Tryout, Champions League Highlights WNT Week

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | March 04, 2019, 2:28 p.m. (ET)

Karch Kiraly oversees the U.S. Women's National Team Tryout held March 1-3 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs
Karch Kiraly oversees the U.S. Women's National Team Tryout held March 1-3 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 4, 2019) – The U.S. Women’s National Team has 10 players who have helped their teams advance to the European Champions League quarterfinals. Meanwhile, the U.S. Women’s National Team coaching staff had a glimpse into its future by evaluating 210-plus athletes during the annual Open Tryout held March 1-3 in Colorado Springs.

QUICK SETS

  • The U.S. Women’s National Team will have members competing on five of the eight teams which have advanced to the European Champions League quarterfinals.
  • Rachael Adams and Micha Hancock led Saugella Team Monza to an opening round victory over Volero Le Cannet in the CEV Challenge Cup semifinal round.
  • Foluke Akinradewo led Hisamitsu Springs to two victories to open the Japan V-League playoffs this past weekend.
  • The U.S. Women’s National Team Open Tryout brought in 210-plus athletes who were being evaluated for spots to the U.S. Women’s National Team.

TRIVIA QUESTION: Which U.S. Women’s National Team player holds the Colorado State High School record for kills in a single match?

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS WITH USA CONNECTIONS: The U.S. Women’s National Team will have members competing on five of eight teams which have advanced to the European Champions League quarterfinals. VakifBank (Kelsey Robinson), Eczacibasi (Jordan Larson, Lauren Gibbemeyer) and Igor Gorgonzola Novara (Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, Lauren Carlini) all claimed top place in their four-team main phase pools, while Allianz MTV Stuttgart (Sarah Wilhite Parson, Paige Tapp and Molly McCage) and Imoco Volley Conegliano (Kim Hill, Karsta Lowe) were among the top second-place teams to advance. The quarterfinal home-and-home round will have Novara facing Stuttgart (first match on March 12), VakifBank challenging Dinamo Moscow, Conegliano versus Eczacibasi and Savino Del Bene Scandicci versus Fenerbahce.

NATIONAL TEAM OPEN TRYOUT: The U.S. Women’s National Team Open Tryout took place this past weekend at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with over 210 athletes vying for spots into the elite high performance pipeline. The tryout evaluated athletes from 86 colleges from across the country for spots on the U.S. Women’s National Team and the U.S. Collegiate National Team program. Athletes selected to the U.S. Collegiate National Team program (CNT) will be invited over the course of the two three weeks and announcements made by early April. Among the CNT programs are the CNT-World University Games, CNT-Japan and CNT-Anaheim. Selected athletes for the U.S. Women’s National Team may begin their training in Anaheim, California, as early as the spring of 2019, or when an athlete’s scholastic or professional club season has concluded.

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HILL, LOWE WITH CONEGLIANO IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon, Instagram) and opposite Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, California, Instagram) are playing for Imoco Volley Conegliano in the Italian Serie A1 this winter. In the European Champions League, Conegliano had its backs up against the wall heading into the final match of the main phase needing to win in three sets and have outside help for other teams to ensure being one of the top three second-place teams to advance to the quarterfinals. Everything fell into place as Conegliano defeated LKS Commercecon Lodz 25-10, 25-12, 25-15 to finish 4-2 in Pool D and be among the top three second-place teams. Hill pocketed 14 points with 13 kills on 21 swings and an ace. She handled 11 receptions with a 64 positive reception percent. Lowe, a sub in the final two sets, added two kills on four errorless attacks and a block. Conegliano advances to face Turkey’s Eczacibasi in the home-and-home quarterfinal round with matches on March 13 and March 19. In the Italian Serie A1, Conegliano defeated third-place Savino Del Bene Scandicci 25-20, 25-16, 25-19 on March 3 in a key match. Scandicci finished ahead of Conegliano in the Champions League Pool D based on tiebreakers. Hill tallied nine kills on 23 swings, two aces and a block for 12 points. She was credited with a 67 positive reception percent on 18 chances. Lowe, who started the first two sets, slammed seven kills on 26 attacks in the victory. To watch highlights of the match, click here. Conegliano (17-3, 52 points), which increased its lead over second-place Novara (15-5, 46 points) to six points in the standing, challenges seventh-place Il Bisonte Firenze (10-10, 32 points) on March 9 in its next Italian Serie A1 match.

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, Novara concluded the main phase with a 25-20, 25-18, 25-15 victory over RC Cannes to finish undefeated in Pool C without dropping a set in six matches. Bartsch-Hackley collected 13 points with 11 kills on 22 swings, one block and one ace. She handled 14 receptions with a 71 positive reception percent. Carlini set Novara to a 51 kill percent and chipped in two aces, one block and one individual kill for four points. Novara now advances to the Champions League quarterfinal home-and-home series where it will face Allianz MTV Stuttgart on March 12 and March 21. In the Italian Serie A1, Novara was idle this past week. Novara (15-5, 46 points), which remained in second place, resumes action on March 9 against 12th-place Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri (2-18, 7 points).

