Gibby Wins Title, Larson & Adams Pacing Eczacibasi

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Feb. 19, 2018, 10:32 a.m. (ET)

Lauren Gibbemeyer and her Igor Gorgonzola Novara team celebrate their Italian Serie A1 Cup Championship
Lauren Gibbemeyer (sixth from left) and her Italian club team Igor Gorgonzola Novara captured the Italian Serie A1 Cup on Sunday

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 19, 2018)Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota) helped her pro squad win a championship trophy, while Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska) and Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio) helped their Turkish team to a berth into the 2018-19 European Championships.

QUICK SETS

  • Lauren Gibbemeyer and her Italian club team Igor Gorgonzola Novara captured the Italian Cup championship, defeating Imoco Volley Conegliano and Kim Hill in the final.
  • Jordan Larson and Rachael Adams helped Eczacibasi to two victories last week in the Turkish League, which clinched the regular season title and Eczacibasi’s spot into the 2018-19 European Champions League.
  • Foluke Akinradewo and Hisamitsu Springs remain undefeated in the Japan V.League regular season and playoffs following two wins this past weekend. She was named the Best Spiker of the V.League regular season.
  • The FIVB announced its inaugural Volleyball Nations League pool schedule in which the U.S. will host the opening week before three consecutive weeks in Asia and concluding the prelims in Argentina. Details below.
  • European Champions League and CEV Cup matches are on tap this week with six contests featuring U.S. Women’s National Team players available with live streaming on laola1.tv.
  • 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: Which current Team USA player competed in her first tournament with the U.S. Women’s National Team before even playing her first collegiate match?

FIVB VOLLEYBALL NATIONS LEAGUE SCHEDULE: The FIVB announced the pools for the inaugural FIVB Volleyball Nations League in the which the U.S. Women’s National Team is competing. The U.S. Women, ranked No. 2 in the world by the FIVB, open the Volleyball Nations League at home. Team USA hosts No. 7 Italy, No. 12, and No. 22 Poland May 15-17 at the Devaney Center on the University of Nebraska campus in Lincoln, Nebraska. Tickets for the opening week matches can be purchased at huskers.com/usavolleyball. The U.S. will embark on a five-week road trip for the rest of the Volleyball Nations League preliminary round. The Americans travel to Toyota, Japan, to face host and No. 6 Japan, No. 8 Netherlands and No. 13 Belgium in matches held May 22-24. For the third week, Team USA challenges No. 9 Dominican Republic, No. 13 Germany and No. 16 Thailand May 29-31 in Bangkok, Thailand. The Americans remain in Asia for week four, which will be one of the most anticipated pools on the schedule. The U.S. will face top-ranked China, No. 4 Brazil and No. 5 Russia June 5-7 in Jiangmen, China. Team USA concludes pool play June 12-14 in Sante Fe, Argentina, against the No. 3 Serbia, No. 10 Korea and No. 11 Argentina. The Volleyball Nations League Final Round will be played June 27 to July 1. The Final Round site has yet to be announced. For the full story, click here.

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE STREAMS: Four European Champions League matches and two CEV Cup matches featuring U.S. Women’s National Team players will stream live on laola1.tv.

AKINRADEWO WITH JAPAN V-LEAGUE’S HISAMITSU SPRINGS: Two-time U.S. Olympic medalist Foluke Akinradewo (Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Instagram, Twitter )is playing middle for Japan V.League’s Hisamitsu Springs this winter. After going undefeated (21-0) during the regular season, Hisamitsu Springs improved to 4-0 in the playoffs with two wins this past weekend. Hisamitsu Springs defeated NEC Red Rockets 25-18, 19-25, 25-20, 25-23 on Feb. 17. Akinradewo pocketed 11 kills on 18 errorless attacks and two blocks for 13 points. Hisamitsu Springs handled Denso 25-19, 18-25, 30-28, 25-15 on Feb. 18. Akinradewo converted 15 kills on 30 errorless attacks on offense and added three blocks for 18 total points. Hisamitsu Springs concludes the first round of the six-team round-robin playoffs on Feb. 24 with a key battle against JT Marvelous, which is also undefeated in the playoffs with a 4-0 record. Prior to the start of the playoffs, Akinradewo was named the regular season’s Best Spike with a 60.3 kill percent (240-of-398). She finished the regular season ranked eighth in scoring with 318 points (240 kills, 53 blocks, 25 aces), while placing third in blocking (0.72 blocks per set).

