U.S. Women in Pro Playoffs on 3 Continents

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | March 12, 2018, 11:55 a.m. (ET)

Tori Dixon swings for a point in the Italian Serie A1
Tori Dixon swings for a Saugella Team Monza point in the Italian Serie A1 regular season finale

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 12, 2018) – The U.S. Women’s National Team has athletes on three continents competing for playoff titles before they come back to the Team USA gym this spring.

QUICK SETS

  • Lauren Gibbemeyer and her Italian club Novara won the Serie A1 regular season title, jumping from second to first in the final match.
  • Jordan Larson and Rachael Adams with Eczacibasi and Kelsey Robinson with VakifBank won their Turkish League quarterfinal round series last week.
  • Foluke Akinradewo helped spark Hisamitsu Springs to an opening win in the Japan V.League two-match championship round this past weekend.
  • 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: What country has the U.S. played the most matches against in the last three years (2015-17)?

EUROPEAN CEV CUP STREAMS: Two European CEV Cup semifinal matches featuring U.S. Women’s National Team players will stream live on laola1.tv this week.

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 dominated JT Marvelous 25-9, 25-20, 25-21 on March 10 to start the V.League’s two-match championship series. Hisamitsu Springs had gone undefeated through the regular season with a 21-0 record, then won its first four matches of the Playoff 6 Round. However, JT Marvelous defeated Hisamitsu Springs in the final round robin match of the Playoff 6 round to gain automatic entry into the championship finals and forcing Hisamitsu Springs into the two-match Playoff 3 round (semifinals). Akinradewo contributed 10 kills on 17 errorless attacks, two aces and a block for 13 points in the victory. Hisamitsu Springs can sweep the two-match series when the teams meet again on March 17 in Tokyo.

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 swept its two-match quarterfinal round series with Nilufer following a 25-20, 25-19, 25-20 victory on March 7. Larson turned in eight points with seven kills on 19 swings and an ace. She added eight receptions in the victory. Adams did not play in the match. To watch a replay of the match, click here. In CEV Cup action, Eczacibasi meets Germany’s SSC Palmberg Schwerin in the semifinal home-and-home round with matches on March 13 and March 20.

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 swept its quarterfinal round best-of-three series with Besiktas following a 25-16, 25-12, 25-21 victory on March 6. Robinson hammered eight kills on 13 swings to go with one block and one ace for 10 points. She was credited with a 60 positive reception percent on 15 chances. To watch a replay of the match, click here. In European Champions League action, VakifBank will face Switzerland’s Volero Zurich in a home-and-home quarterfinal round series on March 22 and April 5. Robinson has launched her own website, www.nomandplay.com, on her passions for play, travel and food. To read her blog on the top 10 things to do while visiting Rio de Janeiro, click here. To read more about her website, click here.

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 Italian Serie A1 regular season finale, Novara swept 11th-place Sab Volley Legnano 25-20, 25-16, 25-21 on March 10. Gibbemeyer tallied two kills on seven errorless attacks in the victory. With the win coupled with Imoco Volley Conegliano’s loss, Novara moved into first place and earn the top seed into the playoffs with a 17-5 record and 51 points. Novara will face eighth-seeded Il Bisonte Firenze (8-14, 27 points) in the best-of-three quarterfinals with matches on March 17 and March 25. If necessary, the tiebreaker match is set for March 28. In the European Champions League, Novara has advanced to the quarterfinal home-and-home series where it meets Turkish rival Galatasaray on March 21 and April 5.

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 its Italian Serie A1 regular season finale, Conegliano lost for the third time in a row in league action as seventh-place Mycicero Volley Pesaro won 19-25, 26-24, 25-21, 25-20 on March 10. Hill did not suit for the match. American teammate Simone Lee tallied four kills in the loss after coming off the bench in the second set and starting the rest of the way. Conegliano dropped from first to third in the final standings with the loss, having finished the regular season with a 17-5 record and 50 points. Conegliano challenges sixth-seeded Liu Jo Nordmeccanica Modena (12-10, 33 points) in the best-of-three quarterfinal round series with matches on March 18 and March 25. If necessary, the tiebreaker will be played March 28. In the European Champions League, Conegliano has moved on to the quarterfinal home-and-home round where it meets Russia’s Dinamo Kazan on March 21 and April 4.

🇺🇸 /// @adidasvball

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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 rallied to defeat fourth-place Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio 24-26, 20-25, 25-13, 26-24, 15-10 on March 10 to end the regular season. Carlini set her team to a 41 kill percent with a .393 hitting efficiency over the final three sets. She added three points with one kill, one block and one ace. Scandicci concluded the regular season with an 18-4 record and 50 points and squeezed into second place. Scandicci had the fewest losses in the regular season, but Novara took the regular season title with 51 standings points. Scandicci meets seventh-seeded Mycicero Volley Pesaro (10-12, 32 points) in the best-of-three quarterfinal round series, which has opening matches on March 18 and March 25. If necessary, the tiebreaker is set for March 28.