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. In the CEV Challenge Cup, Team Monza battled to a 25-20, 22-25, 25-19, 23-25, 15-13 win over Volero Le Cannet in the home-and-home semifinal round. Hancock set Team Monza to a 41 kill percent and scored three kills on seven attacks, two blocks and an ace for six individual points. Adams, who started the first two sets, had one block in the victory. Team Monza can advance to the Challenge Cup finals with a victory over Volero Le Cannet on March 6. In the Italian Serie A1, Team Monza bounced back to defeat Pomi Casalmaggiore 25-21, 20-25, 25-17, 25-20 on March 3. Adams scored 10 points with eight kills on 16 swings and two blocks. Adams, who set Team Monza to a 42 kill percent, added four aces on 23 serves and four kills on five attacks for eight points. To watch highlights of the match, click here. Team Monza (12-8, 37 points), which moved up one spot to fourth place during the Italian Serie A1, faces 10th-place Banca Valsabbina Millenium Brescia (8-12, 24 points) on March 10.

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 lost to 12th-place Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri 23-25, 25-20, 25-22, 9-25, 15-9 on March 3. Tapp scored five kills on 10 attacks and three blocks for eight points. Courtney, who subbed in the first set and started the final four sets, was limited to three blocks and one kill. She was credited with a 73 positive reception percent on 22 chances. Bergamo (8-13, 25 points), now in 10th place, will play last-place Club Italia Crai on March 10.

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 lost to fifth-place Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio 25-18, 25-20, 25-18 on March 2. Washington did not place in the match. Brescia (8-12, 23 points), now in 10th place, will meet fourth-place Saugella Team Monza (13-8, 40 points) on March 10 for 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. Filottrano lost to Bosca San Bernardo Cuneo 25-18, 25-15, 25-23 on March 3. Whitney scored 11 points with 10 kills on 29 swings and an ace. Filottrano (5-16, 14 points), in 11th-place, resumes action on March 10 against fifth-place Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio (13-7, 39 points).

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. In the European Champions League, Eczacibasi swept Russia’s Dinamo Kazan 25-21, 25-18, 25-17 on Feb. 26 to conclude Pool B with an undefeated 6-0 record. Larson tallied 10 points with eight kills on 25 swings, one ace and one block. She handled 34 of the team’s 47 receptions with a 56 positive reception percent. Gibbemeyer tallied seven points with three kills, three aces and a block in the victory. Eczacibasi moves into the European Champions League quarterfinal home-and-home series with Italy’s Imoco Volley Conegliano with matches on March 13 and March 19. In the Turkish League, Eczacibasi defeated fourth-place Galatasaray 25-20, 25-20, 22-25, 25-11 on March 3. Larson picked up 13 points with 12 kills via 31 swings and a block. She added a 41 positive reception percent with 17 chances. Gibbemeyer hammered eight kills on 13 swings to go with two blocks and an ace for 11 points. Eczacibasi (20-1), in first place in the Turkish League based on tiebreakers over VakifBank, concludes the Turkish League regular season on March 9 against 10th-place Aydin B.Sehir Bld (6-15).

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 European Champions League, VakifBank defeated Beziers 25-10, 25-18, 25-16 to finish Pool A undefeated. Robinson did not play in the match as VakifBank had already secured the top spot in the pool regardless of the outcome. VakifBank will now face Dinamo Moscow in a home-and-home quarterfinal round series beginning March 13 and concluding March 20. In the Turkish League, VakifBank blanked Turk Hava Yollari 25-14, 25-16, 25-21 on March 3. Robinson connected for eight kills on 11 swings and a block for nine points. She handled 15 receptions with a 47 positive percent. VakifBank (20-1), which remains in second place based on tiebreakers, concludes the Turkish League regular season on March 6 against 11th-place Canakkale Bld (3-18). Robinson has launched her own website, nomandplay.com, on her passions for play, travel and food. To read more about her website, click here. In addition, Robinson has created her vlog on what it is like to be an American citizen and play professional volleyball overseas. To watch her vlogs, 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 10th-place Aydin B.Sehir Bld. 21-25, 25-23, 25-12, 25-15 on March 3. Lee scored a match-high 27 points with 23 kills via 42 swings, three blocks and an ace. She added 21 receptions with a 52 positive percent. Drews chipped in 13 points with 12 kills on 26 attacks and a block. Hunter set the team to a 48 kill percent and added one individual kill. Beylikduzu (10-11), which is in seventh place, concludes the Turkish League regular season on March 10 against eighth-place Nilufer (11-10).

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 (18-2, 52 points), which finished the Japan V-League in first place overall, opened the playoffs with a convincing 25-19, 25-20, 25-23 win over Denso Airbees on March 2. Akinradewo produced five kills on nine errorless attacks and two blocks for seven points. Hisamitsu Springs improved to 2-0 in the eight-team playoff with a 25-23, 25-16, 29-31, 25-17 victory over Toyota AutoBody on March 3. Akinradewo contributed eight kills on 17 errorless attacks, four blocks and one ace for 13 points. Hisamitsu Springs resumes playoff action on Feb. 9 against Toray Arrows followed by a March 10 match against Hitachi Rivale.

