MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (June 27, 2017) – The U.S. Collegiate National Team – Minneapolis (CNT-Minneapolis) program started its competition phase Tuesday evening at the Minneapolis Convention Center as CNT Red defeated CNT Blue 28-26, 25-15, 25-15 in front of approximately 1,000 fans, many who are competing in the USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championships that is being played on courts next to the CNT matches.

CNT Red was led by outside hitter Taryn Kloth (Creighton University, Sioux Falls, South Dakota), who had a match-high 13 points, all on kills via 29 attacks. She added a 50 positive reception percent on a team-best 18 chances.

“We have been talking all week about how special it is that we get to put on these USA jerseys and the opportunity that we get,” Kloth said. “I think we all took advantage of the opportunity that we have in front of us. We were just going to play as hard we could.”

The CNT-Minneapolis program has been training since June 22 at the University of Minnesota, and Kloth said the group has worked well with each other even before splitting up into three teams.

“It is really fun – it is like practicing with 35 girls,” Kloth said. “You get to know them, hang out with them and get to actually play them in volleyball. It is super awesome learning from them and learning from the new coaches.”

Even though the CNT-Minneapolis program has had only a few days of training together before the competition matches, that has not been a factor for Kloth.

“I love playing with new players, I love meeting new people,” Kloth said. “Everyone I am playing with are absolutely amazing. They are great players and great people. It is super exciting.”

CNT Red’s Casey Schoenlein (Washington State University, Bellevue, Washington) added seven kills on 16 attacks and one error with four blocks for 11 points from her opposite position. Middle Amber Witherspoon (Syracuse University, Chicago, Illinois) scored a match-high six blocks for CNT Red in two sets of action. Middle Darrielle King (University of Florida, DeSoto, Texas) and Middle Rachael Anderson (Western Kentucky University, Sturgis, Michigan) pocketed five points each in the win.

Olivia Dailey (University of Kentucky, Trussville, Alabama) started two sets at setter for CNT Red and Ashley Evans (Purdue University, Liberty Township, Ohio) started the second set at setter. The combo led CNT Red to a 40 kill percent and .244 hitting efficiency (31-12-78). Libero Brooke Peters (Purdue University, Avon, Indiana) was credited with a 57 positive reception percent on seven chances.

Outside hitter Veronica Jones-Perry (BYU, West Jordan, Utah) led CNT Blue with 10 kills on 25 attacks to go with a 33 positive reception percent on 30 service receptions. Kirstie Hillyer (Colorado State University, Bayfield, Colorado) notched five kills on nine swings, one ace and one block for seven points. Opposite Amanda Green (University of Louisville, Skokie, Illinois) contributed six kills on 16 attacks in the loss. Middle Kelsey O’Neill (University of Iowa, Skokie, Illinois) and outside hitter Leah Hardeman (Coastal Carolina, Clarkston, Georgia) had matching five points for CNT Blue.

Taylor Tashima (Northwestern University, Wilmette, Illinois) started the first and third sets for CNT Blue with Kristyn Nicholson (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Lewisville, Texas) starting the middle set. The duo set CNT Blue to a 33 kill percent. The CNT Blue libero combination of Brandi Donnelly (University of Illinois, Williamsville, Illinois) and Brittany Thomas (Lipscomb University, Overland Park, Kansas) held their own in the match. Donnelly had a 50 positive reception percent on 12 chances and Thomas had a 60 positive reception percent on 10 chances.

CNT Red held advantages of 13-7 in blocks and 5-1 in aces for the match.

CNT Blue will look to get in the win column on Wednesday against CNT White at 5 p.m. CT at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The round-robin format concludes on Thursday with CNT Red facing CNT White at 5 p.m. CT. The top two teams in the CNT round robin will face each other in the championship on Friday at 5 p.m. CT. All CNT matches are being video streamed live by clicking here.

The CNT-Minneapolis squad, which is part of USA Volleyball’s High Performance pipeline and is considered a second tryout for the U.S. Women’s National Team, trained at the University of Minnesota from June 22-26 prior to the competition matches at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

