COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 14, 2019) – Karsta Lowe made her 2018-19 club season debut and made a quick impact leading Imoco Volley Conegliano to a win in the Italian Serie A1. Elsewhere, members of the U.S. Women’s National Team continue to make impacts on their pro teams around the world.
- The U.S. Women’s National Team path to the 2020 Olympic Games begins this August with the FIVB Intercontinental Olympic Tournament. Find out below who Team USA must beat to earn a 2020 Olympic berth.
- Kelsey Robinson has produced her second vlog of the season with the latest edition capturing what she and her fiancé Brian Cook did over her holiday break.
- Tori Dixon helped BAIC Motors upset Shanghai in the second round of the Chinese pro league.
TRIVIA QUESTION: Which current U.S. Women’s National Team player did not make her varsity high school volleyball team until her junior year and competitively played tennis until middle of her high school career?
2020 OLYMPIC GAMES QUALIFICATION STARTS IN AUGUST: The FIVB has officially announced groupings for the first stage of the 2020 Olympic Games qualification process. The U.S. Women’s National Team, ranked third in the world, will challenge No. 11 Argentina, No. 16 Bulgaria and No. 23 Kazakhstan in Pool C of the Intercontinental Olympic Qualification Tournament held Aug. 2-4. The Intercontinental Olympic Qualification Tournament will be broken down into six pools of four teams per gender. The winner of the six round-robin pools of four teams will earn a ticket to the 2020 Olympic Games. The FIVB will announce host countries for each pool determined through a bidding process within the next month. For the full story and all six pool groupings, click here.
ROBINSON HOLIDAY VLOG: Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) produced her second vlog highlighting the lives of professional volleyball players competing in overseas pro leagues. In this second edition, Robinson captures highlights of her holiday break from her Turkish club team VakifBank. She travels from Turkey to her hometown of Chicago to spend Christmas #2 with her family. While visiting family, Robinson shops at one of her go-to stores. After Chicago, Robinson travels to Los Angeles to spend time with her fiancé Brian Cook and they checked out a unique facility that promotes better health. She and Brian meet up with long-time friend Alix Klineman for some good times before heading to the beach to surf the next day. Robinson and her fiancé end the holiday tour in San Francisco to celebrate New Years. Also in the video, learn what Robinson likes for breakfast and how she works out while on vacation. To watch the video online, click here.
AKINRADEWO WITH HISAMITSU SPRINGS IN JAPAN: Middle Foluke Akinradewo (Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Twitter, Instagram) has returned to Hisamitsu Springs of the Japanese V-League this winter. Hisamitsu Springs held off Kurobe Aqua Fairies 25-16, 21-25, 25-19, 25-19 on Jan. 12. Akinradewo powered down 18 kills on 27 errorless attacks along with an ace for 19 points. Hisamitsu continued its winning ways the following day by sweeping JT Marvelous 33-31, 25-19, 25-17 on Jan. 13. Akinradewo produced six kills on 15 attacks and five blocks for 11 points. Hisamitsu Springs (11-1, 34 points), in first place in the V-League Western Conference and leads both divisions, plays Toyota (9-3) on Jan. 19 and Hitachi (8-4) on Jan. 20.
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, Conegliano downed Saugella Team Monza 25-20, 25-21, 19-25, 25-22 on Jan. 13. Conegliano rallied from a 21-18 deficit in the fourth set by scoring seven of the final eight points for a 25-22 victory. Hill notched a match-high 19 points with 17 kills on 41 swings with just one error to go with two aces on 14 serves. She added 27 receptions with an 89 positive reception percent. Lowe, making her 2018-19 club season debut, added 14 points with 11 kills on 32 swings, two aces on 17 serves and a block. Conegliano (11-3, 34 points), which is in third place, challenges league-leader Igor Gorgonzola Novara (12-3, 37 points) on Jan. 26 in its next Italian Serie A1 match. During the week break, Conegliano will face Saugella Team Monza in the Italian Cup quarterfinal home-and-home series with matches on Jan. 16 and Jan. 20. In the European Champions League, Conegliano (1-1) returns to Champions League action on Jan. 23 against Poland’s LKS Commercecon Lodz (1-1).
