Women's Update: Season Officially Starts Today

By Bill Kauffman | May 04, 2015, 12:43 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 4, 2015) – For many of the U.S. Women’s National Team, today marks the official start of the 2015 training season. However, a handful of athletes are in their final round of playoffs in Italy and Switzerland or just returning back to the United States after wrapping up their club seasons this past weekend.

QUICK HITS:

  • The U.S. Women’s National Team officially opens its summer training block today at the American Sports Centers located in Anaheim, Calif., the official host city for the U.S. Women’s and Men’s National Teams. Christa Dietzen (Hopewell Township, Pa.) has written a blog highlighting the start of training for the 2015 season.
  • The FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship will take place May 6-10 in Zurich, Switzerland, with three U.S. Women’s National Team members competing. Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) and Natalie Hagglund (Encinitas, Calif.) are part of the host team Volero Zurich, while Jordan Larson-Burbach (Hooper, Neb.) is competing for Eczacibasi from the Turkish League. The six-team tournament is divided into two pools of three teams with Volero grouped with Brazil’s Rexona-Ades and Dominican Republic’s Mirador in Pool A. Eczasibasi is in Pool B with Japan’s Hisamitsu Springs and Russia’s Dinamo Krasnodar. To follow the tournament, click here.
  • Tickets for the 2015 FIVB World Grand Prix Finals being held July 22-26 are now on sale. All-session passes allow you to watch all 15 matches over the five-day round-robin event, while daily passes get you in to watch all three matches per day. Matches played July 22-25 are scheduled for 3, 5 and 8 p.m. CT with the U.S. Women playing the last match each day, while the final day's matches are at 11:30 a.m., 3 and 5 p.m. CT with Team USA playing the first match of the day to accommodate a live television broadcast (details to come soon). To purchase tickets visit, click here.

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 playoffs’ top-seed, opened its best-of-five final round series with second-second Pomi Casalmaggiore on May 2 by rallying to a 23-25, 25-20, 23-25, 25-20, 15-13 victory at home. Novara fell behind 5-2 in the deciding fifth set, but scored eight of the next 12 points to take a 10-9 lead. Klineman scored a match-high 22 points with 17 kills on 43 swings and five blocks in the victory while holding a 44 percent positive reception percent on 16 chances. Hill added 13 kills on 37 attacks and a block for 14 points. She chipped in a 76 positive reception percent while handling 41 of the team’s 84 receptions. To view a photo gallery of the match, click here. The series continues on May 5 and May 9. If necessary, matches four and five will be held May 12 and May 16.

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, came back from a 0-2 deficit in its best-of-five Italian Serie A1 playoff semifinal round series with sixth-seed Imoco Volley Conegliano to advance to the final round. Casalmaggiore won the deciding fifth match in high fashion with a thrilling 28-26, 19-25, 18-25, 25-23, 15-10 come-from-behind victory at home. Gibbemeyer tallied 17 points, which included a whopping 11 blocks to go with six kills on 14 attacks and just one hitting error. In the deciding set, Casalmaggiore broke open a 5-5 tie with four unanswered points and cruised to the victory. To view a photo gallery of the match, click here. Casalmaggiore opened the best-of-five final round against top-seed Igor Gorgonzola Novara on May 2 with a hard 23-25, 25-20, 23-25, 25-20, 15-13 loss on the road. Gibbemeyer contributed eight kills on 15 swings and three blocks for 11 points in the loss. As a middle, she handled four receptions with a 50 percent positive rating. To view a photo gallery of the match, click here. The series continues on May 5 and May 9. If necessary, matches four and five will be held May 12 and May 16.

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, was unable to advance to the finals after falling to Pomi Casalmaggiore 28-26, 19-25, 18-25, 25-23, 15-10 in the fifth and deciding match of the best-of-five semifinal round series after winning the first two matches. Glass set Conegliano to a 36 kill percent as a team while adding five individual kills on six attacks to go with an ace for six points. Adams added eight kills on 19 attacks and three blocks for 11 points in what turned out to be the team’s last match of the season.

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

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 defeated second-seed Allianz MTV Stuttgart 28-26, 17-25, 23-25, 27-25, 15-12 on April 29 in front of a sell-out crowd of 3,000 fans to claim the league playoff title with a 3-0 best-of-five final series sweep. Jackson collected 11 points with eight kills on 15 attacks and three blocks. Kreklow helped lead Dresdner to a 39 kill percent as a team in starting the first four sets and coming off the bench in the deciding fifth set. Dresdner fell behind 12-10 in the final set, but scored the final five points. American teammate Michelle Bartsch added 10 points in the victory. Dresdner now has won the Bundesliga title four times, including in 1997, 2007 and 2014.

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 to top-seed Dresdner 28-26, 17-25, 23-25, 27-25, 15-12 on April 29 to fall 3-0 in the best-of-five final round series. Miyashiro handled 26 of the team’s 97 receptions with a 65 positive reception percent. American teammate Nichole Lindow tallied 10 points in the loss.

