Robinson Gives Insight into Overseas Pro Life

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Dec. 23, 2018, 7:35 p.m. (ET)

Kelsey Robinson attacking for VakifBank
Kelsey Robinson, attacking for VakifBank, provides a video blog on what life is like overseas in a professional volleyball league

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 23, 2018) – What is it like to be an American playing in overseas pro volleyball leagues around the world. This week’s U.S. Women’s National Team weekly update gives Kelsey Robinson’s perspective through a video blog, along with updates on all the Team USA players.

QUICK SETS

  • U.S. Women’s National Team players are on teams leading three of the five European Champions League pools. VakifBank (Kelsey Robinson) leads Pool A, Eczacibasi (Jordan Larson, Lauren Gibbemeyer) paces Pool B and Novara (Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, Lauren Carlini) paces Pool C. All three teams are undefeated at 2-0.
  • Foluke Akinradewo helped Hisamitsu Springs win the Empress Cup on Dec. 23. The tournament is a months-long event that allows universities and high schools to play against pro teams to determine the top team in Japan.
  • Kelsey Robinson has added to her multimedia platform as she vlogs on what it is like for an American to play in overseas pro leagues, in her case in the Turkish League and the European Champions League. See her video below.

TRIVIA QUESTION: Who was rated as the No. 1 recruit coming out of high school following the 2012 season, according to prepvolleyball.com?

ROBINSON VLOG ON WHAT IT LIKE TO PLAYING OVERSEAS PRO LEAGUE: Kelsey Robinson, who is playing overseas in the Turkish League for VakifBank, has expanded her multi-media presence of her nomandplay.com website. She, along with her fiancé Brian Cook, has created a vlog to capture what it is like as an American athlete playing volleyball in overseas pro leagues. In her first vlog, Robinson captures behind-the-scenes content as VakifBank meets Turkish rival Eczacibasi, which as U.S. Women’s National Team teammates Jordan Larson and Lauren Gibbemeyer. She also shows what it is like living in Istanbul, including going out for breakfast, creating ceramics, going to a market to get ingredients to make dinner and much more. To watch the video, click the play button on the YouTube video embed above or click here.

LARSON AND GIBBEMEYER WITH ECZACIBASI IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska, Twitter, Instagram) and middle Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram) are competing with Eczacibasi in the Turkish League this winter. Larson is serving as the team’s captain. In the European Champions League, Eczacibasi improved to 2-0 with a 25-11, 25-20, 25-16 victory over Finland’s Hameenlinna on Dec. 19. Larson, starting just the first two sets, totaled 10 points with seven kills on 16 errorless attacks to go with three aces on 19 serves. She was credited with a 56 positive reception percent on nine chances. Gibbemeyer did not play in the match. Eczacibasi (2-0) challenges Russia’s Dinamo Moscow (1-1) on Jan. 24 in its next European Champions League match. In the Turkish League, Eczacibasi held off Galatasaray 25-15, 25-22, 20-25, 22-25, 18-16 in a five-set thriller on Dec. 22. Gibbemeyer, who started the first three sets, scored seven points with four kills, two aces and a kill. Larson came off the bench to start the final two sets and provided four kills, including three in the tiebreaking fifth set. She was credited with a 50 positive reception percent on eight chances. Eczacibasi (9-0), in first place in the Turkish League as the only undefeated team, concludes the first half of the league season on Dec. 25 against sixth-place Aydin B.Sehir Bld (4-6).

ROBINSON WITH VAKIFBANK IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California, Twitter, Instagram, Website) is playing club volleyball with VakifBank in the Turkish professional league and European Champions League this winter. In its European Champions League, VakifBank blitzed Maritza Plovdiv 25-16, 25-16, 25-16 on Dec. 20 to improve to 2-0 in Pool A. Robinson totaled 10 points with eight kills on 20 attacks, one block and one ace. She added a 67 positive reception percent on nine chances. VakifBank (2-0) returns to action on Jan. 23 against France’s Beziers (1-1). In the Turkish League, VakifBank rebounded from its first loss in league play to defeat fifth-place Turk Hava Yollari 25-17, 25-18, 20-25, 25-14 on Dec. 22. Robinson notched five kills on 19 swings and two blocks for seven points. VakifBank (9-1), now in second place, concludes the league’s first half on Dec. 24 against 11th-place Canakkale (1-9). Robinson has launched her own website, nomandplay.com on her passions for play, travel and food. To read more about her website, click here. In addition, Robinson has created her first vlog on what it is like to be an American citizen and play professional volleyball overseas.

