COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 22, 2019) – The NCAA women’s collegiate season wrapped up Saturday with U.S. Women’s National Team players Kathryn Plummer and Dana Rettke facing each other in the title match and Stanford coming away with its third title in four years. Further, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Kayla Banwarth is moving on from University of Nebraska after accepting a head coaching position in the SEC.
PLUMMER A STAR BACK ON THE RISE: Kathyrn Plummer (Aliso Viejo, California), who played for the U.S. Women’s National Team this past summer and helped Team USA win gold in the 2019 Pan American Cup, returned to Stanford for her senior campaign as the two-time reigning AVCA Division I Player of Year. However, a mid-season injury forced her to miss 10 matches and eliminated her from AVCA honors this year. But she returned from the injury and helped Stanford dominate the final regular season matches and NCAA postseason tournament. Plummer pocketed 26 kills, an ace and five block assists in a sweep over University of Minnesota in the NCAA semifinals this past Thursday. She scored 22 kills with a .459 hitting efficiency, an ace, three block assists and 10 digs in a Stanford sweep over University of Wisconsin in the championship match.
NCAA CHAMPION STANFORD COACHING STAFF TIES TO NATIONAL TEAM: Stanford captured the NCAA title on Saturday, and its coaching staff has extensive experience with the U.S. Women’ National Team. Cardinal Head Coach Kevin Hambley was an assistant coach on the U.S. Women’s National Team from 2001-2004 including the Athens Olympic Games. Assistant coach Alisha Glass Childress was the starting setter for Team USA that won bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Associate head coach Denise Corlett played on the U.S. Women’s National Team in 1982 and 1983 after playing in the 1979 World University Games. She also is a regular participant in the U.S. Women’s National Team Open Tryout assistant the national team in player evaluations.
RETTKE LEADING WISCONSIN: Middle Dana Rettke (Riverside, Illinois), who was part of the U.S. Women’s FIVB Volleyball Nations League gold-medal team along with the 2020 Olympic qualification tournament, completed her junior year in college with a runner-up finish in the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship. In the semifinal, she scored a Badger-high 19 kills on a .484 hitting efficiency in a four-set victory over top-seeded Baylor. She added three aces, a block solo and seven block assists for 26.5 points. In the championship match, Stanford proved to be too much for Wisconsin in a three-set victory on Saturday to conclude the NCAA women’s collegiate season. Rettke scored kills and a block assist.
KAYLA BANWARTH MOVING UP: Kayla Banwarth, a bronze-medalist at the 2016 Rio Olympics for Team USA, transitioned to coaching shortly after retiring from the U.S. Women’s National Team. She took an assistant coaching position with her alma mater University of Nebraska, spending three seasons that included an NCAA championship in 2017 and runner-up finish in 2018. Now, Banwarth is taking a step up the coaching ladder as head coach at University of Mississippi.
LARSON WITH SHANGHAI IN CHINESE LEAGUE: Outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska) is playing for Shanghai in the Chinese Super League this winter. Shanghai lost to Beijing Auto 25-22, 25-19, 25-10 on Dec. 17 in the final match of the second-round playoff. Having already secured a spot in the third round (semifinals) playoffs heading into the match, Shanghai rested some of its players. Larson, who played just parts of the first two sets, scored four kills on 12 attacks. Shanghai plays Guangdong Hengda in the semifinals with matches on Dec. 24, Dec. 28 and Dec. 31.
BARTSCH-HACKLEY, DIXON WITH BEIJING AUTO IN CHINESE LEAGUE: Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois) and middle Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota) are playing for Beijing Auto in the Chinese Super League this winter. Beijing Auto defeated Shanghai 25-22, 25-19, 25-10 on Dec. 17 in the final match of the second round playoff pool. Bartsch-Hackley scored 18 points with 16 kills on 26 attacks and two aces. She was also credited with a 65 positive reception percent on 17 chances. Dixon chipped in eight kills on 10 swings and three blocks for 11 points. With the victory, Beijing Auto finished the second round with a 2-2 record and advanced to the third round (semifinals). Shanghai had already secured its spot into the third round having won the first two matches of the round-robin pool. Beijing Auto will face Tianjin Bohai in the semifinals with matches on Dec. 24, Dec. 28 and Dec. 31.
