COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 23, 2015) – While the 2015 U.S. Women’s National Team season may be over, Team USA is busy preparing for 2016 – including earning one of 12 coveted spots into the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Find out how the U.S. players are doing in overseas pro leagues as they get ready for the NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament set for Jan. 7-9 in Lincoln, Neb.
DID YOU KNOW: Foluke Akinradewo, a 2012 Olympic Games silver medalist for Team USA, is one of the best middle blockers in the world. Here are four facts that you may not have known about her:
- Holds tri-citizenship with Canada, Nigeria and the United States
- Majored in human biology at Stanford University and envisions to become an orthopedic surgeon after her volleyball career. She is already a registered EMT.
- Made her international debut with the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2005 at the Pan American Cup – prior to her first collegiate match at Stanford
- Unlike most top volleyball players heading to college, did not play club volleyball as a youth. Yet she was the starting middle blocker on the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team that competed in the 2005 FIVB World Championship in Turkey after helping the team win gold at the 2004 NORCECA Women’s Junior Continental Championship.
CEV EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: The third leg of the CEV European Champions League is scheduled for this week with some intriguing matches on tap with U.S. Women’s National Team players taking center stage.
- Nov. 24: Allianz MTV Stuttgart (S. Robinson) vs. Lokomotiv Baku, 6 a.m. PT – Watch
- Nov. 25: Fenerbahce (Dietzen) vs. Impel Wroclaw (Hildebrand), 9 a.m. PT – Watch
- Nov. 25: Dresdner (Bartsch) vs. Telekom Baku, 10 a.m. PT – Watch
- Nov. 25: Volero Zurich (Akinradewo, N. Hagglund, Vansant) vs. Vizura Beograd, 10 a.m. PT – Watch
- Nov. 25: Pomi Casalmaggiore (Gibbemeyer, Lloyd) vs. Agel Prostejov, 11:30 a.m. PT – Watch
- Nov. 26: Eczacibasi (Larson-Burbach, Kreklow) vs. Chemik Police, 7 a.m. PT – Watch
- Nov. 26: VakifBank (Hill) vs. Calcit Ljubljana, 11 a.m. PT – Watch
UPDATE ON WOMEN’S OLYMPIC QUALIFIER ON SALE: USA Volleyball has announced a schedule change to the 2016 NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament, set for Jan. 7-9 at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Neb. Team USA’s match against Dominican Republic on Jan. 9 has moved from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. CT. The U.S. will face Canada on Jan. 7 and Puerto Rico on Jan. 8 with both matches scheduled for 7 p.m. CT. Tickets are on sale through Ticket Master. The U.S., ranked No. 1 in the world and reigning world champions, is hosting the four-team round robin with No. 7 Dominican Republic, No. 15 Puerto Rico and No. 16 Canada. The tournament winner earns NORCECA’s berth into the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For more details, click here.
OVER 200 U.S. FEMALES PLAYING IN OVERSEAS PRO LEAGUES: USA Volleyball has processed 307 international transfer certificates (212 females, 95 males) allowing United States citizens to compete in foreign professional volleyball leagues for the 2015-16 season, an increase of 19 athletes since Oct. 28. Additional transfers are expected to be processed over the course of the winter club season. On the women's side, athletes have transferred to play in 29 different countries with Germany attracting 39 players, England 19 players and France 17. Italy has nine transfers, and eight of the athletes are U.S. Women's National Team athletes. Five of the eight transfers to Turkey are members of the U.S. Women's National Team. Among the notable new transfers processed in the last month include four-time U.S. Olympian Logan Tom. The two time-Olympic silver medalist is playing in Turkey for Halkbank. Former U.S. Women’s National Team player Regan Hood Scott is also playing in Turkey with Sariyer. For the full story, click here.