DREWS AND LEE WITH BEYLIKDUZU IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Opposite Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana, Twitter, Instagram) and Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, Twitter, Instagram) are competing with Kameroglu Beylikduzu Voleybol Ihtisas alongside fellow American setter Kelly Hunter in the Turkish League for the 2018-19 season. Beylikduzu rallied to defeat Aydin B.Sehir 17-25, 25-12, 23-25, 25-15, 15-6 on Dec. 22. Drews powered down 22 points with 18 kills via 43 swings, three aces and a block. In the deciding fifth set, Drews was 5-for-5 in attacking. Lee produced 19 points with 16 kills on 28 attacks and three blocks. She was credited with 18 receptions and a 33 positive reception percent. Hunter set her squad to a 49 kill percent while adding one individual kill and a block. Beylikduzu (4-6), now in ninth place, returns to Turkish League action on Dec. 25 against 10th-place Nilufer BLD (4-6).

LLOYD WITH PRAIA CLUBE IN BRAZIL: Setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California, Instagram) is playing for Praia Clube in the Brazilian Superliga this winter. Praia Clube also has former U.S. Women’s National Team member Nicole Fawcett playing at opposite. Praia Clube swept Osasco 25-23, 25-21, 25-21 on Dec. 21. Lloyd set Praia Clube to a 59 kill percent and .506 hitting efficiency (50-7-85), while totaling two points with a kill and ace. Fawcett pocketed 13 kills on 23 errorless attacks and two blocks for 15 points. Praia Clube (7-0, 20 points), in first place in the Brazilian Superliga, returns to action on Jan. 4 against second-place Minas Tenis Clube (6-0).

AKINRADEWO WITH HISAMITSU SPRINGS IN JAPAN: Middle Foluke Akinradewo (Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Twitter, Instagram) has returned to Hisamitsu Springs of the Japanese V-League this winter. Hisamitsu Springs, in a break from the V-League, is competing in the Empress Cup through next week. Hisamitsu Springs defeated NEC Red Rockets in four sets during the Empress Cup semifinal round on Dec. 22. In the final, Hisamitsu Springs defeated Toyota 35-33, 20-25, 25-23, 26-24 in a tough four-set battle on Dec. 23. Hisamitsu Springs (7-1, 22 points) is in first place in the V-League Western Conference and leads both divisions with 22 points.

DIXON AND KINGDON-RISHEL PLAYING FOR BEIJING BAIC IN CHINESE LEAGUE: Middle Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram) and Madi Kingdon Rishel (Phoenix, Arizona, Twitter, Instagram) are playing for Beijing BAIC Motors Volleyball Club in China during the 2018-19 pro season. BAIC Motors defeated Guangdong Evergrande 25-15, 25-17, 25-19 on Dec. 18. Dixon notched 12 points with 10 kills on 12 errorless attacks to go with two blocks. Kingdon Rishel added 11 points with 10 kills on 24 swings and a block. She was credited with a 94 positive reception percent on 18 chances. BAIC Motors lost its second match of the week to Jiangsu Zhongtian Iron and Steel, a 17-25, 25-23, 29-27, 23-25, 15-10 setback on Dec. 22. Kingdon Rishel hammered out 30 points with 26 kills on 67 attacks, two blocks and two aces. She was credited with a 96 positive reception percent on 24 chances. Dixon chipped in 14 points with 11 kills on 29 swings, two blocks and an ace. BAIC Motors, now in third place with a 4-3 record and 12 points, resumes action on Dec. 25 versus sixth-place Shandong Sports Lottery (3-4, 9 points).

MURPHY WITH SHANGHAI VOLLEYBALL CLUB: Opposite Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois, Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Shanghai Volleyball Club this winter. Shanghai lost to first-place Tianjin 25-17, 25-14, 25-18 on Dec. 18. Murphy did not play in the match. Shanghai bounced back to defeat Liaoning Yingkou Bayuquan 13-25, 25-19, 25-18, 22-25, 17-15 on Dec. 22. Murphy pocketed 19 kills on 42 swings, an ace and block for 21 points in the victory. Shanghai, now in second place with a 5-2 record and 13 points in the second round Group C, resumes league action on Jan. 25 against seventh-place Guangdong Evergrande (3-4, 9 points).

