USAV Names U.S. Girls' Youth National Team

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Aug. 02, 2018, 8:47 p.m. (ET)

2018 U.S. Girls' Youth National Team
2018 U.S. Girls' Youth National Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 2, 2018) – USA Volleyball is proud to announce its 12-player U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team (GYNT) roster that will compete in the 2018 NORCECA Girls’ U18 Continental Championship Aug. 25 to Sept. 2 in Honduras. The top two countries in the NORCECA event will qualify for the 2019 FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship.

The roster breakdown includes five wing spikers (outsides and opposites), three middles, two setters and two liberos.

  • Outsides/Opposites (5): Ally Batenhorst (Katy, Texas, Houston Juniors), Allison Jacobs (Stevenson Ranch, California, Legacy), Lindsay Krause (Papillion, Nebraska, Nebraska Premier), Emily Londot (Utica, Ohio, Mintonette), Jess Mruzik (Livonia, Michigan, Legacy VBC)
  • Middles (3): CC Crawford (Kansas City, Missouri, Mid-America Volleyball), Bre Kelley (Rockwall, Texas, Excel VBC), Devyn Robinson (Ankeny, Iowa, Iowa Power Plex)
  • Setters (2): Kami Miner (Redondo Beach, California, Mizuno Long Beach), Kennedi Orr (Eagan, Minnesota, Northern Lights)
  • Liberos (2): Hattie Monson (Morris, Illinois, Sports Performance), Sydney Taylor (Grove City, Ohio, Mintonette)

The GYNT will be led by head coach Jim Stone, who has been a been involved with the U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team program for over a decade. Except for the 2016 season, he has held the head coaching role for the GYNT since 2008. Stone spearheaded the GYNT to win silver medals at the 2013 and 2015 FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship, which marks USA Volleyball’s only medals in age-group World Championships. The U.S. also won gold medals at the 2008, 2010 and 2012 NORCECA Girls’ U18 Continental Championships, along with the silver medal at the 2014 event.

“I think we have a fairly good ball control team,” Stone said of the strengths this team will take into the NORCECA Championship. “In our training, our first touches have been fairly consistent. Ball control will have to be a strength. I think we are a fairly good serving team. We have tried to emphasis the importance of serving, and the players have bought into serving with velocity, deep and hard on the court. Hopefully our ball control and serving will be strengths as we go through the tournament.”

The GYNT assistant coaches are Nicki Holmes (women’s associate head coach at George Washington University) and Kelly Surrency (USA Volleyball). The GYNTT technical coordinator is Fabian Ardila (Babson College).

The GYNT was chosen today on the final day of training for the U.S. Girls’ Youth National Training Team (GYNTT). The 20-player GYNTT has been training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs since July 20, which includes 13 days of training and 24 training sessions.

The training block was challenging in that it not only was to select the top 12 players in a tryout situation, but also to put into place a system that Team USA would use moving forward into the NORCECA Girls’ U18 Continental Championship.

“I am really proud of our players,” Stone said. “I mean, this is hard because everything is new. They put in a lot of time on the court. It was physically demanding. Putting a system together while you are trying out is hard because it gets people out of their comfort zone a little bit. They are trying to do what they are good at, but at the same time we are asking them to do some different things. I am really proud of the efforts they gave. The players got significantly better over the 13 days we were here. I am pleased with their efforts, I am pleased with where we are at. Now we just have to find out if that is good enough.”

The U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team has won the NORCECA Girls’ U18 Continental Championship seven of the 10 times of the biennial event. The Americans have finished second to Dominican Republic in the last two editions in 2014 and 2016. Team USA has won the event’s silver medal three times.

The eight GYNT alternates are comprised of members who were part of the GYNTT program who did not make the final 12-player roster. The alternates include outsides/opposites Jade Demps (Raleigh, North Carolina, Triangle VBC), Madi Endsley (Temecula, California, Coast VBC San Diego), Colleen Finney (Blythewood, South Carolina, Carolina Juniors) and Reagan Rutherford (Missouri City, Texas, Houston Skyline Juniors), middles Rylee Gray (Omaha, Nebraska, Nebraska Elite) and Kaya Merkler (Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Triangle VBC), and setters Naomi Cabello (Clermont, Florida, Top Select) and Celia Cullen (Brighton, Michigan, Legacy).

2018 U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team
Name (Position, Height, Hometown, High School Grad Year, Youth Club/Region, College Status)
Ally Batenhorst (OH, 6-4, Katy, Texas, 2021, Houston Juniors Volleyball/Lone Star, Uncommitted)
CC Crawford (M, 6-2, Kansas City, Missouri, 2020, Mid-America Volleyball/Heart of America, verballed to University of Kansas)
Allison Jacobs (OH, 5-11, Stevenson Ranch, California, 2020, Legacy/Southern California, verballed to UCLA)
Bre Kelley (M, 6-3, Rockwall, Texas, 2021, Excel VBC/North Texas, Uncommitted)
Lindsay Krause (OH, 6-3, Papillion, Nebraska, 2021, Nebraska Premier/Great Plains, verballed to University of Nebraska)
Emily Londot (M, 6-2, Utica, Ohio, 2020, Mintonette/Ohio Valley, verballed to Ohio State University)
Kami Miner (S, 6-0, Redondo Beach, California, 2021, Mizuno Long Beach/Southern California, Uncommitted)
Hattie Monson (L, 5-5, Morris, Illinois, 2020, Sports Performance/Great Lakes, verballed to Notre Dame)
Jess Mruzik (OH, 6-1, Livonia, Michigan, 2020, Legacy VBC, Lakeshore, verballed to University of Michigan)
Kennedi Orr (S, 6-0, Eagan, Minnesota, 2021, Northern Lights/North Country, verballed to University of Nebraska)
Devyn Robinson (M, 6-1, Ankeny, Iowa, 2020, Iowa Power Plex/Iowa, verballed to University of Wisconsin)
Sydney Taylor (L, 5-8, Grove City, Ohio, 2021, Mintonette/Ohio Valley, Uncommitted)

Head Coach: Jim Stone (USA Volleyball)
Assistant Coaches: Nicki Holmes (women’s associate head coach at George Washington University), Kelly Surrency (USA Volleyball)
Technical Coordinator: Fabian Ardila (assistant coach at Babson College)
Doctor: Dr. Jarod Keller
Team Leader: Katie Mitchell (USA Volleyball)