GLASS, ROBINSON, EASY, ADAMS ALL WITH ITALY’S IMOCO CONEGLIANO: Setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich., Twitter, Instagram), the 2013 and 2014 USA Volleyball Female Athlete of the Year, outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Bartlett, Ill., Twitter, Instagram), outside hitter Megan Easy (Boston, Mass.), a 2012 Olympic silver medalist, and Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio, Twitter, Instagram) are all playing for Imoco Volley Conegliano of the Italian Serie A1 League this winter. Conegliano won its second straight Italian League match by sweeping then-league leader Nordmeccanica Piacenza 25-13, 25-23, 25-22 on Nov. 21. Glass set the team to a stellar 51 kill percent (45-89) to go with two individual kills on four attacks and two blocks. Easy led Conegliano with 16 points with 15 kills on 32 attacks and a block. Robinson followed with 15 points via 12 kills on 22 swings and three aces. Adams chipped in 10 points with four kills on 10 attacks, five blocks and an ace. Conegliano (5-2, 15 points), which moved up two spots to second place and just one point behind league-leader Pomi Casalmaggiore, faces fourth-place Gorgonzola Novara (4-2, 13 points) on Nov. 29.
GIBBEMEYER, LLOYD WITH ITALY’S POMI CASALMAGGIORE: Middle blocker Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn., Twitter, Instagram) and setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif., Instagram), the MVP of the Pan American Games, are playing for Pomi Casalmaggiore of the Italian Serie A1 league this winter and the CEV Champions League. In the Italian Serie A1, Pomi Casalmaggiore blanked Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio (3-4, 9 points) 25-23, 25-20, 25-22 on Nov. 22. Gibbemeyer was credited with five points in the victory with two kills and three blocks. Lloyd set the team a 35 kill percent while scoring two kills on three attacks and a block. Casalmaggiore (5-1, 16 points), now in sole possession of first place, returns to the Italian Serie A1 on Nov. 29 against sixth-place Liu Jo Modena (4-2, 11 points). In CEV Champions League, Casalmaggiore (1-1) faces Agel Prostejov (0-2) on Nov. 25 in a Pool C match.
LOWE, JENNA HAGGLUND WITH ITALY’S BUSTO ARSIZIO: Opposite Karsta Lowe (Rancho Sante Fe, Calif., Twitter, Instagram), MVP of the 2015 FIVB World Grand Prix, and setter Jenna Hagglund (West Chester, Ohio, Twitter, Instagram) are competing for Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio of the Italian Serie A1 League this winter. Busto Arsizio lost its second straight Italian League match falling to second-place Pomi Casalmaggiore 25-23, 25-20, 25-22 on Nov. 22. Lowe scored a match-high 15 points with 13 kills and a block in the loss. Hagglund set the team to a 31 kill percent. Busto Arsizio (3-4, 9 points), in eighth place, will try to break its losing streak on Nov. 28 as it faces last-place Il Bisonte Firenze (1-6, 3 points).
HILL WITH TURKEY’S VAKIFBANK: Outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Ore., Twitter, Instagram), the MVP of the 2014 FIVB World Championship, is playing for VakifBank in the Turkish League and CEV Champions League this winter. VakifBank won its seventh straight match to start the Turkish League by defeating Salihli 25-22, 25-10, 22-25, 25-21 on Nov. 18. Hill did not see action in the match. VakifBank improved to 8-0 on the season after sweeping Sariyer 25-20, 25-22, 25-18 on Nov. 22. Hill got the start and notched five kills on 17 attacks and a block for six point. She added 17 receptions with a 35 positive percent. VakifBank, with a one-point lead over Fenerbahce for the league lead, faces 12th--place Ilbank on Nov. 29 in its next Turkish League match. In the European Champions League, VakifBank (2-0) faces Calcit Ljubljana (0-2) on Nov. 26.