BARTSCH-HACKLEY, CARLINI WITH NOVARA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois, Twitter, Instagram) and setter Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois, Twitter, Instagram) are playing for Igor Gorgonzola Novara in the Italian Serie A1 and the European Champions League this winter. In the European Champions League, Novara swept Minchanka Minsk 25-19, 34-32, 25-16 on Dec. 19. Bartsch-Hackley hammered 19 kills on 33 swings to go with a block for 20 points. She was credited with a 57 positive reception percent on 23 chances. Carlini set Novara to a 52 kill percent and .286 hitting efficiency (58-26-112) as she tallied three individual kills on five swings and an ace. Novara (2-0) returns to Pool C action on Jan. 23 against France’s RC Cannes (1-1). In the Italian Serie A1, Novara rallied to defeat then-second-place Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio 24-26, 28-30, 25-19, 26-24, 15-10 on Dec. 23. Bartsch-Hackley provided 23 points including 21 kills on 47 attacks, one block and one kill. Carlini set the team to a 42 kill percent as she added three individual kills on six attacks and a block. Novara (10-0, 28 points), in first place in the Italian Serie A1, challenges 10th-place Bosca San Bernardo Cuneo (4-6, 10 points) on Dec. 26.

HILL WITH CONEGLIANO IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon, Instagram) is playing for Imoco Volley Conegliano in the Italian Serie A1 this winter. In the European Champions League, lost to Germany’s SSC Palmberg Schwerin (2-0) 36-34, 25-19, 25-22 on Dec. 18. Hill tallied 13 points with 10 kills on 28 swings and three aces. She handled 16 receptions with a 69 positive reception percent. Conegliano (1-1) returns to Champions League action on Jan. 23 against Poland’s LKS Commercecon Lodz (1-1). In the Italian Serie A1, Conegliano swept Bosca San Bernardo Cuneo 25-18, 25-23, 25-12 on Dec. 23. Hill scored a team-best 21 points with 19 kills on 31 errorless attacks and two aces. She was credited with a 69 positive reception percent on 16 chances. Conegliano (8-2, 24 points), which moved up one spot to second place, returns to Italian Serie A1 action on Dec. 26 versus Banca eighth-place Valsabbina Millenium Brescia (4-6, 13 points).

ADAMS AND HANCOCK WITH TEAM MONZA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Middle Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio, Twitter, Instagram) and setter Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma, Twitter, Instagram) are playing for Saugella Team Monza in the Italian Serie A1 and CEV Challenge Cup this winter. In the CEV Challenge Cup, Team Monza defeated VDK Bank Gent 25-15, 25-20, 25-23 on Dec. 19 in the first match of the 8th Finals Round home-and-home series. Neither Hancock or Adams played in the match. The series concludes on Jan. 23. In the Italian Serie A1, Team Monza swept Lardini Filottrano 29-27, 25-21, 25-21 on Dec. 23. Adams contributed nine points with six kills on 11 attacks, two aces and a block. Hancock set Team Monza to a 51 kill percent and .400 hitting efficiency (48-10-95) while adding two kills on three errorless attacks and two aces. Team Monza (6-5, 20 points), which is in sixth place, is idle this week.

COURTNEY AND HANNAH TAPP WITH BERGAMO IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Libero/outside hitter Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio, Instagram) and Hannah Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram) are playing for Zanetti Bergamo in the Italian Serie A1 during the 2018-19 pro season. Bergamo was idle this past week. Bergamo (5-5, 14 points), now in seventh place, will play fourth-place Savino Del Bene Scandicci (8-2, 23 points) on Dec. 26 in its next league match.

WHITNEY WITH FILOTTRANO IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Opposite Aiyana Whitney (Norwood, New Jersey, Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Lardini Filotrrano in the Italian Serie A1 this winter along with American Courtney Schwan. Filottrano lost to sixth-place Team Monza 29-27, 25-21, 25-21 on Dec. 23. Whitney scored a team-tying high 14 points with 13 kills on 28 swings and a block. Filottrano (2-8, 6 points), in 11th-place, faces ninth-place Il Bisonte Firenze (4-7, 13 points) on Dec. 26.

