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2016 USA Volleyball Opens Head to Orlando

By Karen Patterson (karen.patterson@usav.org) | May 24, 2016, 9:30 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 23, 2016) – Thousands of players from around the world descend on Orlando, Florida this week when USA Volleyball hosts its 87th annual Open National Championships.

OpensMaking its Florida debut this year, the 2016 tournament features 578 teams competing across 34 divisions from May 27-June 1. Locally hosted by the Florida Region, this year’s Opens take place at the Orange County Convention Center in the heart of Orlando.

“We’re honored to be hosting for the first time, and I hope it won’t be our last time,” Florida Region Executive Director and President Steve Bishop said. “We love hosting big events, and this is one that we’re going to enjoy.”

RELATED: 2016 Opens Event Page | 2016 Opens Results | 2015 Opens Results

“I would like to thank the Central Florida Sports Commission, Visit Orlando and the Florida Region for all their efforts in helping us plan this event and make it the best possible,” USA Volleyball’s Events Manager Irina Damy said. “The City of Orlando is known for its success in hosting major sporting event and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to bring our event to this great city. I am looking forward for another successful USAV Open National Championships.”

For more on the 2016 Opens, continue reading:

Facts and Figures

  • Nine of the 55 courts will be live-streamed on USA Volleyball’s website. Fans can go to http://bit.ly/2016Opens each day to watch.
  • 74 foreign teams are playing in this year’s Opens, representing seven countries
  • This year’s PVL Tournament features 15 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams on six courts
  • Pool play for the age divisions begins Friday, May 27; the PVL tournament kicks off on Saturday, May 28 and finishes Tuesday, May 31. A complete schedule can be found here.

Olympians highlight the PVL tournament
Five-time Olympian, and two-time silver medalist Danielle Scott-Arruda and four-time Olympian and gold medalist Lloy Ball headline the Premier Volleyball League tournament.

Ball’s Team Pineapple won the 2015 Men’s PVL tournament and hopes to defend its title with all but three players returning. Scott-Arruda and her Team IE teammates will try to topple 2015 champs and 2014 runners-up North Texas, which returns half of its 2015 squad.

“Each year we’ve seen the talent level continue to grow as more international-experienced athletes find their way on the PVL rosters,” Bishop said. “I think we’re really expecting to see fan interest increase this year. The first few years it was a surprise to everyone.”

Other notable players competing include four-time NCAA champion Arielle Wilson (Penn State University, 2007-11), two-time NCAA champions Aiyana Whitney, Nia Grant and Megan Courtney (Penn State University, 2013-14) and 2013 AVCA Player of the Year at Long Beach State and current USA Beach player, Taylor Crabb.

Boyce Banquet to honor 13
Thirteen coaches, players and volleyball leaders will receive recognition during the 71st annual Dorothy C. Boyce Awards and Recognition Banquet.

Held Wednesday, May 25, during USA Volleyball’s Annual Meetings, this year’s event honors past and present coaches, players, officials and leaders. This year’s annual meetings begin Monday, May 23 and conclude Friday afternoon as pool play begins at the opens. For more information about the event, including a list of honorees, click here. (Date of story to hyperlink: Nov. 25, 2015)

Sitting Team ready for Russia
The U.S. Women’s Sitting Team will play five exhibition matches against the Russia Women’s Sitting Team May 27-29. Russia is one of seven other teams joining the Women’s Sitting Team at the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics in September.

“We’re looking forward to playing a high-level team, and also a team we could possibly play out of the cross-over in Rio,” Head Coach Bill Hamiter said.

Hamiter also plans to try a variety of line-up options as the July 26 deadline to name the Paralympic roster approaches.

“Russia is one of the main teams that comes to the U.S. and we’re really friendly with them,” setter Lexi Shifflett said.  “We’re both trying to make each other better before Rio, but we’re also trying to get an insight into what they’re doing.”

U.S. Women’s Sitting Team Roster for the Intercontinental Cup (March 17-23)
# – Name (Position, Hometown, Height)

1 – Lora Webster (MB, Phoenix, Arizona, 5-11)
2 – Bethany Zummo (L, Dublin, California, 5-2)
3 – Alexis Shifflet (S, Waseca, Minnesota, 5-4)
4 – Michelle Schiffler (MB, Lake Wales, Florida, 6-0)
5 – Katie Holloway (OH, Lake Stevens, Washington, 6-3)
6 – Heather Erickson (OH, Fayetteville, North Carolina, 5-11)
7 – Monique Burkland (MB, Ardmore, Oklahoma, 5-9)
10 – Kari Miller (OPP/DS, Washington D.C., 5-6)
13 – Nichole Millage (OH, Champaign, Illinois, 5-7)
14 – Kaleo Kanahele (S, Edmond, Oklahoma, 5-6)
16 – Nicky Nieves (OH, Kissimmee, Florida, 5-10)
17 – Tia Edwards (OH/MB, Skiatook, Oklahoma, 5-7)
18 – Courtney Baker (OH, Crofton, Kentucky, 5-10)

Staff
Head CoachBill Hamiter
Assistant Coach: Cara Lang
Assistant Coach: Lazaro Beltran
Team Manager: Michelle Goodall
Technical Coordinator: Jeff Hicks
Athletic Trainer: Patrick Lawrence

U.S. Women’s Sitting Team Schedule vs. Russia
May 27
: USA vs. Russia, 10 a.m. ET
May 27: USA vs. Russia, 4 p.m. ET
May 28: USA vs. Russia, 9 a.m. ET
May 28: USA vs. Russia, 3 p.m. ET
May 29: USA vs. Russia, 8 a.m. ET