COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 24, 2020) – The U.S. Women’s National Team held its open tryout this past weekend where 204 athletes were evaluated for pipeline teams into the program, while Foluke Akinradewo appeared on the Project Runway stage on an episode aired on Bravo.
U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM OPEN TRYOUT: The U.S. Women’s National Team held its annual open tryout Feb. 21-23 at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center with 204 athletes participating in Colorado Springs. The athletes were being evaluated for the U.S. Collegiate National Team (56 spots) and potential U.S. Women’s National Team inclusion including at the Spring Training Camp.
“We are so appreciative as every year over 200 people come and play their hearts out, end up exhausted, put in a lot of energy and passion and effort into it,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “It is energizing to be around so many people playing so hard and hungry to do more in the sport. It turned out to be a big success.” Kiraly said the open tryout is essential for the future success of national team. “It is always important for our U.S. Women’s National Team coaching staff to keep an eye out for the development pipeline. Once people get beyond high school, it is playing in college … also hopefully staying involved in our summer Collegiate National Team program. We want to do our best to facilitate people’s development if they have aspirations to someday work their way into the U.S. Women’s Senor National Team gym. Some of the players who were here at the tryout will be joining us at our Spring Training Camp.”
ITALIAN LEAGUE SUSPENDS PLAY DUE TO CORONAVIRUS: With the spread of coronavirus into many regions of Italy, the Italian Volleyball Federation along with its Italian Men’s and Women’s Serie A leagues have moved to suspend league action until at least March 1 as recommended by the country’s health officials. The U.S. Women’s National Team has 10 players competing on eight different teams, along with several other Americans throughout the league.
AKINRADEWO MODELS ON PROJECT RUNWAY: Foluke Akinradewo appeared on last week’s episode of Project Runway on television station Bravo. Akinradewo remembers watching the program as far back as 2008 at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, and now it has come full circle with her being a model on the show. She wrote on her Instagram page: “Back when I was pregnant with our sweet baby boy, I had the unique opportunity to model in an episode of Project Runway. I remember watching the show with Alix Klineman back in 2008 at Olympic Training Center. How fitting I got to film their Olympic Game Plan episode. I was honored to meet such talented designers. And I was exceptionally honored to share the stage with some badass and inspirational Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Dream comes true!” For those who missed the episode, it will air again on Feb. 27 – check your local listings.
11 AMERICANS IN EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTERFINALS: All 11 members of the U.S. Women’s National Team competing the European Champions League this year have advanced to the quarterfinals. Imoco Volley Conegliano with Kim Hill and Chiaka Ogbogu won Pool D with a 6-0 record, while Igor Gorgonzola Novara with Megan Courtney and Micha Hancock won Pool C with a 5-1 record. Michelle Bartsch-Hackley was added late to the VakifBank roster this winter and has helped them win Pool B with a 5-1 record. Dinamo Moscow and Lauren Carlini won Pool E with a 4-2 record. Kelsey Robinson and Jordan Thompson helped Fenebahce into the quarterfinal by placing second in Pool A with a 4-2 record. Krystal Rivers, Simone Lee and Jenna Rosenthal helped Allianz MTV Stuttgart into the quarterfinals by finishing second in Pool C with a 4-2 record. Quarterfinal matches have Fenerbahce facing Novara in a home-and-home series March 5 and March 11. VakifBank meets Dinamo Moscow on March 3 and March 12 in their home-and-home series. Conegliano plays Stuttgart in the home-and-home quarterfinals on March 4 and March 10. All matches are scheduled to stream on FloVolleyball.tv.
ROBINSON, THOMPSON WITH FENERBAHCE IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Website) and Jordan Thompson (Edina, Minnesota, Instagram, Twitter) are playing for Fenerbahce in the Turkish League and European Champions League this winter. In the European Champions Cup, finished Pool A in second place following a convincing 25-17, 25-12, 25-14 victory over LP Salo on Feb. 18. Roinbson scored eight kills on 13 errorless attacks and one block for nine points in starting the first two sets. Thompson did not play in the match, Fenebahce (4-2, 14 points), which finish second place in Pool A, faces Italy’s Igor Gorgonzola Novara in the home-and-home quarterfinals on March 5 and March 11. In the Turkish league, Fenerbahce turned back Beylikduzu 25-6, 25-8, 25-11 on Feb. 22. Robinson tallied eight kills on 12 attacks and two aces on nine serves for 10 points. She was credited with an 80 positive reception percent on five chances. Thompson chipped in seven kills on 14 swings and two aces on six serves. Fenerbahce (14-4, 42 points), now in third place, plays eighth-place Aydin B.Sehir Bld (8-10, 23 points) on Feb. 25 followed by ninth-place Nilufer (6-12, 17 points) on March 1.
