Women's Update: Americans Rolling in Champions League

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | March 26, 2018, 12:38 p.m. (ET)

Kim Hill passing for Imoco Volley Conegliano
Kim Hill passing for Imoco Volley Conegliano during the European Champions League quarterfinals

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 26, 2018) – Kim Hill, Lauren Gibbemeyer and Kelsey Robinson have all helped their club teams to quarterfinal round victories in the European Champions League home-and-home series.

QUICK SETS

  • The European Champions League has three teams with U.S. Women’s National Team members playing in the quarterfinals, and all three teams won their opening quarterfinal round home-and-home series matches last week. VakifBank (Kelsey Robinson), Imoco Conegliano (Kim Hill) and Igor Gorgonzola Novara (Lauren Gibbemeyer) can all clinch a spot in the semifinals with quarterfinal round victories during the first week of April.
  • Jordan Larson and Rachael Adams paced Eczacibasi to a sweep of the CEV Cup semifinal round home-and-home series over SSC Palmberg Schwerin last week to reach the championship round against Minchanka Minsk.
  • 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 huskes.com/usavolleyball. For more information on the event, click here.

TRIVIA QUESTION: Who did the U.S. Women defeat for its first-ever Olympic Games victory?

U.S. COLLEGIATE NATIONAL TEAM-CHINA TOUR ROSTER ANNOUNCED: USA Volleyball is proud to announce its 12-player U.S. Women’s Collegiate National Team China Tour (CNT-China) roster comprised of current collegiate players who will train and compete in China from May 20-31. Middles selected to the elite CNT-China squad are Rachael Kramer (University of Florida, Phoenix, Arizona), Dana Rettke (University of Wisconsin, Riverside, Illinois) and Jenna Rosenthal (Marquette University, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin). The outside hitters named to the roster are T’ara Ceasar (University of Georgia, Panama City, Florida), Thayer Hall (University of Florida, Moore, South Carolina), Taryn Kloth (Creighton University, Sioux Falls, S.D.) and Carlyle Nusbaum (Lipscomb University, Overland Park, Kansas). The two opposites selected to the CNT-China Tour are Rebecca Latham and Stephanie Samedy (University of Minnesota, Clermont, Florida) The setters are Madison Lilley (University of Kentucky, Overland Park, Kansas) and Julia Patterson (University of Arizona, Los Alamitos, California). The libero will be Molly Sauer (University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky). To read the full article, 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 Germany’s SSC Palmberg Schwerin for the second time in the semifinal round home-and-home series with a 25-18, 25-19, 25-20 victory on March 20 in Istanbul. Adams secured 12 points with six kills on nine attacks and a match-high six blocks. Larson added six kills on 17 swings and three aces for nine points in the victory. Eczacibasi now meets Belarus’ Minchanka Minsk in the home-and-home championship finals. Dates are to be announced, but the series will conclude by April 10. In the Turkish League, Eczacibasi swept Fenerbahce 25-23, 25-18, 30-28 to win both matches of the semifinal round. Larson tallied eight kills on 25 swings and three aces for 11 points. She added a 63 positive reception percent on 16 chances. Adams did not play in the match.

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 defeated Switzerland’s Volero Zurich 25-17, 25-22, 25-21 in Zurich on March 22 to start its home-and-home quarterfinal round series. Robinson a sub in the second set and starter in the third set, was perfect from the floor with five kills on as many attacks. She also handled nine receptions without an error. VakifBank can wrap up the series and claim a spot in the semifinals when the two teams meet again on April 5. In the Turkish League, VakifBank holds a 1-0 lead over Galatasaray in the semifinal round. VakifBank and Galatasaray will meet again on March 27 in the second semifinal match of the series. Robinson has launched her own website, nomandplay.com, on her passions for play, travel and food. To read her blog on four easy day trips from Instanbul, 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 European Champions League, Novara edged out Turkey’s Galatasaray 25-21, 7-25, 16-25, 25-21, 15-10 on March 21 to open the quarterfinal home-and-home series. Gibbemeyer claimed four kills on 11 attacks and a block for five points in the victory. Novara can clinch its spot into the Champions League semifinals with a victory over Galatasaray on April 5. In the Italian Serie A1 playoff opener, top-seeded Novara topped Igor Gorgonzola Novara 17-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-22 after a slow start on March 25 to close out the best-of-three quarterfinal round series. Gibbemeyer collected 11 points with six kills on 11 errorless wings and five blocks. Scandicci takes on third-seeded Imoco Volley Conegliano in the best-of-five semifinal round that begins on March 31.

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 defeated Russia’s Dinamo Kazan 25-19, 25-18, 25-17 to open the quarterfinal round home-and-home series on March 21 at its home facility in Italy. Hill scored seven kills on 21 attacks, one ace and one block for nine points in the victory. She added a team-best 24 receptions with a 54 percent positive. Conegliano will seek a second victory to close the quarterfinal round on April 4 to advance to the semifinals. In its Italian Serie A1 playoffs, third-seeded Conegliano defeated sixth-seed Liu Jo Nordmeccanica Modenda 25-19, 25-23, 23-25, 25-20 on March 25 to win both its best-of-three quarterfinal round series matches. Hill slammed 19 kills on 36 attacks and added one ace for 20 points in the victory. She was credited with a 74 positive reception percent after handling 23 receptions. Conegliano moves on to the best-of-five semifinal round where it will meet second-seeded Savino Del Bene Scandicci. The series begins on March 31.

