, 29 points), which is in fourth place, returns to Italian Serie A1 action on Feb. 8 against ninth-place Metalleghe Sanitars Montichiari (6-9, 19 points points). Conegliano will take part in the Italian Serie A1 quarterfinal round with a home-and-home series against Foppapedretti Bergamo with matches on Feb. 1 and Feb. 4.

GIBBEMEYER WITH CASALMAGGIORE: Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn., Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Pomi Casalmaggiore of the Italian Serie A1 in 2014-15. Casalmaggiore rallied from a two-set deficit to defeat 10th-place Il Bisonte Firenze (4-11, 15 points) 19-25, 13-25, 25-23, 25-20, 15-10 on Jan. 26. Gibbemeyer scored five kills in the victory. Casalmaggiore (11-4, 31 points), which is in third place in the Italian Serie A, moved into the fifth round of the second half to play 11th-place Volley 2002 Forli (1-14, 4 points) on Feb. 8. Prior the fifth round, Casalmaggiore will play in the Italian Cup Serie A1 quarterfinal round home-and-home series against Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio. The first match takes place on Feb. 1, followed by a Feb. 4 match.

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. In CEV Champions League Pool D, Eczacibasi rebounded from its first loss by defeating Poland’s Impel Wroclaw 25-19, 21-25, 25-10, 25-16 on Jan. 22. Larson-Burbach totaled 11 kills on 39 attacks and two aces for 13 points. She chipped in a 100 percent positive reception on eight errorless chances. Eczacibasi (4-1, 12 points), which holds a slim one-point advantage over second-place Volero Zurich in Pool D, concludes the first phase on Jan. 28 against Russia’s Omichka Omsk (2-3, 7 points). In the Turkish League, Eczacibasi closed out Ilbank 25-10, 25-14, 25-12 on Jan. 25. Larson-Burbach did not play in the match.

HILDEBRAND WITH FENERBAHCE: Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah, Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Fenerbahce of the Turkish League this winter. In CEV Champions League action, Fenerbahce remained undefeated in five Pool B matches after sweeping Azeryol Baku 25-20, 25-15, 26-24 on Jan. 21. Hildebrand pocketed 11 points in the victory with 10 kills on 20 attacks and an ace. She chipped in 16 service receptions with a 50 positive percent. Fenerbahce (5-0, 15 points), with a seven-point lead and two victory lead over second-place Azeryol, concludes the first round of CEV Champions League on Jan. 28 against fourth-place Stiinta Bacau (1-4), which won its first group match of the first round on Jan. 21 against Nantes VB. In the Turkish League, Fenerbahce held off Idman Ocagi for a 25-19, 25-15, 25-27, 26-24 victory on Jan. 25. Hildebrand did not play in the match.

HOOD WITH ILBANK: Regan Hood (Dallas, Texas, Instagram) is playing for Ilbank of the Turkish League in 2014-15, as well as the CEV Challenge Cup. In CEV Challenge Cup action, Ilbank needed to defeat Russia’s Uralochka-NTMK Ekaterinburg in three sets to force a Golden Set in the second match of the 8th Final Round home-and-home series. However, Ilbank dropped the contest 25-13, 25-13, 25-23 to fall out of the Challenge Cup. Hood scored two kills and two blocks in the loss. In Turkish League action, Ilbank lost to Eczacibasi 25-10, 25-14, 25-12 on Jan. 25. Hood tallied four kills and 21 service receptions in the loss.

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 lost a close 25-19, 25-15, 27-25, 26-24 match to Fenerbahce on Jan. 25. Newcombe collected eight kills on 37 attacks and held a 58 positive reception percent on 19 chances.

