COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 6, 2019) – Kelsey Robinson played a key role in VakifBank claiming the Turkish League championship this past weekend, while U.S. Women’s National Team members are primed to win league titles in Italy and Germany.
TRIVIA QUESTION: Who is the youngest player on the U.S. Women’s National Team’s preliminary roster for the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League?
DIXON GETS MARRIED: Tori Dixon married Josh Johnson this past weekend in Minneapolis with several of her U.S. Women’s National Team teammates on hand to celebrate the occasion. “Had the most perfect wedding EVER,” Dixon wrote on Instagram. “Much love to eveyrone who made this happen and everyone who came to celebrate with us.”
VNL PRELIM ROSTER AND TICKET INFO FOR MATCHES IN LINCOLN: USA Volleyball has announced its 30-player preliminary roster for the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League, the premier annual international volleyball tournament. Team USA won the inaugural Volleyball Nations League last year. U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly and his staff have chosen the following players for the 30-player preliminary roster:
- Setters (4): Lauren Carlini, Micha Hancock, Carli Lloyd, Jordyn Poulter
- Liberos (4): Tita Akiu, Megan Courtney, Mary Lake, Justine Wong-Orantes
- Middles (8): Rachael Adams, Tori Dixon, Lauren Gibbemeyer, Chiaka Ogbogu, Dana Rettke, Hannah Tapp, Paige Tapp, Haleigh Washington
- Outsides (9): Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, Mikaela Foecke, Kim Hill, Madi Kingdon Rishel, Jordan Larson, Simone Lee, Kelsey Robinson, Kadie Rolfzen, Sarah Wilhite Parsons
- Opposites (5): Danielle Cuttino, Annie Drews, Karsta Lowe, Krystal Rivers, Jordan Thompson
The U.S. Women hosts No. 9 Korea on June 4, No. 13 Germany on June 5 and No. 4 Brazil on June 6. All matches will be played at the 15,500-seat Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tournament all-session tickets can be purchased by clicking here.
ROBINSON WITH VAKIFBANK IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California, Twitter, Instagram, Website) is playing club volleyball with VakifBank in the Turkish professional league. VakifBank split six matches with its Turkish league nemesis heading into a deciding fifth match of the championship finals, going 1-1 in the regular season and 2-2 in the best-of-five finals. However, second-seeded VakifBank was too much for top-seeded Eczacibasi on May 5 with a 25-17, 25-18, 25-121 victory to claim the Turkish League gold. Robinson provided seven kills on 15 attacks in the deciding match, as well as handling 13 receptions with a 77 positive percent. Earlier in the week VakifBank went up 2-1 in the series by claiming a 25-17, 23-25, 25-20, 25-18 victory on April 29. Robinson provided 14 kills on 25 attacks and a block in the victory. She added 17 receptions with a 41 positive reception percent. In the fourth match of the series, VakifBank was unable to win the championship as Eczacibasi collected the 25-16, 18-25, 25-23, 21-25, 15-13 victory on May 2. Robinson totaled 16 points with 15 kills on 41 attacks and a block. She handled 38 of the team’s 92 receptions with a 58 positive percent. Robinson has launched her own website, nomandplay.com on her passions for play, travel and food. In addition, Robinson has created her vlog on what it is like to be an American citizen and play professional volleyball overseas. To watch her vlogs, click here.
LARSON AND GIBBEMEYER WITH ECZACIBASI IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska, Twitter, Instagram) and middle Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram) are competing with Eczacibasi in the Turkish League this winter. Larson is serving as the team’s captain. In the Turkish League playoffs, top-seeded Eczacibasi lost to second-seeded VakifBank 25-17, 23-25, 25-20, 25-18 on April 29 to fall behind 2-1 in their best-of-five championship round series. Larson collected nine kills on 26 attacks and three aces on 15 serves for 12 points. She was credited with a 55 positive reception percent on 22 chances. Gibbemeyer was a sub in the second and fourth sets. Eczacibasi leveled the series at 2-2 with a 25-16, 18-25, 25-23, 21-25, 15-13 battle on May 2 to force a tiebreaking fifth match. Larson pocketed 19 points with 17 kills on 33 attacks and two aces on 13 serves. She was credited with a 58 positive reception percent on 12 chances. Gibbemeyer was a sub in the fifth set. Eczacibasi was unable to pull out the series comeback as it fell to VakifBank 25-17, 25-18, 25-21 on May 5 in the deciding match. Larson slammed 13 kills on 25 attacks and totaled 17 receptions with a 65 positive reception percent in the loss. Gibbemeyer was a sub in all three sets, registering one kill.