WASHINGTON WITH BRESCIA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Middle Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colorado, Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Banca Valsabbina Millenium Brescia in the Italian Serie A1 this winter. Brescia rallied to defeat last-place Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri 25-23, 22-25, 22-25, 25-20, 17-15 on Dec. 22. Washington hammered out 11 kills on 21 attacks with just one error. She added six blocks and an ace for 18 points in the match. Brescia (3-6, 11 points), now in eighth place, faces last-place second-place Imoco Volley Conegliano (8-2, 24 points) on Dec. 26 in its next league match.

OGBOGU WITH CHEMIK POLICE IN POLAND: Middle Chiaka Ogbogu (Coppell, Texas, Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Chemik Police in the Polish League and European Champions League this winter. In European Champions League action, Chemik Police lost to Turkey’s Fenerbahce (2-0) 25-12, 25-16, 25-22 on Dec. 19. Ogbogu scored 10 points with seven kills on 10 errorless attacks and three blocks. Chemik Police (0-2) returns to action on Jan. 24 against Russia’s Dinamo Moscow (1-1). In the Polish Orlen Liga, Chemiki Police defeated second-place LKS Commercecon Lodz 25-23, 25-16, 25-20 on Dec. 23. Ogbogu tallied six points in the victory with three kills and three blocks. Chemik Police (10-1, 31 points), which expands its first-place lead by a match and five standings points, returns to Polish Orlen Liga action on Jan. 5 against sixth-place DPD Legionovia Legionowo (5-6, 15 points).

WILHITE, PAIGE TAPP, RIVERS AND McCAGE WITH MTV STUTTGART IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Outside hitter Sarah Wilhite Parsons (Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram), middles Molly McCage (Spring, Texas, Twitter, Instagram) and Paige Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram), opposite Krystal Rivers (Birmingham, Alabama) and setter Madi Bugg are playing for Allianz MTV Stuttgart in the German Bundesliga. All but Bugg played for the U.S. Women in the 2018 season. In the European Champions League, Stuttgart stopped France’s Beziers 25-16, 25-16, 25-20 on Dec. 19 to even its record. Wilhite collected 17 points with 14 kills on 19 swings and three blocks. She handled 11 receptions with a 36 positive reception percent. Rivers added 18 points with 17 kills on 25 swings and an ace. American middles Tapp and McCage combined to have 17 kills on 21 errorless attacks. Tapp tacked on 11 points with eight kills on 10 errorless attacks and two aces. McCage charted nine kills on 11 errorless attacks. Bugg set the squad to a 68 positive percent and a .617 hitting efficiency (55-5-81). Stuttgart (1-1) resumes Champions League action on Jan. 23 against pool leader VakifBank (2-0). In the German Bundesliga, Stuttgart swept Dresdner 25-21, 25-21, 25-19 on Dec. 22. Rivers scored a match-high 17 points with 16 kills on 34 swings and a block. Tapp chipped in five kills on 10 attacks with an ace for six points. McCage recorded two kills, two blocks and an ace for five points. Wilhite added two kills, one block and an ace while handling 12 receptions in just the first two sets. Bugg set Stuttgart to a 39 kill percent. Stuttgart (7-0, 20 points), which is in second place in the Bundesliga but with two fewer matches played than league-leader Schwerin (9-0, 25 points), plays Schwerin on Dec. 26 in its next Bundesliga match.

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BENSON WITH DRESDNER IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Libero Amanda Benson (Litchfield Park, Arizona, Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Dresdner SC in the German Bundesliga this winter. Dresdner is also competing in the CEV Cup this winter. In the Bundesliga, Dresdner lost to Allianz MTV Stuttgart 25-21, 25-21, 25-19 on Dec. 22 in a battle of powerhouse teams. Benson handled 18 receptions with a 39 positive reception percent in helping Dresdner to a 38 kill percent. Dresdner (6-2, 18 points), in second place, resumes Bundesliga action on Dec. 30 against ninth-place Wiesbaden (3-4, 8 points).

TRIVIA ANSWER: Lauren Carlini was rated the top high school recruit by prepvolleyball.com following the 2012 season.