Women's Update: Middles Starring Overseas

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Jan. 15, 2018, 10:37 a.m. (ET)

Paige Tapp
Paige Tapp was one of several U.S. Women's National Team middles faring well on the pro circuits all over the world last week

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 15, 2018) – U.S. Women’s National Team middles Foluke Akinradewo, Rachael Adams and Paige Tapp had stellar weekends on the courts in Japan, Turkey and Germany, while Kelsey Robinson has launched a website that showcases her passions off the court.

QUICK SETS

  • Foluke Akinradewo led Hisamitsu Springs to two more wins as the league leaders extended their season-opening win streak to 19-0. Akinradewo recorded a .605 hitting efficiency and 68.4 kill percent over the weekend.
  • Rachael Adams sparked Eczacibasi to a come-from-behind win versus Besiktas with a 12-of-14 hitting performance without an error.
  • Kelsey Robinson has launched a website, www.nomandplay.com, that blends her passions of volleyball, travel, food and cooking.
  • The U.S. Women host Italy, Turkey and Poland in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League May 15-17 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Tickets can be purchased at www.huskers.com/usavolleyball or by calling 800-8-BIGRED. For the full story and match schedule, click here.

TRIVIA QUESTION: Foluke Akinradewo and Jordan Larson are working toward a third Olympic Games roster. Who is the only U.S. player – male or female – to have played five indoor Olympic Games?

ALISHA GLASS KEYNOTE SPEAKER AT CONFERENCE: Alisha Glass (Leland, Michigan) will present the opening address to the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Women in Sports Leadership Conference on Feb. 4-5 at the Crowne Plaza Lansing West. The conference, billed as the first, largest and longest-running program of its type in the country, has a theme this year of “LEAD: Embrace the Challenge”. Glass, who earned bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games with the U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team, will speak on 21st century leadership responsibilities and daily leadership opportunities student-athletes may encounter.

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. Hisamitsu Springs downed JT Marvelous 25-18, 25-22, 25-21 on Jan. 13 in Kobe. Akinradewo powered down 15 kills on 20 attacks and added two blocks for 17 total points in the win. Hisamitsu Springs collected its 19th straight win to open the regular season with a 25-19, 25-16, 25-17 victory over Denson on Jan. 14. Akinradewo slammed 11 kills on 18 attacks to go with five blocks for 16 points. First-place Hisamitsu Springs (19-0) is idle next week and resumes play on Jan. 27 against Ageo Medics followed by Toray Arrows on Jan. 28.

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 remained undefeated in Pool B following a 25-14, 21-25, 25-16, 25-17 victory over Agel Prostejov on Jan. 10. Hill scored 12 points with 11 kills on 22 attacks and a block. She added a 64 positive reception percent on 11 errorless chances. Conegliano closes out the Pool B first half with a Jan. 25 match with Turkey’s Fenerbahce. In the Italian Serie A1, Conegliano overwhelmed last-place Lardini Filottrano 25-19, 25-19, 28-26 on Jan. 14. With the outcome not in doubt, Hill was only a sub in the third set as she registered two kills on two swings. Conegliano (13-1, 38 points), which holds on to first place, meets 11th-place Sab Volley Legnano (4-10, 11 points) on Jan. 17 and 10th-place Foppapedretti Bergamo (4-10, 11 points) on Jan. 21 in its next league matches.

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 evened its record in Pool B with a 24-26, 19-25, 25-22, 25-19, 15-6 come-from-behind win over Turkey’s Fenerbahce on Jan. 11. Gibbemeyer pocketed 13 points in the victory, all coming on kill via 26 swings. Five of 13 kills came in the fourth set. Novara, now 1-1 in Pool B, faces Agel Prostejov on Jan. 25 in its next Champions League match. In the Italian Serie A1, Novara swept eighth-place Il Bisonte Firenze (4-10, 14 points) 25-19, 25-16, 25-22 on Jan. 14. Gibbemeyer did not play in the match. Novara (12-2, 35 points), which remains in second place, resumes Italian League action on Jan. 17 versus last-place Lardini Filottrano (2-12, 6 points) followed by a Jan. 21 contest against seventh-place Liu Jo Nordmeccanica Modena (8-6, 21 points).