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, Novara lost its second consecutive match by falling to Savino Del Bene Scandicci 21-25, 25-20, 25-22, 21-25, 15-12 on Jan. 9. Bartsch-Hackley pocketed 12 points with 11 kills on 26 attacks and a block. Carlini set Novara to a 45 kill percent while adding two kills on four swings and two blocks for four individual points. Novara snapped its two-match losing streak by defeating Zanetti Bergamo 25-21, 23-25, 25-22, 25-18 on Jan. 13. Bartsch-Hackley totaled 14 points with 13 kills on 25 swings and an ace. Carlini, who started all but the third set, scored three kills on four attacks, one block and one ace for five points while helping Novara to a 52 kill percent as a team. Novara (12-3, 37 points), in first place in the Italian Serie A1, challenges third-place Imoco Volley Conegliano (11-3, 34 points) on Jan. 26 in its next league match. During the Italian League break, Novara will face Bosca San Bernardo Cuneo in the Italian Cup quarterfinals with home-and-home matches on Jan. 16 and Jan. 20. In the European Champions League, Novara (2-0) returns to Pool C action on Jan. 23 against France’s RC Cannes (1-1).
ADAMS AND HANCOCK WITH TEAM MONZA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Middle Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio, Twitter, Instagram) and setter Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma, Twitter, Instagram) are playing for Saugella Team Monza in the Italian Serie A1 and CEV Challenge Cup this winter. In the Italian Serie A1, Team Monza lost to Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio 23-25, 25-18, 25-19, 21-25, 15-10 on Jan. 10. Adams totaled 11 points with eight kills on 11 swings and three blocks. Hancock, who started just the first three sets, added two kills on three attacks and an ace for three points. Team Monza lost to Imoco Volley Conegliano 25-20, 25-21, 19-25, 25-22 on Jan. 13. Adams pocketed 14 points with 10 kills on 15 swings and just one error to go with three blocks and an ace. Hancock set Team Monza to a 38 kill percent as a team and added two individual kills on four attacks. Team Monza (8-7, 27 points), which fell one spot to fifth place, faces 12th-place Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri (1-14, 5 points) on Jan. 27 in its next league match. During the break from the Italian regular season schedule, Team Monza will face Imoco Volley Conegliano in the Italian Cup quarterfinals with home-and-home series matches on Jan. 16 and Jan. 20. In the CEV Challenge Cup, Team Monza leads its 8th Finals Round home-and-home series 1-0 against VDK Bank Gent and the series concludes on Jan. 23.
COURTNEY AND HANNAH TAPP WITH BERGAMO IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Libero/outside hitter Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio, Instagram) and Hannah Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram) are playing for Zanetti Bergamo in the Italian Serie A1 during the 2018-19 pro season. Bergamo defeated Pomi Casalmaggiore 25-20, 25-22, 21-25, 17-25, 15-9 on Jan. 9 to continue its upward rise. Courtney secured 12 points with nine kills on 32 attacks and three blocks. She was credited with a 68 positive reception percent on 22 chances. Tapp added three kills in the victory. Bergamo was unable to keep its win streak alive as it fell to league-leader Igor Gorgonzola Novara 25-21, 23-25, 25-22, 25-18 on Jan. 13. Tapp powered down nine kills on 21 attacks with just two errors to go with two blocks and an ace. Courtney added 10 kills on 23 swings and a 71 positive reception percent on 17 chances. Bergamo (7-8, 20 points), now in ninth place, will play seventh-place Il Bisonte Firenze (7-8, 23 points) on Jan. 27 in its next league match.
WHITNEY WITH FILOTTRANO IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Opposite Aiyana Whitney (Norwood, New Jersey, Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Lardini Filotrrano in the Italian Serie A1 this winter along with American Courtney Schwan. Filottrano swept last-place Club Italia Crai (0-14, 2 points) 25-23, 25-20, 25-21 on Jan. 9. Whitney tallied 12 points with 11 kills on 24 swings and a block. Schwan did not play in the match. Filottrano (4-10, 11 points), in 11th-place, resumes action on Jan. 27 against eighth-place Banca Valsabbina Millenium Brescia (7-8, 20 points).
