Women's Update: Americans in Swiss, Italian, Turkish Playoffs

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | April 25, 2016, 7:37 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 25, 2016) – Three U.S. Women’s National Team players helped their Swiss club team win the league title for the 11th time in 12 years, while four Americans helped their Italian team advance to the league championship series last week. Find out all the details below in the Weekly Update, in addition to other team news from around the world.

DID YOU KNOW: Cursty Jackson (Los Angeles) joined the U.S. Women’s National Team in May 2013 and has been a rock solid presence for Team USA ever since and always wearing a smile.

  • Scored 52 points during the 2015 Pan American Cup as Team USA won the gold, then later averaged 2.75 points per set with a 52.2 kill percent at the 2015 Pan American Games helping Team USA to another gold.
  • Made FIVB debut at the 2013 FIVB World Grand Champions Cup, averaging 2.33 points per set with a .340 hitting efficiency.
  • Invited to train with the National after an impressive performance at the 2011 U.S. Women’s National Team Open Tryout.
  • Named all-Pac 12 in 2011 after playing every set with a .293 hitting efficiency and 102 blocks for University of Arizona
  • After two years playing at UNLV including being named Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year in 2008 and All-Conference as a sophomore, transferred to University of Arizona to play in the Pac 10.
  • In high school, participated in track, swimming and basketball. “I chose volleyball just because I had so much fun at it, and I still have fun today. That makes the process of learning so much easier when you like what you are actually doing,” Jackson said.
  • Holds high school honors in the high jump, long jump and triple jump
  • Uses athletic ability as a middle blocker to overcome her undersized 6-2 frame
  • 2014 Video Interview
  • Full Bio

DIETZEN TABBED NO. 9 IN HONOR ROLL: Christa Dietzen (Hopewell Township, Pa., Twitter, Instagram) has been chose as No. 9 in “The Top 50 Greatest Sports Figures From the Valley” by the Beaver County Times (Pennsylvania). She has served as captain of USA’s gold-medal performances at the 2014 FIVB World Championship, the 2015 FIVB World Grand Prix and the 2016 NORCECA Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament. Others selected to the top 50 are No. 1 Tony Dorsett (football), No. 2 Lauryn Williams (track), No. 3 Mike Ditka (football), No. 4 Pete Maravich (basketball), No. 5 Joe Namath (football), No. 6 John Calipari (basketball), No. 7 Darrelle Revis (football), No. 8 Terry Francona (baseball) and No. 10 Sean Gilbert (football). For more details on her honor, click here.

Related: U.S. Women's National Team Page | FIVB World Grand Prix at Long Beach

JOINES TAMAS ENSHRINED INTO PACIFIC’S HALL OF FAME: Jennifer Joines Tamas, a 2008 U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team silver medalist, was enshrined into the University of the Pacific Athletics Hall of Fame on April 23. She played for the Tigers from 2000-2003 and was one of the best to ever wear the Orange and Black. Tamas the only player in school history to be named a four-time all-American and just the third Pacific alum to compete in the Olympic Games. While at Pacific, Tamas scored 2,225 kills and 639 blocks while also being credited with 686 digs as a middle blocker. She finished her career as the school’s all-time leader in kills per set (4.89), total attacks (4,615), attacks per set (10.14) and hitting efficiency (.350). Tamas joined the U.S. Women’s National Team in June 2001 and competed in both the 2006 and 2010 FIVB World Championships. For her USA bio, click here.

100 DAYS OUT THIS WEDNESDAY: The 2016 Olympic Games reaches the "100 Days Out" mark on April 27, and the U.S. Women's National Team will be involved. Although the team does not officially start its summer training until May 2, approximately 10 athletes are already training or working out at the American Sports Centers in Anaheim, California, the host city for both the U.S. Men's and Women's National Volleyball Teams. On April 27, NBC 4 in Los Angeles will be spotlighting the team during its noon Pacific time hour that is expected to include a live shot from the training center. Later in the day, the USA Volleyball Foundation will be holding a special 100 Days Out to include dinner at a Brazilian restaurant in Irvine followed by watching Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella at Segerstrom Center for the Arts with a special cast meet and greet after the performance.

