Women's Update: Fawcett on a Roll

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Jan. 18, 2016, 6:15 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 18, 2016) – The U.S. Women's National Team is fresh off winning its ticket to the 2016 Olympic Games by capturing the NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament Jan. 7-9 in Lincoln, Nebraska, but there is no rest in the meantime as the majority of the players went back immediately to their overseas club teams to resume the professional season.

DID YOU KNOW: Nicole Fawcett’s star has been rising over the last year as she was named most valuable player at both the NORCECA Continental Championship and the NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament, along with being best opposite at the 2015 Pan American Games. Below may be some other details you may not know about her:

  • While playing international club volleyball, Fawcett set the world record for highest individual points scored in a single match with 55 points while playing for Korea Expressway in the Korea V-League on Feb. 14, 2013. (Story | Video) The record has since been eclipsed.
  • Named MVP of the Korea V-League twice in 2012-13 and 2014-15 seasons
  • Selected AVCA Division I National Player of the Year in 2008 capping three consecutive seasons earning AVCA All-America First-Team honors while at Penn State
  • Led Penn State to an undefeated 38-0 record in 2008 and its second straight NCAA title
  • Selected Honda Award winner for overall best NCAA Division I volleyball player in 2008.
  • Father Bob was her high school coach at Logan High School in Ohio, while mother Kim was the assistant coach; mother played volleyball at Wright State University
  • Was a high jump regional finalist in high school in 2004 and 2005
  • Maternal grandfather was a pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles in 1945.
  • Owns a 1968 red convertible GTO
  • Goes by the nicknames Nic, Nicholas, Nix, White Lightening, Puppy, Dairy Queen, Babe, Niccy, Littly Niccy, Nicole F and Nasty Nickie
  • Full Bio

U.S. WOMEN CLAIMS SPOT IN 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES: The U.S. Women’s National Team captured the 2016 NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament held Jan. 7-9 in Lincoln, Nebraska, to earn its ticket to the 2016 Olympic Games this summer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Team USA defeated Canada on the opening night in 3-0, then defeated Puerto Rico 3-1 on the second night of the round-robin format. The Americans blanked Dominican Republic 25-19, 25-19, 25-18 in front of a crowd of 10,213 fans to clinch their spot. Team USA has now won six of its last seven tournaments entered dating back to winning the 2014 FIVB World Championship.

CEV EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE AND CEV CUP: The fifth leg of the CEV European Champions League is scheduled for this week with some intriguing re-matches on tap with U.S. Women’s National Team players taking center stage as the first round is nearing an end.

  • Jan. 19: Eczacibasi (Larson, Kreklow) vs. Agel Prostejov, 7 a.m. PT – WATCH
  • Jan. 19: Igor Gorgonzola Novara (Fawcett) vs. Calcit Ljubljana, 11 a.m. PT – WATCH
  • Jan. 19: Galatasaray (Jackson) vs. Volley Koniz, 10 a.m. – WATCH
  • Jan. 20: VakifBank (Hill) vs. PGE Atom Trefl SOPOT, 9 a.m. PT – Watch
  • Jan. 20: Pomi Casalmaggiore (Gibbemeyer, Lloyd) vs. Chemik Police, 9 a.m. PT – WATCH
  • Jan. 20: Dresdner (Bartsch) vs. Impel Wroclaw (Hildebrand), 10 a.m. PT – WATCH
  • Jan. 21: Volero Zurich (Akinradewo, N. Hagglund, Vansant) vs. RC Cannes, noon PT – WATCH
  • Jan. 21: Fenerbahce (Dietzen) vs. Telekom, 6 a.m. PT – WATCH/li>