WASHINGTON WITH BRESCIA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Middle Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colorado, Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Banca Valsabbina Millenium Brescia in the Italian Serie A1 this winter. Brescia fell to Il Bisonte Firenze 25-23, 25-21, 27-25 on Jan. 9 after upsetting league-leader Novara the previous week. Washington contributed six kills on 16 errorless attacks and three blocks in the loss. Brescia swept last-place Club Italia Crai 25-16, 25-15, 25-13 on Jan. 13. Washington contributed eight points with five kills on 12 swings and three blocks. Brescia (7-8, 20 points), now in eighth place, challenges 11th-place Lardini Filottrano (4-10, 11 points) on Jan. 27 in its next league match.
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, Eczacibasi defeated Nilufer 22-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-23 on Jan. 13 in its first match of 2019. Larson scored 12 points, all on kills via 30 attacks and just two errors. She was credited with a 65 positive reception percent after handling 26 of the team’s 67 receptions. Gibbemeyer, a sub in the fourth set, added a kill on two swings in limited action. Eczacibasi (11-0), in first place in the Turkish League as the only undefeated team, resumes domestic league action on Jan. 16 versus last-place Halkbank (0-12) followed by seventh-place Kameroglu Beylikduzu (5-7) on Jan. 19. In the European Champions League, Eczacibasi (2-0) challenges Russia’s Dinamo Moscow (1-1) on Jan. 24 in its next European Champions League match.
ROBINSON WITH VAKIFBANK IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California, Twitter, Instagram) is playing club volleyball with VakifBank in the Turkish professional league and European Champions League this winter. In the Turkish League, blanked Karayollari 25-17, 25-21, 27-25 on Jan. 13 for its first league match of 2019. Robinson turned in six kills on 22 attacks and a block for seven points. She was credited with a 72 positive reception percent after handling 36 of the team’s 59 receptions. VakifBank (11-1), now in second place, challenges fifth-place Besiktas on Jan. 16 followed by third-place Fenerbahce (9-3) on Jan. 20 in its next Turkish League matches next week. In European Champions League, VakifBank (2-0) returns to action on Jan. 23 against France’s Beziers (1-1). Robinson has launched her own website, www.nomandplay.com on her passions for play, travel and food. In addition, Robinson has created her second vlog on what it is like to be an American citizen and play professional volleyball overseas. To watch her second vlog, click here.
DREWS AND LEE WITH BEYLIKDUZU IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Opposite Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana, Twitter, Instagram) and Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, Twitter, Instagram) are competing with Kameroglu Beylikduzu Voleybol Ihtisas alongside fellow American setter Kelly Hunter in the Turkish League for the 2018-19 season. Beylikduzu topped last-place Halkbank 25-19, 25-22, 23-25, 26-24 on Jan. 13. Drews led all scorers with 25 points as she notched 22 kills on 50 swings, two aces and a block. Lee chipped in 21 points with 20 kills on 39 attacks and an ace. She was credited with a 46 positive reception percent on 28 chances. Hunter set her team to a 43 kill percent while scoring two kills on as many swings and adding an ace for three points. Beylikduzu (5-7), which moved up three spots to seventh place, returns to Turkish League action on Jan. 16 against third-place Fenerbahce (9-3) followed by league-leader Eczacibasi (12-0) on Jan. 19.
DIXON AND KINGDON-RISHEL PLAYING FOR BEIJING BAIC IN CHINESE LEAGUE: Middle Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram) and Madi Kingdon Rishel (Phoenix, Arizona, Twitter, Instagram) are playing for Beijing BAIC Motors Volleyball Club in China during the 2018-19 pro season. BAIC Motors earned a hard-fought 25-23, 25-19, 18-25, 13-25, 15-9 victory over Liaoning Yingkou Bayuquan on Jan. 8. Dixon totaled six kills on 14 swings and two blocks for eight points while playing the first three sets. Kingdon Rishel, who played just the fifth set, scored a key four kills on 11 swings in the deciding fifth set while handling five serves off the bench. BAIC Motors rallied past Shanghai 25-18, 26-28, 20-25, 25-8, 15-13 for a mini upset in the second round. Dixon placed 12 points on the scoresheet with six kills on 16 attacks and six blocks. Kingdon Rishel did not play in the match. To watch a replay of the match, click here. BAIC Motors (9-3, 24 points), which is in third place and only one point behind second-place Shanghai, resumes action on Jan. 19 against seventh-place Guangdong Evergrande (3-9, 10 points).