Past Issues of VolleyballUSA, Official Magazine of USA Volleyball

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, defeated Sm’Aesch Pfeffingen I 25-11, 25-17, 25-14 to sweep the best-of-three final round to win the Swiss League championship for the 11th time in 12 years. Throughout the course of the regular season and playoffs, Volero dropped just six sets in 31 matches and was never extended to five sets.

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. Conegliano swept its best-of-three semifinal round series with Liu Jo Modena last week to arrive in the best-of-five championship round. Conegliano opened the semifinal round with a 27-25, 25-18, 24-26, 16-25, 15-8 victory at Modena. Robinson was stellar in the match with 14 kills on 46 swings, five aces and four blocks for a match-high 23 points. Glass set Conegliano to a 37 kill percent while adding in two individual kills on five errorless swings and two blocks for four points. Adams pocketed nine points with five kills on 15 attacks and four blocks. Easy did not suit for the match. For video highlights of the match, click here. A photo gallery of the match can be viewed by clicking here. Conegliano closed out the series on April 21 by winning 23-25, 26-24, 25-22, 25-19. Robinson pocketed a match-high 22 points with 14 kills on 47 swings, four blocks and four aces. She added a 71 positive reception percent on 21 chances. Adams added 18 points with 14 kills on 18 swings with just one error, three blocks and an ace. Glass set Conegliano to a 35 kill percent while scoring one individual kill. Easy did not play in the match. Video highlights of the second semifinal match can be viewed by clicking here, while photos of the match can be viewed by clicking here. Conegliano will face Nordmeccanica Piacenza, which is the No. 3 seed in the playoffs, on April 26, April 28 and April 30 in the best-of-five championship. If necessary matches four and five will be held on May 2 and May 3.

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, Impel Wroclaw has started off the best-of-five series for the bronze medal with two victories over Tauron MKS Dabrowa Gornicza. Wroclaw rallied from two sets down in the opener to win 14-25, 31-33, 25-20, 25-20, 15-9 on April 22. Hildebrand, who started the first four sets, tallied five kills on 14 swings and just one error to go with 21 reception chances. In the second match, Wroclaw eased to a 25-17, 25-15, 25-20 victory on April 23. Hildebrand contributed 12 kills on 38 attacks and one block for 13 points. Wroclaw can close out the series and earn the bronze in match three on April 28. If necessary, matches four and five will be played on April 29 and May 2.

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 Turkish League playoffs, VakifBank (3-0, 8 points) had an off week before it starts the second and final round robin playoff weekend. First-place VakifBank takes on Eczacibasi (1-2, 4 points) on April 28, Galatasaray (0-3, 1 point) on April 29 and Fenerbahce (2-1, 5 points) on April 30.

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 playoffs, second-place Eczacibasi (2-1, 4 points) takes on leader VakifBank (3-0, 8 points) on April 28 to start the second round robin weekend, followed by Fenerbache (2-1, 5 points) on April 29 and Galatasaray (0-3, 1 point) on April 30.

JACKSON WITH TURKEY’S GALATASARAY: Middle blocker Cursty Jackson (Los Angeles, California, Twitter, Instagram) is competing for Galatasaray of the Turkish League this winter. After an off weekend following the first of two round-robin playoff weekends, fourth-place Galatasaray (0-3, 1 point) faces Fenerbahce (2-1, 5 points) on April 28, leader VakifBank (3-0, 8 points) on April 29 and Eczacibasi (1-2, 4 points) on April 30.

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, lost to Allianz MTV Stuttgart 25-17, 25-20, 22-25, 23-25, 16-14 on April 23 to even its best-of-five championship round series at 1-1. Bartsch scored 16 points for Dresdner, including 13 kills on 43 swings, two blocks and an ace. She added a 47 positive reception percent on a team-best 32 chances. The series resumes on April 27 followed by match four on April 30. If necessary, the fifth and deciding match will be played May 2.