Women's Update: Key Champions League Matches

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | April 02, 2018, 2:47 p.m. (ET)

Laura Gibbemeyer attacks during the Italian Serie A1 semifinals
Lauren Gibbemeyer attacking during the Italian Serie A1 semifinals on April 2

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 2, 2018) – Kim Hill, Lauren Gibbemeyer and Kelsey Robinson all seek victories this week to send their respective pro teams into the European Champions League semifinals. Catch the action live on laola1.tv.

QUICK SETS

  • The European Champions League has three teams with U.S. Women’s National Team members playing in the quarterfinals, and all three teams can clinch a spot into the semifinals. VakifBank (Kelsey Robinson), Imoco Conegliano (Kim Hill) and Igor Gorgonzola Novara (Lauren Gibbemeyer) play this week with the prize being a spot in the semifinals.
  • Jordan Larson and Rachael Adams lead Eczacibasi into the CEV Cup championship round home-and-home series against Minchanka Minsk with the first match on April 3.
  • The U.S. Women will host Italy, Turkey and Poland in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League held May 15-17 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Single session, all-session and group tickets are all now on sale through huskers.com/usavolleyball. For more information on the event, click here.

TRIVIA QUESTION: When was the last time the U.S. Women clinched two major international titles on the same day in different countries? How did that happen?

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, CEV CUP STREAMS: Three European Champions League quarterfinal round matches are scheduled this week, along with the opening match of the European CEV Cup championship. All four matches feature U.S. Women’s National Team members, and you can watch all the action live on laola1.tv this week.

U.S. COLLEGIATE NATIONAL TEAM-EUROPE ROSTER SELECTED: USA Volleyball is proud to announce its 12-player U.S. Women’s Collegiate National Team Europe Tour (CNT-Europe) roster comprised of current collegiate players who will train and compete in Europe July 4-15. Middles selected to the elite CNT-Europe squad are Danielle Hart (University of Wisconsin, Virginia Beach, Virginia), Kirstie Hillyer (Colorado State University, Bayfield, Colorado) and Berkeley Oblad (University of Utah, Henderson, Nevada). The outside hitters named to the roster are Leah Edmond (University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky), Amanda Green (University of Louisville, Skokie, Illinois), MacKenzie May (UCLA, Dubuque, Iowa) and Avery Skinner (University of Kentucky, Katy, Texas). The two opposites selected to the CNT-Europe Tour are Audriana Fitzmorris (Stanford, Overland Park, Kansas) and Taylor Mims (Washington State University, Billings, Montana). The setters are Katie Oleksak (Colorado State University, Phoenix, Arizona) and August Raskie (University of Oregon, Colorado Springs, Colorado). The libero will be Alexis Dirige (Washington State University, San Francisco, California). For the complete story, click here.

ROBINSON WITH VAKIFBANK IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California, Instagram, Twitter, Website), a 2016 Olympic Games bronze medalist, is playing club volleyball with VakifBank in the Turkish professional league this winter. In the Turkish League, VakifBank completed its semifinal round home-and-home sweep of Galatasaray with a 25-23, 24-26, 22-25, 32-30, 15-8 victory on March 28 in the second match. Robinson, a sub in the first four sets and starter in the fifth, provided two kills and a block for three points. She added a 58 positive reception percent on 12 chances in her limited action on the court. VakifBank will face regular season champion Eczacibasi in the finals with matches on April 17, April 19 and April 22. In European Champions League action, VakifBank meets Switzerland’s Volero Zurich on April 5 in the second match of the quarterfinal home-and-home series. Robinson has launched her own website, nomandplay.com, on her passions for play, travel and food. To read her blog on four easy day trips from Instanbul, click here. To read more about her website, click here.

LARSON, ADAMS WITH ECZACIBASI IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska, Instagram, Twitter), a two-time Olympic Games medalist, and middle Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio, Instagram, Twitter), a 2016 Olympic Games bronze medalist, are playing professionally with Eczacibasi in the Turkish League for the 2017-18 season. In the Turkish League, Eczacibasi will face second-seeded VakifBank in the playoff finals on April 17, April 19 and April 22 in a battle of the top two regular season teams. In CEV Cup action, Eczacibasi will meet Belarus’ Minchanka Minsk on April 3 and April 10 in the home-and-home championship round.

