World Grand Prix Prelim Roster Selected

By Bill Kauffman | May 19, 2015, 4 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 18, 2015) – Seven Olympic silver medalists and 15 players with FIVB World Championship experience highlight the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team preliminary roster for the 2015 FIVB World Grand Prix that includes preliminary rounds from July 3-18 capped by the Finals round held July 22-26 in Omaha, Neb.

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The World Grand Prix is the premier annual international women’s volleyball tournament with the top 12 teams competing in nine preliminary matches to qualify for the six-team, round-robin Finals. This year marks the first time that the U.S. has hosted the Finals in the 23-year history of the event.

U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly and his staff have selected a roster that includes all 14 players from its 2014 FIVB World Championship gold-medal team. The eight outside hitters selected to the preliminary 25-player roster are Michelle Bartsch (Maryville, Ill.), Megan Easy (Durham, N.C.), Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah), Kim Hill (Portland, Ore.), Jordan Larson-Burbach (Hooper, Neb.), Cassidy Lichtman (Poway, Calif.), Kelsey Robinson (Bartlett, Ill.) and Krista Vansant (Redlands, Calif.).

The seven middle blockers chosen for this roster are Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio), Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.), Christa Dietzen (Hopewell Township, Pa.), Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minn.), Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.), Cursty Jackson (Los Angeles) and Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.). The four opposites named to the team are Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio), Alix Klineman (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) and Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.).

The staff has three setters including Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.), Molly Kreklow (Delano, Mo.) and Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.). The three liberos named to the roster are Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa), Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) and Tama Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii).

Easy, the 2012 FIVB World Grand Prix most valuable player and a 2012 Olympic silver medalist, is returning to the team after missing 2014 following the birth of her first child and most of the 2013 following her marriage to Omar Easy. Bartsch, Lowe and Vansant are making their season debuts with the U.S. Women’s National Team.

Team USA opens the World Grand Prix in Ankara, Turkey, with matches against No. 5 Italy on July 3, No. 11 Turkey on July 4 and No. 13 Belgium on July 5 in Pool C matches. The Americans travel to Kalingard, Russia, for the second weekend with matches against No. 7 Russia on July 10, No. 11 Turkey on July 11 and No. 8 Serbia on July 12. The U.S. concludes the preliminary round in Hong Kong with matches against No. 4 Japan on July 16, No. 12 Thailand on July 17 and versus No. 3 China on July 18.

Team USA has won the FIVB World Grand Prix five times in the previous 22 editions. However, Brazil has won the last two titles in 2013 and 2014 after the U.S. had won the previous three World Grand Prix titles. Overall, Brazil has won a record 10 World Grand Prix titles.

The 2015 FIVB World Grand Prix serves as the final event prior to the 2015 FIVB World Cup (Aug. 22-Sept. 6), which is the first 2016 Olympic Games qualification tournament. Prior to the World Grand Prix, the U.S. hosts China in the USA Volleyball Cup with two matches in Honolulu June 5-6 and single matches at UC Irvine one June 9 and at Cal State University San Bernardino on June 12.

Details on USA Volleyball Cup

Other tournaments Team USA competes in this summer include the Pan American Cup held June 11-22 in Peru and the Pan American Games held July 16-25 in Toronto, Canada.

2015 U.S. Women’s National Team Preliminary Roster for FIVB World Grand Prix
# - Name (Position, Ht, Hometown, College)
1 – Alisha Glass (S, 6-0, Leland, Mich., Penn State)
2 – Kayla Banwarth (L, 5-10, Dubuque, Iowa, University of Nebraska)
3 – Courtney Thompson (S, 5-8, Kent, Wash., University of Washington)
4 – Lauren Paolini (MB, 6-4, Ann Arbor, Mich., University of Texas)
5 – Tama Miyashiro (L, 5-7, Kaneohe, Hawaii, University of Washington)
6 – Nicole Davis (L, 5-4, Stockton, Calif., University of Southern California)
7 – Cassidy Lichtman (OH, 6-1, Poway, Calif., Stanford University)
8 – Lauren Gibbemeyer (MB, 6-2, St. Paul, Minn., University of Minnesota)
9 – Kristin Hildebrand (OH, 6-1, Orem, Utah, Stanford University)
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)
17 – Alix Klineman (OPP, 6-5, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Stanford University)
18 – Molly Kreklow (S, 6-0, Delano, Minn., University of Missouri)
19 – Michelle Bartsch (OH, 6-3, Maryville, Ill., University of Illinois)
20 – Cursty Jackson (MB, 6-2, Los Angeles, Calif., University of Arizona)
21 – Tori Dixon (MB, 6-3, Burnsville, Minn., University of Minnesota)
22 – Rachael Adams (MB, 6-2, Cincinnati, Ohio, University of Texas)
23 – Kelsey Robinson (OH, 6-2, Bartlett, Ill., University of Nebraska)
24 – Krista Vansant (OH, 6-2, Redlands, Calif., University of Washington)
25 – Karsta Lowe (OPP, 6-4, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., UCLA)

Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Jamie Morrison and Tom Black
Technical Coordinator: Joe Trinsey
Team Manager: Rob Browning
Athletic Trainer: Jill Wosmek
Team Doctors: Dr. William Briner, Jr., and Lori Boyajian-O’Neill

2015 FIVB World Grand Prix Preliminary Round Schedule for Team USA (listed times are local)

Pool C – Ankara, Turkey
July 3: USA vs. Italy, 4 p.m.
July 4: USA vs. Turkey, 7 p.m.
July 5: USA vs. Belgium, 4 p.m.

Pool F – Kalingrad, Russia
July 10: USA vs. Russia, 7:10 p.m.
July 11: USA vs. Turkey, 4:40 p.m.
July 12: USA vs. Serbia, 4:40 p.m.

Pool – Hong Kong
July 16: USA vs. Japan, 6:30 p.m.
July 17: USA vs. Thailand, 6:30 p.m.
July 18: USA vs. China, 7:30 p.m.

FIVB World Grand Prix Finals
July 22-26 at Omaha, Nebraskabr /> Top 5 teams from preliminary round plus host USA