FIVB WORLD GRAND PRIX LANDING IN CALIFORNIA: The FIVB World Grand Prix will return to the United States in 2016 as the U.S. Women will host Japan, Turkey and Germany in a round-robin preliminary round weekend June 17-19 at the Long Beach State University Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif. The U.S., which is the defending World Grand Prix champions after hosting the 2015 Final Round in Omaha, Neb., will face Germany on June 17, followed by Japan on June 18 and Turkey on June 19. Team USA is scheduled to play at 7 p.m. PT on all three days, while the non-American matches are slated for 5 p.m. PT. For additional tournament details and tickets, 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 closed out the first half with a 25-19, 26-24, 27-25 hard-fought victory over Il Bisonte Firenze on Dec. 22 for its fourth straight victory. Easy notched 16 points with 15 kills on 34 attacks and an ace while providing a 65 positive reception percent on 26 chances. Adams added nine kills on 20 attacks, three blocks and an ace for 13 points in the victory. Robinson totaled seven kills on 26 attacks, one ace and one block for nine points. Glass set the squad to a 37 kill percent while pitching in one individual kill. Conegliano extended its win streak to five matches with a 25-23, 25-17, 25-16 victory over Foppapedretti Bergamo on Jan. 16 to open the second half of the season. Glass set the squad to a stellar 51 percent kill percent while adding two individual kills and a block. Easy charted a team-best 17 points, all on kills via 24 attacks with just one error. She added a 63 positive percent on 30 receptions. Adams claimed 11 points with seven kills on 10 attacks and a team-best four blocks. Robinson added nine points with seven kills on 24 swings and two blocks to go with a 60 positive reception percent. Conegliano (10-3, 30 points), tied for the league lead with Pomi Casalmaggiore, will seek a sixth straight win on Jan. 24 when it faces 11th-place Obiettivo Risarcimento Vicenza (4-9, 10 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. In the Italian Serie A1, Pomi Casalmaggiore ended the first half with back-to-back five-set victories before sweeping its opening second half match to start 2016. Casalmaggiore edged Il Bisonte Firenze 25-19, 18-25, 25-20, 14-25, 15-10 on Dec. 19. Gibbemeyer tallied five kills on 14 errorless swings to go with a team-high four blocks for nine points. Lloyd set the squad to a 34 kill percent while chipping in three kills on seven swings and matching Gibbemeyer’s four blocks for seven points. Casalmaggiore rallied to defeat Club Italia 25-13, 22-25, 22-25, 25-15, 15-13 on Dec. 22 to close out the 2015 portion of the season. Gibbemeyer compiled seven kills on 16 errorless attacks, two blocks and an ace for 10 points in the victory. Lloyd provided four kills on seven errorless attacks and a block for five points while setting the team to a 42 kill percent. Casalmaggiore started off the second half of the season in strong fashion by sweeping Obiettivo Risarcimento Vicenza 25-18, 25-16, 25-17 on Dec. 17. For the third straight match Gibbemeyer was errorless on attack by scoring eight kills on 15 attacks to go with four blocks and an ace for 13 points. Lloyd set the team to a 38 kill percent and chipped in two aces and two kills in the victory. Casalmaggiore (10-3, 30 points), now in tie for first place in the Italian League, will seek to extend its win streak on Jan. 24 against seventh-place Foppapedretti Bergamo (6-7, 20 points). In CEV Champions League Pool C, group leader Casamaggiore (3-1, 9 points) meets second-place Chemik Police (3-1, 8 points) on Jan. 20 in the next Champions League match.

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 blanked Sudtirol Bolzano 25-23, 25-13, 25-18 on Jan. 17 in Fawcett’s first match in the Italian League this season. She came off the bench in the first set and started the final two sets, registering seven kills on 14 swings in the victory. Novara (10-3, 29 points), now in second place one point behind league leaders Conegliano and Casalmaggiore, faces 10th-place Club Italia (4-8, 13 points) on Jan. 24 in its next league match. In the CEV Champions League, Novara (1-3, 3 points) faces Calcit Ljubljana as it looks to stay in third place in Pool B.

