Larson Within Striking Distance of Chinese Title

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Dec. 29, 2019, 6:19 p.m. (ET)

Jordan Larson passing
Jordan Larson is within striking distance of yet another championship title, this time with her pro team in the Chinese Super League

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 29, 2019) – Jordan Larson, who has multiple titles with the U.S. Women’s National Team in international competition, is one win away from another shot at a championship with her Shanghai pro team in the Chinese Pro League.

INSPIRING STORY ON HOW WASHINGTON USES PATIENCE TO GROW FROM OBSTACLES: Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colo.) had a break-out second year with the U.S. Women's National Team in 2019 but has an inspiring story on how she has overcome obstacles at each stage of her volleyball career from club to college at Penn State to pro volleyball in the Italian Serie A1 and with Team USA. To read her story, click here.

LARSON WITH SHANGHAI IN CHINESE LEAGUE: Outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Shanghai in the Chinese Super League this winter. Shanghai opened its best-of-three semifinal round series by defeating Guangdong Evergrande 25-23, 29-27, 24-26, 32-30 in a thrilling four-set victory on Dec. 24. Larson pocketed 17 kills on 49 swings and two blocks for 19 points. She was credited with a 64 positive reception percent on 11 chances. In the rematch, Guangdong Evergrande evened the series with a 25-19, 19-25, 25-20, 25-21 victory on Dec. 28. Larson picked up 13 kills on 26 attacks and a block for 14 points. She was 90 percent positive on 10 receptions. The two teams meet in the tiebreaking match on Dec. 31 with the winner advancing to face Tianjin Bohai in the best-of-five finals starting Jan. 7. Larson ranks fourth in scoring in the Chinese Super League with 189 points scored.

BARTSCH-HACKLEY, DIXON WITH BEIJING AUTO IN CHINESE LEAGUE: Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois, Instagram, Twitter) and middle Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota, Instagram, Twitter) are playing for Beijing Auto in the Chinese Super League this winter. Beijing Auto lost to Tianjin Bohai in consecutive Chinese semifinal round playoff matches in the best-of-three series. In the opening match, Tianjin won 25-15, 25-19, 25-23 on Dec. 24. Bartsch-Hackley scored eight kills on 19 attacks in the loss with a 100 positive reception percent on six chances. Dixon added four kills and two blocks for six points. Beijing was unable to rally from a two-set deficit in the second semifinal, falling 23-25, 23-25, 22-25, 18-25, 15-5 on Dec. 28. Dixon totaled 13 kills on 23 attacks and three blocks for 16 points. Bartsch-Hackley did not play in the match. Dixon ranks fifth in best blocker with 0.83 per set. Bartsch-Hackley ranks fifth in best serving with 0.39 aces per set and ninth in best scorer with 4.64 points per set.

OGBOGU, HILL WITH CONEGLIANO IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Middle Chiaka Ogbogu (Coppell, Texas, Instagram, Twitter) and outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon, Instagram) are playing in the Italian Serie A1 and European Champions League for Imoco Volleyball Conegliano this winter. In the Italian Serie A1, Conegliano swept second-place Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio 25-13, 25-12, 25-15 on Dec. 26. Hill tallied nine kills on 23 swings, two blocks and an ace for 12 points. She was also credited with a 50 positive reception percent on six chances. Ogbogu powered down five kills on eight swings and two blocks for seven points in the victory. Conegliano (12-1, 36 points), which sits atop the standings, returns to action on Jan. 15 against sixth-place Saugella Monza (8-5, 24 points). In European Champions League, Conegliano (3-0, 8 points), which leads Pool D, meets C.S.M. Volei Alba Blaj on Jan. 22 in the fourth leg.

COURTNEY, HANCKOCK WITH NOVARA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Libero/outside hitter Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio, Instagram) and setter Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma, Instagram, Twitter) are playing for Igor Gorgonzola Novara in the Italian Serie A1 and European Champions League this winter. In the Italian Serie A1, Novara blanked Zanetti Bergamo 26-24, 25-16, 25-20 on Dec. 26. Hancock set Novara to a 45 kill percent while adding in one block, one ace and one kill for three individual points. Courtney chipped in seven kills, one block and one ace for nine points. She was 60 percent positive on 15 receptions. Novara (9-4, 26 points), now in third place, plays 10th-place Bosca San Bernardo Cuneo (5-8, 15 points) on Jan. 15 to start the second half of the regular season. In European Champions League, Novara (2-1, 5 points), in second place, returns to action on Jan. 22 against Pool C leader Allianz MTV Stuttgart (2-1, 7 points).

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WASHINGTON, LOWE WITH BUSTO ARSIZIO IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Middle Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colorado, Instagram, Twitter) and opposite Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, California, Instagram) are playing for Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio in the Italian Serie A1 and CEV Cup this winter. In the Italian Serie A1, Busto Arsizio lost to league-leader Imoco Volley Conegliano 25-13, 25-12, 25-15 on Dec. 26 to finish the first half the regular season. Lowe scored seven kills and a block for eight points in the setback. Busto Arzisio (10-3, 30 points), now in second place, faces seventh-place Il Bisonte Firenze (6-7, 18 points) on Jan. 15 to start the second half of the regular season. In the CEV Cup, Busto Arsizio will face Developres SkyRes Rzeszow in the CEV Cup 8th Finals Round home-and-home series on Jan. 23 and Feb. 5.