OGBOGU, HILL WITH CONEGLIANO IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Middle Chiaka Ogbogu (Coppell, Texas) and outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon) are playing in the Italian Serie A1 and European Champions League for Imoco Volleyball Conegliano this winter. In European Champions League, Conegliano swept previously undefeated Nantes VB on Dec. 17 in France. Ogbogu contributed 10 kills on 15 attacks, three blocks and an ace for 14 points. Hill added 10 kills on 21 attacks and two blocks for 12 points. She was credited with an 83 positive reception percent on 18 chances. Conegliano (3-0, 8 points), which leads Pool D, meets C.S.M. Volei Alba Blaj on Jan. 22 in the fourth leg. In the Italian Serie A1, Conegliano stopped Il Bisonte Firenze 25-21, 25-16, 25-23 on Dec. 22. Hill pocketed 13 kills on 25 attacks and just one hitting error. She was credited with a 75 positive reception percent on 16 chances. Ogbogu added five kills on 11 swings, five blocks and an ace for 10 points. Conegliano (11-1, 33 points), which sits atop the standings, returns to action on Dec. 26 against second-place Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio (10-2, 30 points).
COURTNEY, HANCKOCK WITH NOVARA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Libero/outside hitter Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio) and setter Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma) are playing for Igor Gorgonzola Novara in the Italian Serie A1 and European Champions League this winter. Novara edged out Poland’s LKS Commercecon Lodz 22-25, 25-15, 25-9, 19-25, 15-10 on Dec. 17 in the European Champions Pool C third leg. Hancock set Novara to a 33 kill percent and added six kills on 10 attacks, three blocks and three aces on 16 serves for 12 points. Courtney chipped in three kills and a 43 positive reception percent on 23 chances in the victory. Novara (2-1, 5 points), in second place in the Champions League, returns to action on Jan. 22 against Pool C leader Allianz MTV Stuttgart (2-1, 7 points). In the Italian Serie A1, Novara defeated Pomi Casalmaggiore 25-22, 25-22, 25-19 on Dec. 21.Hancock set Novara to a 48 kill percent and added two kills on four attempts. Courtney, who started the first two sets, had two blocks in the victory. Novara (8-4, 23 points), now in third place, plays ninth-place Zanetti Bergamo (5-7, 15 points) on Dec. 26 in its next league match.
WASHINGTON, LOWE WITH BUSTO ARSIZIO IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Middle Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colorado, Instagram, Twitter) and opposite Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, California, Instagram) are playing for Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio in the Italian Serie A1 and CEV Cup this winter. Busto Arsizio swept its CEV Cup 16th Finals Round home-and-home series with VK Up Olomouc following a 25-21, 25-18, 25-19 victory on Dec. 19. In the second match, Busto Arsizio used its entire roster after securing advancement to the CEV Cup 8th Finals Round. Lowe started the first two sets and tallied seven kills on 15 swings. Washington started the final set and provided five kills on six attacks and two blocks for seven points. Busto Arsizio will now face Developres SkyRes Rzeszow in the CEV Cup 8th Finals Round home-and-home series with match dates to be determined. In the Italian Serie A1, Busto Arsizio swept Lardini Filottrano 27-25, 25-23, 25-20 on Dec. 22. Lowe scored 11 points in the victory with 10 kills on 31 swings and an ace. Washington tacked on eight kills on 15 errorless attacks and two blocks for 10 points. Busto Arzisio (9-2, 27 points), now in second place, faces league-leader Imoco Volley Conegliano (10-2, 30 points) on Dec. 26.
POULTER WITH CHIERI IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Setter Jordyn Poulter (Aurora, Colorado, Instagram, Twitter) is competing for Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri in the Italian Serie A1 for the 2019-20 pro season along with American Amber Rolfzen (Papillion, Nebraska). Chieri brushed past Zanetti Bergamo 25-23, 18-25, 25-15, 25-20 on Dec. 22. Poulter set Chieri to a 44 kill percent while pitching in two aces, two blocks and a kill. Rolfzen scored six kills on 17 attacks, one block and one ace for eight points. Chieri (5-7, 16 points), in eighth place, takes on 12th-place Banca Valsabbina Millenium Brescia (4-8, 11 points)on Dec. 26.
