KAWASAKI, Japan (May 25, 2019) – The U.S. Collegiate National Team – Japan Tour (CNT – Japan Tour) played its final match against Japan’s World University Games team (Japan WUG) Saturday, falling 2-1 (24-26, 25-23, 25-15) in a planned three-setter at the NEC Red Rockets’ Training Facility in Kawasaki.

“I thought we came out with good energy, good effort, and we served well,” said head coach Heather Olmstead. “Our passing was really in a good rhythm and we were able to score points. We lost a little bit of our passing game as the match went on, but overall, I think we’re getting better serving and passing.”

Like the previous matches against Japan WUG, the Americans opened with a set victory. They erased a four-point deficit and ended the frame on a 14-8 run, taking the set 24-26. In the second, they fell behind 16-12 once again and were unable to complete another comeback, losing the set 25-23. Japan WUG won the third 15-25.

“We did a lot of things well in the first two sets,” said opposite hitter Kenzie Koerber (Utah; Chino Hills, Calif.). “The third set we kind of fell off, but as a team, we were communicating a lot better. Serving was tough, and blocking was good.”

As they have in every other match, CNT – Japan Tour out-blocked their opponents Saturday, stuffing 11 Japan WUG attacks and only seeing three of their own blocked. Koerber stopped three herself, while Mica Allison (Illinois; White Heath, Ill.) and Jacqueline Quade (Illinois; Fort Wayne, Ind.) added two apiece. Four others – Heather Gneiting (BYU; Pleasant Grove, Utah), Lauren Forte (California-Berkeley; Tempe, Ariz.), Brooke Botkin (Southern California; Houston, Texas) and Taylor Bannister (LSU; Missouri City, Texas) – tallied one block apiece.

The American attack was also well balanced as 10 different players found the floor. Koerber again led the squad with eight kills and a .300 hitting efficiency (8-2-20). Botkin landed seven kills on 21 swings. The Houston native also tallied 28 receptions and three service aces Saturday, leading the team in both categories.

“I thought we played hard even though we’re all really tired,” said Botkin. “We blocked really well, and we also had some good serving runs. Looking forward, I think we can improve on our consistency within all the skills: passing, serving, even the energy that we bring.”

Dani Drews (Utah; Sandy, Utah) added 15 receptions, 47 percent positive, and CC McGraw (Minnesota; Prior Lake, Minn.) posted 14, 50 percent positive.

This was the third match in two days between CNT – Japan Tour and Japan WUG. They played a doubleheader Friday, tying a four-set match in the afternoon after Japan WUG won the morning’s three-setter.

The U.S. Collegiate National Team – Japan Tour will now travel to Kita, Tokyo, for another showdown against Japan’s Women’s Under-20 Team on Sunday, May 26. The two teams faced each other May 23 with the Japan U20 team claiming a 3-1 victory.

2019 Collegiate National Team Japan Roster

Name (Position, School, Height, College Eligibility Remaining, Hometown, Youth Club)
Mica Allison (S, Univ. of Illinois, 6-1, 3, White Heath, Ill., Illini Elite)
Taylor Bannister (OPP, LSU, 6-5, 2, Missouri City, Texas, Texas Premier VC)
Brooke Botkin (OH, Univ. of Southern California, 6-1, 2, Houston, Texas, AVA of Texas)
Dani Drews (OH, Univ. of Utah, 6-0, 2, Sandy, Utah, Club V)
Lauren Forte (M, UC Berkeley, 6-3, Tempe, Ariz., Club One)
Heather Gneiting (M, Brigham Young Univ., 6-4, 3, Pleasant Grove, Utah, Club V)
Saige Kaahaaina-Torres (S, Univ. of Utah, 6-0, 3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Ku’ikahi VC)
Kenzie Koerber (OPP, Univ. of Utah, 6-3, 2, Chino Hills, Calif., TStreet Volleyball)
CC McGraw (L, Univ. of Minnesota, 5-9, 3, Prior Lake, Minn., Minnesota Select)
McKenna Melville (OH, UCF, 6-1, 3, Eagan, Minn., Northern Lights)
Taylor Morgan * (M, Univ. of Minnesota, 6-0, 1, Blaine, Minn., Kokoro Volleyball)
Katie Myers (M, Univ. of Maryland, 6-2, 3, Westerville, Ohio, Mintonette)
Jacqueline Quade (OH, Univ. of Illinois, 6-2, 1, Fort Wayne, Ind., Munciana Samuria)
Note: * Taylor Morgan originally selected to the roster, but pulled out of the CNT program due to injury

Head Coach: Heather Olmstead (Brigham Young Univ.)
Assistant Coach: Jaylen Reyes (Univ. of Nebraska), Krista Vansant (Indiana Univ.)
Technical Coordinator: TJ Read (UCF)


May 22
vs Nippon Sport Science University, W 3-2

May 23
vs Japan Women’s U20 Team, L 1-3
NEC Red Rockets Training Center; Kawasaki

May 24
vs Japan World University Games Team (DH)
L, 1-2; T, 2-2
NEC Red Rockets Training Center; Kawasaki

May 25
vs Japan World University Games Team, L 1-2
NEC Red Rockets Training Center; Kawasaki

May 26
vs Japan Women’s U20 Team
Japan National Training Center; Kita, Tokyo

May 28
vs.Okayama Seagulls