WNT Update: Americans Strong in Champions League

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Nov. 26, 2018, 11:10 a.m. (ET)

Lauren Carlini goes for a setter dump while playing for Novara in European Champions League action
Lauren Carlini goes for a back-handed setter dump while leading Novara to a victory in the European Champions League main phase opener last week

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 26, 2018) – Members of the U.S. Women’s National Team got off to a fast start in the European Champions League main phase last week in the pro season, while five Americans are preparing for the upcoming FIVB Women’s Club World Championships set for Dec. 4-9 in China.

QUICK SETS

  • VakifBank (Kelsey Robinson), Eczacibasi (Jordan Larson, Lauren Gibbemeyer), Igor Gorgonzola Novara (Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, Lauren Carlini) and Imoco Volley Conegliano (Kim Hill + Megan Easy) all won opening matches of the European Champions League fourth round.
  • Five-time Olympian Danielle Scott was released from the hospital following surgery after she tried to protect her sister in a domestic violence incident. More below.
  • The FIVB Women’s Club World Championship will have five current and past U.S. Women’s National Team members playing in the event held Dec. 4-9 in Shaoxing, China.

TRIVIA QUESTION: The U.S. Women’s National Team that participated in the 2018 FIVB World Championship had four players who won NCAA titles during their career. Who were they and in what years?

FIVE-TIME OLYMPIAN DANIELLE SCOTT RECOVERING FROM INJURIES: Danielle Scott, a five-time Olympian, two-time Olympic silver medalist and 2016 inductee into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame, was seriously injured in a domestic violence incident that took place Nov. 18. A GoFundMe account has been started to offset medical costs. Scott’s sister Stefanie Vallery was fatally stabbed by her husband Michael Vallery, who also seriously injured Scott and Stefanie’s own daughter also named Danielle (aka Danni Boo). Scott suffered multiple stab wounds to her legs and both hands trying to protect her sister during the attack. Scott was transported to the hospital in serious but stable condition, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate. Follow surgery, she was released from the hospital on Nov. 21. “USA Volleyball sends our strength, love and support to Danielle and her family,” USA Volleyball CEO Jamie Davis said. “We are deeply saddened by this heinous incident yet so proud of Danielle’s incredible bravery and wish her a speedy recovery.” Tayyiba Haneef-Park, a teammate of Scott’s on three Olympic teams, has set up a GoFundMe account on behalf of Danielle and her sister. To donate to the GoFundMe account, click here. For the full story, click here.

FIVB CLUB WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: The U.S. Women’s National Team has four current players and a former player competing in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship being held Dec. 4-9 in Shaoxing, China. In the four-team Pool A, Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California) and Turkey’s VakifBank are among the title contenders of the eight-team tournament. In Pool B, Team USA has Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska) and Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota) competing for Turkey’s Eczacibasi. Brazil’s Praia Clube has Americans Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California) and Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) playing. For more information on the FIVB Club World Championship, click here.

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 defeated NEC Red Rockets 25-17, 25-22, 25-21 on Nov. 25. Akinradewo made her first appearance of the season, which delayed due to her wedding earlier this month. She turned in nine kills on 19 errorless attacks. Akinradewo added five blocks and an ace for 15 total points. Hisamitsu Springs (3-1, 10 points) is in third place in the Western Conference.

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. Eczacibasi overwhelmed Russia’s Uralochka-NTMK Ekaterinburg 25-16, 25-17, 25-21 on Nov. 21 to open the European Champions League main phase pool B. Larson amassed 11 points with nine kills on 26 attacks, one ace and one block. She handled four receptions with a 50 positive reception percent. Gibbemeyer added five points, all on kills from six errorless attacks. Eczacibasi challenges Hameenlinna (0-1) on Dec. 19 in its next Champions League match. Eczacibasi proved too much for Canakkale on Nov. 24, winning 26-24, 25-11, 25-21. Larson scored a team-leading 15 points with 14 kills on 26 attacks and an ace. She was credited with a 71 positive reception percent on seven chances. Gibbemeyer chipped in six points with four kills on 12 attacks and two blocks. Eczacibasi (6-0), in first place in the Turkish League, returns to domestic league action on Nov. 28 against Karayollari. Next month Eczacibasi will be competing in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship Dec. 4-9 in Shaoxing, China.