ALHASSAN WITH CASERTA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Middle Rhamat Alhassan (Glenarden, Maryland, Instagram, Twitter) is competing for Golden Tulip Volato 2.0 Caserta in the Italian Serie A1 this winter. Caserta lost to Bosca San Bernardo Cuneo 25-17, 23-25, 27-25, 25-18 on Dec. 22. Alhassan contributed six kills on 11 swings and a block for seven points. Caserta (2-10, 8 points), which is in 13th place, challenges 12th-place fifth-place Pomi Casalmaggiore on Dec. 26.
FOECKE WITH FIRENZE IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Outside hitter Mikaela Foecke (West Point, Iowa, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Il Bisonte Firenze in the Italian Serie A1 for the 2019-2020 season. Firenze lost to league-leader Imoco Volley Conegliano 25-21, 25-16, 25-23 on Dec. 22. Foecke, who started the first two sets, scored three kills in the match. Firenze (6-6, 18 points), which is in seventh place, meets sixth-place Saguella Monza (7-5, 21 points) on Dec. 26.
CUTTINO WITH CASALMAGGIORE IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Opposite Danielle Cuttino (Indianapolis, Indiana, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Epiu Pomi Casalmaggiore in the Italian Serie A1 during the 2019-2020 pro season. Casalmaggiore lost to Igor Gorgonzola Novara 25-22, 25-22, 25-19 on Dec. 21. Cuttino tallied 12 kills on 28 attacks in the loss. Casalmaggiore (7-5, 22 points), which is in fifth place, returns to action on Dec. 26 against Golden Tulip Volalto 2.0 Caserta (2-10, 8 points).
JONES-PERRY WITH BRESCIA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Outside hitter Roni Jones-Perry (West Jordan, Utah, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Banca Valsabbina Millenium Brescia in the Italian Serie A1 this winter. Brescia lost to Savino Del Bene Scandicci 25-19, 25-21, 25-16 on Dec. 22. Jones-Perry had one attack attempt as a sub in the opening set. Brescia (4-7, 11 points), now in 11th place, returns to action on Dec. 26 against Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri.
ROBINSON WITH FENERBAHCE IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Website) is playing for Fenerbahce in the Turkish League and European Champions League this winter. Fenerbahce defeated LP Salo 25-10, 25-16, 25-14 on Dec. 18 in European Champions League action. Robinson connected for 10 kills on 15 swings, two blocks and an ace for 13 points. She was credited with a 70 positive reception percent on 23 chancers. Fenerbahce (2-1, 7 points) resumes Champions League action on Jan. 22 against Poland’s Budowlani Lodz (1-2, 3 points). In the Turkish league, Fenerbahce (9-2, 26 points) closed out the first half of the season in third place. Check out her latest video blog where Robinson answers fans questions on what it is like living in Istanbul (kelseyandbrian.tv/vlog-22) while on a break from her pro team.
KINGDON-RISHEL WITH THY IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Outside hitter Madi Kingdon Rishel (Phoenix, Arizona, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Turk Hava Yollari (THY) in the Turkish League this winter. In the Turkish League, THY finished the first half of the season in sixth place with a 5-6 record. THY has advanced to the CEV Challenge Cup 8th Finals Round and will play C.S.M Lugoj in a home-and-home series with dates to be determined. Further, THY has now advanced to the quarterfinals of the Turkish Cup.
DREWS WITH JT MARVELOUS IN JAPAN V-LEAGUE: Opposite Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana, Instagram, Twitter) is playing in the Japan V-League this winter with JT Marvelous. JT Marvelous lost to a tough 21-25, 18-25, 28-26, 25-22, 15-13 match to Saitama Ageo Medics on Dec. 21. Drews pocketed 35 kills on 66 attacks, one block and one ace for 37 points. JT Marvelous bounced back to defeat Kurobe Aqua Fairies 25-19, 25-12, 25-17 on Dec. 22. Drews turned in eight kills on 17 attacks, six blocks and an ace for 15 points. JT Marvelous (16-4, 47 points), which is in first place in the Star Conference, resumes action on Dec. 28 against Toray Arrows (12-7, 32 points, fourth in Star Division).
HANNAH TAPP WITH HITACHI IN JAPAN V-LEAGUE: Middle Hannah Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota, Instagram, Twitter) is playing with Hitachi Rivale in the Japan V-League this winter. Hitachi lost to Okayama Seagulls 25-15, 22-25, 25-23, 26-24 on Dec. 21. Tapp contributed 17 kills on 36 swings and four blocks for 21 points. Hitachi lost to NEC Red Rockets 26-24, 28-26, 25-23 in a tough three-set battle on Dec. 22. Tapp turned in eight kills on 20 attacks and three blocks for 11 points. Hitachi (6-14, 21 points), in fifth place in the Premier Conference, Denso (16-2, 45 points, first place in Premier Division) on Dec. 28.
