Women's National Team Visits with 1980s Squad

By Bill Kauffman | June 09, 2015, 4:55 p.m. (ET)

1980s U.S. Olympic Women's Volleyball Team: Front Row (L-R) - Laurie Corbelli, Patty Dowdell, Debbie Green. Back Row (L-R) - Sue Woodstra, Diane French, Sharon Furlong, Laurel Brassey

IRVINE, Calif. (June 9, 2015) – The U.S. Women’s National Team had seven special visitors Monday and Tuesday bringing back the history of the team as the squad competes in the final two USA Volleyball Cup matches against China in Southern California.

Laurel Brassey, Laurie Corbelli, Patty Dowdell, Diane French, Sharon Furlong, Debbie Green and Sue Woodstra – members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team – met the current members of the U.S. National Team at the American Sports Centers in Anaheim, host city to both the U.S. Women’s and Men’s National Volleyball Teams.

Team USA, ranked No. 1 in the world, hosts third-ranked China on June 9 at UC Irvine, followed by a June 12 match at Cal State San Bernardino. The two matches start at 7 p.m. PT with live video streams available at usavolleyballcup.com. Tickets are still available for both matches and can be accessed at the same link.

For Green, it was not her first time visiting the facility and watching the team. Yet, the differences to when she trained to now still amazes her.

“We had one court in a very small gym,” Green said in contrast to the sprawling American Sports Centers where Team USA uses 4-5 courts during a typical training session. “We didn’t have music and we wore the exact same thing in practice. Everybody did pretty much everything. To have four courts now for each position is great. Just the number of players is so different then when I played.”

Green also is impressed with the number of players in the current Team USA gym providing quality depth. Karch Kiraly, the U.S. Women’s National Team head coach, typically has 25-30 players training in Anaheim at a particularly time.

“We would have maybe a couple players come in and train with us for a couple weeks, but it was mainly 14 of us training in Colorado Springs and then Coto De Caza (California) in 1984,” Green said.

Today’s athletes also have an imposing size factor that Green was quick to point out.

“The size and athleticism is so different,” Green said. “Flo (Hyman) was an exception at 6-5 back then, whereas now it seems close to an average for hitters. But back then we didn’t have liberos, so she would have to pass and do all the defensive drills.”

Along with getting to watch the U.S. Women train, the seven players from the 1980s team had the opportunity to watch China practice. Green, Corbelli and Woodstra had the opportunity to play against current China Head Coach Lang Ping in the 1984 Olympics, and the meeting in Anaheim was a special reunion.

“It was a battle between Flo Hyman and Lang Ping,” Green said of the USA versus China rivalry that geared up back in the early 1980s. “The Chinese offense was so quick back then. They were not tall as they are now. I am looking forward to seeing if the current teams is as quick now as I remember playing them.”

Finishing the 1984 Olympic Games with the silver medal behind champion China was a big accomplishment yet still leaves a bad taste in Green’s mouth.

“I felt going into the 1984 Olympics that we were going to win,” Green said. “We were ready. Even though we had beaten them four nights earlier, (USA Head Coach) Arie (Selinger) said it is more pressure if you win the first match and then have to come back four nights later to repeat. I didn’t go into that match like okay, we have to win and we beat them earlier. I felt very confident that we were ready, but it wasn’t our night. It is hard to beat a top team twice in 4-5 nights.”

The current squad knows full well how outcomes can reverse quickly. The U.S. Women defeated China 3-1 in the 2014 FIVB World Championship last October and started the USA Volleyball Cup on June 5 with a 3-0 win. However, China answered with a 3-0 victory of its own just 24 hours later in Honolulu.

And now, the USA and China meet two more times this week in Southern California with the 1980s U.S. Olympic Team among the crowd as new history in the rivalry develops.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster of USA Volleyball Cup Matches
# - Name (Position, Ht, Hometown, College)
2 – Kayla Banwarth (L, 5-10, Dubuque, Iowa, University of Nebraska) *^
3 – Courtney Thompson (S, 5-8, Kent, Wash., University of Washington) *
5 – Tama Miyashiro (L, 5-7, Kaneohe, Hawaii, University of Washington) *^
8 – Lauren Gibbemeyer (MB, 6-2, St. Paul, Minn., University of Minnesota) *^
10 – Jordan Larson-Burbach (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., University of Nebraska) *
11 – Megan Hodge Easy (OH, 6-3, Durham, N.C., Penn State University) *^
12 – Kelly Murphy (OPP, 6-2, Wilmington, Ill., University of Florida) *^
13 – Christa Dietzen (MB, 6-2, Hopewell Township, Pa., Penn State University) ^
14 – Nicole Fawcett (OPP, 6-4, Zanesfield, Ohio, Penn State University) ^
15 – Kim Hill (OH, 6-4, Portland, Ore., Pepperdine University) *^
16 – Foluke Akinradewo (MB, 6-3, Plantation, Fla., Stanford University) *^
19 – Kelsey Robinson (OH, 6-2, Bartlett, Ill., University of Nebraska) *^
20 – Cursty Jackson (MB, 6-2, Los Angeles, Calif., University of Arizona) *
21 - Tori Dixon (MB, 6-3, Burnsville, Minn., University of Minnesota) *^
23 – Carli Lloyd (S, 5-11, Bonsall, Calif., University of California-Berkeley) ^
25 – Karsta Lowe (OPP, 6-4, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., UCLA) *^
31 – Molly Kreklow (S, 6-0, Delano, Minn., University of Missouri) *^

Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Jamie Morrison and Tom Black
Technical Coordinator: Joe Trinsey
Athletic Trainer: Jill Wosmek

* = selected for June 5-6 roster
^ = selected for June 9 roster
# = selected for June 12 roster (to be announced)

China Women's National Team Roster for USA Volleyball Cup
# - Last Name First Name (Position, Ht, World Championship Matches, Olympic Games Matches)
1 – Yuan Xinyue (MB, 199cm, 13, 0)
2 – Zhu Ting (OH, 195cm, 13, 0)
3 – Yang Fangxu (OPP, 190cm, 13, 0)
5 – Shen Jingsi (S, 186cm, 20, 0)
6 - Yang Junjing (MB, 190cm, 13, 5)
8 – Zeng Chunlei (OPP, 187cm, 13, 5)
9 – Zhang Changning (OH, 193cm, 0, 0)
10 – Shan Danna (OH, 168cm, 13, 5)
11 – Zhang Xiaoya (MB, 189cm, 0, 0)
12 - Ruoqi Hui (OH, 192cm, 13, 0)
15 – Lin Li (L, 171cm, 0, 0)
16 – Ding Xia (S, 180cm, 0, 0)
17 – Yan Ni (MB, 192cm, 0, 0)
19 – Liu Yanhan (OH, 188cm, 0, 0)

Head Coach: Lang Ping
Assistant Coaches: An Jiajie, Lai Yawen, Bao Zhuang, Wu Xiaolei
Physiotherapist: Brittni Hsu
Doctor: Wang Kai
Team Manager: Lai Yawen