Women's Update: Hill Leads VakifBank to European Title

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | April 25, 2017, 6 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (April 25, 2017) – Three U.S. Women’s National Team members were selected to the European Champions League Dream Team as one led her team to the gold medal while two other Americans claimed silver medals in the prestigious event.

HILL WITH TURKEY’S VAKIFBANK: Outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon, Instagram) a bronze medalist on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team, returns this winter to play for Turkey’s VakifBank and in the European Champions League. VakifBank had a successful weekend in winning the prestigious European Champions League for the third time. In the semifinals, VakifBank earned a 25-20, 26-24, 25-22 victory over country rival Eczacibasi on April 22. Hill scored three kills and three aces for six points in the victory. She was credited with an 85 positive reception percent on 20 chances in the backrow. VakifBank swept host Imoco Volley Conegliano 25-19, 25-13, 25-23 on April 23 to win the gold medal. Hill provided 11 points in the victory, including nine kills on 26 attacks, one ace and one block. She also handled 17 receptions with a 65 positive reception percent. Hill was selected to the European Champions League Final Round Dream Team at the conclusion of the tournament. To watch the final, click here. In the Turkish League playoffs, VakifBank will play Eczacibasi in the third-place round with matches on April 28 and April 30.

LARSON, ADAMS WITH TURKEY’S ECZACIBASI: Outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska, Twitter, Instagram) and middle Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio, Twitter, Instagram), both members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team that won bronze in Rio, are playing for Eczacibasi of the Turkish League and as part of the European Champions League this winter. In the European Champions League semifinals, Eczacibasi lost to country rival VakifBank 25-20, 26-24, 25-22 on April 22. Adams scored a team-best 10 points with nine kills on 10 errorless attacks and a block. Larson tallied five points with four kills on 20 swings and an ace. Eczacibasi bounced back to win the bronze-medal match with a 25-19, 19-25, 25-23, 25-22 win over Russia’s Dinamo Moscow on April 23. Adams continued her strong play with 17 points on the strength of 14 kills on 23 attacks and three blocks. Larson turned in six kills on 22 attacks and an ace for seven points. She added a 67 positive reception percent. At the end of the tournament, Adams was named to the European Champions League Final Round Dream Team. In the Turkish League playoffs, Eczacibasi faces top-seed VakifBank, which was upset in the semifinals by Galatasaray, in the third-place round with matches on April 28 and April 30.

ROBINSON, FAWCETT WITH ITALY’S CONEGLIANO: Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Bartlett, Illinois, Twitter, Instagram), a 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, and opposite Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio, Instagram) are playing in the Italian Serie A1 after transferring midseason from teams China and Turkey, respectively. Last weekend Conegliano hosted the European Champions League final round. The hosts defeated Russia’s Dinamo Moscow 25-18, 25-15, 15-25, 27-25 on April 22. Robinson scored 19 points in the victory, highlighted by 16 kills on 38 attacks and three blocks. She also contributed an 83 positive reception percent on a team-best 48 chances, or 59 percent of her team’s overall reception attempts. Fawcett pocketed 17 points in the victory with 14 kills on 42 swings and three blocks. However, Turkey’s VakifBank was too much for Conegliano in the gold-medal match as the visitors won 25-19, 25-13, 25-23 on April 23 before a sellout crowd of 4,831. Robinson charted seven kills on 22 attacks in the loss and held an 80 positive reception percent on 10 chances. Fawcett pocketed four kills and an ace in the loss. For her efforts, Robinson was named to the European Champions League Dream Team at the conclusionof the tournament. Before the European Champions League started, Robinson took over the CEV social media accounts. To get a feel for her #AskKelsey takeover, visit YouTube by clicking here. Before hosting the European Champions League Finals, Conegliano wrapped up its Italian League quarterfinal round. Conegliano, which ended the Italian regular season with a 10-point lead in the standings, defeated Il Bisonte Firenze 26-24, 25-20, 25-17 on April 18 in the tie-breaking match of its quarterfinal round series after falling in the opener. Robinson contributed 11 kills on 25 attacks and an ace. She was stellar in the backrow as she was credited with a 93 positive reception percent on a team-best 29 reception chances. Fawcett added 13 points with 12 kills on 29 swings and one block. Conegliano now challenges Liu Jo Nordmeccanica Modena in a best-of-three semifinal round series with matches on April 26 and April 28. If necessary, the third match will be played on April 29.