HILL WITH CONEGLIANO IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon, Instagram), a 2016 Olympic Games bronze medalist, is playing for Imoco Volley Conegliano in the Italian Serie A1 this winter. In its Italian Serie A1 playoffs, third-seeded Conegliano swept second-seeded Savino Del Benne Scandicci 25-23, 25-23, 25-20 on March 31 in Florence. Hill pocketed 12 points in the victory, all coming on kills from 30 swings. She added an 84 positive reception percent on 19 chances. In the European Champions League, Conegliano looks to close out its quarterfinal round home-and-home series on April 4 against Russia’s Dinamo Kazan. Conegliano already holds a 1-0 advantage in the series. The two teams meet again on April 7 at Conegliano’s home arena followed by an April 10 match. If necessary, matches four and five will be held on April 13 and April 18.

GIBBEMEYER WITH NOVARA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: U.S. Women’s National Team middle Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota, Instagram, Twitter) is playing her 2017-18 professional season with Igor Gorgonzola Novara in the Italian Serie A1. In the Italian Serie A1 playoffs, top-seeded Novara defeated fourth-seeded Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio 25-21, 25-19, 25-16 on April 2 to start its best-of-five semifinal round series. Gibbemeyer contributed five kills on 13 errorless attacks and a block for six points in the victory. The two teams will meet again on April 8 and April 11. If necessary, matches four and five will be on April 14 and April 18. In the European Champions League, Novara holds a 1-0 advantage over Turkey’s Galatasaray in the home-and-home quarterfinal round. Novara can advance to the semifinals with a win on April 5.

CARLINI WITH SCANDICCI IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Setter Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois, Instagram, Twitter), who played her first year with the U.S. Women’s National Team this past summer, is playing her first pro season with Savino Del Bene Scandicci in the Italian Serie A1 this winter. Scandicci, seeded second in the playoffs, lost at home to third-seeded Imoco Volley Conegliano 25-23, 25-23, 25-20 on March 31 in Florence. Carlini set her team to a 34 kill percent for the match. The two teams meet again on April 7 at Conegliano’s home arena followed by an April 10 match. If necessary, matches four and five will be held on April 13 and April 18.

BARTSCH-HACKLEY, WILHITE WITH ITALY’S UNET E-WORK BUSTO ARSIZIO: Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois, Instagram, Twitter) and Sarah Wilhite (Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Instagram, Twitter), both outside hitters for the U.S. Women’s National Team, are playing their 2017-18 pro season for Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio in the Italian Serie A1. Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio, seeded fourth in the playoffs, swept fifth-seeded Saugella Team Monza 25-18, 25-19, 25-17 on March 28 in the deciding third match of the best-of-three quarterfinal round series. Bartsch-Hackley produced 11 points in the victory with 10 kills on 31 swings and a block. She added a 63 positive reception percent in handling a team-leading 19 serves. Wilhite was a sub in the third set, registering one serve. In the following round, Busto Arsizio lost to top-seeded Igor Gorgonzola Novara 25-21, 25-19, 25-16 on April 2 to start the best-of-five semifinal round. Bartsch-Hackley tallied six kills and two blocks in the loss, while handling 32 of the team’s 64 receptions with a 75 positive percent. The teams will meet again on April 8 and April 11. If necessary, matches four and five will be on April 14 and April 18.

Ciao Italy! I’ll miss you this much 🤗🇮🇹

A post shared by Tori Dixon (@toridixon06) on

DIXON, HANCOCK WITH MONZA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Middle Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota, Instagram, Twitter), an alternate to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Team, and U.S. Women’s National Team setter Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma, Instagram, Twitter) are playing for Saugella Team Monza in the Italian Serie A1 this winter after missing the 2016-17. Team Monza, seeded fifth in the playoffs, lost the deciding third match of the best-of-three quarterfinal round series with fourth-seeded Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio by scores 25-18, 25-19, 25-17 on March 28. Hancock set the team to a 31 kill percent and added one ace. Dixon put up three blocks to go with one kill for four points.