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 rallied past Seramiksan 23-25, 25-19, 25-11, 25-21 on Feb. 14. Adams contributed eight kills on 11 errorless attacks, six aces and three blocks for 17 points in a well-rounded performance from her middle position. Larson added 14 points with 12 kills on 30 attacks and two blocks. She was credited with a 69 positive reception percent on 13 chances. Eczacibasi swept Bursa B.Sehir Bld 25-19, 25-19, 25-19 on Feb. 17 to clinch the regular season title. In the process, Eczacibasi claimed its spot into the 2018-19 European Champions League. Larson said in an Instagram post: “No words can describe how proud I am of this team! We officially qualified for Champions League next season with one match remaining in the championship. We had our challenges, no doubt but we found a way to win as a team. We did it together. Still more to come, but what a great accomplishment. Thank you to our staff, fans and our club admin for your unwavering support. We couldn’t have done it without you.” In the match against Bursa B.Sehir Bld, Larson scored nine points with eight kills on 21 attacks and a block. Adams did not play in the contest. Eczacibasi (20-1), which is now in sole possession of first place, faces sixth-place Halkbank (8-12) on Feb. 25 to close out the regular season. In CEV Cup action, Eczacibasi has advanced to the CEV Cup quarterfinals (4th Finals Round) and will face Yenisei Krasnoyarsk in the home-and-home series on Feb. 20 and Feb. 28.

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 handled Fenerbahce 29-27, 25-17, 21-25, 25-20 on Feb. 14. Robinson was a sub in the third set, providing one kill on three attacks and an ace. She added five receptions in the third set. VakifBank blanked eighth-place Seramiksan 25-17, 25-12, 25-22 on Feb. 17. Robinson contributed a match-high 14 points with 13 kills on 30 attacks and a block. She was also credited with a 65 positive reception percent on handling 20 of the team’s 47 receptions. VakifBank (18-2), now in second place, challenges league-closes out the regular season on Feb. 24 against Bursa B.Sehir Bld. In European Champions League action, VakifBank, now 4-0 in Pool D, resumes action on Feb. 20 against Poland’s Grot Budowlani Lodz (0-4). Robinson has launched her own website, nomandplay.com, on her passions for play, travel and food. In honor of the Chinese New Year, check out her 24 Hours Series on Beijing by clicking here. To read more about her website, click here.

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A post shared by Lauren Gibbemeyer (@lgibby5) on

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. With the open week in the regular season, Novara edged Saugella Team Monza 27-25, 27-29, 20-25, 25-19, 15-13 on Feb. 17 in the Italian Cup semifinals. Gibbemeyer scored seven points with four blocks and three kills on seven errorless attacks. In the Italian Cup finals, Novara defeated regular season leader Imoco Volley Conegliano 25-17, 14-25, 25-21, 25-23 on Feb. 18. Gibbemeyer was a starter in all four sets, but did not score a point. In the Italian Serie A1, Novara (14-5, 43 points), which remains in second place, resumes Italian League action on Feb. 24 against fifth-place Saugella Team Monza (11-8, 33 points). In the European Champions League, Novara (3-1 in Pool B) challenges Turkish League’s Fenerbahce (1-3) on Feb. 22.

