Women's Update: A Look into the Future

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Feb. 21, 2016, 10:20 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 21, 2016) – The U.S. Women’s National Team held its National Open Tryouts this past weekend at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs with the opportunity to broaden the talent base this year with an eye toward the next Olympic quadrennial. This week’s Women’s National Team Update spotlight the tryout, as well as athlete news from around the globe.

DID YOU KNOW: Middle blocker Rachael Adams (Cincinnati) joined the U.S. Women’s National Team in May 2013 after a stellar career at the University of Texas. She is among a talented list of middle blockers in the United States aiming for a spot on the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games team. Get to know her a little better in the second below.

  • Helped U.S. Women win gold at the 2014 FIVB World Championship where she started four matches
  • Won two golds in 2015 – the Pan American Games and NORCECA Championship
  • Co-founded Athletes Abroad, a website that connects professional athletes playing in foreign countries. The site was featured in an Associated Press story that was picked up by many national newspapers, including the New York Times
  • Named Best Server at 2014 Montreux VolleyMasters, a rare occurrence for middle blockers
  • Led USA A2 Blue Team to the gold medal at the 2010 USA Volleyball Open National Championships
  • Named AVCA All-America First-Team (2010 and 2011) after holding a .388 hitting efficiency to ranked 13th in NCAA Division I (2011) and ranking No. 1 in NCAA for hitting efficiency (.443) in 2010
  • Majored in advertising at the University of Texas
  • Member of the U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team that won the 2006 NORCECA Girls’ Youth Continental Championship
  • Appeared in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” feature in the magazine’s Nov. 26, 2007 issue
  • Father was drafted in the fourth round of the 1978 NBA draft by the San Antonio Spurs after a four-year career at University of Illinois (1974-78)
  • Video: Meet Rachael Adams
  • Adams has visited elementary schools giving advice to young students, but at the same time comes away inspired herself. See story by clicking here
  • Full Bio

NATIONAL TEAM OPEN TRYOUTS: The annual U.S. Women’s National Team Open Tryout brought in 225 athletes representing 88 colleges to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The athletes were looking for spots on either the U.S. Women’s National Team or the U.S. Collegiate National Team programs. The event had over 84 cumulative hours of live video (21 hours on four courts). USA Volleyball also debuted its Snapchat account for the tryout, along with pushing content to its established social media platforms of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Links to National Team Open Tryout Articles and Photo Galleries:

U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly and his staff directed the tryout process. Selected athletes for the U.S. Women’s National Team may begin their training in Anaheim, Calif., as early as the spring of 2016, or when an athlete’s scholastic or professional club season has concluded.

The U.S. Collegiate National Team program has three competition options:

  • Tour of China (12 athletes): June 18-July 1
  • Tour of Europe (12 athletes): July 5-16
  • USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships (projected 36 athletes): June 21-30 in Indianapolis

Selections for the U.S. Collegiate National Teams will be made by the end of March.

HAGGLUND BLOGGING FOR VOLLEYVERSE.COM: U.S. Women’s National Team libero Natalie Hagglund (Encinitas, Calif.) has started what is intended to be a regular blog series on international volleyball website volleyverse.com. In her initial entry, she talks about what it has been like in the three years leading up to the Olympic Games and Team USA qualifying for Rio. Hagglund discusses the mindset of “every day is the same,” whether in practice, overseas in club or representing Team USA in an international tournament in Europe on American soil. To read the blog, click here.

CEV EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE AND CEV CUP: The CEV European Champions League Playoff 12 round concludes this week with U.S. Women’s National Team players competing in four matches, as well as a CEV Cup Challenge Round match this week. The five matches, which includes Americans going head-to-head in two of the matches, can be watched live on laola1.tv.

  • Feb. 23: Fenerbahce (Dietzen) vs. Chemik Police, 9 a.m. PT, WATCH
  • Feb. 24: Eczacibasi (Larson, Kreklow) vs. VakifBank (Hill), 9 a.m. PT, WATCH
  • Feb. 24: Dresdner (Bartsch) vs. Dinamo Moscow, 8:30 a.m. PT, WATCH
  • Feb. 24: Impel Wroclaw (Hildebrand) vs. Galatasaray (Jackson), 9 a.m. PT, WATCH
  • Feb. 25: Volero Zurich (Akinradewo, N. Hagglund, Vansant) vs. Lokomotiv Baku, 11 a.m. PT, WATCH

LARSON, KREKLOW WITH TURKEY’S ECZACIBASI: Outside hitter Jordan Larson (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 overwhelmed Halkbank 25-16, 25-21, 25-20 on Feb. 20. Larson scored 13 points with 12 kills on 28 swings and a block. She added a 50 positive reception on four chances. Kreklow was a sub in the third set, registering one kill on one swing. Fourth-place Eczacibasi (13-4, 38 points) takes on league-leader Fenerbahce (16-1, 48 points) in the next Turkish League match. In European CEV Champions League, Eczacibasi needs to win the second of the Playoff 12 Round home-and-home series against Turkish rival VakifBank on Feb. 24 to have a chance to move on to the Playoff 6 Round.

