COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (April 4, 2016) – The prestigious European Champions League comes to a conclusion this weekend with four U.S. players competing among the four semifinal teams. Get all the details plus player news from around the globe and a “Did You Know” feature on Kristin Hildebrand in the U.S. Women's National Team Weekly Update.
DID YOU KNOW: Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah) joined the U.S. Women’s National Team in June 2005 and has been an alternate on the last two U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Teams that played in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.
- A Fun Get to Know Video Interview with Kristin Hildebrand and Courtney Thompson
- Video Interview with Kristin Hildebrand
- Served as captain of the 2015 Pan American Cup and 2015 Pan American Games gold-medal winning teams. She ranked third in Best Spiker at Pan Am Cup, while ranking third in receiving and 12th in scoring at the Pan Am Games
- Served as captain of the 2013 U.S. Women’s National Team that went 25-6. She started 30 of 31 matches in the season, recording 291 points
- Selected most valuable player of 2012 Pan American Cup as Team USA won the gold
- Started all 14 matches of the 2013 FIVB World Grand Prix, averaging 3.06 points per set
- Started playing volleyball at age 8
- Father Dave played on the US. Men’s National Team from 1978-1980. Her mother Lori, who passed away in 2012, played volleyball at BYU as did Dave and Kristin’s sister Lauren
- Nearly quit volleyball after the passing of her mother in 2012
- Rehabilitated two consecutive knee surgeries in nine months
- Two-time AVCA All-American at Stanford University
- Prior to her junior season at Stanford University, made senior level debut with U.S. Women’s National Team at the 2005 Montreux VolleyMasters and 2005 FIVB World Grand Prix
- Played on U.S Women’s Junior National Team in 2001 and 2002, and served as captain of the 2000 U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team
- Selected 2003 National Gatorade Player of the Year at Timpanogos High School in Orem, Utah
- Played junior volleyball for Players Volleyball Club, which won the 2002 Nationals.
- If not for volleyball, would likely be playing soccer
- Looked up to her older sister Lauren, who was a couple years older. “She was always inspiring to me. She had a lot of passion and was a great teammate.”
- Personal item that she takes on the road is her travel pillow
- Her inspirational athlete she looks up to is Stacy Sykora
- Married to Tyler Hildebrand, a former U.S. Men’s National Team setter who now coaches on the beach volleyball side including Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson.
- Full Bio
CEV EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINALS: The U.S. Women’s National Team will have four plays competing on three of the four CEV Champions League semifinal teams this coming weekend, and you can catch all the action live online at laola1.tv.
- April 9: Fenerbahce (Christa Dietzen) vs. VakifBank (Kim Hill), 6:30 a.m. PT,WATCH
- April 9: Pomi Casalmaggiore (Lauren Gibbemeyer, Carli Lloyd) vs. Dinamo Kazan, 9:30 a.m. PT, WATCH
- April 10: Bronze-medal match, 5:30 a.m. PT, WATCH
- April 10: Gold-medal match, 8:30 a.m. PT, WATCH
TRAILBLAZING OLYMPIAN VERNEDA THOMAS PASSES AWAY: Trailblazing volleyball Olympian Verneda Thomas (Aloha and Great Lakes Region), 79, passed away Wednesday from post-surgical complications to replace a heart stent. Thomas was a pioneer in the sport of volleyball as she made the inaugural U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team roster at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, as well as only one of two active African-American players competing in USVBA Nationals at the time. She was an international elite high jumper in the 1950s, but made a quick impression when she started playing volleyball in 1960 with Chicago Rebels under legendary coach Bertha Lucas. A memorial service will be held in Honolulu on April 8 at Nuuanu Mortuary (2233 Nuuana Ave.) from 5-9 p.m. HT. A second memorial service will be held in Chicago at a later date. For the full story and a statement from USA Volleyball CEO Doug Beal on Thomas’ passing, click here.
AKINRADEWO, NATALIE HAGGLUND, VANSANT WITH SWITZERLAND’S VOLERO ZURICH: Middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla., Twitter, Instagram), libero Natalie Hagglund (Encinitas, California, 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 won the Cornèrcard Volley Cup title with a 25-17, 25-15, 25-20 victory over Volley Dudingen on April 3. Volero reached the finals by defeating Hotel Cristal 25-12, 25-12, 25-14 in the semifinals on April 2. Volero returns to action on April 13 and April 16 in the Swiss League Final Round.
