Indianapolis, Ind. (June 29, 2016) — The nine days of the Collegiate National Team – Indianapolis experience for 36 of the nation’s top college volleyball players ended Wednesday with the final exhibition with CNT Blue defeating CNT Red, finishing a perfect 3-0.

Tonight CNT Blue was wearing red jerseys and CNT Red was wearing white jerseys on court one, the Championship Court, for the USAV Girls’ Junior Volleyball Championship. For the uninitiated, that color conundrum may have been perplexing, but for these players, who arrived in the Circle City nine days ago, these past days of training and competing has given them a clearer picture of their volleyball futures.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Azariah Stahl from Elkhart, Indiana, and Purdue University and a member of CNT Blue. “It was really good to come in and play with girls from all over the country who are at the top level at their school and to be able to develop in just the few nine days that we’ve been here.”

The program is part of USA Volleyball’s High Performance pipeline. Players were selected from the U.S. Women’s National Team Open Tryouts in February. This time in Indy is considered a second tryout for the U.S. WNT. Program alumni include National Team players Kelly Murphy, Karsta Lowe, Rachael Adams, Tori Dixon, and Carli Lloyd.

The mission of the program is to show these players how a USA gym operates, introduce the National Team terminology and ultimately identify athletes to move up the pipeline.

“It’s a bit of a different game,” said Stahl. “It takes some time getting used to, but I think I’ll be able to bring a lot of what I’ve learned back when I go back to school.”

For Stahl, the pace of the game was an adjustment.

“The international game is just so much faster,” she said. “In college a lot of girls can hit over blocks or hit around them. In the USA game, it’s kind of just beating the block, just setting it up to get just a single block.”

For Katie Horton from Florida State University, she benefitted from the focus on defense.

“I got my platform together this week,” she said. “There were things that I didn’t really know that I was doing that they showed me when we watched film. Things that I’ll bring back to my gym and work on.

For Brook Sassin of Kansas State University, she appreciated learning from new perspectives.

“We get so used to a certain coaching style or a certain technique and that’s what we think is right,” she said. “Here we get to hear from multiple, different coaches who have an abundant amount of knowledge, it’s awesome to take in different perspectives of things.

“Going into my senior season, there’s a lot I can take from this experience. I really want to lead my team to go really far in the tournament.”

Creighton University’s Jaali Winters was a newcomer to the program. She was also among the leading scorers in every match.

“For my first time, it was really awesome. It’s a ton of volleyball. We all got so much better and you get to meet a ton of awesome athletes. We took the time to build that team chemistry. We all got along great. And we worked hard every day in practice, so it feels really good.”

There’s a number of ways to bond and build that team chemistry. Training six hours a day can do it. Living in college dorms can help. With this group a lip sync battle helped, well, a little.

“We went by position. Well, the middles, we thought we were going to kill,” said Kayla Haneline of the University of Northern Iowa. “And we found out that everyone else were a little more practiced than we were. We came out and couldn’t remember what we were supposed to be doing. It was honestly so funny.”

This was the fifth year in a row that the USAV CNT program had exhibition matches at the USAV GJNCs.

Most players felt a sensation of déjà vu walking into another convention center at junior nationals.

“It brings me back to those times, how easy it was and how young you are and you don’t realize how fast it goes,” said Sassin. “To think about all the mornings and weekends spent in convention centers.”

Most mentioned that the best part of Juniors was being with their teammates. Remembering that part of Juniors translated well to this week, according to Stahl.

“I think we did a pretty good job of just keeping it simple, being relaxed, having fun … sometimes you get so consumed with the competition. You just want to win, win, win … I think having fun, being able to create these friendships, being able to be dynamic and being able to play with different players and being able to win it all was pretty awesome.”