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. Fenebahce blanked seventh-place Nilufer 27-25, 25-20, 25-19 on Feb. 20. Dietzen did not play in the match. Fenerbahce (16-1, 48 points), now with a four-point lead over VakifBank for the league-lead, fourth-place Eczacibasi (13-4, 38 points) on Feb. 27 in the next Turkish League match. In European CEV Champions League, Fenerbahce can close out the Playoff 12 Round home-and-home series with Poland’s Chemik Police on Feb. 23 with the winner advancing to the Playoff 6 Round.

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. In the Turkish League, VakifBank edged third-place Galatasaray 25-13, 25-27, 15-25, 25-18, 15-5 on Feb. 20 to remain in second place. Hill was a sub in the third and fourth sets, then started the dominating fifth set. She scored six points with four kills on eight attacks, one block and one ace. Hill also provided VakifBank with a 47 positive reception percent on 15 reception chances. VakifBank (15-2, 44 points), now in second place, takes on 11th-place Salihli (2-15, 8 points) on Feb. 27. In the European Champions League, VakifBank will look to sweep its Turkish rival Eczacibasi in the Playoff 12 Round home-and-home series when they meet on Feb. 24 to decide which team advances to the Playoff 6 Round.

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 the Turkish League, Galatasaray was unable to hold a 2-1 set advantage against second-place VakifBank in falling 25-13, 25-27, 15-25, 25-18, 15-5 on Feb. 20. Jackson slammed 10 kills on 26 attacks and added a block for 11 points. Galatasaray (14-3, 39 points), in third place, faces 10th-place Idman Ocagi (3-14, 11 points) on Feb. 27. In CEV Cup action, Galatasaray will look to sweep the Challenge Round home-and-home series with Poland’s Impel Wroclaw on Feb. 24 to advance to the semifinals.

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. In a break from the regular season, Conegliano lost to Mettalleghe Sanitars Montichiari 25-17, 25-15, 18-25, 21-25, 21-19 in the Italian Cup quarterfinals on Feb. 17. Easy notched a team-best 26 points, all on kills via 67 attacks. She added a 66 positive reception mark on a team-best 44 reception chances. Robinson chipped in 15 kills on 44 swings and a block for 16 points. She added a 65 positive reception percent on 31 chances. Adams added 12 points with six kills on 15 attacks and six blocks. Glass set Conegliano to a 38 kill percent for the match. Conegliano won its 11th straight match, rallying from a set one loss to win 20-25, 25-16, 25-21, 26-24 on Feb. 21. Glass set the team to a 41 kill percent while charting two kills and two blocks. Easy continued to pile up the points with 23 from 20 kills on 42 attacks, two aces and a block. She also was credited with a 52 positive reception percent on 25 chances. Adams tallied 13 kills on 23 swings, one block and one ace for 15 points. Robinson did not play in the match. Conegliano (16-3, 46 points) will seek its 12th straight win on Feb. 21 when it faces third-place Igor Gorgonzola Novara (14-4, 40 points).

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. Casalmaggiore downed Savino Del Bene Scandicci 25-18, 18-25, 25-22, 25-19 on Feb. 17 in the Italian Cup quarterfinals to advance to the semifinal round next month. Gibbemeyer contributed seven kills on 12 attacks, one block and one ace for nine points. Lloyd set the team to a 36 kill percent for the match while adding one individual kill. In the Italian Serie A1, Pomi Casalmaggiore edged Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio 18-25, 30-28, 25-21, 16-25, 15-11 on Feb. 21. Gibbemeyer hammered 12 kills on 20 errorless attacks to go with two blocks and an ace for 15 points. Lloyd set the team to a 35 kill percent while chipping in five blocks and an individual kill for six points. Casalmaggiore (13-5, 40 points), now in fourth place, faces fifth-place LIU JO Modena (13-5, 37 points) on Feb. 28. Casalmaggiore has also been selected to host the semifinals and finals of the CEV Champions League April 9-10, thus bypassing the Playoff 12 and Playoff 6 rounds.

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 lost to Foppapedretti Bergamo 25-18, 25-21, 25-18 on Feb. 17 in the Italian Cup quarterfinals. Fawcett started the first set and was a sub in sets two and three as she scored three kills. In the Italian Serie A regular season, Novara bounced back to stop eighth-place Metalleghe Sanitars Montichiari 25-18, 25-23, 25-22 on Feb. 20. Fawcett started the whole match, scoring nine kills on 19 attacks, two blocks and an ace for 12 points. Novara (14-4, 40 points), in third place, returns to Italian League action on Feb. 28 against league-leader Imoco Volley Conegliano (16-3, 46 points). In the CEV Cup Challenge Round, Novara must defeat Azerbaijan’s Azeryol Baku on Feb. 23 to conclude the Challenge Round home-and-home series to have a chance to advance to the semifinal round.

