WNT Update: U.S. Women Stay Busy Through Holidays

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Dec. 31, 2018, 11:05 a.m. (ET)

Lauren Carlini setting during the Italian Serie A1
Lauren Carlini has set Novara to the Italian Serie A1 league leadership through the first half of the season.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 31, 2018) – While many in the United States relaxed during the holiday season, that was not the case for all Americans playing in overseas pro volleyball leagues.

QUICK SETS

TRIVIA QUESTION: Which U.S. Women’s National Team member was named the 2016 SENIOR CLASS Award presented to one NCAA athlete in each sport who excels on the court, in the classroom and in the community?

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 sixth-place Shandong Sports Lottery (3-6, 10 points) 23-25, 25-14, 25-27, 25-21, 15-9 on Dec. 25. Dixon notched 21 points with a stellar 17 kills on 26 attacks with just one error along with three aces and a block. Kingdon Rishel, starting just the first set, added five kills on 15 swings. BAIC Motors upset second-round leader Tianjin (7-2, 21 points) 28-26, 25-23, 25-20 on Dec. 29. Dixon pocketed six kills on 15 errorless attacks and four blocks for 10 points. Kingdon Rishel did not play in the match. BAIC Motors, now in third place with a 6-3 record and 17 points, resumes action on Jan. 5 against eighth-place Fujian (0-9, 1 point).

MURPHY WITH SHANGHAI VOLLEYBALL CLUB: Opposite Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois, Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Shanghai Volleyball Club this winter. Shanghai stopped seventh-place Guangdong Evergrande (3-6, 9 points) 25-23, 23-25, 25-17, 25-23 on Dec. 25. Murphy hammered 16 kills on 33 swings and added two aces for 18 points in the victory. Shanghai won its second match of the week with a 26-24, 25-17, 25-27, 25-23 win over eighth-place Fujian (0-9, 1 point) on Dec. 29. Murphy tallied 11 kills on 31 swings and a block for 12 points in the victory. Shanghai, now in second place with a 7-2 record and 19 points in the second round Group C, resumes league action on Jan. 5 against fourth-place Jiangsu Zhongtian (5-4, 16 points).

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 Turkish League, Eczacibasi downed eighth-place Aydin B.Sehir (4-7) 25-6, 25-18, 20-25, 25-11 on Dec. 25 to remain undefeated. Neither Larson or Gibbemeyer played in the match. Eczacibasi (10-0), in first place in the Turkish League as the only undefeated team, plays ninth-place Nilufer (5-6) on Jan. 13 after a break for the holidays. In the European Champions League, Eczacibasi (2-0) challenges Russia’s Dinamo Moscow (1-1) on Jan. 24 in its next European Champions League match.

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 the Turkish League, VakifBank swept 11th-place Canakkale (1-10) 25-20, 25-16, 25-21 on Dec. 24. Robinson scored 10 points with seven kills on 15 attacks and three blocks. She was credited with a 69 positive reception percent on 13 chances. VakifBank (10-1), now in second place, faces seventh-place Karayollari (5-6) in its next Turkish League match on Jan. 13. In European Champions League, VakifBank (2-0) returns to action on Jan. 23 against France’s Beziers (1-1). Robinson has launched her own website, nomandplay.com on her passions for play, travel and food. To read more about her website, click here.

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 lost to ninth-place Nilufer 25-23, 20-25, 25-21, 25-17 on Dec. 25. Drews scored a team-best 20 points with 19 kills on 41 swings and a block. Lee chipped in 14 points with 11 kills coming from 28 swings and three blocks. Hunter set her team to a 40 kill percent while adding three blocks and a kill. Beylikduzu (4-7), now in 10th place, returns to Turkish League action on Jan. 13 against last-place Halkbank (0-11).

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 Italian Serie A1, Novara had its nine-match win streak to start the league snapped after being upset by eighth-place Bosca San Bernardo Cuneo on Dec. 26. Bartsch-Hackley, who started the final four sets after not playing the first set, contributed 11 points with 10 kills on 25 swings and a block. She was credited with a 71 positive reception percent on a team-leading 34 receptions. Carlini, who had one kill and one block for two points, set Novara to a 41 kill percent for the match. Novara bounced back to defeat fifth-place Pomi Casalmaggiore 25-23, 25-18, 25-23 on Dec. 29. Bartsch-Hackley totaled seven points, all on kills via 17 swings. Carlini set the team to a 53 kill percent and .457 hitting efficiency. She added two individual kills on two swings and two aces for four points. To watch highlights of the match, click here. Novara (11-1, 32 points), in first place in the Italian Serie A1, challenges Banca Valsabbina Millenium Brescia on Jan. 6 to start the Italian Serie A1 second half. In the European Champions League, Novara (2-0) returns to Pool C action on Jan. 23 against France’s RC Cannes (1-1).