MURPHY WITH SHANGHAI VOLLEYBALL CLUB: Opposite Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois, Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Shanghai Volleyball Club this winter. Shanghai defeated Shandong Sports Lottery 25-12, 25-16, 25-12 on Jan. 8. Murphy hammered out 15 kills on 25 swings and added an ace for 16 points in the victory. In its second match of the week, Shanghai fell to BAIC Motors 25-18, 26-28, 20-25, 25-8, 15-13 on Jan. 12. Murphy scored a match-high 22 points with 18 kills on 49 swings, two aces and two blocks. Shanghai (9-3, 25 points), which remains in second place, resumes league action on Jan. 19 against league-leader Tianjin (10-2, 30 points).
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, Chemiki Police defeated Bank Pocztowy Palac Bydgoszcz 25-23, 25-19, 25-21 on Jan. 12. Ogbogu earned 14 points with seven kills on 15 swings, a team-leading five blocks and two aces. Chemik Police (12-1, 37 points), which expands its first-place lead by a match and five standings points, returns to Polish Orlen Liga action on Jan. 16 against E.Leclerc Radomka Radom followed by Developres SkyRes Rzeszow on Jan. 20. In European Champions League action, Police (0-2) returns to action on Jan. 24 against Russia’s Dinamo Moscow (1-1).
LLOYD WITH PRAIA CLUBE IN BRAZIL: Setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California, Instagram) is playing for Praia Clube in the Brazilian Superliga this winter. Praia Clube also has former U.S. Women’s National Team member Nicole Fawcett playing at opposite. Praia Clube rallied to defeat SESC RJ 20-25, 25-16, 25-23, 26-24 on Jan. 11. Lloyd helped Praia Clube to a 37 kill percent as a team after starting the first three sets. She added one kill and one block for two individual points. Fawcett scored a team-leading 20 points with 18 kills on 41 swings and two blocks. Praia Clube (10-1, 30 points), which remains in first place in the Brazilian Superliga but with two fewer matches than undefeated Minas Tenis Clube (10-0, 28 points), starts the second half of the season on Jan. 18 against last-place Volei Balneario Camboriu (1-10, 4 points).
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 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. In the German Bundesliga, Stuttgart swept Rote Raben Vilsbiburg 25-20, 25-14, 25-15 on Jan. 9. Wilhite scored a match-high 11 points with eight kills on 13 errorless attacks and three blocks. She was credited with a 47 positive reception percent on 15 receptions. Rivers added six kills on 10 errorless attacks and a block. McCage scored four blocks and two kills for six points in the victory, while Tapp added two blocks, two kills and an ace for five points. Bugg, who started the first two sets, helped Stuttgart to a 39 kill percent as a team. Stuttgart handled VfB Suhl Lotto Thuringen 25-18, 25-15, 25-14 for its second win of the week. Rivers scored a match-high 15 points with 12 kills on 21 swings, two aces and a block. McCage added six blocks, two aces and two kills for 10 points. Wilhite, starting just the opening set, added four kills in the victory. Tapp, who started just the final set, scored an ace and block for two points. Bugg, a sub in the second set and starter in the third, recorded two points with a kill and ace. Stuttgart (10-0, 29 points), which is in first place, plays Potsdam on Jan. 16 in its next Bundesliga match. In the European Champions League, Stuttgart (1-1) resumes Champions League action on Jan. 23 against pool leader VakifBank (2-0).
BENSON WITH DRESDNER IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Libero Amanda Benson (Litchfield Park, Arizona, Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Dresdner SC in the German Bundesliga this winter. Dresdner defeated 12th-place VCO Berlin 25-19, 25-13, 25-11 on Jan. 12 in its first match of 2019. Benson did not play in the match. Dresdner (8-2, 24 points), in third place, resumes Bundesliga action on Jan. 16 against Straubing followed by a Jan. 19 contest against Munster.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Karsta Lowe never made the “A” team for her high school until she was a junior. She was also a competitive tennis player until that time.