Women's Update: 4 Americans Vying for FIVB Club World Title

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | May 08, 2017, 11:34 a.m. (ET)


Kim Hill and her VakifBank club teammates aiming to end Eczacibasi's two-year run as FIVB Women's Club World Champions

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (May 8, 2017) – Four U.S. Women’s National Team players are competing in the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship held May 9-14 in Kobe, Japan, while Team USA's training numbers in Anaheim have swelled by four to 22 players in preparation for the 2017 season.

FIVB CLUB WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: The annual FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship will feature four U.S. Women’s National Team players participating in the event, and all matches of the event can be viewed live on the FIVB’s YouTube channel. Outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska, Twitter, Instagram) and middle Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio, Twitter, Instagram) are on Turkey’s Eczacibasi squad, while outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon, Instagram) is on Turkish club VakifBank. Middle Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Florida, Twitter, Instagram) leads Switzerland’s Volero club into the championship. VakifBank opens the tournament on May 9 against Russia’s Dinamo Moscow in Pool A before facing Brazil’s Rexona on May 10 and Japan’s Hisamitsu Springs on May 12. In Pool B, two-time defending champion Eczacibasi opens up against Volero on May 9 followed by matches against Brazil’s Osasco on May 10 and Japan’s NEC Red Rockets on May 12. After its match with Eczasibasi, Volero meets NEC Red Rockets on May 10 and Osasco on May 12. Crossover matches for classification 5-8 and 1-4 are on May 13, while the finals are on May 14.

U.S. Women's National Team Home Page

UPDATED TRAINING ROSTER: 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, now has 22 players training at the American Sports Centers in Anaheim – the official host city for both the U.S. Women’s and Men’s National Teams. Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch (Maryville, Illinois), who was an alternate to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team, has rejoined the team this week after finishing her pro season in Italy. Setter Val Nichol (Normal, Illinois) and middle Hannah Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota) are training with the U.S. Women for the first time following their club seasons in Germany. Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, Nebraska), who just finished her indoor and beach seasons at University of Nebraska, becomes the third libero in the gym. Additional players will be added to the 2017 training roster following the completion of their pro leagues overseas and short rest 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)
Michelle Bartsch (Outside, Bolzano (Italy), Illinois, Maryville, Illinois)
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)
Micha Hancock (Setter, Wroclaw (Poland), Penn State, Edmond, Oklahoma)
Morgan Heise (Libero, Final Season in College, SMU, Hempstead, Texas)
Madi Kingdon (Outside, IBK (Korea), Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona)
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)
Val Nichol (Setter, MTV Stuttgart (Germany), Purdue, Normal, Illinois)
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)
Hannah Tapp (Middle, Schweriner (Germany), Minnesota, Stewartville, Minnesota)
Justine Wong-Orantes (Libero, Final Season in College, Nebraska, Cypress, California)

UPDATED INTERNATIONAL TRANSFER TOTAL: USA Volleyball has processed over 400 international transfer certificates (294 females, 106 males) – a record for the national governing body for the sport in the United States – allowing U.S. citizens to compete in foreign professional volleyball leagues for the 2016-17 season as of May 1. On the women's side, athletes have transferred to play in 36 different countries with Germany attracting 53 players, England 28 players, Puerto Rico with 20 players, Finland and Sweden with 15 players each, Italy, and Philippines and Switzerland with 14 players apiece. For a list of where players competed in the 2016-17 club season, click here.

NEWMAN-GONCHAR NAMED CONSULTANT COACH: U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly has named Jon Newman-Gonchar as a consultant coach for the program. Newman-Gonchar, who will remain as an assistant coach at the University of Arkansas women’s volleyball program, will work with Team USA from May through the end of the FIVB World Grand Prix, which concludes Aug. 6 with the Final Round in China. Newman-Gonchar has been part of the coaching staff for the last two Pan American Cup rosters, which earned gold in 2015 and bronze in 2016 with younger rosters of athletes. In addition to his coaching role, he served as the U.S. team leader for the 2016 Pan American Cup. For the complete story, click here.

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. 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 St. Margaret’s Episcopal School (San Juan Capistrano, 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