DIXON PLAYING FOR BEIJING BAIC IN CHINESE LEAGUE: Middle Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Beijing BAIC Motors Volleyball Club in China during the 2018-19 pro season. BAIC Motors, which finished the Chinese pro league’s regular season in third place, has advanced to the best-of-five championship round. In the opening match, BAIC Motors upset top-seed Tianjin 25-22, 27-25, 21-25, 20-25, 18-16 on March 2. Dixon provided eight kills on 17 attacks, three blocks and an ace for 12 points in the victory. In the deciding set, she scored two kills on two attacks and added a block. The two squads meet again on March 5, followed by a March 9 contest. If necessary, matches four and five will take place on March 19 and March 22.

MURPHY WITH SHANGHAI VOLLEYBALL CLUB: Opposite Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois, Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Shanghai Volleyball Club this winter. Shanghai defeated Jiangsu Zhongtian Iron and Steel 26-24, 25-15, 25-21 on March 2 in its opening best-of-three series for third place in the Chinese League playoffs. Murphy totaled 11 points with 10 kills on 26 attacks, one block and one ace. Shanghai can win the series on March 5. If necessary, a tiebreaking match will be played on March 9.

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. In European Champions League action, Chemik Police ended its European Champions League schedule with a 25-20, 25-17, 22-25, 25-21 loss to Russia’s Dinamo Moscow on Feb. 26. Ogbogu provided seven kills on 17 attacks and two blocks for nine points. Chemik Police ended Pool E with a 1-5 record and in fifth place. In the Polish Orlen Liga, Chemik Police rallied past #VolleyWroclaw 20-25, 25-22, 25-15, 25-18 on March 1. Ogbogu connected for 15 points with 12 kills on 14 swings and just one error to go with three blocks for 15 points. Chemik Police (19-2, 56 points), which remains comfortably in first place with an eight-point cushion, closes out the Orlen Liga regular season on March 16 against third-place LKS Commercecon Lodz (15-6, 45 points). During the break in the regular season, Chemik Police is participating in the Polish Cup with a semifinal match against Grot Budowlani Lodz on March 9 with the championship match on March 10.

WILHITE PARSONS, PAIGE TAPP, RIVERS AND McCAGE WITH MTV STUTTGART IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Outside hitter Sarah Wilhite Parsons (Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram), middles Molly McCage (Spring, Texas, Twitter, Instagram) and Paige Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram), opposite Krystal Rivers 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 League, Stuttgart defeated Maritza Plovdiv 26-24, 25-19, 22-25, 25-22 to ensure a second-place finish in Pool A and a spot into the European Champions League quarterfinals. Rivers contributed 29 points with 21 kills on 57 swings and a match-high eight blocks. Wilhite Parsons chipped in 12 kills on 33 swings and a 39 positive reception percent on 18 chances. McCage tacked on 11 points with seven kills on 18 swings and four blocks. Tapp added seven kills on 13 swings and a block for eight points. Bugg started the opening set and had three blocks and a kill. Stuttgart moves into the quarterfinals home-and-home round to face Pool C winner Igor Gorgonzola Novara with the first match on March 12 followed by a March 21 contest. In the German Bundesliga, Stuttgart swept Aachen 25-23, 25-20, 25-19 on March 2 with balanced scoring among the Americans. Rivers totaled 12 points with nine kills on 32 swings, two aces and a block. Tapp matched her 12 points with 10 kills on 14 swings and two blocks. Wilhite Parsons hammered 10 kills on 18 errorless attacks to go with one block for 11 points. She was credited with a 39 positive reception percent on 18 chances. McCage and Bugg did not play. Stuttgart (18-0, 52 points) resumes Bundesliga action on March 7 against Dresdner.

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 defeated SC Potsdam 25-12, 25-27, 25-10, 25-18 on Feb. 27. Benson was credited with 28 receptions and helped Dresdner to a 42 kill percent as a team. Dresdner topped VCO Berlin 25-18, 25-12, 25-27, 25-20 on March 2 for its second win of the week. Benson did not play against the last-place and winless Berlin squad. Dresdner (13-6, 41 points), in third place place, resumes Bundesliga action on March 7 against league-leader Stuttgart (18-0, 52 points).

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 topped Osasco Voleibol Clube/Audax 25-23, 25-16, 25-27, 25-16 on Feb. 26. Lloyd set Praia Clube to a 38 kill percent and added three aces and one individual kill for four points. Fawcett scored a team-best 26 points with 23 kills on 53 swings, three aces and two blocks. Praia Clube (17-2, 50 points), which is now in second place in the Brazilian Superliga, plays Minas Tenis Clube on March 8 in its next league match.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Haleigh Washington scored 48 kills in a single match while playing for Doherty High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She ended her prep career as a two-time Colorado Gatorade High School Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013.