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, seeded second in the playoffs, clinched a spot into the semifinals by defeating seventh-seeded myCicero Volley Pesaro 23-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-19 on March 24 to sweep the best-of-three quarterfinal round series. Carlini set Scandicci to a 42 kill percent and added two individual kills on three swings. Scandicci now meets third-seeded Imoco Volley Conegliano in the best-of-five semifinal round that begins on March 31.

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, seeded fifth in the playoffs, lost at home to fourth-seeded Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio 25-10, 17-25, 25-15, 25-18 on March 25 to even their best-of-three quarterfinal round series. Dixon, who started just the first two sets, scored four kills on 10 attacks and a block for five points. Hancock set the team to a 31 kill percent and chipped in one individual kill. The series will conclude on March 28 with the winner advancing to the semifinals to face top-seeded Igor Gorgonzola Novara in the best-of-five semifinal round that begins on April 2.

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, seeded fourth in the playoffs, defeated fifth-seeded Saugella Team Monza 25-10, 17-25, 25-15, 25-18 on March 25 to even their best-of-three quarterfinal round series. Bartsch-Hackley secured 20 points with 16 kills on 33 swings and four blocks. Wilhite did not play in the match. The two teams meet again on March 28 with the victor advancing to the semifinals to play top-seeded Igor Gorgonzola Novara in the best-of-five semifinal round that begins on April 2.

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 lost to Hyundai 18-25, 25-20, 25-23, 28-26 on March 19 to even the Korea V-League Playoff 3 best-of-three series. Kingdon contributed 35 points with 33 kills on 81 attacks and two aces for 35 points. IBK bounced back to defeat Hyundai 25-19, 25-17, 26-24 in the tiebreaking match on March 21 to advance to the championship round series against Korea Expressway. Kingdon tallied 28 kills on 70 attacks and two aces for 30 points in the series-clinching victory. IBK dropped a heartbreaking 25-23, 25-20, 23-25, 23-25, 17-15 match to Korea Expressway on March 23 to open the best-of-five championship round series. Kingdon was credited with 42 kills on 94 attacks, one ace and one block for 44 points. Korea Expressway won the second meeting of the best-of-five championship series with a 20-25, 25-16, 25-23, 25-18 victory on March 25. Kingdon charted 24 kills on 69 attacks and an ace for 25 points in the loss. IBK now must win three straight matches to win the series with the next match on March 25. If necessary, match four will be held on March 29 and match five on March 31.

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 edged past sixth-place Delta Informatica Trentino 22-25, 25-23, 25-16, 25-18 on March 21. McMahon pocketed five kills on 22 swings and a block for six points in the victory. Soverato lost to fourth-place Battistelli S.G. Marignano 24-26, 23-25, 25-20, 25-15, 15-12 on March 25. McMahon totaled 10 points with eight kills on 24 swings and two aces. Soverato (19-11, 55 points), which is in seventh-place place, plays 16th-place Sigel Marsala (5-24, 18 points) on April 2 in its next league match.

Heading to the Semifinals with my girls 💃🏼 📸: @blochtom

A post shared by Paige Tapp (@paigetapp) on

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 Minchanka Minsk 25-19, 25-20, 23-25, 23-25, 15-12 in the second semifinal round home-and-home match on March 20 to force a golden set to decide which team advances to the championship round. Minsk won the golden set 15-8 to eliminate Stuttgart. McCage notched 18 points with 13 kills on 21 swings, four blocks and an ace in the loss. Tapp added seven kills on 14 swings, a match-high six blocks and three aces for 16 points. In the German Bundesliga playoffs, top-seeded Stuttgart overwhelmed Rote Raben Vilsbiburg 25-23, 25-13, 25-21 on March 24 to clinch their quarterfinal round series. McCage slammed nine kills on 16 errorless attacks to go with five blocks for 14 points to earn match MVP honors. Tapp added seven kills on 11 attacks and a block for eight points.

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, in a must-win quarterfinal match, defeated SC Potsdam 25-19, 26-24, 20-25, 25-15 on March 25. Bugg was a sub in the second set and recorded an ace on her only serve to close out the second-set victory. The teams will play a deciding third match on March 28 with the winner advancing 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 downed Nantes 25-11, 25-20, 28-30, 25-21 on March 24 to close out the regular season. Rolfzen smashed seven kills on 10 errorless attacks to go with five blocks for 12 points. Beziers (19-3, 54 points) concluded the regular season in first place heading into the playoffs.

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 lost to last-place Chamalieres 25-19, 25-19, 25-21 on March 24 in the final regular season match. Dannemiller did not suit for the match. Despite the loss, Mulhouse (15-7, 45 points) was already guaranteed to finish the regular season in third place heading into the playoffs.

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 lost to second-place RC Cannes 27-25, 25-19, 25-23 on March 24 in the final regular season match. Benson handled 16 receptions with a 75 positive percent in the loss. Nancy (8-14, 23 points) finished the regular season in ninth place.

TRIVIA ANSWER: The U.S. Women defeated South Korea 15-7, 15-13, 15-13 on Oct. 21, 1964, for its first-ever Olympic Games victory.