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. In CEV Champions League, RC Cannes avoided a two-match losing streak by rallying past Partizan Vizura Beograd 23-25, 25-13, 25-22, 21-25, 18-16 as all 12 players started at least two sets. Faucette started the final three sets in providing 12 points via 10 kills on 23 attacks, one block and one ace from her opposite position. Wopat also started the final three sets, contributing 11 kills on 17 attacks with one ace from her middle blocker position. Tom, who started the first two sets, charted one kill in the match. RC Cannes (4-1, 9 points), which remains in second place in Pool E, will go for two wins in a row on Jan. 28 against Italy’s Nordmeccanica Piacenza (2-3, 8 points) in the last match of the first round. RC Cannes swept Istres 25-13, 25-18, 25-16 in French League action on Jan. 24. Faucette was credited with 15 points, all on kills via 32 attacks and just three hitting errors. Wopat chipped in six kills on nine attacks, two aces and a block for nine points. Tom did not play. RC Cannes (12-1, 37 points), in first place with a six-point cushion over second-place Le Cannet, challenges Nantes on Feb. 1 in its next league match.

DAVIS, LICTHMAN 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. In the CEV Challenge Cup 8th Final Round, Le Cannet needed to win in three sets to force a Golden Set against AON Pannaxiakos on Jan. 21. Le Cannet won the first two sets, but lost a heartbreaking third set to fall out of the Challenge Cup. AON Pannaxiakos went on to win 20-25, 19-25, 25-23, 25-18, 15-11. Lichtman started just the first set and subbed the final two sets while providing four kills and a 56 positive reception percent on nine chances. Davis did not play in the match. In the French League, Le Cannet rallied to defeat Hainaut 24-26, 25-15, 25-23, 25-15 on Jan. 24. Lichtman was near perfect on offense with 13 kills on 15 attacks to go with an ace for 14 points. She added a 76 positive reception percent on 17 chances. Davis did not suit for the match. Le Cannet (11-2, 31 points), which remains in second place, resumes French League action on Jan. 31 against SF Paris St. Cloud.

FAWCETT WITH KOREA EXPRESSWAY: Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio, Instagram) is playing in the Korea V-League with Korea Expressway this winter. Fawcett played in the Korea V-League All-Star match on Jan. 25 for the V-Stars. She played the first set scoring four points as the V-Stars defeated the K-Stars 15-7. Fawcett did not play in the second set, which the K-Stars won 15-11. At this point in the regular season, she ranks third in the league in scoring with 599 points and has a 41.9 kill percent for third in the league. Fawcett and Korea Expressway resumes the Korea V-League schedule on Jan. 29 against GS Caltex, followed by a Feb. 2 match against IBK Altos.

KREKLOW, JACKSON WITH DRESDNER: Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn., Twitter, Instagram), who was in her first year with the U.S. National Team this past summer, and Cursty Jackson (Los Angeles, Twitter, Instagram) are playing for Dresdner SC of the German Bundesliga and in the European (CEV) Champions League. In CEV Champions League, broke a two-match losing streak in defeating LP Salo 23-25, 25-21, 25-12, 25-17 on Jan. 21. Jackson converted 18 attacks into nine points to go with a block and ace for 11 points. Kreklow, who had three kills on five attacks to go with two blocks for five points, set Dresdner to a 44 kill percent in the victory. American Michelle Bartsch subbed into the match in the first set and started the final three for Dresdner, racking up four kills and two blocks with a 50 positive reception percent on 16 chances. Dresdner (3-2), in third-place in Pool C and now assured of advancing out of the League stage, will seek a two-match win streak as it faces Dinamo Moscow on Jan. 28 in the last match of the first round. In the German Bundesliga, Dresdner blanked Aachen 25-13, 28-26, 25-19 to improve to 16-0 on the season. Jackson scored six kills on 12 attacks and three blocks for nine points. Bartsch had a match-high 16 points with 12 kills on 25 attacks, two aces and two blocks. Kreklow did not play. Dresdner (16-0) challenges 12th-place VCO Berlin (1-14) on Jan. 28, followed by ninth-place Kopenicker (5-11) on Jan. 31.