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 edged Foppapedretti Bergamo 21-25, 25-21, 25-23, 19-25, 15-13 on March 10 to end the regular season. Team Monza trailed 12-10 in the tiebreaker before scoring five of the last six points. Dixon contributed 12 points in the win with 10 kills on 21 attacks, one block and one ace. Hancock set the team to a 36 kill percent and added four kills on nine swings and an ace. Team Monza concluded the regular season with a 13-9 record and 37 points for fifth place. Team Monza will face fourth-seeded Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio (12-10, 39 points) in the best-of-three quarterfinal with matches on March 17 and March 25. If necessary, the tiebreaker is set for March 28.

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. Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio defeated Pomi Casalmaggiore 22-25, 25-14, 25-15, 25-18 on March 5 to start the week. Bartsch-Hackley tallied 12 kills on 36 swings, four aces on 20 serves and two blocks for 18 points in a well-rounded performance. She added a 78 positive reception percent while handling 27 of the team’s 59 receptions. Wilhite did not play in the match. Busto Arsizio lost to Savino Del Bene Scandicci 24-26, 20-25, 25-13, 26-24, 15-10 on March 10 to conclude the regular season. Bartsch-Hackley scored a team-best 20 points with 19 kills on 42 swings and an ace. She handled 41 of the team’s 98 receptions with an 85 positive percent. Wilhite started the third set, handling four receptions with a 50 positive percent. Busto Arsizio finished the season with a 12-10 record and 39 points for fourth place. Busto Arsizio will meet fifth-seeded Saugella Team Monza (13-9, 37 points) in the best-of-three quarterfinal round. The first two matches are on March 17 and March 25, and if necessary, the tiebreaker will be on March 28.

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. Casalmaggiore lost to Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio 22-25, 25-14, 25-15, 25-18 on March 5 in its second to last regular season match. Drews totaled 10 points with nine kills on 37 swings and a block. Casalmaggiore lost to Liu Jo Nordmeccanica Modena 17-25, 20-25, 25-21, 26-24, 15-10 on March 10 to conclude the regular season. Drews notched 18 points with 15 kills on 53 swings and three aces. Casalmaggiore ended the regular season with a 6-16 record and 23 points for ninth place.

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 lost to fourth-seeded Volei Nestle Osasco 25-23, 28-30, 28-26, 25-17 on March 11 to start the best-of-three quarterfinal round series. The second match of the series is on March 17, and if necessary, a tiebreaking third match will be played March 20.

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 defeated GS Caltex 21-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-19 on March 6. Kingdon scored 32 kills on 60 attacks, one block and one ace for a match-high 34 points. IBK dominated KGC 25-22, 25-13, 25-19 on March 11. Kingdon charted 14 kills on 30 swings, two blocks and one ace for 17 points in the victory. IBK (21-9, 61 points), now in second place, challenges Hyundai on March 17 in its next league match.

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 defeated then-seventh-place Golem Olbia 25-15, 25-17, 20-25, 25-13 on March 7. McMahon carried 11 points in the victory with 10 kills on 26 swings and a block. Soverato lost to Conad Olimpia Teodora Ravenna 22-25, 25-23, 25-15, 25-18 on March 11. McMahon collected 12 points with 11 kills on 35 swings and a block. Soverato (17-10, 48 points), which is in seventh-place place, plays last-place Golden Tulip Volalto Caserta on March 18 in its next league match.

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 lost to SSC Palmberg Schwerin 23-25, 25-21, 19-25, 25-10, 15-12 on March 10 to conclude the regular season. However, Stuttgart finished first in the regular season standings as it had wrapped up the two spot in its next to last match of regular season. Tapp turned in 12 kills on 29 attacks, a team-high four blocks and an ace for a team-best 17 points. McCage did not play in the match. Stuttgart, which ended the regular season with a 17-3 record and 53 points, will meet eighth-place Rote Raben Vilsbiburg in the quarterfinals this weekend. In the CEV Cup, Stuttgart faces Minchanka Minsk in the semifinal home-and-home series on March 13 and March 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. Dresdner blanked Erfurt 25-11, 25-21, 25-12 on March 10 to conclude the regular season. Bugg set her team to a 49 kill percent and .377 hitting efficiency (30-7-61) while adding two aces on 11 serves. With the victory, Dresdner moved into second place in the standings with a 17-3 record and 50 points. Dresdner will challenge seventh-place SC Potsdam in the quarterfinals this weekend.

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 lost to RC Cannes 16-25, 25-20, 25-20, 27-25 on March 10 in the French Cup title match. Beziers (16-3, 48 points), now in second place behind RC Cannes, takes on 11th-place 11th-place Evreux (6-14, 17 points) in its last regular season match on March 17.

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. Mulhouse (14-6, 42 points), which is in third place, resumes French League action on March 17 against fifth-place Le Cannett (13-7, 33 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. Nancy (8-12, 23 points), now in eighth-place place, concludes the French League regular season on March 17 against fourth-place St. Raphael (10-10, 33 points).

TRIVIA ANSWER: The U.S. has played China 14 times over the last three years, the most of any other country during the same period. Team USA holds an 8-6 record against China in the last three years.

Always grinding #getswol #staystrong 📷: @matt_delancey

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