LLOYD, GIBBEMEYER WITH ITALY’S CASALMAGGIORE: Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California, Instagram), a 2016 Olympic bronze medalist setter for Team USA, and middle Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram) have returned to Italy to compete for Pomi Casalmaggiore in the Italian Serie A1 league and the CEV Cup. In the Italian League, second-seed Casalmaggiore lost to Unet Yamamay Busto Arsizio 26-24, 25-22, 25-20 on April 19 to have its best-of-three quarterfinal round series evened at 1-1. Lloyd was held out of the lineup due to injury. Gibbemeyer scored 10 points with nine kills on 20 errorless attacks and one block in the loss. One day later, Casalmaggiore bounced back to sweep Busto Arsizio 25-22, 27-25, 25-19 to win the quarterfinal round series and advance to the semifinals. Gibbemeyer tallied a team-best 13 points with nine kills on 15 errorless attacks and four blocks. Casalmaggiore will now face Igor Gorgonzola Novara in a best-of-three series with matches on April 25 and April 28. If necessary, the tiebreaker will be played on April 29 at Casalmaggiore’s home venue.

AKINRADEWO WITH SWITZERLAND’S VOLERO ZURICH: Middle Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Florida, Twitter, Instagram), the Best Blocker in the 2016 Olympic Games after leading the U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team to a bronze medal, is playing for Volero Zurich in the Swiss League and in the European Champions League. Volero, which went undefeated in the Swiss League regular season, went up 2-0 in the final round series after defeating second-seed Sm’Aesch Pfeffingen on April 19. The series continues on April 26.

HANCOCK WITH POLAND’S IMPEL WROCLAW: Setter Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma, Twitter, Instagram), who played for the U.S. Women during the 2016 Pan American Cup and set the tournament record for aces in a match and tournament, is playing for Poland’s Impel Wroclaw in the Orlen Liga. Wroclaw, seeded second in the playoffs, fell to Developres SkyRes Rzeszow 25-20, 25-16, 25-17 on April 19 as it lost for the second time in the best-of-three third-place playoff series. Hancock set the team to a 31 kill percent and scored one kill on seven swings. American teammate Megan Courtney scored three kills on 13 attacks and a block while being credited with a 50 positive service reception percent on six chances.

U.S. WOMEN TO HOST CANADA IN FRIENDLY MATCH: The U.S. Women’s National Team will host the Canadian Women’s National Team in a friendly match on June 13 at JSerra High School in San Juan Capistrano, California. The match will start at 7 p.m. PT and tickets will be available for purchase at the door one hour prior to the match. The USA-Canada match will represent the first contest against an international opponent for Team USA since it won bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games. Both the USA and Canada will travel later in the week to Peru for the XVI Pan American Cup that is from June 16-25.

RED-BLUE SCRIMMAGE SCHEDULE: The U.S. Women’s National Team will officially begin its summer training block on May 1, and already have several Red-Blue intrasquad matches lined up for fans in Southern California to watch the team get ready for summer competitions. In addition, fans are welcome to attend training sessions at the American Sports Centers in Anaheim. The U.S. Women typically train Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. PT.

  • May 12: at Murrieta Mesa High School (Murrieta, California), 7 p.m. PT
  • May 19: at TBA in Southern California, 7 p.m. PT
  • May 26: at Santiago Canyon College (Orange, California), 6 p.m. PT (doubleheader with U.S. Men’s National Team)
  • June 2: at Kennedy High School (La Palma, California), 7 p.m. PT