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 withstood VCO Berlin 31-29, 25-22, 20-25, 26-24 in a Jan. 24 victory. Miyashiro played only as a sub in the fourth set, registering one reception attempt. American Katherine Harms scored 14 points, while Nicole Lindow added in eight points. Heather Meyers rounded out the American scoring with three points. Stuttgart (12-4), now in second place, hits the court again on Jan. 28 against sixth-place Potsdam (9-8), and again on Jan. 31 against eighth-place Vilsbiburg (7-9).

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 swept BKS Aluprof Bielsko-Biala 25-14, 25-19, 25-21 on Jan. 26 in Poland’s Orlen Liga. Hagglund subbed into the match in the second set and started the third set that resulted in a 44 team kill percent with her running the offense. Hagglund added an individual kill and served 10 times resulting in several points. Impel Wroclaw (12-5, 36 points), which leap-frogged Bielsko-Biala (11-6, 34 points) in the standings for fourth place, takes on second-place Polski Cukier Musynianka (14-3, 42 points) in the 18th Round of the Orlen Liga on Feb. 1. In CEV Champions League action, Impel Wroclaw lost to Eczacibasi 25-19, 21-25, 25-10, 25-16 on Jan. 22 in Pool D action in Turkey. Hagglund did not suit for the match. Impel Wroclaw (0-5) seeks its first and only win as it concludes the first round on Jan. 28 against Switzerland’s Volero Zurich.

AKINRADEWO, DIXON WITH RABITA BAKU: Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla., Twitter, Instagram), a 2012 U.S. Olympic Games starter at middle blocker, and Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minn., Twitter, Instagram) are competing for Rabita Baku in the Azerbaijan Super League and the CEV Champions League this club season. Rabita Baku dropped a 25-21, 25-10, 25-14 match to Dinamo Kazan on Jan. 22 in Russia. Both Akinradewo and Dixon scored five kills and a block for six points apiece in the loss. Rabita (2-3, 6 points), now in third place in the four-team Pool A, concludes the group stage on Jan. 28 against group leader Chemik Police (3-2, 11 points) in a key match for advancement. In the Azerbaijan Super League, Rabita Baku swept Azerrail 25-21, 25-5, 25-9 with its defense holding the opponent to 35 points for the match. The victory put Rabita back into the top spot in the league after its ninth match of the regular season.

LLOYD WITH LOKOMOTIV BAKU: Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif., Instagram) is setting for Lokomotiv Baku this winter in the Azerbaijan Super League. In the CEV Cup, Lokomotiv lost to Dinamo Krasnodar 25-14, 25-19, 25-17 in the 4th Final Round on Jan. 20 to set up a Golden Set shortly after the match to decide which team would advance to the next round. Dinamo Krasnodar overcame a 12-10 deficit to win 15-13. Lloyd set Lokomotiv to a 34 kill percent, but 18 blocks by Dinamo Krasnodar hurt the offensive production of Lokomotiv.

WEBSTER WITH PRAIA CLUBE: Bailey Webster (Baltimore, Md.) is competing for Praia Clube in the Brazilian Superliga this winter. Praia Clube blanked Uniara 27-25, 25-17, 25-16 on Jan. 23. Webster was a sub in the first set, but did not score.

OPEN TRYOUTS: The annual U.S. Women’s National Team Open Tryouts will be held Feb. 20-22 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. A record 245 athletes participated in last year’s tryout, and a similar number is expected in 2015. Athletes eligible to participate are those who have concluded college eligibility, current collegiate athletes born in the years 1987-1997 inclusive and high school athletes born in 1997 or earlier. The tryout will be identifying athletes for the U.S. Women’s National Team Program, the U.S. Collegiate National Team and the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team (athletes born in 1996 and 1997). The tryout fee is $225, which includes housing, meals, local transportation and tryout expenses. For athletes not staying at the OTC, the fee is $150. For additional details and how to register for the tryout, click here.