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Not home for the holidays.

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POULTER WITH CHIERI IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Setter Jordyn Poulter (Aurora, Colorado, Instagram, Twitter) is competing for Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri in the Italian Serie A1 for the 2019-20 pro season along with American Amber Rolfzen (Papillion, Nebraska). Chieri was edged by Banca Valsabbina Millenium Brescia 12-25, 25-18, 24-26, 25-23, 15-9 on Dec. 26 to conclude the first half of the regular season. Poulter set Chieri to a 40 kill percent as a team and added a block. Rolfzen collected eight kills on 15 swings, one block and one ace for 10 points. Chieri (5-8, 17 points), in eighth place, takes on last-place Bartoccini Fortinfissi Perugia on Jan. 15 to open the second half of the season.

ALHASSAN WITH CASERTA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Middle Rhamat Alhassan (Glenarden, Maryland, Instagram, Twitter) is competing for Golden Tulip Volato 2.0 Caserta in the Italian Serie A1 this winter. Caserta lost to Pomi Casalmaggiore 22-25, 26-24, 25-21, 25-14 on Dec. 26 to close out the first half. Alhassan charted 10 kills on 20 attacks and two blocks for 12 points in the loss. Caserta (2-11, 8 points), which is in 13th place, challenges 12th-place Banca Valsabbina Millenium Brescia (5-8, 13 points) on Jan. 15 to start the second half of the season.

FOECKE WITH FIRENZE IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Outside hitter Mikaela Foecke (West Point, Iowa, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Il Bisonte Firenze in the Italian Serie A1 for the 2019-2020 season. Firenze lost to Saugella Monza 25-17, 25-21, 25-21 on Dec. 26 to conclude the regular season first half. Foecke was a sub in the first and third sets, turning in one kill and one excellent reception on as many chances. Firenze (6-7, 18 points), which is in fifth place, meets second-place Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio (10-3, 30 points) on Jan. 15 to start the second half of the season.

CUTTINO WITH CASALMAGGIORE IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Opposite Danielle Cuttino (Indianapolis, Indiana, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Epiu Pomi Casalmaggiore in the Italian Serie A1 during the 2019-2020 pro season. Casalmaggiore rallied to defeat Golden Tulip Volalto 2.0 Caserta 22-25, 26-24, 25-21, 25-14 on Dec. 26 to close out the first half of the regular season. Cuttino notched 16 kills on 37 swings, two blocks and an ace for a team-high 19 points. Casalmaggiore (8-5, 25 points), which is in fifth place, returns to action on Jan. 15 when it faces fourth-place Savino Del Benne Scandicci (9-4, 25 points) to start the second half.

JONES-PERRY WITH BRESCIA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Outside hitter Roni Jones-Perry (West Jordan, Utah, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Banca Valsabbina Millenium Brescia in the Italian Serie A1 this winter. Brescia rallied to defeat Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri 12-25, 25-18, 24-26, 25-23, 15-9 on Dec. 26 to conclude the first half of the season. Jones-Perry knocked down seven kills with four blocks and an ace for 12 points while coming off the bench in the opening set and starting the final four sets. Brescia (5-8, 13 points), now in 12th place, returns to action on Jan. 15 against 13th-place Golden Tulip Volalto 2.0 Caserta (2-11, 8 points) to open the second half.

DREWS WITH JT MARVELOUS IN JAPAN V-LEAGUE: Opposite Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana, Instagram, Twitter) is playing in the Japan V-League this winter with JT Marvelous. JT Marvelous edged Toray 25-20, 23-25, 25-18, 17-25, 15-12 on Dec. 28 to conclude the regular season. Drews totaled 23 kills on 50 attacks, four blocks and two aces for 29 points. JT Marvelous (17-4, 49 points) finished the Star Division in first place. They are now idle until Jan. 12 when it begins the Final Eight Playoffs.

HANNAH TAPP WITH HITACHI IN JAPAN V-LEAGUE: Middle Hannah Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota, Instagram, Twitter) is playing with Hitachi Rivale in the Japan V-League this winter. Hitachi lost to Premier Division leader, 25-22, 25-20, 18-25, 25-20 on Dec. 28. Tapp pocketed 11 kills on 20 attacks along with an impressive seven blocks for 18 points. Hitachi (6-15, 21 points) finished the regular season in fifth place in the Premier Division. Hitachi will now play in the Challenge 4 playoffs and will play Kurobe on Jan. 11, Himeji on Jan. 12 and PFU Blue Cats on Jan. 13.