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 its European Champions League opener, VakifBank battled past Allianz MTV Stuttgart 25-13, 20-25, 25-19, 25-17 on Nov. 22. Robinson, who was named the match’s most valuable player, turned in 16 points with 12 kills on 25 swings, three blocks and an ace. She was credited with a 75 positive reception percent on 20 chances. VakifBank has now won its last 23 matches in Champions League action. Robinson said: “I am really proud of my teammates. The team from Stuttgart played really good defense. For us to stay in it for the long rally was really impressive. Every match in the Champions League will be tough. I am excited to be in it and to get to play.” VakifBank returns to Champions League action on Dec. 20 against Maritza Plovdiv (0-1). In the Turkish League, VakifBank downed Nilufer 25-14, 25-20, 25-20 on Nov. 24. Robinson collected 11 points in the victory with eight kills on 21 swings, two blocks and an ace. She added a 71 positive reception percent on 17 chances. VakifBank (6-0), one of two teams undefeated in the Turkish League, resumes its domestic league schedule next week by facing Beylikduzu on Nov. 27 and Halkbank on Nov. 29. Next month VakifBank will be competing in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship Dec. 4-9 in Shaoxing, China. Robinson has launched her own website, www.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 rallied past current fifth-place Karayollari 16-25, 25-14, 25-18, 25-17 on Nov. 24 to even its record at .500. Drews scorched the scoreboard for 22 points including 21 kills on 51 swings and a block. Lee added 15 points with 13 kills on 28 swings and two blocks. She was credited with a 50 positive reception percent on 18 chances. Hunter set Baylikduzu to a 40 kill percent as a team and chipped in two individual kills on three attacks and three blocks for five points. Beylikduzu (3-3), now in sixth place, returns to Turkish League action on Dec. 1 against third-place Besiktas (4-2).

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. Further, 2012 Olympic silver medalist Megan Hodge Easy (Boston) is competing for Conegliano. In the European Champions League main phase opener, Conegliano held off Italian rival Savino Del Bene Scandicci 25-21, 24-26, 25-12, 23-25, 15-10 on Nov. 21. Hill notched 20 points in the victory with 17 kills on 40 swings, two aces and one block. She added 24 receptions with a 58 positive reception percent. Easy did not suit for the match. Conegliano returns to Champions League action on Dec. 18 against Germany’s SSC Palmberg Schwerin (0-1). Conegliano swept Lardini Filottrano 25-19, 25-17, 25-12 on Nov. 25. Hill notched a team-best 13 points with 12 kills on 19 swings and a block. She was credited with an 83 positive reception percent without an error on 12 chances. Easy did not play in the match. Conegliano (5-0, 15 points), in third place but with one less match played than the two teams in the lead, returns to Italian Serie A1 action on Nov. 28 against first-place Igor Gorgonzola Novara (6-0, 17 points) followed by 12th-place Club Italia Crai (0-6, 1 point) on Dec. 2. Conegliano and Novara meet on Nov. 28.

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 European Champions League main phase opener in Pool C, Novara dispatched Poland’s Budowlani Lodz 25-19, 25-19, 25-20 on Nov. 22. Bartsch-Hackley chalked up 11 points with nine kills on 21 swings, one ace and one block. She also handled 18 receptions with a 61 positive reception percent. Carlini set Novara to a 46 kill percent as a team and added an ace and individual kill for two points. Novara returns to Champions League action on Dec. 19 against Minchanka Minsk (0-1). In the Italian Serie A1, Novara stormed past Il Bisonte Firenze 25-20, 25-23, 25-19 on Nov. 24. Carlini set Novara to a 50 kill percent as a team while chipping in two kills on three errorless swings. Bartsch-Hackley pocketed eight kills on 20 attacks and an ace for nine points. Novara (6-0, 17 points), in first place in the Italian Serie A1, will meet sixth-place Saugella Team Monza (3-4, 11 points) on Dec. 2 in its next match.

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. Team Monza lost a heart-breaking 21-25, 28-26, 21-25, 25-21, 15-11 match to Savino Del Bene Scandicci on Nov. 25. Adams secured 18 points in the loss, including 14 kills on 20 attacks and four blocks. Hancock set Team Monza to a 41 kill percent and added four individual kills on five errorless attacks and two aces for six points. Team Monza (3-4, 11 points), in sixth place, challenges league-leader Igor Gorgonzola Novara (6-0, 17 points0 on Dec. 2 in its next Italian Serie A1 match. In the CEV Challenge Cup, Monza will face Austria’s Prinz Brunnenbau Volleys Perg on Nov. 28 to start its 16th Finals Round home-and-home series.

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 handled Bosca San Bernardo Cuneo 25-17, 22-25, 25-22, 25-21 on Nov. 25. Tapp collected six points with four kills on 13 swings and two blocks. Courtney added four kills on 27 attacks in the victory. She was credited with a 71 positive reception percent after handling 42 of the team’s 74 receptions. Bergamo (2-5, 6 points), which moved up two spots to ninth place, meets 11th-place Lardini Filottrano (1-5, 3 points) on Dec. 2 in its next league match.