HILL, LOWE WITH CONEGLIANO IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon, Instagram) and opposite Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, California, Instagram) are playing for Imoco Volley Conegliano in the Italian Serie A1 this winter. In the Italian Serie A1 playoffs, top-seeded Conegliano defeated second-seeded Igor Gorgonzola Novara 25-15, 25-20, 25-15 on May 1 to open the best-of-five championship series. Hill scored nine points in the victory, all on kills from 19 attacks. She added 12 receptions with a 58 positive reception percent. Lowe did not play in the match. For highlights of the match, click here. In the second match, Conegliano swept Igor Gorgonzola Novara 25-16, 25-23, 25-23 on May 4 to go 2-0 in the series. Hill chalked up 12 points with 11 kills on 24 attacks and a block. She was credited with a 71 positive reception percent on 14 chances. Lowe, a sub in the third set, added one kill on one attack in the victory. Conegliano can close out the series and win the championship on May 6 during the third match of the series. If necessary, matches four and five are scheduled for May 10 and May 12. The Italian finals serve as an early look of the European Champions League finals when the two teams meet for the prestigious title on May 18 in Berlin.
BARTSCH-HACKLEY, CARLINI WITH NOVARA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois, Twitter, Instagram) and setter Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois, Twitter, Instagram) are playing for Igor Gorgonzola Novara in the Italian Serie A1 and the European Champions League this winter. In the Italian Serie A1 playoffs, second-seeded Novara lost to top-seeded Imoco Volley Conegliano 25-15, 25-20, 25-15 on May 1 to lose the opening match of the best-of-five championship series. Bartsch-Hackley totaled 10 points, all on kills via 23 attacks. She handled 27 of the team’s 61 receptions with a 44 positive percent. Carlini started the first two sets. Novara fell behind 2-0 in the series after Conegliano won the second match 25-16, 25-23, 25-23 on May 4. Bartsch-Hackley scored five kills, one block and one ace for seven points in the loss. Carlini set Novara to a 37 kill percent and turned in two kills on three attacks. Novara must win on May 6 and May 10 to force a deciding fifth match on May 12. The series will be a prelude to the European Champions League finals where the two teams meet on May 18 in Berlin.
WILHITE PARSONS, PAIGE TAPP, RIVERS AND McCAGE WITH MTV STUTTGART IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Outside hitter Sarah Wilhite Parsons (Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram), middles Molly McCage (Spring, Texas, Twitter, Instagram) and Paige Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram), opposite Krystal Rivers (Birmingham, Alabama, Twitter, Instagram) and setter Madi Bugg are playing for Allianz MTV Stuttgart in the German Bundesliga. All but Bugg played for the U.S. Women in the 2018 season. Stuttgart, the top seed in the playoffs, los the second match of a best-of-five championship series to second-seeded SSC Palmberg Schwerin 25-17, 18-25, 25-14, 26-24 on May 1. McCage led Stuttgart with 12 points via seven kills on 18 attacks and five blocks. Wilhite Parsons tallied 11 points with eight kills, two blocks and an ace, while Rivers scored 10 kills and an ace for 11 points. Tapp charted two kills and an ace for three points. Bugg, a sub in three of the five sets, scored one individual kill in the loss. Stuttgart claimed a thrilling 22-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-20, 15-9 come-from-behind victory over Schwerin on May 5 to go up 2-1 in the series. Wilhite Parsons led Stuttgart with 22 points including 19 kills on 51 swings, two aces and a block. She handled 46 of the team’s 94 receptions with a 43 positive percent. Tapp added 19 points, including 11 kills on 20 errorless attacks, six blocks and two aces. She was honored with the match’s most valuable player award. McCage chipped in eight kills on 21 swings and a match-high seven blocks for 15 points. Rivers, who started the first, fourth and fifth sets, scored eight kills in the victory. Bugg, who started the second, third and fifth sets, helped Stuttgart to a 35 kill percent for the match and added two aces and one kill. Stuttgart can close out the series on May 9 with a victory. If necessary, match five is on May 11.
OGBOGU WITH CHEMIK POLICE IN POLAND: Middle Chiaka Ogbogu (Coppell, Texas, Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Chemik Police in the Polish League and European Champions League this winter. In the Polish Orlen Liga, top-seeded Chemik Police lost to Developres SkyRs Rzeszow 22-25, 23-25, 25-21, 25-23, 15-8 on April 29 to fall behind 2-1 in its best-of-five series for third place. Ogbugu tallied 12 kills on 24 attacks, two aces and a block for 15 points. Chemik Police lost the fourth match 26-28, 10-25, 25-19, 25-22, 15-7 on May 2 as it wasn’t able to extend the series to a deciding fifth match. Obgogu provided eight kills on 17 attacks and just one hitting error to go with a team-leading four blocks and an ace for 13 points. Chemik Police finishes the playoffs in fourth place.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Dana Rettke is the youngest player on the U.S. Women’s National Team’s preliminary roster for the Volleyball Nations League. She is the only player born in 1999 or later. Rettke will be a junior middle at University of Wisconsin next fall, and is one of three players on the 30-player roster with remaining collegiate eligibility.