JACKSON WITH TURKEY’S GALATASARAY: Middle blocker Cursty Jackson (Los Angeles, California, Twitter, Instagram) is competing for Galatasaray of the Turkish League this winter. Galatasaray won consecutive five-set match this past week with the first being a 27-29, 25-10, 25-14, 20-25, 15-6 victory over Idman Ocagi on Nov. 18, Jackson collected 20 points in the victory with 17 kills on 27 attacks, two aces and a block. Galatasaray battled past Nilufer 27-25, 27-25, 21-25, 26-28, 16-14 in a thrilling match on Nov. 22. Jackson pocketed 18 points in the win with 15 kills on 25 attacks and just one error to go with two blocks and an ace. Galatasaray, which is in third place, takes on fourth-place Eczacibasi on Nov. 29 in the next round of the Turkish League. In CEV Cup action, Galatasaray has advanced to the 8th Final Round home-and-home series against VDK GENT Dames on Dec. 12 and Dec. 16.
LARSON-BURBACH, KREKLOW WITH TURKEY’S ECZACIBASI: Outside hitter Jordan Larson-Burbach (Hooper, Neb., Twitter, Instagram) and setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn., Twitter, Instagram) are playing for Eczacibasi of the Turkish League this winter, along with the CEV Champions League. In the Turkish League, Eczacibasi fell to Fenerbahce 27-29, 25-23, 25-19, 25-18 on Nov. 18. Larson-Burbach charted 13 points with nine kills on 37 attacks and four blocks in the setback. She handled 21 receptions with a 62 positive reception percent. Kreklow set the team to a 31 kill percent and added one kill and one block for two individual points. Eczacibasi rebounded to sweep Bursa B. Sehir 25-23, 25-21, 25-14 on Nov. 22. Larson-Burbach contributed 16 points with 13 kills on 22 swings, two blocks and an ace. She chipped in a 64 positive reception percent on 14 chances. Kreklow set the squad to a 39 kill percent and added a block. Eczacibasi, now in in a tie for fourth place, challenges third-place Galatasaray on Nov. 29 in its next Turkish League match. In European CEV Champions League action, Eczacibasi (1-1) meets Poland’s Chemik Police (2-0) on Nov. 26 in a Pool C tilt.
DIETZEN WITH TURKEY’S FENERBAHCE: Middle blocker Christa Dietzen (Hopewell Township, Pa., Twitter, Instagram) is competing this winter for Fenerbahce in the Turkish League and CEV Champions League. Fenerbahce defeated Eczacibasi 27-29, 25-23, 25-19, 25-18 on Nov. 18 for its third straight Turkish League victory. Fenerbahce battled past Halkbank 25-14, 25-27, 25-22, 25-17 on Nov. 22 for its fourth straight victory. Dietzen did not play in either match. Fenerbahce, in second place in the Turkish League and one point behind leader VakifBank, takes on seventh-place Canakkale on Nov. 29 in the next round of the Turkish League. In European CEV Champions League action, Fenerbahce (2-0) will put its undefeated record in Pool E to the test on Nov. Nov. 25 against Poland’s Impel Wroclaw (1-1).
KLINEMAN WITH BRAZIL’S PRAIA CLUBE: Opposite Alix Klineman (Manhattan Beach, Calif., Twitter, Instagram) is competing for Praia Clube in the Brazilian Superliga this winter. Praia Clube defeated Brasilia Volei 25-18, 27-25, 24-26, 25-21 on Nov. 17 to improve to 2-0 to start the season. Klineman notched a match-high 25 points with 23 kills on 48 attacks and two aces. She added a 48 positive reception percent on a team-high 35 chances. Praia Clube’s winning streak extended to three matches with a 17-25, 25-16, 25-13, 25-14 victory over Pinheiros on Nov. 19. Klineman pocketed 19 points with 15 kills on 29 attacks, three blocks and an ace. She was 50 percent positive on 10 receptions in the victory. Praia Clube brings its 3-0 record into its next match against Renalta Valinho on Nov. 24, followed by a Nov. 27 contest against Campones.