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 fell to Imoco Volley Conegliano 25-19, 25-17, 25-12 on Nov. 25. Whitney bagged nine points, all on kills from 24 attacks. Schwan started the opening set and tallied three kills on 19 swings and had 16 receptions with a 63 positive percent. Filottrano (1-5, 3 points), in 11th-place, will face ninth-place Zanetti Bergamo (2-5, 6 points) on Dec. 2 in its next league match.

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 was idle this past week. Brescia (3-3, 10 points), now in seventh-place, faces fourth-place Pomi Casalmaggiore (5-2, 15 points) on Dec. 2.

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. Chemik Police lost its European Champions League main phase opener to C.S.M. Bucuresti on Nov. 22. Ogbogu contributed 12 kills on 22 attacks and a block for 13 points in the Pool E loss. Chemik Police returns to Champions League action on Dec. 19 against Fenerbahce (1-0). Chemik Police stopped Enea PTPS Pila 23-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-23 on Nov. 24. Ogbogu secured seven kills on 19 errorless swings, three blocks and two aces for 12 points. Chemik Police (5-0, 15 points) returns to Polish Orlen Liga action on Nov. 28 against ninth-place Energa MKS Kalisz (2-3, 4 points) followed by fifth-place BKS Profi Credit Bielsko Biala (2-1, 7 points)on Dec. 1.

MURPHY WITH SHANGHAI VOLLEYBALL CLUB: Opposite Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois, Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Shanghai Volleyball Club this winter. Shanghai edged Guandgong Evergrande 25-17, 21-25, 12-25, 25-20, 15-12 on Nov. 24. Murphy, who started the first three sets and came off the bench in the fifth set, tallied nine kills on 24 attacks. Shanghai returns to action on Nov. 27 against Fujian followed by a Dec. 1 match against Jiangsu Zhongtian Iron and Steel.

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 lost its first match of the season to Shandong Sports Lottery 25-19, 15-25, 25-18, 25-21 on Nov. 24. Kingdon Rishel scored 11 points with nine kills on 31 attacks and two aces. Dixon pocketed five kills on 19 swings and four blocks for nine points. BAIC Motors returns to the court on Nov. 27 against Tianjin Bohai in second-round Group C action, followed by a Dec. 1 match against Fujian.

WILHITE, PAIGE TAPP, RIVERS AND McCAGE WITH MTV STUTTGART IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Outside hitter Sarah Wilhite Parons (Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram), middles Molly McCage (Spring, Texas, Twitter, Instagram) and Paige Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram), opposite Krystal Rivers (Birmingham, Alabama) 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 European Champions main phase, Stuttgart lost to VakifBank 25-13, 20-25, 25-19, 25-17 on Nov. 22 in the first match of the double round-robin Pool A. Rivers led Stuttgart with 14 points, including 12 kills on 35 swings and two blocks. Wilhite Parsons added nine kills on 26 swings and a 53 positive reception percent on 17 chances. Tapp collected five kills on 13 swings and three blocks for eight points. McCage chipped in seven points with five kills on 12 swings, one ace and one block. Bugg set the Stuttgart to a 34 kill percent for the match. Rivers said: “It is exciting to see how big volleyball is here. We got in here yesterday and it was exciting to see the fans go to other matches and come to this match as well. We went down in the first set, but then we started playing a little better. It was a good fight in the last three sets.” Stuttgart resumes Champions League action on Dec. 19 against France’s Beziers (1-0), which won its opener against Maritza Plovdiv in straight sets. In the German Bundesliga, Stuttgart was idle last week and returns to Bundesliga action on Dec. 2 against Munster.

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 is also competing in the CEV Cup this winter. Dresdner blanked Rote Raben Vilsbiburg 25-16, 25-15, 25-17 on Nov. 21. Benson was credited with a 33 positive reception percent on 15 chances as Dresdner converted 51 percent of its attacks into points. Dresdner resumes Bundesliga action on Dec. 1 against Schwerin. In CEV Cup action, Dresdner faces Italy’s Yamamay E-Work Busto Arsizio in the CEV Cup 16th Finals Round home-and-home series on Nov. 28 and Dec. 5.

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. Praia Clube rallied past Curitiba Volei 18-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-17, 15-7 on Nov. 20. Lloyd started the first two sets and came off the bench in the fifth set. Fawcett scored a team-leading 22 points with 17 kills on 44 swings, three blocks and two aces. Praia Clube eased past BRB/Brasilia Volei 25-17, 25-13, 25-18 on Nov. 23. Match statistics are not available. Clube moves into the fourth round of the Superliga on Nov. 26 against Sao Cristovao Saude Sao Caetano. Next month Praia Clube will be competing in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship Dec. 4-9 in Shaoxing, China.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Micha Hancock and Megan Courtney each won NCAA titles with Penn State in 2013 and 2014. Karsta Lowe was part of the 2011 UCLA squad that won the NCAA title. Jordan Larson powered Nebraska to the 2006 NCAA title.