LEE WITH KUROBE IN JAPAN V-LEAGUE: Outside hitter Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Kurobe Aqua Fairies in the Japan V-League this winter. Kurobe lost to Toray 20-25, 25-21, 33-31, 25-13 on Dec. 21. Lee provided 23 kills on 58 swings and one block for 24 points in the loss. Kurobe lost to league-leader JT Marvelous 25-19, 25-12, 25-17 on Dec. 22. Lee was credited with nine kills on 33 swings in the loss. Kurobe (1-18, 5 points), in sixth place in the Star Conference, challenges PFU Blue Cats (3-16, 11 points, fifth in Star Division) on Dec. 28 followed by Toyota on Dec. 29.
CARLINI WITH DINAMO MOSCOW IN RUSSIA LEAGUE: Setter Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Dinamo Moscow in the Russia Super League and the European Champions League. In the European Champions League, Dinamo Moscow lost to RC Cannes 25-22, 28-26, 25-22 in France. Carlini set Dinamo Moscow to a 37 kill percent and chipped in two kills on two attacks with a block. Dinamo (2-1, 6 points), now in second place in Pool E, will play fourth-place Maritza Plovdiv (0-3, 1 point) on Jan. 23 in its next Champions League match. Dinamo topped Uralochka 25-22, 25-22, 19-25, 25-13 on Dec. 22. Carlini, who was a sub in the third set, recorded a block in her limited action. Dinamo Moscow (6-4, 20 points), in fifth place, resumes Russia Super League action on Jan. 18 against third-place Dinamo Kazan (8-2, 24 points). Dinamo Moscow will face Uralochka in the Russia Cup semifinals on Dec. 25.
RIVERS, ROSENTHAL WITH STUTTGART IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Opposite Krystal Rivers (Birmingham, Alabama, Instagram, Twitter) and middle Jenna Rosenthal (Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, Instagram, Twitter) are playing for Allianz MTV Stuttgart in the German Bundesliga and the European Champions League. In European Champions League, Stuttgart topped Khimik Yuzhny 25-22, 25-16, 22-25, 28-26 on Dec. 17. Rivers notched 29 points via 23 kills on 49 swings, four blocks and two aces. Rosenthal, who subbed in the second and third sets, added one kill on two swings. American teammate Ainise Havili set Stuttgart to a 44 kill percent while scoring two kills. American teammate Jennifer Hamson added two kills on two swings as a sub in all but the third set. Stuttgart (2-1, 7 points) returns to action on Jan. 23 against Italy’s Igor Gorgonzola Novara (2-1, 5 points), which is in second place in Pool C. In the German Bundesliga, Stuttgart lost to then-second-place SSC Palmberg Schwerin 23-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-13 on Dec. 21 in a battle of the top two teams. Rivers scored 19 points with 18 kills on 40 swings and a block. Havili set Stuttgart to a 42 kill percent and had three kills on three swings. Stuttgart (8-2, 25 points), which fell to second place in the standings, returns to action on Jan. 15 against eighth-place Munster (3-7, 10 points).
WONG-ORANTES WITH SCHWERIN IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Libero Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, California, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for SSC Palmberg Schwerin in the German Bundesliga this winter. American Lauren Barfield is also a member of the team. Schwerin swept Sliedrecht Sport 25-16, 25-18, 25-19 on Dec. 17 to win both matches of the CEV Cup 16th Finals Round home-and-home series. Wong-Orantes was credited with a 45 positive reception percent on 11 chances while helping Schwerin to a 47 kill percent for the match. Schwerin now advances to the CEV Cup 8th Finals Round where it will play Hameenlinna in a home-and-home series with dates to be determined. In the German Bundesliga, Schwerin defeated league-leader Allianz MTV Stuttgart 23-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-13 on Dec. 21 in Stuttgart. Wong-Orantes did not play in the match. Schwerin (9-1, 27 points), which moved into first place in the Bundesliga regular season, returns to action on Jan. 15 against fourth-place Aachen (7-3, 19 points).