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. During the Italian Serie A1 hiatus next weekend, Conegliano defeated Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio 25-16, 27-25, 30-28 in the Italian Cup semifinals on Feb. 17. Hill scored a team-high 20 points with 19 kills on 38 swings and one block. She was credited with a 74 positive reception percent while handling 35 of the team’s 65 receptions. In the Italian Cup finals, Conegliano lost to Igor Gorgonzola Novara 25-17, 14-25, 25-21, 25-23 on Feb. 18. Hill contributed 16 kills on 26 attacks in the loss, in addition to a 67 positive reception percent after handling 30 of the team’s 73 receptions. In the Italian Serie A1 regular season, Conegliano (17-2, 49 points), which holds on to first place, meets third-place Savino Del Bene Scandicci (15-4, 42 points) on Feb. 25 in its next Italian Serie A1 match. In the European Champions League, Conegliano (4-0 in Pool B) challenges Agel Prostejov (0-4) in its next match.

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. In the Italian Cup semifinals on Feb. 17, Saugella lost a heart-breaking 27-25, 27-29, 20-25, 25-19, 15-13 match to Igor Gorgonzola Novara. Dixon charted nine kills on 19 attacks and an ace for 10 points. Hancock set Saugella to a 38 kill percent while adding three kills on 10 attacks and an ace. Team Monza (11-8, 33 points), now in fifth place, challenges second-place Igor Gorgonzola Novara (14-5, 43 points) on Feb. 24 as the Italian Serie A1 regular season resumes.

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. Busto Arsizio lost to Imoco Volley Conegliano 25-16, 27-25, 30-28 in a close three-set battle in the Italian Cup Serie A1 Cup semifinals on Feb. 17. Bartsch-Hackley scored 17 points with 15 kills on 43 attacks and two blocks. She also handled 28 of the team’s 71 receptions with a 64 positive percent. Wilhite was a sub in all three sets recording four serves. In the Italian Serie A1 regular season, fourth-place Busto Arsizio (11-8, 35 points) faces seventh-place Mycicero Volley Pesaro (8-11, 26 points) on Feb. 25 in its next Italian Serie A1 match.

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. With the Italian League regular season on hiatus with the Italian Cup last week, third-place Scandicci (15-4, 42 points) resumes regular season action on Feb. 25 against league-leader Imoco Volley Conegliano (17-2, 49 points).

DREWS WITH CASALMAGGIORE IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Opposite Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana, Instagram, Twitter), who played her first season with the U.S. Women’s National Team, is currently playing for Pomi Casalmaggiore in the Italian Serie A1 after transferring from Sab Volleyball Legnano. In the CEV Cup, Casalmaggiore has advanced to the CEV Cup quarterfinals (4th Finals Round) and will face Schwerin in a home-and-home series with matches on Feb. 21 and March 1. In the Italian Serie A, ninth-place Casalmaggiore (5-14 20 points) meets 11th-place Sab Volley Legnano (5-14, 15 points) on Feb. 25.

LLOYD WITH BARUERI IN BRAZIL: Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California, Instagram), a 2016 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist, joined Hinode Barueri of the Brazil Superliga in January after successfully recovering from an injury during the 2017 FIVB World Grand Champions Cup. Barueri rallied past Volei Bauru 20-25, 25-22, 15-25, 25-19, 15-13 on Feb. 16. Lloyd set Barueri to a 46 kill percent for the match. She added four blocks, one kill and one ace for six individual points. Barueri (13-8, 37 points), now in fifth place, resumes action on March 2 against first-place Dentil Praia (20-0, 57 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 claimed two big wins last week starting with a 25-20, 25-16, 25-15 victory over fourth-place KGC (10-15, 31 points on Feb. 14. Kingdon claimed 22 kills on 45 attacks and two blocks for 24 points. She added 19 digs in the win. To cap the week, IBK swept league-leader Korea Expressway 25-17, 25-18, 25-20 on Feb. 17. Kingdon slammed 30 kills on 54 attacks to go with four blocks for 34 points. IBK (18-8, 51 points), now in second place, challenges the sixth-place Pink Spiders (6-19, 21 points) on Feb. 21 and third-place Hyundai (14-11, 43 points) on Feb. 25.