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 split a pair of matches to conclude the season’s first half in 2015 and was unable to start the second half with a victory in 2016. Busto Arsizio stopped Club Italia 25-18, 25-20, 25-13 on Dec. 19. Lowe scored 13 points in the victory with 12 kills on 25 attacks and a block. Hagglund set the team to a 42 kill percent while adding two kills and an ace in the victory. Busto Arsizio ended the first half with a 19-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-19 loss to Nordmeccanica Piacenza on Dec. 22. Lowe totaled 15 kills on 49 attacks and two blocks for a team-high 17 points. Hagglund notched three kills on seven errorless chances while setting the team to a 30 kill percent. Busto Arsizio opened the second half with a 25-13, 24-26, 25-20, 25-17 loss to Savino Del Bene Scandicci on Jan. 17. Lowe provided a match-high 22 points with 21 kills on 56 attacks and an ace. Hagglund set the team to a 31 kill percent in the loss. Busto Arsizio looks to stop the two-match losing streak on Jan. 24 as it plays 12th-place Sudtirol Bolzano (3-10, 9 points).

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, topped Ilbank 25-18, 25-15, 23-25, 25-15 on Jan. 16. Larson scored 13 kills on 25 attacks, two blocks and an ace for 16 points. Kreklow was a serving sub in the third set. Fourth-place Eczacibasi (8-4, 23 points) challenges league-leader VakifBank (12-0, 35 points) on Jan. 23 in the next Turkish League match. In European CEV Champions League Pool C action, third-place Eczacibasi (2-2, 7 points) will seek to avoid a Champions League losing streak as it faces Czech Republic’s Agel Prostejov (0-4, 0 points) on Jan. 19.

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 swept Nilufer 25-23, 25-18, 27-25 on Jan. 16 to start the second half of the Turkish League season. Hill provided six points, all on kills via 15 attacks. She added a 76 positive reception percent on 17 chances. VakifBank (12-0, 35 points) challenges fourth-place Eczacibasi (8-4, 23 points) on Jan. 23 in a key match. In the European Champions League Pool B, group-leader VakifBank (4-0) challenges second-place Poland’s PGE Atom Trefl Sopot (3-1, 9 points) on Jan. 20.

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 swept its 8th Final Round home-and-home series by winning the second match 25-14, 25-20, 19-25, 25-21 over VDK GENT Dames in Belgium. Jackson totaled 12 points in the victory with 10 kills on 12 errorless swings, one block and one ace. Galatasaray now moves into the CEV Cup 4th Finals Round to play Volley Koniz on Jan. 19 and Jan. 27 in a home-and-home series. Galatasaray beat Bursa B. Sehir 21-25, 25-14, 25-23, 25-15 on Jan. 16. Jackson pounded out 10 kills on 18 swings while adding two aces and two blocks for 14 points in the victory. Galatasaray (10-2, 26 points), in third place, takes on eighth-place Canakkale (5-7, 15 points) on Jan. 23 in the next Turkish League match.

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 Salihli 25-13, 25-14, 25-21 on Jan. 16 to start the second half of the season. Dietzen did not play in the match. Second-place Fenerbahce (11-1, 34 points) plays fifth-place Sariyer (7-5, 19 points) on Jan. 24 in the next Turkish League match. In European CEV Champions League Pool E action, group leader Fenerbahce (4-0) plays Azerbaijan’s Telekom Baku (0-4, 0 points) on Jan. 21.

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 held back Developres SkyRes Rzeszow 22-25, 28-26, 25-21, 25-16 on Jan. 14. Hildebrand contributed 10 kills on 35 attacks and two blocks for 12 points in the victory. She added 22 receptions in the victory. Impel Wroclaw (11-2, 30 points), in a tie for third-place, resumes Polish League action on Jan. 24 against league-leader Chemik Police (13-0, 39 points), which has dropped just four sets all season. In CEV Champions League Pool E, third-place Impel Wroclaw (1-4, 4 points) will look to break its losing streak in the Champions League on Jan. 20 against second-place Dresdner (3-1, 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 blanked Renata Valinhos 25-20, 25-23, 25-9 on Dec. 22. Thompson was a sub in the opening set and registered one ace. Rexona-Ades’s second round match of the second half versus Concilig/Volei Bauru was postponed to Jan. 26 with team members playing in Olympic qualification tournaments. Rexonda-Ades topped Sao Bernardo Volei 25-17, 25-18, 25-12 on Jan. 11 without Thompson in the lineup as she was returning from the NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament. Rexona Ades rallied to defeat Rio Do Sul Equibrasil 22-25, 25-11, 23-25, 25-20, 17-15 on Jan. 15. Thompson started the first four sets and helped her team to an overall 42 kill percent. She also served two aces in the victory.

