Women's Update: Gibby, Lloyd Win CEV Champions League

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | April 11, 2016, 10:59 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 11, 2016) – U.S. Women’s National Team middle blocker Lauren Gibbemeyer and setter Carli Lloyd helped their club team to a major title in Europe, defeating American outside hitter Kim Hill’s club team in the finals on Sunday. Get the details below in this week’s U.S. Women’s Update.

DID YOU KNOW: Christa Dietzen (Hopewell Township, Pennsylvania) joined the U.S. Women’s National Team in April 2009 and has earned three major championship medals along the way. Learn more details about Dietzen below.

  • Started all eight matches of the 2012 Olympic Games in which Team USA won the silver medal
  • Helped the U.S. Women win their first-ever FIVB World Championship gold medal in 2014 where she served as team captain
  • Recovered from microfracture knee surgery prior to the 2014 FIVB World Championship
  • Captain of the gold-medal winning 2015 FIVB World Grand Prix team and named Second Best Middle Blocker of the Final Round
  • Helped U.S. Women to the gold medal at the 2011 and 2012 FIVB World Grand Prix, which helped her earn a spot on the 2012 Olympic Games
  • Served as captain of the U.S. Women’s bronze-medal team at the 2015 FIVB World Cup.
  • Named Best Blocker at the 2009 Final Four Intercontinental Cup in her rookie season with the National Team.
  • Nicknamed “Mom” by teammates on the U.S. Women’s National Team
  • One of four members of the U.S. Women’s National Team Leadership Council
  • Led Penn State to NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship titles in 2007 and 2008 when she was also named AVCA All-America First-Team a year after being All-America Second-Team in 2006
  • Selected 2008 College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-American of the Year as the top student-athlete in volleyball
  • Named the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dapper Dan Sportswoman of the Year in 2015.
  • Graduated from Penn State University with a degree in elementary education after student teaching abroad at Yapton Elementary School in southern England prior to joining the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2009.
  • Member of the 2004 U.S. Women’s Junior National Team that won the NORCECA Women’s Junior Continental Championship and later was selected to the 2005 U.S. Women’s Junior National Team that competed in the FIVB Women’s U-20 World Championship in Turkey.
  • Married Derek Dietzen in June 2014
  • Co-founder of the Give It Back Foundation. It was created in 2015 by the U.S. Women's National Team members who share the mission of leading the next generation of athletes toward healthy competition and generosity. Based on the core values of "Lead. Play. Compete!", they began a journey to instill the spirit of the Olympics and World Championship within young athletes in their local communities. For details, visit GiveItBackFoundation.org.
  • Serves as a Classroom Champions ambassador. For details, click here.
  • Personal Website: ChristaDietzen.com.
  • Video Interview with Christa Dietzen
  • Full Bio.

Related: U.S. Women's National Team Page | FIVB World Grand Prix Coming to Long Beach, California

AKINRADEWO, VANSANT TALK OLYMPIC AND LIFE IN ZURICH: U.S. Women’s National Team middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo and outside hitter Krista Vansant, who are both playing for Volero Zurich in the Swiss League, took part in a recent video interview with VolleyVerse.com. The pair talked about the preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games and competing in front a passionate fans in Rio, playing together in Zurich with American teammate Natalie Hagglund, why volleyball is not as popular in the United States as it could be, what it takes to be a great middle blocker, the U.S. National Team style of play with a fast offense implemented by head coach Karch Kiraly, and additional questions regarding the U.S. National Team, Olympics and playing pro club volleyball overseas. To watch the video interview, click here.

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE RECAP: American setter Carli Lloyd and middle blocker Lauren Gibbemeyer led their Italian club Pomi Casalmaggiore to its first-ever European Champions League title after hosting the prestigious event April 9-10, while outside hitter Kim Hill helped her Turkish club VakifBank claim silver and middle blocker Christa Dietzen helped her Turkish team Fenerbahce to the bronze.

Casalmaggiore advanced to the title match after sweeping Russia’s Dinamo Kazan 25-19, 25-18, 25-18 in the semifinals on April 9. Gibbemeyer scored 11 points in the victory with eight kills on 15 swings with just one error, two aces and a block. Lloyd helped set Casalmaggiore to a 45 kill percent while adding three kills on five swings in the semifinal win. After the match, Lloyd said “We were up a few points and they would come back. They have great arms and can hit the ball really hard. They put us in difficult situations but we didn’t let them go and get on runs. Maybe for the public it’s a surprise that we won in three but we were really prepared for this match. Feeling the support and energy like we did tonight from the fans is important for us. We are a team full of energy and I think people notice that about us, that we work together.”

Casalmaggiore completed its fairytale season through the Champions League by sweeping powerhouse VakifBank 25-23, 25-23, 25-22 in a tight three-set contest in front of 4,200 fans. Lloyd again set Casalmaggiore to a 45 kill percent in the victory and added two individual kills on five swings. Gibbemeyer pocketed five kills on 14 swings with one error and a block for six points.

Hill played an important role in VakifBank’s play in the Champions League Final Round. In the semifinals, she scored a team-high 14 points with 10 kills on 18 errorless attacks, three aces and a block to help VakifBank to a 25-23, 25-22, 25-22 win over Turkish rival Fenerbahce. On the opposite side of the net, Dietzen totaled seven kills on 13 attacks in the loss. In the championship match against Casalmaggiore, Hill scored 10 points with eight kills on 17 attacks and two aces.

Lloyd was named the Champions League Finals Dream Best Setter, while Hill was selected Second Best Outside Spiker. To view a highlight reel of both players in action this past weekend, click here.

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. n 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.

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 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.

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, swept its best-of-three semifinal round series with USC Munster after winning match two 25-19, 25-23, 29-27 on April 9. Bartsch contribute a match-high 18 points with 16 kills on 36 swings, one ace and one block. She chipped in a 70 positive reception percent on 10 chances. American teammate Gina Mancuso added 10 kills in the victory at the other outside hitter position. Dresdner advances to the best-of-five finals to face the other semifinal round series winner of Schwerin and Stuttgart, which will be playing the tiebreaking match on April 13. The finals begin April 16.

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.

JACKSON WITH TURKEY’S GALATASARAY: Middle blocker Cursty Jackson (Los Angeles, California, Twitter, Instagram) is competing for Galatasaray of the Turkish League this winter. 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.

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, which won the Swiss League regular season and playoffs without dropping a single match, returns to action on April 13 and April 16 in the Swiss League Final Round.

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 before its regular season finale on April 2, Conegliano is enduring 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.

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. In the Italian Serie A1 playoffs and immediately after winning the CEV Champions League title this past weekend, second-seed 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.

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 (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.

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 11 with the tiebreaking contest scheduled for April 15 if necessary.