THOMPSON WITH BRAZIL’S REXONA-ADES: Setter Courtney Thompson (Kent, Washington, Twitter, Instagram) has signed to compete for Rexona-Ades in the Brazilian Superliga. Rexona-Ades, the regular season champion and top seed in the playoffs, captured the Superliga crown by defeating second-seed Dentil/Praia Clube 25-18, 26-28, 28-26, 28-26 in a hard-fought title match on April 3. Thompson as a sub in the second and third sets, compiling three serves in the victory. To reach the championship match, Rexona-Ades defeated Volei Nestle 25-20, 25-23, 25-16 on March 28 in the third match of the best-of-three semifinal round series. Thompson was a sub in the second set.
KLINEMAN WITH BRAZIL’S PRAIA CLUBE: Opposite Alix Klineman (Manhattan Beach, California, Twitter, Instagram) is competing for Praia Clube in the Brazilian Superliga this winter. Praia Clube, which finished the regular season in second place, defeated Camponesa Minas 25-21, 25-18, 25-22 on March 28 in the best-of-three semifinal round series rubber match to gain a spot in the title match. Klineman scored a team-high 12 points with 11 kills on 22 attacks and a block. In the championship match, Praia Clube was unable to finish off sets in taking a 25-18, 26-28, 28-26, 28-26 loss to top-seed Rexona-Ades on April 3 in a winner-take-all championship round. Klineman scored 17 points with 14 kills via 43 swings, two blocks and an ace. She added 10 receptions with a 40 positive reception percent.
FAWCETT WITH ITALY’S NOVARA: Opposite Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio, Instagram), most valuable player of the 2015 NORCECA Championship and the 2016 NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament, transferred to Italy’s Igor Gorgonzola Novara after completing the short-season Chinese professional league. Novara swept 10th-place Obiettivo Risarcimento Vicenza 25-18, 25-16, 25-14 on April 2 to close out the regular season. Fawcett tallied nine kills on 16 attacks in the victory. Novara (18-6, 50 points) ended the regular season in fourth place and will play Liu Jo Modena in the best-of-three semifinal round series with matches on April 12, April 14 and, if necessary, April 16.
GIBBEMEYER, LLOYD WITH ITALY’S POMI CASALMAGGIORE: Middle blocker Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram) and setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California, 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. Casalmaggiore closed out the regular season with a 17-25, 26-24, 25-17, 25-20 come-from-behind win over Club Italia on April 2. Lloyd set the team to a 35 kill percent and chipped in two blocks and one individual kill. Gibbemeyer pocketed 12 points with 10 kills on 15 swings and two blocks. Casalmaggiore (18-6, 55 points) ended the regular season in second place, two points behind league leader Imoco Volley Conegliano (20-4, 57 points) and one point ahead of third-place Nordmeccanica Piacenza (17-7, 54 points). Casalmaggiore takes on seventh-place Foppapedretti Bergamo in the best-of-three quarterfinals starting on April 13, followed by matches on April 15 and, if necessary, April 17. Casalmaggiore hosts the semifinals and finals of the CEV Champions League April 9-10 and will play Russia’s Dinamo Kazan in the semifinals on April 9.
LOWE, JENNA HAGGLUND WITH ITALY’S BUSTO ARSIZIO: Opposite Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, California, 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 regular season finale with a 25-19, 25-23, 25-18 setback to Nordmeccanica Piacenza on April 2. Lowe scored 19 points with 16 kills on 32 swings and just two errors to go with two aces and a block. Hagglund set the team to a 44 kill percent and added one individual kill. Busto Arsizio ended the regular season in ninth place with a 9-15 record (30 points) and missed qualifying for the quarterfinals.