KADIE ROLFZEN WITH DRESDNER IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Outside hitter Kadie Rolfzen (Papillion, Nebraska, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Dresdner in the German Bundesliga and the CEV Challenge Cup. In the CEV Challenge Cup 16th Finals Round, Dresdner swept SC Prometey 25-19, 25-10, 25-23 on Dec. 18 in the Ukraine. Rolfzen started the first two sets and racked up three kills, one block and one ace for five points while holding a 33 positive reception percent on 12 chances. Having won the home-and-home series, Dresdner now advances to the 8th Finals Round to face Stiinta Bacau in a home-and-home series with dates to be determined. In the German Bundesliga, Dresdner dropped VC Wiesbaden 23-25, 25-14, 25-22, 25-16 on Dec. 21. Rolfzen collected 11 kills on 27 attacks and an ace for 12 points. Dresdner (6-4, 18 points), in fifth place, returns to German Bundesliga action on Jan. 15 against third-place SC Potsdam (8-2, 24 points).
SELIGER-SWENSON WITH BEZIERS IN FRENCH LEAGUE: Setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson (Minnetonka, Minnesota, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Beziers in the French League and the CEV Challenge Cup along with American teammate Alexa Smith (Colorado Springs, Colorado). In the CEV Challenge Cup 16th Finals Round, Beziers topped RSR Walferdange 25-14, 25-14, 25-15 on Dec. 18 in France. Smith totaled eight kills on 16 attacks, four aces and a block for 13 points. Selinger-Swenson did not play in the match. Beziers has now advanced to the CEV Challenge Cup 8th Finals Round where it meets Poikky Kuusamo in a home-and-home series with dates to be determined. In the French League, Beziers fell to Saint Raphael 25-20, 11-25, 31-29, 28-26 in a tough four-set battle on Dec. 21. Swenson had five kills on six errorless attempts while setting Beziers to a 37 kill percent. Smith, a sub in the final two sets, scored an ace and handled eight receptions with a 38 positive percent. Beziers (10-4, 30 points), which dropped to fourth despite the win, is off until a Jan. 14 match with Vandoeuvre Nancy. Beziers plays RSR Walferdange in the second match of a home-and-home CEV Challenge Cup 16th Finals Round series on Dec. 18 with the winner advancing to the 8th Finals Round.
WILHITE PARSONS WITH SESI BAURU IN BRAZILIAN SUPERLIGA: Outside hitter Sarah Wilhite Parsons (Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Instagram, Twitter) is competing for Sesi Bauru in the Brazilian Superliga this winter. Sesi Bauru lost a heart-breaking five-set match to Itambe Minas 20-25, 25-22, 21-25, 25-17, 15-7 on Dec. 20. Wilhite, who was a sub in the final three sets, held a 67 positive reception with one once on two serves. Bauru (5-6, 23 points), currently in fourth place, returns to action on Jan. 17 against Esporte Clube Pinheiros.
BENSON WITH NUC IN SWISS LEAGUE: Libero Amanda Benson (Litchfield Park, Arizona) is playing for Viteos Neuchatel UC in the Swiss League and CEV Cup this winter along with American teammates Tia Scambray (Dana Point, California) and Kyra Holt (Hercules, California). In the CEV Cup 16th Finals Round, Neuchatel UC defeated Minchanka Minsk 28-26, 23-25, 25-19, 27-25 on Dec. 18 in the second match of the home-and-home series. Benson handled 15 receptions with an 87 position reception percent, which helped Neuchatel UC to a 43 kill percent as a team. Holt collected a team-high 31 points with 27 kills on 58 swings, three blocks and an ace. Scambray added 28 points with 26 kills on 61 attacks and two blocks. Despite the win, Neuchatel UC was eliminated from the playoffs as Minsk won the opening match in three sets and had a better sets won ratio. In the Swiss League, Neuchatel UC defeated VBC Cheseaux 25-19, 25-20, 25-22 on Dec. 21. Benson was credited with a 100 excellent reception percent on eight chances while helping her squad to a 52 kill percent for the match. Holt secured 18 points in the victory with 16 kills on 23 swings. Scambray added nine kills on 22 swings, four aces and two blocks for 15 points. Neuchatel UC (10-2, 30 points), now in a first-place tie with Sm’Aesch Pfeffingen I, challenges TS Volley Dudingen on Jan. 5 in its next league match.