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 handled Sao Cristovao Saudesao Caetano 21-25, 25-23, 25-16, 25-21 on Dec. 22. Klineman notched 23 points in the victory with 21 kills on 49 swings and two blocks. Praia Clube downed Brasilia Volei 22-25, 25-18, 25-18, 25-16 on Jan. 8. Klineman started just the first set and did not register a point. Praia Clube edged Pinheiros 25-18, 25-21, 21-25, 25-23 on Jan. 12. Klineman returned to form with 19 points via 17 kills on 30 swings and two aces. Praia Clube swept Renata Valinhos 25-12, 25-13, 25-17 on Jan. 15 as Klineman hammered out nine kills on 18 attacks with one block and one ace for 11 points in the victory.

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 13-0 in the Swiss League by stopping VC Kanti Schaffhausen I 25-21, 25-15, 25-18 on Dec. 16. Volero, which has not lost a set in the Swiss League, challenges seventh-place VBC Cheseaux I on Jan. 23 in the next Swiss League match. In CEV Champions League Pool D action, division leader Volero (4-0, 12 points) seeks to remain undefeated when it takes on France’s RC Cannes (0-4, 1 point) on Jan. 21 in the next Champions League match.

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 edged Okayama 22-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-21 on Jan. 16 as Dixon returned to the team following the NORCECA Olympic Qualifier. She contributed 11 kills on 19 attacks with just one error, along with one block for 12 points. Toray rallied past Hisamitsu Springs 25-19, 22-25, 20-25, 25-23, 15-13 on Jan. 17 for its second big win of the weekend. Dixon pocketed 15 kills on 29 attacks on just one error as part of a 16-point match. Toray (43 points), now in sole possession of first place, challenges Ageo on Jan. 23 and Hitachi on Jan. 24 in the final regular season V-League matches.

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 swept Hisamitsu Springs 26-24, 25-19, 25-15 on Jan. 16. Paolini was credited with 11 kills on 17 attacks with just one error to go with one block for 12 points. However, Hitachi couldn’t keep the momentum in losing to Okayama 25-14, 32-30, 25-21 on Jan. 17. Paolini scored nine kills on 27 swings and two blocks for 11 points in the loss. Hitachi (33 points), now in third place, Toyota on Jan. 23 and Toray on Jan. 24 in final regular season V-League weekend.

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. Ageo lost a heart-breaking 20-25, 22-25, 25-19, 25-19, 15-10 match to NEC on Jan. 16. Murphy provided much of the offense with 33 kills on 82 swings and just four errors along with one block and one ace for 35 total points. Ageo had its second setback of the weekend with a 20-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-20 loss to Toyota on Jan. 17. Murphy charted 27 kills on 67 swings and one ace for 28 points. Ageo (17 points), which is currently eighth in the V-League, needs to win both its final two regular season matches and get help to move into the playoffs. They face Toray on Jan. 23 and Toyota on Jan. 24.

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 swept VCO Berlin 25-14, 25-10, 25-11 on Jan. 11 as Bartsch compiled a match-best 12 points with seven kills, four aces and a block in the victory. She also handled eight receptions at a 75 percent positive clip. Dresdner topped Kopenicker SC Berlin 26-24, 25-19, 25-22 on Jan. 16 for its second straight win to open the 2016 portion of the Bundesliga schedule. Bartsch knocked down a match-high 19 points with 15 kills on 29 swings, three aces and a block. She handled 28 of the team’s 58 receptions in the victory. Dresdner (13-2, 38 points) returns to action on Jan. 23 against co-league-leader Schwerin (13-2, 38 points) in a battle of the top two teams. In CEV Champions League Pool E action, second-place Dresdner (3-1, 7 points) faces Poland’s Impel Wroclaw (1-3, 4 points) in the next Champions League match on Jan. 20.