GLASS, ROBINSON, EASY, ADAMS ALL WITH ITALY’S IMOCO CONEGLIANO: Setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Michigan, 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. After a 20-day hiatus due to the Italian Cup playoffs followed by a bye week, Conegliano (20-4, 57 points) returned to the court a bit rusty on April 2 and had its 15-match win streak snapped by 12th-place Il Bisonte Firenze 25-20, 25-20, 20-25, 25-15 in the regular season finale. Robinson tallied a team-high 17 points, all on kills via 43 swings. She added a 53 positive reception percent on 19 chances. Adams contributed 10 points, all kills via 14 swings. Glass set the team to a 35 kill percent and chipped in two aces, two blocks and a kill. Easy did not suit for the match. Conegliano, which had already clinched the regular season title prior to the match, had a two-point lead over second-place Pomi Casalmaggiore (18-6, 55 points) in the final regular season standings. Conegliano now must endure another 10-day layoff from the schedule before starting the best-of-three quarterfinals against eighth-seed Metalleghe Sanitars Montichiari with matches on April 12, April 14 and, if necessary, April 16.
BARTSCH WITH GERMANY’S DRESDNER: Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch (Maryville, Illinois, Twitter) is playing for Dresdner SC of the German Bundesliga and CEV Champions League this winter. Dresdner (20-4, 60 points), which captured the regular season title and top seed into the playoffs, opened its best-of-three semifinal round series with a 26-24, 25-23, 25-15 victory over USC Munster on April 2. Bartsch claimed a match-high 17 points with 12 kills on 29 swings, three blocks and two aces. She added eight receptions in the victory. The series resumes on April 9 with the tiebreaker on April 13 if necessary.
DIETZEN WITH TURKEY’S FENERBAHCE: Middle blocker Christa Dietzen (Hopewell Township, Pennsylvania, Twitter, Instagram) is competing this winter for Fenerbahce in the Turkish League and CEV Champions League. In European CEV Champions League, Fenerbahce now will face Turkish rival VakifBank on April 9 in the semifinals, with the winner advancing to meet the opposite semifinal winner of Pomi Casalmaggiore and Dinamo Kazan for the title on April 10. In the Turkish League, regular season winner Fenerbahce goes into the top-four round robin playoffs to play fourth-place Galatasaray on April 15, third-place Eczacibasi on April 16 and second-place VakifBank on April 17.
LARSON, KREKLOW WITH TURKEY’S ECZACIBASI: Outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska, Twitter, Instagram) and setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram) are playing for Eczacibasi of the Turkish League this winter, along with the CEV Champions League. In the Turkish League, Eczacibasi (18-4, 52 points) moves into the top four round robin playoffs to face second-seed VakifBank on April 15, top-seed Fenerbahce on April 16 and fourth-place Galatasaray on April 17.
HILL WITH TURKEY’S VAKIFBANK: Outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon, Twitter, Instagram), the MVP of the 2014 FIVB World Championship, is playing for VakifBank in the Turkish League and CEV Champions League this winter. In the European Champions League, VakifBank has advanced to the semifinals to face Turkish rival Fenerbahce on April 9. The championship match is set for April 10 as the winner of Italian host Pomi Casalmaggiore and Russia’s Dinamo Kazan will advance to the title match against the Turkish winner. In the Turkish League, second-place VakifBank (20-2, 59 points) is in the four-team round-robin playoffs as it will face third-place Eczacibasi on April 15, fourth-place Galatasaray on April 16 and top-seed Fenerbahce on April 17.
JACKSON WITH TURKEY’S GALATASARAY: Middle blocker Cursty Jackson (Los Angeles, California, Twitter, Instagram) is competing for Galatasaray of the Turkish League this winter. In CEV Cup action, Galatasaray opened up the home-and-home championship round with a 25-14, 22-25, 25-16, 21-25, 15-13 victory over Russia’s Dinamo Krasnodar on March 29. Jackson piled up 12 points with 10 kills on 22 errorless swings, one blocks and one ace in the victory. However, Krasnodar came back to win the second match in Russia 25-23, 25-22, 29-27 to retain its CEV Cup title. Jackson tallied nine points in the loss with eight kills on 16 swings and a block. Galatasaray finished the CEV Cup with the silver medal. Galatsaray returns to action April 15-17 in the Turkish League Finals with round-robin action of the top four teams. Fourth-seed Galatasaray opens against top-seed Fenerbahce on April 15, followed by second-seed VakifBank on April 16 and third-seed Eczacibasi on April 17.
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 before the squad dropped to the CEV Cup. In the Polish League playoff, is down one set to PGE Atom Trefl Sopot in the best-of-three semifinal round series. The second match takes place in Wroclaw on April 9 with the tiebreaking contest scheduled for April 16 if necessary.