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 Italian Serie A1, Conegliano was upset by ninth-place Banca Valsabbina Millenium Bresia 20-25, 26-24, 18-25, 25-22, 19-17 on Dec. 26. Hill scored 19 points in the loss with 16 kills on 38 swings and three blocks. She was credited with a 73 positive reception percent on 44 chances. Conegliano bounced back to defeat fourth-place Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio 25-16, 25-23, 25-20 on Dec. 29. Hill scored a team-leading 20 points with 18 kills on 29 attacks and two blocks. She was credited with a 92 positive reception percent on handling 13 errorless receptions. Conegliano (9-3, 28 points), which moved up one spot to second place, starts the second half of the Italian Serie A1 on Jan. 6 against fifth-place Pomi Casalmaggiore (8-4, 23 points). In the European Champions League, Conegliano (1-1) returns to Champions League action on Jan. 23 against Poland’s LKS Commercecon Lodz (1-1).

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 Italian Serie A1, Team Monza defeated Zanetti Bergamo 20-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-18 on Dec. 29 after being idle during round 12 of the first half. Adams hammered 11 kills on 15 attacks to go with an ace for 12 points in the victory. Hancock set Team Monza to a 47 kill percent with a .383 hitting efficiency. She also provided four individual kills on four swings, two blocks and an ace for seven points. Team Monza (7-5, 23 points), which is in sixth place, starts the Italian Serie A1 second half on Jan. 6 against last-place Club Italia Crai (0-12, 2 points). In the CEV Challenge Cup, Team Monza leads its 8th Finals Round home-and-home series 1-0 with the return match on Jan. 23. 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.

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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 nearly upset second-place Savino Del Bene Scandicci before falling 25-21, 23-25, 25-21, 23-25, 15-8 on Dec. 26. Tapp provided four kills on nine errorless attacks, three blocks and an ace in starting the first four sets. Courtney, who started the first and last sets and was a sub in the middle three sets, provided three kills and a block for four points. Bergamo lost to sixth-place Saugella Team Monza 20-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-18 on Dec. 29. Tapp notched seven points with five kills on nine attacks and two blocks. Courtney, a sub in the first three sets before starting the fourth set, added four kills on eight errorless attacks and an ace for five points. She was credited with a 60 positive reception percent on 15 chances. Bergamo (5-7, 15 points), now in ninth place, will play Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio on Jan. 6 to open the Italian Serie A1 second half.

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 Il Bisonte Firenze 25-22, 25-15, 24-26, 25-21 on Dec. 26. Whitney scored eight kills on 42 swings, two aces and a block for 11 points Schwan was a sub in the second set. Filottrano came back to defeat Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri 23-25, 25-22, 25-18, 22-25, 15-9 on Dec. 29. Whitney piled up 18 points with 16 kills on 37 swings and two blocks. Filottrano (3-9, 8 points), in 10th-place, opens the second half of the Italian Serie A1 schedule on Jan. 5 against second-place Savino Del Bene Scandicci (10-2, 28 points).

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 upset third-place Imoco Volley Conegliano 20-25, 26-24, 18-25, 25-22, 19-17 on Dec. 26. Washington pocketed 17 points in the victory, including 12 kills on 18 swings, five blocks and an ace. To watch highlights of the match, click here. Brescia was unable to keep the momentum as it lost to second-place Savino Del Bene Scandicci 25-17, 25-21, 25-14 on Dec. 29. Washington turned in four kills on 11 errorless attacks and a block for five points. Brescia (5-7, 15 points), now in ninth place, begins the second half of the season on Jan. 6 against league-leader Igor Gorgonzola Novara (11-1, 32 points).

WILHITE PARSONS, 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 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 German Bundesliga, Stuttgart upset league-leader Schwerin 20-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-23 on Dec. 26. Wilhite Parsons scored a match-high 23 points with 17 kills on 31 attacks, five blocks and an ace. She was credited with a 36 positive reception percent on 22 reception chances. Rivers added 19 points in the victory with 16 kills on 38 attacks, two aces and a block. Tapp chipped in 10 points with six kills on 13 swings, two aces and two blocks. McCage turned in five blocks to go with two kills for seven points. Bugg set Stuttgart to a 43 kill percent for the match and added three individual kills on four swings. Stuttgart (8-0, 20 points), which is in second place two points behind Schwerin but with one less match played, plays eighth-place Vilsbiburg (3-5, 8 points) on Jan. 9 in its next Bundesliga match. In the European Champions League, Stuttgart (1-1) resumes Champions League action on Jan. 23 against pool leader VakifBank (2-0).

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 topped VC Wiesbaden 25-21, 25-23, 25-20 on Dec. 30. Benson handled 12 receptions with a 25 positive percent as she helped Dresdner to a 48 kill percent as a team. Dresdner (7-2, 21 points), in third place, resumes Bundesliga action on Jan. 12 against 12th-place VCO Berlin (0-9, 1 point).

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, after winning the Empress Cup last weekend, was idle this past week as the V-League is on holiday break. Hisamitsu Springs (7-1, 22 points) is in first place in the V-League Western Conference and leads both divisions with 22 points.

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. 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).

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 the Polish Orlen Liga, Chemiki Police was idle this past week with the league on holiday hiatus. 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). In European Champions League action, Police (0-2) returns to action on Jan. 24 against Russia’s Dinamo Moscow (1-1).

TRIVIA ANSWER: Paige Tapp was selected as the 2016 Senior Class Award for NCAA Division I women’s volleyball. The award is an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School. She was a two-time AVCA All-America Third-Team selection in 2014 and 2015 and was a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-America. Tapp also gave back many hours of community service to her local area.