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 (15-7, 42 points), which is in seventh-place place, is idle next week and resumes action on Feb. 21 against 13th-place Sorelle Ramonda Ipag Montecchio (7-15, 20 points) followed by ninth-place Club Italia Crai (12-11, 35 points) on Feb. 25.

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 regular season, Stuttgart eased by last-place VCO Berlin (0-15, 0 points) 25-12, 25-19, 25-17 on Feb. 17. Tapp started the first set, recording two aces and a block. McCage did not play in the match. Stuttgart topped eighth-place Pottsdam (6-11, 19 points) 25-16, 25-20, 25-14 on Feb. 18 for its second win of the weekend. McCage notched 10 points with seven kills on 10 swings and three blocks. Tapp added six points with five kills on 11 attacks and a block. Stuttgart (16-2, 49 points), which moved into first place, returns to Bundesliga regular season on Feb. 24 against sixth-place Vilsbiburg (9-9, 27 points). In the CEV Cup, Stuttgart has advanced to the 4th Finals Round (quarterfinals) where it will play German rivals Dresdner SC in a home-and-home series on Feb. 21 and Feb. 28.

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 German Bundesliga, Dresdner lost to Schwerin 25-21, 25-23, 25-14 on Feb. 14. Bugg was a sub in the third set, turning in one kill on one attack. Dresdner bounced back to defeat Aachen 25-21, 25-16, 25-20 on Feb. 17. Bugg, as the starter all three sets, scored two kills on three attacks while setting her team to a 40 kill percent. Bugg was named most valuable player of the match. Dresdner (15-3, 44 points), which falls to third place, faces ninth-place Suhl (5-13, 15 points) on Feb. 24. In the CEV Cup, Dresdner has advanced to the CEV Cup quarterfinals (4th Final Round) and will face German rival Allianz MTV Stuttgart in a home-and-home series on Feb. 21 and Feb. 28 to decide who advances to the semifinals.

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 swept eighth-place Quimper (7-11, 20 points) 25-20, 25-20, 25-18 on Feb. 16. Rolfzen hammered seven kills on 10 attacks to go with two blocks and an ace for 10 points. Beziers (16-2, 45 points), now in first place, meets last-place Chamaliers (2-16, 5 points) on Feb. 26 in its next league match.

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. In the French League, Mulhouse lost to second-place RC Cannes (15-3, 45 points) 21-25, 25-19, 25-17, 25-23 on Feb. 17. Dannemiller started the first three sets and helped the squad to a 38 kill percent. She added one kill on as many attacks. Mulhouse (12-6, 36 points), which is in third place, resumes French League action on Feb. 24 against seventh-place SF Paris St Cloud (8-10, 23 points). In the European Champions League, Mulhouse (1-3 in Pool A) resumes action on Feb. 21 against Switzerland’s Volero Zurich (2-2).

BENSON WITH VANDOEUVRE NANCY IN FRENCH LEAGUE: Libero Amanda Benson (Litchfield Park, Arizona, Instagram, Twitter), who was part of the U.S. Women’s National Team this past summer, is competing for Vandoeuvre Nancy in the French professional league this winter. Vandoeuvre Nancy won its second straight match with a 25-17, 25-18, 25-23 win over last-place Chamaliers (2-16, 5 points). Benson handled 15 receptions with a 53 positive percent. Nancy (8-10, 22 points), now in eighth-place place, resumes French League action on Feb. 24 against 11th-place Evreux (5-13, 15 points).

TRIVIA ANSWER: Foluke Akinradewo was a member of the 2005 U.S. Women’s National Team that played in the Pan American Cup in the summer before her freshman debut with the Stanford University Cardinal. Before her junior campaign, she helped Team USA win bronze at the 2007 Pan American Games. Prior to her senior year at Stanford, Akinradewo was part of the USA roster that toured China, played in the U.S. Olympic Team Exhibition match versus Brazil and was part of the FIVB World Grand Prix roster.