Women's Update: Roster for First Official Training of 2017

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | May 01, 2017, 5:49 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (May 1, 2017) – The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team officially opened its 2017 training schedule this morning at the American Sports Centers in Anaheim, the official host city for both the U.S. Women’s and Men’s National Teams.

OPEN FOR BUSINESS: The U.S. Women’s National Team, ranked No. 2 in the world after a bronze medal finish at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, opened its 2017 season with the first official practice Monday morning with several newcomers seeking a spot on the roster along with a handful of veterans. The first day of practice will have 16 athletes in the gym, including 2016 Olympian Kelly Murphy and three-year veteran Tori Dixon, who is recovering from an ACL injury suffered in January 2016. Additional players will be added to the 2017 training roster following the completion of their pro leagues overseas or finishing their college’s academic year. Training rosters are subject to change weekly with new athletes added or removed. Team USA works out weekdays from approximately 8:30-11:30 a.m. All practices at the American Sports Centers are open to the public.

Player (Position, 2016-17 Pro Club, College, Hometown)
Inky Ajanaku (Middle, Rehabbing in USA, Stanford, Tulsa, Oklahoma)
Rhamat Alhassan (Middle, College Senior-to-Be, Florida, Glenarden, Maryland)
Amanda Benson (Libero, Final Season in College, Oregon, Litchfield Park, Arizona)
Danetta Boykin (Outside, None, Cal St.-Northridge, Los Angeles, California)
Madi Bugg (Setter, NUC (Switzerland), Stanford, Apex, North Carolina)
Megan Courtney (Outside, Wroclaw (Poland), Penn State, Dayton, Ohio)
Lexi Dannemiller * (Setter, Schweriner (Germany), Michigan, West Chester, Ohio)
Tori Dixon (Middle, Rehabbing in USA, Minnesota, Burnsville, Minnesota)
Morgan Heise (Libero, Final Season in College, SMU, Hempstead, Texas)
Madi Kingdon (Outside, IBK (Korea), Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona)
Micha Hancock (Setter, Wroclaw (Poland), Penn State, Edmond, Oklahoma)
Molly McCage (Middle, Wiesbaden (Germany), Texas, Spring, Texas)
Liz McMahon (Opposite, Dresden (Germany), Illinois, Liberty Township, Ohio)
Kelly Murphy (Opposite, Henan (China), Florida, Wilmington, Illinois)
Sonja Newcombe (Outside, Sichuan (China), Oregon, Lake Arrowhead, California)
Krystal Rivers (Opposite, Final Season in College, Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama)
Amber Rolfzen (Middle, Dresden (Germany), Nebraska, Papillion, Nebraska)
Kadie Rolfzen (Opposite, Dresden (Germany), Nebraska, Papillion, Nebraska)
* Note: Lexi Dannemiller’s first day of training will be May 4.

U.S. WOMEN TO HOST BRAZIL FOR USAV CUP: The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball team will renew its long-standing rivalry with Brazil as part of a two-match USA Volleyball Cup series played Aug. 27 and Aug. 29 at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena. The U.S. is ranked No. 2 in the current FIVB world ranking after earning bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games. Brazil, which lost to eventual 2016 Olympic Games champion China in a five-set match in the quarterfinals in Rio, is ranked No. 4 in the world. “Brazil has built one of a handful of legendary programs in international volleyball, and this year’s USA Volleyball Cup matches will be a wonderful opportunity for American fans to see both programs live,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “Every time we square off across the net, it’s a battle - both teams test each other, and learn, and we cherish experiences like that. We’ll see you in August!” The USA Volleyball Cup opening match will have first serve at 4 p.m. PT on Aug. 27, while the Aug. 29 match will start at 7:30 p.m. PT. Tickets for the matches will go on sale in early May. Anaheim serves as the official host city for the U.S. Women’s and Men’s National Volleyball Teams. For the full release, click here.

