Women's Update: Titles Within Reach

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | April 09, 2018, 10 a.m. (ET)

Rachael Adams attacking during the 2018 CEV Cup Finals
Rachael Adams attacks during the first match of CEV Cup Finals Round as she helped Eczacibasi to a win over Minchanka Minsk.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 9, 2018) – U.S. Women’s National Team players are on the verge of claiming prestigious titles across Europe as the pro season is coming to an end.

QUICK SETS

  • Kim Hill with Italy’s Imoco Volley Conegliano and Kelsey Robinson with Turkey’s VakifBank have advanced to the European Champions League semifinals. The two teams meet each other on May 5, followed by the championship match on May 6.
  • Jordan Larson and Rachael Adams of Turkey’s Eczacibasi is one win away from claiming the CEV Cup title. The series concludes on April 10.
  • Molly McCage and Paige Tapp have helped their Germany club Allianz MTV Stuttgart into the best-of-five Bundesliga championship series that starts later this month.
  • 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 www.huskers.com/usavolleyball. For more information on the event, click here.

TRIVIA QUESTION: Which U.S. Olympic silver medalist helped give cast of the movie The Miracle Season a crash course in volleyball?

WATCH CEV CUP FINALS STREAM: Jordan Larson and Rachael Adams will lead Eczacibasi into the CEV Cup championship match on April 10. Fans can watch the match live via laola1.tv at 9 a.m. PT.

WILLOUGHBY INDUCTED INTO HALL: Kim Willoughby, an outside hitter who helped the U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team win silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, was one of 10 individuals inducted into the Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame on April 7 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Before joining the U.S. Women’s National Team, Willoughby was a three-time AVCA All-American and the 2003 AVCA Division I National Player of the Year as a senior at University of Hawaii.

MURPHY AT HOME IN WINDY CITY: Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois, Instagram, Twitter), a 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, returned home to her roots last week representing adidas during the Windy City National Qualifier in Chicago. Before heading off to college to play at University of Florida, she played high school and club volleyball in the Chicago area. Murphy posted to her Instagram account “Hey, Hey, Chicago!! Had too much fun hanging with #teamadidas at the Windy City National Qualifier this weekend.” The Windy City National Qualifier is one of 12 qualifier events into the 2018 USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships being held at the end of June in Detroit.

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 CEV Cup action, Eczacibasi downed Belarus’ Minchanka Minsk 25-14, 25-21, 22-25, 25-11 on April 3 to open the home-and-home championship round series in Belarus. Larson hammered 15 kills on 28 swings and added one block and one ace for 17 points. She chipped in a 63 positive reception percent after handling 27 of the team’s 63 receptions. Eczacibasi can claim the CEV Cup title on April 10 when the teams close out the series in Turkey. 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.

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 European Champions League action, VakifBank swept Switzerland’s Volero Zurich 25-12, 25-14, 25-17 on April 5 to complete the quarterfinal round home-and-home series sweep to advance to the semifinals. Robinson started the third set, contributing two kills on six attacks and a block for three points. She added a 100 positive reception percent on five chances. VakifBank will now face Italy’s Imoco Volley Conegliano in the semifinals on May 5. In the Turkish League, VakifBank will face regular season champion Eczacibasi in the finals with matches on April 17, April 19 and April 22. Robinson has launched her own website, nomandplay.com on her passions for play, travel and food. To read her latest blog on visiting Croatia, click here. To read more about her website, click here.

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 the European Champions League, Conegliano advanced to the semifinal round despite losing to Russian’s Dinamo Kazan 25-15, 21-25, 20-25, 25-17, 15-13 on April 4 to close out the home-and-home quarterfinal round. By winning sets two and three, Conegliano clinched its spot into the semis after having won the first meeting. Hill scored 10 points, all on kills via 18 attacks in starting the first three sets. American teammate Simone Lee entered the lineup in Hill’s place in the fourth set once the series was clinched. She provided 10 kills on 17 attacks with a 57 positive reception percent. Conegliano will face Turkey’s VakifBank on May 5 in the semifinals with the winner advancing to the finals on May 6. In its Italian Serie A1 playoffs, third-seeded Conegliano defeated second-seeded Savino Del Bene Scandicci 17-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-19 on April 7 to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five semifinal round series. Hill notched 18 points with 17 kills on 32 swings and a block. She added a 96 positive reception percent on handling 24 of the team’s 70 receptions. Conegliano can clinch the series on April 10 and move into the championship series. If necessary, matches four and five are slated for April 13 and April 18.