2017 U.S. Collegiate National Team – Minneapolis

Red Team
# – Name (Position, School, Height, College Eligibility Remaining, Hometown, Junior Club Team)
14 – Rachel Anderson (M, Western Kentucky University, 6-1, 2, Sturgis, Michigan, Dead Frog Far Out)
5 – Emily Butters (L, Missouri State University, 5-8, 2, Richmond, Texas, Southwest Juniors)
29 – Olivia Dailey (S, University of Kentucky, 5-10, 2, Trussville, Alabama, Southern Performance)
28 – Ashley Evans (S, Purdue University, 6-1, 1, Liberty Township, Ohio, Cincy Classics)
21 – Lauren Fuller (OH, University of San Diego, 6-3, 2, Clarendon Hills, Illinois, Sports Performance)
18 – McKenna Granato (OH, University of Hawaii, 6-0, 2, Kailua, Hawaii, Imi ‘Ike)
7 – Darrielle King (M, University of Florida, 6-3, 3, DeSoto, Texas, Texas Advantage Volleyball)
20 – Taryn Kloth (OH, Creighton University, 6-4, 2, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Kairos)
4 – Brooke Peters (L, Purdue University, 5-9, 2, Avon, Indiana, Circle City)
25 – Casey Schoenlein (OPP, Washington State University, 6-5, 1, Bellevue, Washington, Seattle Juniors)
24 – Holly Toliver (OPP, Michigan State University, 6-2, 1, Berrien Springs, Michigan, Dead Frog Far Out)
11 – Amber Witherspoon (M, Syracuse University, 6-4, 2, Chicago, Illinois, No junior club)

Head Coach: Todd Dagenais (University of Central Florida head coach)
Assistant Coach: Marie Zidek (University of San Diego assistant coach)

CNT White Team
# – Name (Position, School, Height, College Eligibility Remaining, Hometown, Junior Club Team)
2 – Tita Akiu (L, Texas Tech University, 5-2, 2, Honolulu, Hawaii, Team Piko VBC)
34 – Sherridan Atkinson (OPP, Purdue University, 6-5, 2, Long Beach, California, SoCal Juniors)
8 – Jasmine Bennett (M, University of Louisville, 6-2, 2, Paducah, Kentucky, Western Kentucky VBC)
10 – Faith Dooley (M, University of North Dakota, 6-3, 1, Wheatland, North Dakota, Summit Junior Volleyball)
35 – Angel Gaskin (OPP, University of Maryland, 6-1, 2, Tampa, Florida, Tampa United)
33 – Sydney Griffin (S, University of North Dakota, 5-11, 1, Marshall, Minnesota, Kairos Elite)
12 – Deja Harris (M, San Diego State University, 6-2, 1, Las Vegas, Nevada, Vegas Encore)
32 – Monique Harris (S, Iowa State University, 5-9, 1, Clinton, Iowa, Iowa Select)
23 – Brittany McLean (OH, University of Minnesota, 6-1, 3, Rosemount, Minnesota, Northern Lights)
17 – Julia Scoles (OH, University of North Carolina, 6-1, 3, Mooresville, North Carolina, Carolina Juniors)
16 – Stephanie Williams (OH, University of Pittsburgh, 6-0, 3, Eastlake, Ohio, Cleveland Volleyball Academy)

Head Coach: Lindsey Devine (East Tennessee State University head coach)
Assistant Coach: Jay Van Vark (Grand Canyon University assistant coach)

CNT Blue Team
# – Name (Position, School, Height, College Eligibility Remaining, Hometown, Junior Club Team)
3 – Brandi Donnelly (L, University of Illinois, 5-8, 1, Williamsville, Illinois, Illini Elite)
26 – Amanda Green (OPP, University of Louisville, 6-1, 3, Skokie, Illinois, Sports Performance)
19 – Leah Hardeman (OH, Coastal Carolina University, 5-10, 1, Clarkston, Georgia, Tsunami)
6 – Kirstie Hillyer (M, Colorado State University, 6-6, 3, Bayfield, Colorado, Four Corners VBC)
15 – Veronica Jones-Perry (OH, BYU, 6-0, 2, West Jordan, Utah, Club V)
31 – Kristyn Nicholson (S, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 6-0, 1, Lewisville, Texas, Texas Advantage VBC)
9 – Kelsey O’Neill (M, University of Iowa, 6-1, 1, Skokie, Illinois, Wildcat Juniors)
22 – Alyssa Schultejans (OH, Kansas State University, 6-3, 2, Silver Lake, Kansas, Topeka Elite)
30 – Taylor Tashima (S, Northwestern University, 6-0, 1, Wilmette, Illinois, Wildcat Juniors)
1 – Brittany Thomas (L, Lipscomb University, 5-4, 1, Overland Park, Kansas, KC Power)
13 – Lynsey Wright (M, Missouri State University, 6-0, 1, Glen Carbon, Illinois, Rockwood Thunder)

Head Coach: Dennis Janzen (Trinity Western University assistant coach)
Assistant Coach: Lindsey Walton (University of Kentucky assistant coach)

Program Managers and Administrators: Rod Wilde (Madison Elite), Nicki Holmes (NC State University assistant coach), Jeff Wanderer (West Hills College head coach)
Technical Assistants: Rachel Ferguson (Grand Canyon University director of operations) and Jon Wong (Bradley University assistant coach)