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 the second phase of the double-round robin Turkish League playoff finals with a hard-fought 20-25, 25-17, 25-21, 26-28, 15-6 victory over Galatasaray on April 29 to even its record to 2-2. Larson-Burbach contributed 19 points in the victory on 16 attacks via 41 swings, two aces and a block. She added 22 receptions as part of a 68 positive reception percent. However, Eczacibasi lost to regular season champions VakifBank 25-22, 25-21, 29-27 on April 30 to fall out of contention for the title. Larson-Burbach was a sub in the first and third sets and did not register a point. Eczacibasi closed out the playoffs on May 1 with a 21-25, 27-25, 25-15, 25-22 victory over Fenerbahce, which won the playoffs the previous day. Larson-Burbach did not play in the match. Eczacibasi will now compete in the season-ending FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championships May 6-10 in Zurich, Switzerland. Eczacibasi opens the tournament on May 6 against Japan’s Hisamitsu Springs in Pool A, followed by a May 7 match against Russia’s Dinamo Krasnodar. The semifinals are on May 9, followed by the medal round matches on May 10.

HILDEBRAND WITH FENERBAHCE: Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah, Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Fenerbahce of the Turkish League this winter. Fenerbahce, winners of the Turkish Cup earlier this month, opened the second half of the Turkish League final round playoff with a 22-25, 18-25, 25-23, 25-19, 15-7 come-from-behind victory over regular season champion VakifBank on April 29 to move to 4-0. Fenerbahce took down Galatasaray 21-25, 25-23, 25-14, 25-18 on April 30 to claim the playoff title with one match remaining. Fenerbahce closed out the playoffs with a 21-25, 27-25, 25-15, 25-22 loss to Eczacibasi, which had won the European CEV Champions League title earlier this year. Hildebrand got the start and provided 11 points on eight kills and three blocks. She added a 60 positive reception percent on 30 chances. To view a photo gallery of the final Turkish League playoff match, click here. To view a gallery of the podium celebration, click here.

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, swept Sariyer 25-21, 25-20, 25-23 on May 1 to start the second half of the four-team double-round robin Turkish League Playoff 5-8. Newcombe pocketed 13 points in the victory with 10 kills on 23 swings, two aces and a block. She was 76 percent positive on a team-leading 21 reception chances. In the second match of the weekend, Idman Ocagi edged Bursa Sehir 25-23, 23-25, 28-26, 19-25, 15-11 on May 2. Newcombe piled on a match-high 25 points with 20 kills on 39 attacks, three aces and two blocks. She added a 50 positive reception percent handling 38 of the team’s 98 chances. However, Idman Ocagi could not finish off the weekend undefeated as it lost to Nilufer 23-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-21 on May 3. Newcombe pocketed 12 points on eight kills, two blocks and two aces while holding a 79 positive reception percent on 14 chances. Idman Ocagi and Nilufer tied atop the Classification 5-8 round with 10 points each, but Idman Ocagi held the tiebreakers.

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

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, won its best-of-three semifinal round series with a 25-21, 25-22, 20-25, 25-15 victory over Beziers on April 28 in the second match of the series. Faucette collected a match-high 21 points with 16 kills on 27 attacks, four blocks and an ace. Tom started the first three sets in providing seven kills and a block for eight points. RC Cannes will now face LeCannet in the French League playoff finale on 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, lost to SF Paris St. Cloud 25-22, 26-24, 25-20 on April 29 to even its best-of-three semifinal round series at one match each. Lichtman scored 10 points with four kills, five blocks and an ace in the loss. Davis handled 27 receptions with a 67 percent positive rating. In the deciding match, LeCannet needed to rally for a 25-21, 19-25, 23-25, 25-16, 15-12 victory to advance to the French League finale against RC Cannes on May 9. Lichtman charted 18 points in the victory with 16 kills on 34 attacks, one block and one ace. Davis handled 30 of the team’s 94 receptions with a 70 positive reception percent.

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. Trailing 3-2 in its best-of-seven semifinal round series with Caguas, Ponce extended the semifinals to a deciding match by winning match six 20-25, 26-24, 25-17, 17-25, 15-7 on April 27. Robinson scored a match-high 24 points with 20 kills, three aces and a block to go with 19 digs. American teammate Haley Eckerman contributed 19 points in the victory, all on kills to go with 21 digs for a double-double. On the opposite side of the net, American Regan Hood tallied 19 points and Jessica Jones added 10 points. However, Caguas came back to win the deciding match 25-17, 25-11, 25-20 over the visitors from Ponce. Robinson was limited to seven points, while Eckerman scored a team-high 14 points. Jones provided Caguas 11 points in the win, while Hood tacked on six points in leading their team into the finals.

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. Volero, after winning the Swiss League playoffs, is now training in preparation of hosting the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship being staged in Zurich May 6-10. Volero opens the tournament on May 6 against Dominican Republic’s Mirador in Pool A before taking on Brazil’s Rexona-Ades on May 7. The semifinals of the six-club World Championship are on May 9, followed by the medal-round matches on May 10.