THOMPSON WITH BRAZIL’S REXONA ADES: Setter Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash., Twitter, Instagram) has signed to compete for Rexona Ades in the Brazilian Superliga. Rexona lost to Concilig Voeli Bauru 26-24, 17-25, 25-22, 27-25 on Nov. 17. Thompson started the first three sets and scored an ace and kill in the loss. Rexona rebounded on Nov. 19 by defeating Sao Bernardo Volei 25-15, 25-18, 25-18. Thompson set the squad to a 41 kill percent while serving two aces in the victory. Rexona, now 2-1 on the young season, faces Rio Do Sul on Nov. 24 in its next league match, followed by a Nov. 27 contest against Sao Cristovao.
DIXON WITH JAPAN’S TORAY ARROWS: Middle blocker Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minn., Twitter, Instagram), Best Blocker in the 2015 FIVB World Cup helping Team USA to the bronze medal, is playing her first season in the Japan V-League with Toray Arrows. Toray blanked Ageo 25-20, 25-22, 25-22 on Nov. 21 after a week off from the regular season action. Dixon contributed seven kills on 12 attacks in the victory. Toray won its second match of the weekend by sweeping then-third-place Okayama 25-18, 25-16, 25-20 on Nov. 22. Dixon slammed 14 kills on 28 swings and added a block for 15 points in the victory. Toray (8-1, 23 points), with a seven-point lead over second-place Hisamitsu Springs, challenges Hisamitsu Springs (5-4, 16 points) on Nov. 28 and eighth-place Toyota (1-8, 7 points) on Nov. 29.
PAOLINI WITH JAPAN’S HITACHI RIVALE: Middle blocker Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich., Twitter, Instagram), a middle blocker on Team USA, is playing her second consecutive season with Hitachi Rivale of the Japan V-League. Hitachi rallied to defeat then-second-place Hisamitsu Springs 20-25, 20-25, 25-19, 25-22, 15-7 on Nov. 21. Paolini notched 20 kills on 48 attacks with just two errors to go with a match-high seven blocks for 27 points. Hitachi made the outcome a little easier the following day with a 25-19, 25-15, 25-23 victory over Denso on Nov. 22. Paolini crushed 16 kills on 28 attacks with one error to go with three blocks for 19 total points. Hitachi (6-3, 15 points), now in fifth place, returns to action with matches versus seventh-place Ageo Medics (3-6, 9 points) on Nov. 28 and fourth-place NEC (4-5, 15 points) on Nov. 29.
MURPHY WITH JAPAN’S AGEO MEDICS: Opposite Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill., Twitter, Instagram), Team USA’s leading scorer in 2013 and 2014, is playing her second season in the Japan V-League with Ageo Medics. After a week break from the regular season, Ageo was unable to get back in gear as it fell to league-leader Toray 25-20, 25-22, 25-22 on Nov. 21. Murphy notched 17 kills on 52 swings in the loss. Ageo came back strong to defeat Toyota 25-21, 25-22, 28-26 on Nov. 22 for a weekend split. Murphy tacked on 20 kills on 38 attacks and two blocks for 22 total points. Ageo (3-6, 9 points), in seventh place, takes on third-place Hitachi (6-3, 15 points) on Nov. 28 followed by a Nov. 29 match against fifth-place Okayama (5-4, 14 points).
HILDEBRAND WITH POLAND’S IMPEL WROCLAW: Outside hitter Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah, Twitter, Instagram) is competing this winter for Impel Wroclaw in the Polish League and CEV Champions League. In the Polish League, Impel Wroclaw rallied from two sets down to defeat then-third-place Tauron MKS Dabrowa Gornicza 13-25, 26-28, 25-15, 26-24, 16-14 on Nov. 19. Impel Wroclaw trailed 12-10 in the tiebreaking set before making its final comeback. Hildebrand was a spark in the victory, coming off the bench in the second set and starting the final three sets. She scored seven kills on 26 attacks and handled 17 receptions with a 47 positive percent – best on the team. Impel Wroclaw (6-2, 16 points), which is now in a tie for third place with Dabrowa Gonricza, looks to win a fourth straight Polish Orlen Liga match on Nov. 28 versus ninth-place SK Bank Legionovia (1-6, 4 points). In CEV Champions League, Impel Wroclaw takes a 1-1 record in Pool E into its Nov. 25 match against Turkey’s Fenerbahce (2-0).