LEE WITH KUROBE IN JAPAN V-LEAGUE: Outside hitter Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Kurobe Aqua Fairies in the Japan V-League this winter. Kurobe lost to PFU Blue Cats 25-20, 25-20, 25-17 on Dec. 28. Lee collected eight kills and a block for nine points in the loss. Kurobe came out strong against Toyota on Dec. 29 before losing 24-26, 21-25, 25-14, 25-19, 15-13. Lee totaled 36 kills on 77 swings in the match. Kurobe (1-20, 6 points) finished the regular season in sixth place in the Star Division. Kurobe will now play in the Challenge 4 round and face Hitachi on Jan. 11, PFU Blue Cats on Jan. 12 and Himeji on Jan. 13.

CARLINI WITH DINAMO MOSCOW IN RUSSIA LEAGUE: Setter Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Dinamo Moscow in the Russia Super League and the European Champions League. In the European Champions League, Dinamo Moscow (2-1, 6 points), now in second place in Pool E, will play fourth-place Maritza Plovdiv (0-3, 1 point) on Jan. 23 in its next Champions League match. Dinamo Moscow lost to Dinamo Kazan 25-19, 23-25, 25-16, 25-19 on Dec. 26 in the Russia Cup semifinals. Carlini started the opening set and was a sub in the final two sets. In the Russia Super League, Dinamo Moscow (6-4, 20 points), in fifth place, resumes action on Jan. 18 against third-place Dinamo Kazan (8-2, 24 points).

ROBINSON WITH FENERBAHCE IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Website) is playing for Fenerbahce in the Turkish League and European Champions League this winter. Fenerbahce (2-1, 7 points) resumes Champions League action on Jan. 22 against Poland’s Budowlani Lodz (1-2, 3 points). In the Turkish league, Fenerbahce (9-2, 26 points) closed out the first half of the season in third place.

KINGDON-RISHEL WITH THY IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Outside hitter Madi Kingdon Rishel (Phoenix, Arizona, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Turk Hava Yollari (THY) in the Turkish League this winter. In the Turkish League, THY finished the first half of the season in sixth place with a 5-6 record. THY has advanced to the CEV Challenge Cup 8th Finals Round and will play C.S.M Lugoj in a home-and-home series with matches on Jan. 22 and Feb. 4. Further, THY has now advanced to the quarterfinals of the Turkish Cup.

RIVERS, ROSENTHAL WITH STUTTGART IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Opposite Krystal Rivers (Birmingham, Alabama, Instagram, Twitter) and middle Jenna Rosenthal (Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, Instagram, Twitter) are playing for Allianz MTV Stuttgart in the German Bundesliga and the European Champions League. In European Champions League, Stuttgart (2-1, 7 points) returns to action on Jan. 23 against Italy’s Igor Gorgonzola Novara (2-1, 5 points), which is in second place in Pool C. In the German Bundesliga, second-place Stuttgart (8-2, 25 points) returns to action on Jan. 15 against eighth-place Munster (3-7, 10 points).

WONG-ORANTES WITH SCHWERIN IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Libero Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, California, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for SSC Palmberg Schwerin in the German Bundesliga this winter. American Lauren Barfield is also a member of the team. Schwerin has advanced to the CEV Cup 8th Finals Round where it will play Hameenlinna in a home-and-home series on Jan. 22 and Feb. 6. In the German Bundesliga, league-leader Schwerin (9-1, 27 points) returns to action on Jan. 15 against fourth-place Aachen (7-3, 19 points).

KADIE ROLFZEN WITH DRESDNER IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Outside hitter Kadie Rolfzen (Papillion, Nebraska, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Dresdner in the German Bundesliga and the CEV Challenge Cup. In the CEV Challenge Cup 16th Finals Round, Dresdner now advances to the 8th Finals Round to face Stiinta Bacau in a home-and-home series on Jan. 22 and Feb. 5. In the German Bundesliga, Dresdner (6-4, 18 points), in fifth place, returns to German Bundesliga action on Jan. 15 against third-place SC Potsdam (8-2, 24 points).

SELIGER-SWENSON WITH BEZIERS IN FRENCH LEAGUE: Setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson (Minnetonka, Minnesota, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Beziers in the French League and the CEV Challenge Cup along with American teammate Alexa Smith (Colorado Springs, Colorado). Beziers has now advanced to the CEV Challenge Cup 8th Finals Round where it meets Poikky Kuusamo in a home-and-home series on Jan. 22 and Feb. 5. In the French League, Beziers (10-4, 30 points), which is in fourth place, is off until a Jan. 14 match with Vandoeuvre Nancy.

WILHITE PARSONS WITH SESI BAURU IN BRAZILIAN SUPERLIGA: Outside hitter Sarah Wilhite Parsons (Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Instagram, Twitter) is competing for Sesi Bauru in the Brazilian Superliga this winter. Sesi Bauru (5-6, 23 points), currently in fourth place, returns to action on Jan. 17 against Esporte Clube Pinheiros.

BENSON WITH NUC IN SWISS LEAGUE: Libero Amanda Benson (Litchfield Park, Arizona) is playing for Viteos Neuchatel UC in the Swiss League and CEV Cup this winter along with American teammates Tia Scambray (Dana Point, California) and Kyra Holt (Hercules, California). In the Swiss League, Neuchatel UC (10-2, 30 points), now in a first-place tie with Sm’Aesch Pfeffingen I, challenges TS Volley Dudingen on Jan. 5 in its next league match.