KINGDON WITH KOREA V-LEAGUE’S IBK: Outside hitter Madi Kingdon (Hermosa Beach, California, Instagram, Twitter), a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, is playing her second consecutive professional season with IBK of the Korea V-League. IBK lost to top-seeded Korea Expressway 20-25, 25-16, 25-23, 25-18 on March 28 in a must-win situation in the third match of the best-of-five championship round series. Kingdon totaled 24 kills on 69 attacks and one ace for 25 points in the IBK’s season-ending match.

PAIGE TAPP, McCAGE WITH ALLIANZ MTV STUTTGART IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Middles Paige Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota, Instagram, Twitter) and Molly McCage (Spring, Texas, Instagram), who were part of the U.S. Women’s National Team this past summer, are playing professionally this winter with Allianz MTV Stuttgart in the German Bundesliga. In the German Bundesliga playoffs, top-seeded Stuttgart rallied past Aachen 24-26, 25-19, 26-24, 25-16 on March 31 to begin its best-of-three semifinal round series. Tapp put up five blocks to go with four kills and an ace. McCage added seven kills on 14 errorless attacks and two blocks for nine points. The second match is scheduled for April 7. If necessary, the tiebreaking third match will be played in Stuttgart on April 14.

BUGG WITH DRESDNER IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Setter Madi Bugg (Apex, North Carolina, Instagram), who was part of the U.S. Women’s National Team this past summer, is competing in the German Bundesliga with Dresdner SC this winter. Dresdner, in its second must-win quarterfinal match, defeated SC Potsdam 25-16, 25-17, 25-12 on March 28 to clinch the best-of-three series and advance on to the semifinals. Bugg did not play in the match. Dresdner will now face second-seeded Schwerin in the best-of-three semifinal round with matches on April 3 and April 7. If necessary, the tiebreaking third match will be played on April 14.

McMAHON WITH SOVERATO IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: U.S. Women’s National Team opposite Liz McMahon (Liberty Township, Ohio, Instagram) is playing for Volley Soverato in the Italian Serie A2 this winter. Soverato swept Sigel Marsala 25-20, 25-22, 25-23 on April 2. McMahon totaled 12 points with 10 kills on 23 swings and just one error to go with two blocks. Soverato (20-11, 58 points), which is in seventh-place place, plays sixth-place Fenera Chieri (19-11, 60 points) on April 8 in its next league match.

AMBER ROLFZEN WITH BEZIERS IN FRENCH LEAGUE: Middle Amber Rolfzen (Papillion, Nebraska, Instagram), who was part of the U.S. Women’s National Team this past summer, is competing with Beziers in the French League this winter. Beziers, the top seed in the French playoffs, handled Nantes 25-18, 25-17, 25-21 on March 31 to start the best-of-three quarterfinal round series. Rolfzen contributed seven points in the victory with five kills on 10 swings, one block and one ace. The two teams meet again on April 14 in the second match. If necessary, the tiebreaker is scheduled for April 17.

DANNEMILLER WITH MULHOUSE IN FRENCH LEAGUE: Setter Lexi Dannemiller (West Chester, Ohio, Instagram, Twitter), a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team this past summer, is competing for ASPTT Mulhouse in the French League this winter. Mulhouse, seeded third in the playoffs, stopped sixth-seeded Pays D’Aix Venelles 26-24, 25-21, 25-16 on March 31 to open the best-of-three quarterfinal round series. Dannemiller set Mulhouse to a 45 kill percent and added three individual kills on three swings. The two teams meet again on April 13 in the second match of the series. If necessary, the tiebreaker is scheduled for April 17.

TRIVIA ANSWER: The U.S. Women used a split squad to win the 2015 Pan American Games gold-medal match by defeating Brazil in straight sets on July 25, 2015, in Toronto, Canada. That same day, another U.S. Women’s roster defeated a different team from Brazil 25-16, 25-22, 25-21 to clinch the 2015 FIVB World Grand Prix Finals Round title with one match remaining in the five-match round-robin format.