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. In the CEV Cup, Busto Arsizio advanced to the 8th Finals Round following a 25-11, 25-14, 25-23 victory over ZOK Bimal-Jedinstvo Brcko on Jan. 10. Wilhite notched eight kills on 18 swings and a block for nine points in the victory. Bartsch-Hackley did not suit for the match as Busto Arsizio was the overwhelming favorite to win and advance. Busto Arsizio will now face Turkish power Eczacibasi in the 8th Finals Round home-and-home series with the two match dates still to be determined. In the Italian Serie A1, Busto defeated seventh-place Liu Jo Nordmeccanica (8-6, 21 points) 25-18, 23-25, 25-18, 25-20 on Jan. 13. Bartsch-Hackley totaled 13 points with 10 kills on 33 swings and three aces on 22 serves. Wilhite did not play in the match. Busto Arsizio (9-5, 28 points), which stays fourth in the standings, meets 10th-place Foppapedretti Bergamo (4-10, 11 points) on Jan. 17 before a Jan. 21 match against fifth-place Saugella Team Monza (7-6, 22 points).

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 defeated Saugella Team Monza 16-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-20 on Jan. 14. Carlini, who started the first three sets, helped the squad to a 40 kill percent in the victory. Scandicci (11-3, 30 points), which stays in third place, resumes regular season action on Jan. 17 against eighth-place Il Bisonte Firenze (4-10, 14 points) before meeting last-place Lardini Filottrano (2-12, 6 points) on Jan. 21.

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. Team Monza lost to third-place Savino Del Benne Scandicci (11-3, 30 points) 16-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-20 on Jan. 14. Hancock set the squad to a 40 kill percent and added four individual kills on nine errorless attacks to go with an ace. Dixon turned in four kills on 11 attacks. Team Monza (7-7, 22 points), now in fifth place, challenges ninth-place Pomi Casalmaggiore (3-11, 14 points) on Jan. 17 and fourth-place Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio (9-5, 28 points) next week.

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 downed Poland’s Grot Budowlani Lodz 25-16, 24-26, 25-15, 25-16 on Jan. 10 to remain undefeated in Pool D. As a sub in all four sets, Robinson tallied one kill on four errorless swings and provided a 75 positive reception percent. VakifBank (2-0) returns to action on Jan. 24 versus Russia’s Dinamo Moscow. In the Turkish League, VakifBank swept topped Kameroglu Beylikduzu Vol.IHT on Jan. 14. Robinson pounded 12 kills on 37 swings and added a block for 13 points. She was credited with a 67 positive reception percent on 12 errorless chances. VakifBank (12-1) resumes Turkish League action on Jan. 17 against Besiktas followed by a Jan. 20 contest versus Galatasaray. Robinson has launched her own website, www.nomandplay.com, on her passions for play, travel and food. Check out her latest article on her top breakfast picks in Istanbul at nomandplay.com. To read more about her website, click here.

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 swept its 16th Finals Round home-and-home series with VC Oudegem following a 25-12, 25-17, 25-8 victory on Jan. 10. Adams totaled 10 points with five kills on nine swings, three blocks and two aces. Larson picked up three kills on nine errorless chances and two blocks in starting just the first two sets. She added an 80 positive reception percent on five chances. Eczacibasi advances to the CEV Cup 8th Finals Round and will have a home-and-home series versus Italy’s Yamamay E-Work Busto Arsizio with the first match taking place the final week of January. In the Turkish League, Eczacibasi rallied past Besiktas 18-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-13 on Jan. 14. Adams, who sparked Eczacibasi off the bench in the opening set, turned in 12 kills on 14 errorless attacks. She added one block and one ace for 14 points. Larson claimed seven kills in the victory and handled eight receptions. Eczacibasi (12-1) faces Galatasaray on Jan. 17 and Nilufer on Jan. 21 next week in the Turkish League.

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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 swept KGC 25-21, 25-16, 25-23 on Jan. 10. Kingdon scored 19 points with 18 kills on 42 swings and a block. She added 13 digs in the victory. IBK continued to roll with a 25-17, 25-18, 25-22 victory over the Pink Spiders on Jan. 14. Kingdon charted 21 points with 14 kills on 35 swings, four blocks and three aces IBK (13-6, 38 points), now in second place), returns to action on Jan. 17 against league-leader Korea Expressway (13-6, 39 points) before the All-Star game on Jan. 21.

WOPAT WITH BAIC MOTORS IN CHINA: Carly Wopat (Santa Barbara, California, Instagram, Twitter), a middle for the U.S. Women’s National Team, is playing for BAIC Motors in Beijing as part of the Chinese professional league. After finishing the regular season in fourth place of Group B, BAIC has found momentum in the Stage 2 playoffs. BAIC defeated Jiangsu 26-24, 24-26, 25-17, 25-27, 15-9 on Jan. 9. Wopat, who was a sub in the first two sets before starting the final three, notched 12 points in the win. BAIC improved to 4-0 in the playoffs with a 25-16, 24-14, 25-17 victory over Guangdong Hengda on Jan. 13. Wopat tallied five kills, one block and one ace in playing and starting just the final two sets. BAIC returns to Stage 2 action on Jan. 19 against Shenzhen.

