COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 13, 2017) – The U.S. Collegiate National Team-Europe (CNT-Europe) has advanced to the 13th Annual European Global Challenge championship match by winning its quarterfinal and semifinal round matches today in Pula, Croatia.

Team USA is now 5-0 in the tournament. The championship match against an all-star squad from the Mountain West Conference, is slated for July 14 at 1 p.m. ET.

CNT-Europe vs. Falconara – Quarterfinals
After losing the first set, CNT-E rallied to defeat Falconara 15-25, 25-17, 25-15, 27-25 in the quarterfinal round Thursday morning to advance to the semifinals.

Outside hitter Courtney Schwan (University of Washington, Auburn, Washington) scored a match-high 28 points as she tallied 23 kills on 42 swings, four blocks and an ace. She also handled a team-best 27 receptions with a 48 positive reception percent. Opposite Taylor Mims (Washington State University, Billings, Montana) connected for 11 kills on 20 attacks with two blocks and two aces for 15 points. Middle Corissa Crocker (University of Michigan, Brighton, Michigan) contributed five kills and three blocks for eight points.

Outside hitter Carlyle Nusbaum (Lipscomb University, Overland Park, Kansas) carried six kills and an ace for seven points, while middle Claire Kiefer-Wright (University of Michigan, South Pasadena, California) pocketed five kills and two aces for seven points.

The U.S. converted 45 percent of its attacks with a .242 hitting efficiency. Setter Kristen Gengenbacher (University of San Diego, Quincy, Illinois) started the final three sets lifting with a .290 team hitting efficiency. Libero Jesse Earl (Auburn University, Indianapolis, Indiana) handled 20 receptions with a 40 positive percent.

The U.S. out-blocked Falconara 12-5 to offset a slim 9-7 disadvantage in aces. The Americans held Falconara to a 28 kill percent and .078 hitting efficiency.

CNT-Europe vs. BIP Midwest (USA) – Semifinals 
CNT-Europe earned its ticket to the finals by defeating BIP Midwest 22 by scores of 25-19, 25-15, 19-25, 25-20. CNT-Europe had defeated the BIP Midwest squad during pool play on July 12.

For the second match of the day, Schwan again led CNT-Europe again with 20 points via 19 kills on 39 swings and a block. She also handled 34 of the team’s 70 receptions with a 41 positive percent. For the two playoff matches, Schwan combined for 48 points with 42 kills on 81 attacks, five blocks and an ace.

Mims chipped in 19 points in the semifinal round victory, including 11 kills on 18 errorless attacks and a team-best eight blocks. Nusbaum added five blocks and four kills for nine points, while Kiefer-Wright contributed seven points on four kills, two blocks and an ace.

Gengenbacher set the squad to a 38 kill percent and .207 hitting efficiency. The Americans held an 18-11 block advantage, while the BIP Midwest 22 squad held a 6-3 margin in aces.

The CNT-Europe squad is one of three teams within the U.S. Collegiate National Team programs, and the last to hold its training and competition phase. Athletes, all with at least one year of collegiate eligibility remaining, were selected through the U.S. Women’s National Team Open Tryouts held March 3-5 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Name (Position, School, Height, College Eligibility Remaining, Hometown)
Symone Abbott (OH, Northwestern University, 6-1, 1, Northville, Michigan)
Corissa Crocker (M, University of Michigan, 6-3, 3, Brighton, Michigan)
Jesse Earl (L, Auburn University, 5-8, 1, Indianapolis, Indiana)
Kristen Gengenbacher (S, University of San Diego, 5-9, 1, Quincy, Illinois)
Claire Kiefer-Wright (M, University of Michigan, 6-1, 1, South Pasadena, California)
Taylor Mims (OPP, Washington State University, 6-3, 2, Billings, Montana)
Carlyle Nusbaum (OH, Lipscomb University, 5-10, 2, Overland Park, Kansas)
Kelsie Payne (OPP, University of Kansas, 6-3, 1, Austin, Texas)
Taira Robins-Hardy (S, Brigham Young University, 6-2, 1, Waimanalo, Hawaii)
Jenna Rosenthal (M, Marquette University, 6-6, 2, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin)
Courtney Schwan (OH, University of Washington, 6-1, 1, Auburn, Washington)
Jaali Winters (OH, Creighton University, 6-2, 2, Ankeny, Iowa)

Head Coach: Molly Alvey (head coach at University of Cincinnati)
Assistant Coach: Nicki Holmes (assistant coach at North Carolina State University)