LOWE, JENNA HAGGLUND WITH ITALY’S BUSTO ARSIZIO: Opposite Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa 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. Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio lost to Pomi Casalmaggiore 18-25, 30-28, 25-21, 16-25, 15-11 on Feb. 21. Lowe contributed 22 points with 18 kills on 48 swings, three blocks and an ace. Hagglund, who had three kills on four individual swings, set the squad to a 37 kill percent in the loss. Busto Arsizio (7-12, 22 points), now in ninth place, will seek to break its losing streak on Feb. 28 against 13th-place Il Bisonte Firenze (2-17, 7 points).

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-Ades topped Camponesa Minas 25-20, 25-22, 25-21 on Feb. 16. Thompson set her squad to a 40 kill percent leading to victory. Rexona-Ades handed Sesi Sao Paulo a 25-21, 25-17, 25-17 loss on Feb. 19 to end the week. Thompson set Rexona-Ades to a 40 kill percent in the win. Rexona-Ades (20-1, 57 points), now in first-place with a three-match lead and six standings points advantage, resumes Brazilian Superliga action on March 4 against Volei Nestle to close out the regular season.

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 recovered from its loss to league-leader Rexona Ades last week to hand Concilig Volei Bauru a 25-10, 24-26, 29-27, 25-19 loss on Feb. 17. Klineman tallied 16 points in the victory with 13 kills on 40 swings, two blocks and an ace. Praia Clube (16-4, 48 points) takes on Sao Bernardo Volei on Feb. 26 and Rio Do Sul on March 4 to close out the regular season.

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 ended the Swiss League regular season undefeated at 18-0 and begins the playoffs on Feb. 27 against Viteos NUC I, followed by a Feb. 28 match against Sm’Aesch Pfeffingen. Vansant ended the regular season ranked 10th in scoring with 152 points, including 138 kills, eight aces and six blocks. In CEV Champions League, Volero needs to overcome a shocking defeat to Lokomotiv Baku in the opening match of the Playoff 12 home-and-home series to advance to the Playoff 6 Round. The two teams conclude the series on Feb. 25.

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, third-place Impel Wroclaw (15-3, 40 points) resumes Polish League action on Feb. 27 against ninth-place Legionovia (3-15, 11 points). In the CEV Cup Challenge Round, Impel Wroclaw will need to defeat Galatasaray in the second match of the home-and-home series on Feb. 24 to force a golden set for a chance to advance to the semifinals.

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 lost its first playoff match in three contest after falling to Toyota 25-17, 23-25, 17-25, 25-21, 15-8 on Feb. 20. Paolini was credited with 11 kills on 34 swings, two blocks and two aces for 15 points. Hitachi bounced back to defeat NEC 25-16, 25-23, 20-25, 25-20 on Feb. 21. Paolini pocketed 18 kills on 40 attacks and seven aces for 25 points. Hitachi (3-1, 13 points), in first place in the playoff standings which combines regular season final standings, has clinched a final three playoff berth. Hitachi closes out the six-team playoff round on Feb. 28 against Okayama, which has been eliminated from the final three playoff round.

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. Murphy and her teammates move into the V-League Challenge Match playoffs by facing JT Marvelous on March 5-6 at Hitachinaka Sports Park Gymnasium. Ageo finished eighth in the top division, while JT Marvelous won the second division. Murphy ended the regular season ranked second in scoring with 507 points and a 6.03 per set scoring average. She averaged 5.42 kills per set, also second in the league. Murphy held a 17.3 serve efficiency for second-best in the league, while having 26 aces for third-place.

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. In the German Bundesliga, Dresdner lost to seventh-place Pottsdam 17-25, 25-23, 23-25, 27-25, 15-10 on Feb. 17. Bartsch did not play in the match, while American teammate Gina Mancuso scored 16 points in the loss. Bartsch returned to the lineup on Feb. 20 as Dresdner defeated Rote Raben Vilsbiburg 25-18, 25-23, 25-18. Bartsch collected 12 points with eight kills on 28 attacks, three aces and a block. Dresdner (18-4, 54 points), which remains in first place in the league standings with a two-point lead over second-place Schweriner, returns to German Bundesliga on March 2 against 12th-place Thurigen (4-18, 14 points). In CEV Champions League, Dresdner completes the home-and-home series on Feb. 24 needing a win to force a golden set to advance to the Playoff 6 Round.