BARTSCH WITH GERMANY’S DRESDNER: Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch (Maryville, Ill., Twitter) is playing for Dresdner SC of the German Bundesliga and CEV Champions League this winter. Dresdner defeated NawaRo Straubing 25-21, 25-14, 25-17 to prevent a two-match losing streak. Bartsch hammered out a match-high 21 points with 17 kills on 27 attacks, three blocks and an ace in the victory. She was also 60 percent positive on 15 receptions. Dresdner (5-2), in which leaped two spots to third place after the win, challenges 10th-place Potsdam (2-5) on Nov. 28 in its next Bundesliga match. In CEV Champions League Pool E action, Dresdner (1-1) challenges Azerbaijan’s Telekom Baku on Nov. 25 in its next Champions League match.
STEVI ROBINSON, MIYASHIRO WITH GERMANY’S STUTTGART: Liberos Tama Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii, Twitter, Instagram) and Stevi Robinson (Hermosa Beach, Calif., Twitter, Instagram) are signed to play for Allianz MTV Stuttgart of the German Bundesliga, which is also playing in the CEV Champions League. Stuttgart lost to Rote Raben Vilsbiburg 25-20, 25-20, 19-25, 25-22 on Nov. 21 in the German Bundesliga. Robinson did not play in the match. Stuttgart (5-3) plays 12th-place Thuringen (1-6) on Nov. 28 in its next Bundesliga match. In CEV Champions League Pool A, Stuttgart (0-2) seeks its first win against Azerbaijan’s Lokomotiv Baku on Nov. 25.
AKINRADEWO, NATALIE HAGGLUND, VANSANT WITH SWITZERLAND’S VOLERO ZURICH: Middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla., Twitter, Instagram), libero Natalie Hagglund (Encinitas, Calif., Twitter, Instagram) and Krista Vansant (Redlands, Calif., Twitter, Instagram) are playing for Volero Zurich in the Swiss League as well as the CEV Champions League. Volero improved to 6-0 in the Swiss League by sweeping second-place Volley Koniz 25-19, 25-22, 25-23 on Nov. 21. In CEV Champions League action, Volero (2-0) takes on Pool D second-place Vizura Beograd (1-1) on Nov. 25.
FAWCETT WITH CHINA’S FUJIAN: Opposite Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio, Instagram), most valuable player of the NORCECA Championship leading Team USA to gold in 2015, and former U.S. National Team player Juliann Faucette are playing for Fujian in the Chinese professional league. Fujian had its three-match win streak snapped on Nov. 17 as Shandong came away with a 25-19, 26-24, 25-15 victory. Fawcett scored 10 points in the loss, all on kills via 21 attacks. Fujian was unable to rebound in its next match on Nov. 21, falling 25-13, 25-16, 25-17 to Tianjian. Fawcett pocketed 13 kills on 26 attacks and one block to go with six digs. Fujian looks to stop the two-match losing skid on Nov. 24 against Shanghai before facing Jiangsu on Nov. 28.
LICHTMAN WITH CHINA’S SICHUAN: Outside hitter Cassidy Lichtman (Poway, Calif., Twitter), an outside hitter on the U.S. Women’s National Team, is competing professionally for Sichuan of the Chinese professional volleyball League this winter. Sichuan lost to Tianjian 25-12, 25-20, 25-19 on Nov. 17 for its fourth straight setback. Lichtman provided four kills on 10 attacks and two blocks for six points. Sichuan broke the losing streak on Nov. 21 with a 25-22, 25-21, 25-21 victory over Shanghai. Lichtman scored five points with four kills on 11 attempts and an ace. She also handled four digs and was excellent on five of 18 receptions. Sichuan meets Jiangsu on Nov. 24 before facing Shandong on Nov. 28. To follow her season-long blog on Facebook, click here.