U.S. COLLEGIATE NATIONAL TEAM-MINNEAPOLIS ROSTER NAMED: USA Volleyball is proud to announce 31 of the 36 players who will train and compete as part of the U.S. Collegiate National Team-Minneapolis (CNT-Minneapolis) program. Five spots remain open for the CNT-Minneapolis program pending final outcome of the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team’s results at the Women’s U20 Pan American Cup held in early May. The CNT-Minneapolis squad, which is part of USA Volleyball’s High Performance pipeline and is considered a second tryout for the U.S. Women’s National Team, will train from June 22-26 at the University of Minnesota. Afterward, the athletes will be assigned to one of three 12-member teams and compete in a round-robin format at the Minneapolis Convention Center from June 27-30. The matches are being held in conjunction with the USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships under the same roof. To view the roster, click here.

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. In the Turkish League playoffs for third place, VakifBank won both matches over Eczacibasi to claim third place. In the opener, VakifBank swept Eczacibasi 25-22, 25-17, 25-17 on April 28. Hill was a sub in the second and third sets, providing one kill on two attacks and four receptions. In the second match on April 30, VakifBank finished out the series with a 25-20, 25-20, 21-25, 25-18 victory. Hill, who was a sub in the first two sets before starting the final two sets, led VakifBank in scoring with 14 points on the strength of 12 kills on 24 attacks, one block and one ace. She added a 44 positive reception percent on a team-leading 25 chances. VakifBank will compete in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championships held May 9-14 in Kobe, Japan. They are grouped in Pool A with Russian’s Dinamo Moscow, Japan’s Hisamitsu Springs and Brazil’s Rexona-SESC.

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 Turkish League playoffs for third place, Eczacibasi lost twice to VakifBank last week to finish in fourth place. VakifBank won the opening match 25-22, 25-17, 25-17 on April 28. Larson scored three kills on 11 attacks to go with two blocks and an ace for six points. Adams added one kill in the loss. Eczacibasi lost the second match 25-20, 25-20, 21-25, 25-18 on April 30. Larson, playing in just the first two sets, tallied three kills on 11 swings while handling nine receptions with a 78 positive reception percent. Eczacibasi will compete in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championships held May 9-14 in Kobe, Japan. They are grouped in Pool B with Turkey’s Eczacibasi, Japan’s NEC Red Rockets and Brazil’s Osasco Voleibol.

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. In the Italian Serie A1 best-of-three semifinals, Conegliano lost a pair of five-set matches to Liu Jo Nordmeccanica Modena to fall out of the playoffs. In the opening match on April 26, Modena rallied from two sets down to win 19-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-16, 15-5. Robinson tallied 12 points in the loss with eight kills on 25 attacks, two aces and two blocks. She added a 73 positive reception percent on 40 chances. Fawcett added 13 points via 12 kills on 32 attacks and one ace. The second match played out similarly as Modena recovered from a two-set deficit to win 25-27, 18-25, 25-16, 25-19, 15-11 on April 28. Robinson charted 16 points with 14 kills coming from 42 attacks and two blocks. She handled 34 receptions with a 79 positive reception percent without an error. Fawcett scored a team-high 18 points with 16 kills on 33 attacks and two blocks.

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 twice last week in the best-of-three semifinal round to Igor Gorgonzola Novara. In the opening match, Novara defeated Casalmaggiore 25-22, 25-18, 21-25, 25-20 on April 25. Gibbemeyer provided five points with four kills on 12 attacks and a block. Lloyd, who has been out the last few weeks with an injury, did not play in the semifinals. In the second match, Novara closed out the series with a 25-15, 25-20, 26-28, 25-20 victory on April 28. Gibbemeyer accounted for three kills on eight attacks in the loss.

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, swept the best-of-five final round series with Sm’Aesch Pfeffingen I 22-25, 25-17, 25-19, 15-25, 15-6 on April 26 to capture the Swiss League playoff title for the 12th time in 13 years. Volero has remained undefeated in the league since January 2012, winning 164 matches in a row. Volero will compete in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championships held May 9-14 in Kobe, Japan.

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