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, dropped its second straight match to third-seeded Imoco Volley Conegliano 17-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-19 on April 7 in the best-of-five semifinal round. Carlini set Scandicci to a 41 kill percent for the match as she started the first three sets and came off the bench in the final set. Scandicci, now trailing 2-0 in the series, is in a do-or-die situation on April 10. Should Scandicci extend the series, matches four and five are set for 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 European Champions League, Novara lost to Turkey’s Galatasaray 24-26, 25-20, 25-17, 25-19 on April 5 to close out the home-and-home quarterfinal round. Both teams won one match in the series, but Galatasaray advanced to the semifinals after having forced Novara to five sets in the opening match. Gibbemeyer totaled 11 points in the loss with six kills on 12 attacks and a team-leading five blocks. In the Italian Serie A1 playoffs, top-seeded Novara defeated fourth-seeded Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio 25-19, 25-18, 25-22 on April 8 to go up 2-0 in the best-of-five semifinal round. Gibbemeyer contributed seven kills on 12 attacks in the victory. Novara can clinch the series and spot into the finals with a victory over Busto Arsizio on April 11. If necessary, matches four and five will be on April 14 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, was swept by top-seeded Igor Gorgonzola Novara 25-19, 25-18, 25-22 on April 8 to fall behind 2-0 in the best-of-five semifinal round. Bartsch-Hackley, starting the first two sets, turned in three kills on 13 attacks to go with a 54 positive reception percent on 13 chances. Wilhite, who started the third set after coming in as a sub in the second set, totaled three kills on 21 swings and an ace for four points. She handled 13 receptions with a 69 positive percent. Busto Arsizio is in a must-win situation the rest of the series with match three on April 11. If necessary, matches four and five will be on April 14 and April 18.

When it alllllll started.... #nationalvolleyballday

A post shared by Molly McCage (@mollymccage) on

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 swept Aachen 25-19, 25-16, 25-23 on April 7 to claim its spot into the championship round. Tapp put up four blocks, one ace and one kill for six points. McCage added two points in the victory. Stuttgart will now face Schwerin in the best-of-five championship series. Matches are scheduled for April 21, April 25 and April 28. If necessary, matches four and five will be played May 1 and May 5.

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. In the opening match of the best-of-three semifinal round series, Dresdner fell to Schwerin 25-17, 25-11, 25-16 on April 3. Bug was a sub in all three sets but did not record a point. Dresdner lost to Schwerin 25-21, 25-14, 21-25, 25-13 on April 7 to lose its best-of-three semifinal series. Bugg was a sub in the second set, recording one kill on two swings.

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 lost to fifth-place Fenera Chieri 25-21, 25-15, 25-19 on April 8 in the regular season finale. McMahon pocketed nine kills on 24 swings in the loss. Soverato (20-12, 58 points) finished the regular season in seventh-place place. Soverato will now face the fourth-seeded Battistelli SG Marginano in the best-of-three quarterfinals starting on April 15.

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, holds a 1-0 lead over Nantes in the best-of-three quarterfinal series. The two teams meet again on April 14 in the second match. If necessary, the tiebreaker is scheduled for April 17.

#nationalvolleyballday

A post shared by lexidann (@lexidann) on

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, holds a 1-0 lead over sixth-seeded Pays D’Aix Venelles 26-24, 25-21, 25-16 in the best-of-three quarterfinal round series. 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: Kim Glass, a 2008 Olympic silver medalist, gave cast members of The Miracle Season a crash course in playing volleyball while filming took place in Los Angeles.