COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – At the 2016 Olympic Games, volleyball coach Jim Stone recognized a few familiar faces on the podium when China was receiving its gold medals.
“I looked at the China team win the Olympics last summer and I saw what was the Youth National Team of China from six years ago,” said Stone, who has coached the U.S. Girls Youth National Team for 10 years.
So Stone knows the challenge and opportunity ahead for this year’s Youth National Team.
“The Youth National Team is extremely important to the development of top players in this country,” said Stone. “It provides team members the opportunity to play with and against the best players in the world. We train for two weeks, most other teams are together for months. Can we find a way to compete and win?
“So, this is a great competitive challenge for the USA players.”
Today, USA Volleyball announces the 20 athletes who have made the U.S. Youth National Training Team. The team will prepare for two weeks, July 27 – Aug. 17, at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
At the end of the camp, the final 12 players will be selected and depart first for Brazil for practice and matches with the U18 teams from Brazil, Japan, and Italy. And then they will travel to 2017 FIVB Girls U18 World Championship, Aug. 18-27, in Rosario and Santa Fe, Argentina.
“The hope for any national team is to, of course, win gold,” said Lizzy Briones, Head of Delegation. “This is a talented group of athletes with an experienced coaching staff. We’ll set our team goals and create a strong foundation by achieving them for this age group moving into the future. We want to make it out of pool play on top and come home with a medal.”
The U.S., ranked No. 1 in the world, will compete in Pool B along with Russia, the 2017 European U18 champions; Brazil, the 2017 South American champions, plus, Belarus and Mexico.
In 2013, the U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team made history becoming the first U.S. volleyball team of either gender to win a World Championship medal at the youth or junior level, taking the silver versus China in Thailand. In 2015, the U.S. earned another silver at World Championships against Italy.
With the 2017 squad, the U.S. returns the majority of the lineup that earned a silver medal in the 2016 NORCECA Girls’ Youth Continental Championship in Puerto Rico.
Can they find a way to compete and win?
The Seven Returners
Outside hitters Haley Warner and Logan Eggleston scored 50 and 48 points, respectively, in the final three matches, including the medal match, semifinals and a pivotal pool play match against the defending champs, the Dominican Republic. Both were outstanding with blocks. Eggleston had six aces in the championship match.
Middle Kendall Kipp was a reliable double-digit scorer on the block and Brooklyn Schirmer started at outside hitter, scoring 10 with eight kills and two blocks against Puerto Rico in the semifinals.
Ella May Powell was the team’s starting setter, Brooke Nuneviller, the starting libero, and Skylar Fields was used in the team’s double-sub at opposite.
2017 USAV Girls Junior National Training Team
# — Name (Position, Ht., Hometown, Club, Region)
1 – Brooklyn Schirmer* – OH, 6-1, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach Mizuno, Southern California
2 – Macka Cole – L, 5-9, Oakdale, N.Y., Island Volleyball Academy, Garden Empire
3 – Brooke Nuneviller* – 5-11, Chandler, Ariz., Aspire, Arizona
4 – Mica Allison – S, 6-0, White Heath, Ill., Illini Elite, Great Lakes
5 – Nicklin Hames – S, 5-11, Maryville, Tenn., K2 Volleyball, Southern
6 – Selina Xu – S, 6-0, San Carlos, Calif., Vision Volleyball, Northern California
7 – Ella May Powell* – S, 6-0, Fayetteville, Ark., Ozark Juniors, Delta
8 – Madison Williams – OH, 6-1, Texas Advantage, North Texas
9 – Logan Eggleston* – OH, 6-3, Franklin, Tenn., Alliance, Southern
10 – Annabelle Smith – MB, 6-2, South Lake, Texas, Texas Advantage, North Texas
11 – Skylar Fields* – OH, 6-2, Missouri City, Texas, Houston Juniors, Lone Star
12 – McKenna Vicini – MB, 6-2, Lexington, Ky., Lexington United, Pioneer
13 – Haley Warner* – OH, 6-2, Fayetteville, Ark., Ozark Juniors, Delta
14 – Madi Kubik – OH, 6-2, West Des Moines, Iowa, Central Iowa Select, Iowa
15 – Kendall Kipp* – MB, 6-5, Newport Beach, Calif., Laguna Beach, Southern California
16 – Madison Horin – MB, 6-3, Munster, Ind., First Alliance, Great Lakes
17 – Holly Campbell – MB, 6-3, Austin, Texas, Austin Juniors, Lone Star
18 – Riley Zuhn – OH, 6-5, Fort Collins, Colo., NORCO, Rocky Mountain
19 – Taylor Landfair – OH, 6-4, Plainfield, Ill., Elite Sports Performance, Great Lakes
20 – Kaitlyn Hord – MB, 6-4, Lexington, Ky., Lexington United, Pioneer
* Member of the 2016 U.S. Girls Youth National Team
Head Coach: Jim Stone
Asst. Coach: Michelle Chatman-Smith
Asst. Coach: Michael Gee
Head of Delegation: Lizzy Briones
Head Coach Jim Stone began coaching the GYNT following a stellar career as the head coach at Ohio State University. In addition to the two World silver medals, Stone has led the team to three gold and a silver at the NORCECA Girls Youth Continental Championships.
“I’ve enjoyed my coaching involvement with the Youth National Team,” said Stone. “I find it challenging to bring players together, train for a short time, then see if we can compete successfully on the world stage. I love to learn and coaching at this level allows me the opportunity to continue to grow as a coach.
“I also find it great to witness so much growth in the players in such a short time. They learn so much about themselves and the game. It is a wonderful life experience for all involved.”
In 2015, Stone and Assistant Coach Michelle Chatman-Smith led the squad to a silver with the 2015 FIVB U18 World Championships in Peru. This year they are joined by Mike Gee as assistant coach. He has also served as the Youth A2 assistant coach and lead tryout coach for the USAV Girls High Performance Program since 2005.