2016 U.S. Collegiate National Team – Indianapolis

Name (Position, Height, School, Club, Hometown)
1 – Tess Clark (MB, 6-3, Louisville, Arizona Revolution, Phoenix, Ariz.)
2 – Ashley Dusek (L, 5-7, Kentucky, Houston Skyline, East Bernard, Texas)
3 – Kristen Gengenbacher (S, 5-9, San Diego, Riverfront Bruisers, Quincy, Ill.)
6 – Jenna Potts (MB, 6-3, Pittsburgh, Delaware United, Bernville, Pa.)
7 – Olivia Rusek (OH, 5-11, Miami [Ohio], Wildcat Juniors, Skokie, Ill.)
15 – Kayla Haneline (MB, 6-2, Northern Iowa, Nebraska Elite, Plattsmouth, Neb.)
17 – Amelia Held (L, 5-9, Northern Iowa, St. Louis, CYC, Festus, Mo.)
23 – Kayla Ostrom (S, 5-9, Lipscomb, Circle City, Lafayette, Ind.)
24 – Brooke Sassin (OH, 6-0, Kansas State, Alamo Volleyball, San Antonio, Texas)
27 – Bryna Vogel (OPP, 6-0, Kansas State, Heartland Juniors, Clearwater, Kan.)
30 – Shelly Fanning (OPP, 6-2, Baylor, Texas Tornados, Houston, Texas)
36 – Teegen Van Gunst (OH, 6-0 Georgia Tech, Tsunami, Fayetteville, Ga.)

Head Coach: Dennis Janzen – formerly Head Coach, Fresno Pacific University
Asst. Coach: Kayla Cole – USA High Performance Program Coach

Name (Position, Height, School, Club, Hometown)
1 – Amanda Carroll (OH, 5-10, Florida Gulf Coast, Albuquerque Rebels, Albuquerque, N.M.)
4 – Laura Larson (L, 5-6, Arizona, Minnesota One, Lakeville, Minn.)
5 – Kelsey O’Neill (MB, 6-1, Pittsburgh, Wildcat Juniors, Skokie, Ill.)
12 – Danielle Cuttino (OH, 6-4, Purdue, Circle City, Indianapolis, Ind.)
13 – Aubrey Edie (S, 6-0, Mississippi, Ozark Juniors, Fayetteville, Ark.)
14 – Erica Handley (S, 6-1, Minnesota, Northern Lights, Lakeville, Minn.)
16 – Katherine Hegarty (OPP, 6-2 Southern Methodist, Four Corners, Aztec, N.M.)
18 – Janelle Jenkins (OPP, 5-11, Louisville, Dallas Skyline Juniors, Southlake, Texas)
22 – Giovanna Milana (OH, 6-2, Maryland, No Club, Romeo, Mich.)
29 – Lynsey Wright (MB, 6-0, Missouri State, Rockwood Thunder, Glen Carbon, Ill.)
31 – Janelle Giordano (MB, 6-2, Southern Methodist, Tejas Volleyball, Keller, Texas)
33 – Katie Horton (OH, 6-1, Florida State, Premier Volleyball, Westland, Mich.)

Head Coach: Brian Doyon – Head Coach, University of Montana
Asst. Coach: Billy Ebel – Asst. Coach, Lipscomb University

Name (Position, Height, School, Club, Hometown)
8 – Lauren Schad (MB, 6-2, San Diego, Black Hills Juniors, Rapid City, S.D.)
9 – Kayla Buford (MB, 6-2, Minnesota, Premier Volleyball, Canton, Mich.)
10 – Emily Butters (L, 5-8, Missouri State, Southwest Juniors, Richmond, Texas)
19 – Brittany Jessen (S, 5-9, South Dakota, Northern Lights, Mendota Heights, Minn.)
20 – Jaelyn Keene (MB, 6-2, Illinois State, Jacksonville Network, Jacksonville, Ill.)
21 – Taylor Louis (OH, 6-2, Marquette, Sky High, Skokie, Ill.)
25 – Cierra Simpson (L, 6-0, Colorado, Colorado Juniors, Colorado Springs, Colo.)
26 – Azariah Stahl (OH, 6-0, Purdue, Circle City, Elkhart, Ind.)
28 – Jaali Winters (OH, 6-2, Creighton, All Iowa Attacky, Ankeny, Iowa)
32 – Amanda Green (OPP, 6-1, Marquette, Sports Performance, Skokie, Ill.)
34 – Taylor Joachim (OPP, 6-4, Colorado, No Club, Baroda, Mich.)
35 – Taylor Nelson (S, 6-0, Cal Poly, NCVC, Granite Bay, Calif.)

Head Coach: Todd Dagenias – Head Coach, University of Central Florida
Asst. Coach: Elizabeth Quinim – USA High Performance Program Coach

Co-Lead Administrator: Nicki Holmes (North Carolina State University)
Co-Lead Administrator: Jeff Wanderer (West Hills College)
Master Coach – Coaches: Mike Hebert (USA Volleyball)
Master Coach – Coaches: Rod Wilde (Madison Elite VBC)
Technical Coordinator: Casey Fealko (University of Michigan)
Technical Coordinator: Holly Taylor (BYU)