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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 Savallese Millenium Brescia 23-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-19 on Jan. 14. McMahon powered down 14 kills on 42 swings, two blocks and an ace for 17 points. Soverato (11-7, 32 points), which is now in seventh place, resumes action on Jan. 17 against league-leader LPM Bam Mondovi (14-4, 43 points) followed by 12th-place P2P Givova Baronissi (6-12, 20 points) on Jan. 21.

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 CEV Cup, Stuttgart defeated VK Up Olomouc 25-19, 25-15, 28-26 on Jan. 10 to sweep its 16th Finals Round home-and-home series. Tapp contributed 10 points with seven kills on 10 attacks and three blocks. McCage, playing just the first two sets, scored four kills on seven errorless attacks and three blocks for seven points. Stuttgart now advances to the CEV Cup 8th Finals Round home-and-home series with Asterix Avo Beveren. The first match is scheduled for Jan. 24, and the second match date has yet to be announced. In the German Bundesliga regular season, Stuttgart defeated ninth-place Sul Lotto Thuringen 17-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-21 on Jan. 13. Tapp and McCage scored matching team-highs of 14 points. Tapp collected eight kills on 20 attacks, a match-high five blocks and one ace on nine serves. McCage tacked on nine kills on 13 errorless attacks, three blocks and two aces. Stuttgart (9-2, 28 points), which is in second place in the Bundesliga, returns to regular season Bundesliga action on Jan. 17 against fourth-place Aachen (8-4, 21 points) before meeting 10th-place Erfurt (2-9, 6 points) on Jan. 20.

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 CEV Cup, Dresdner concluded its 16th Finals Round home-and-home series with a 25-12, 25-9, 25-22 win over Pays d’Aix Venelles on Jan. 9. Bugg was a sub in the third set where she served five times with one ace. Dresdner moves on to the 8th Finals Round home-and-home series against TS Volley Duedingen. The first match is slated for Jan. 24 and the second match date has yet to be determined. In the German Bundesliga, Dresdner stopped fifth-place USC Munster 25-17, 25-18, 22-25, 25-19 on Jan. 14. Bugg was a sub in the third set. Dresdner (11-1, 32 points), which remains in first place, faces eighth-place Potsdam (4-7, 13 points) on Jan. 17 and sixth-place Wiesbaden (7-4, 20 points) on Jan. 20.

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. In the CEV Cup, Beziers defeated Sliedrecht Sport 25-21, 25-20, 26-24 on Jan. 10 for the second time in the 16th Final Round home-and-home series. Rolfzen was a blocking machine with eight stuffs to go with two aces and two kills for 12 points. American teammate Krystal Rivers added 17 points in the win. Beziers advances to the 8th Finals Round where it will play Minchanka Minsk on Jan. 24 to start the home-and-home series. In the French League, Beziers defeated third-place Mulhouse (8-5, 25 points) 25-22, 25-13, 25-21 on Jan. 13. Rolfzen tallied three kills, three blocks and an ace for seven points in the sweep. Beziers (12-1, 33 points), now in first place, meets fourth-place Venelles (8-5, 22 points) on Jan. 20 in its next French 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 European Champions League, Mulhouse defeated Volero Zurich 25-19, 25-19, 23-25, 23-25, 15-10 on Jan. 11. Dannemiller, a sub in the third and fourth sets before starting the tiebreaker, tallied two kills on five swings and had an ace. In the tiebreaker, she set Mulhouse to a 30 kill percent for the win. Mulhouse, now 1-1 in Pool A, challenges CSM Volei Alba Blaj on Jan. 24 in its next Champions League match. In the French League, Mulhouse lost to league-leader Beziers (12-1, 33 points) 25-22, 25-13, 25-21 on Jan. 20. Dannemiller, a sub in the opening set before taking over the final two sets, had one block in the victory as Mulhouse converted 28 percent of its attacks in the match. Mulhouse (8-5, 25 points), which is in third place, resumes French League action on Jan. 20 against 11th-place Evreux (5-8, 13 points).

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 lost to Nantes 25-22, 25-17, 25-17 on Jan. 13. Benson handled 13 receptions with a 31 positive percent without an error. Nancy (5-8, 13 points), now in 10th place, resumes French League action on Jan. 20 against sixth-place SF Paris St. Cloud (5-8, 17 points).

TRIVIA ANSWER: Danielle Scott-Arruda competed in her fifth Olympics at the 2012 London Games. She was part of two Olympic medal teams (2008 and 2012).