BARTSCH-HACKLEY WITH VAKIFBANK IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois, Instagram, Twitter) has transferred to VakifBank in the Turkish League and the European Champions League after finishing the Chinese League season with a third-place finish. In the European Champions League, VakifBank downed Lokomotiv Kalinggrad 25-22, 25-11, 25-18 on Feb. 18. Bartsch-Hackley recorded 11 points with eight kills on 23 attacks, two blocks and an ace. She handled 17 receptions with a 71 positive reception percent. VakifBank (5-1, 15 points), which finished atop Pool B, plays Pool E winner Dinamo Moscow in the home-and-home quarterfinal round on March 3 and March 12. In the Turkish League, VakifBank stopped ninth-place Nilufer 25-20, 23-25, 25-21, 25-10 on Feb. 23. Bartsch-Hackley collected 11 kills on 35 swings and was credited with a 71 position reception percent on 17 chances. VakifBank (17-1, 51 points), in first place in the Turkish League, takes on 10th-place Karayollari (4-14, 16 points) on Feb. 26 before meeting 11th-place Besiktas (3-15, 8 points) on Feb. 29.
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 CEV Challenge Cup, THY defeated Asko Linz-Steg 25-14, 25-17, 25-15 on Feb. 20 in Austria to open the 4th Finals Round home-and-home series. Kingdon-Rishel did not play in the match. THY can advance to the CEV Cup semifinals with a victory on the series finale on March 4. In the Turkish League, THY stormed past Besiktas 25-9, 25-12, 25-11 on Feb. 23. Kingdon-Rishel contributed six kills on 12 errorless attacks, three aces and a block. THY (9-9, 30 points), now in fifth places, resumes action on Feb. 27 against fourth-place Galatasaray (13-5, 39 points) followed by a March 1 contest versus second-place Eczacibasi (17-1, 48 points).
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 swept RC Cannes 25-22, 25-20, 25-22 on Feb. 18 to move into the home-and-home quarterfinal round. Carlini set Dinamo to a 38 kill percent and added two individual kills. Dinamo finished group play with a 4-2 record and will now face Pool B winner VakifBank in the quarterfinals on March 3 and March 12. In the Russia Super League, Dinamo Moscow defeated Minchanka 25-15, 25-15, 25-6 on Feb. 22 to conclude the regular season. Carlini set Dinamo Moscow to a 48 kill percent while adding four aces on 23 serves. Moscow (10-6, 32 points) finished the regular season in fourth place and will challenge fifth-place Proton in the playoffs.
RIVERS, LEE, ROSENTHAL WITH STUTTGART IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Opposite Krystal Rivers (Birmingham, Alabama, Instagram, Twitter), opposite Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, 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. Further, Americans Ainise Havili and Jennifer Hamson are playing for Stuttgart. In European Champions League, Stuttgart blanked Khimik Yuzhny 25-21, 25-19, 25-17 on Feb. 18 to finish second in Pool C and advance to the quarterfinals. Rivers provided 19 points with 18 kills on 28 swings and a block. Lee added 14 kills on 24 swings and a 73 positive reception percent on 11 chances. Havili started the first two sets helping Stuttgart to a 59 kill percent for the match. Stuttgart meets Pool C winner Imoco Volley Conegliano in the home-and-home semifinals on March 4 and March 10. In the German Bundesliga, Stuttgart swept Aachen 25-19, 26-24, 25-23 in a close three-set battle on Feb. 22. Rivers pocketed 11 kills on 23 swings and three blocks for 14 points. Lee added 12 kills on 26 attacks with a 44 positive reception percent on 18 chances. Rosenthal started all three sets and had just two attacks. Stuttgart (13-3, 40 points), now in second place, returns to German Bundesliga action on Feb. 26 against Suhl followed by Erfurt on Feb. 29.
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. In the CEV Cup, Schwerin defeated Asterix Avo Beveren 16-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-13 in the 4th Finals Round opener on Feb. 20 in Belgium. Wong-Orantes did not play in the match while Barfield collected two kills and an ace. Schwerin can close out the series on March 3 and advance to the CEV Cup semifinals. In the German Bundesliga, Schwerin rallied from a two-set deficit to defeat Dresdner 21-25, 19-25, 25-20, 25-23, 15-12 on Feb. 22. Wong-Orantes did not play in the match. Schwerin (14-1, 40 points), which leads the league, returns to action on Feb. 26 against seventh-place Straubing (9-8, 24 points) followed by a Feb. 29 match against ninth-place Wiesbaden (5-11, 13 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, Dresdner los to AO Thiras Santorini on Feb. 19 in Greece to open their 4th Finals Round home-and-home series. Rolfzen picked up 15 points with 12 kills, two blocks and an ace. Dresdner will now need to win the return match at home in Germany on March 4 along with the golden set to advance to the semifinals. In the German Bundesliga, Dresdner lost to league-leader Schwerin 21-25, 19-25, 25-20, 25-23, 15-12 in a thrilling five-set match. Rolfzen totaled nine kills, four aces and three blocks for 16 points. She handled 25 receptions with a 48 positive percent. Dresdner (9-8, 28 points), in fourth place, returns to German Bundesliga action on Feb. 26 against eighth-place Munster (7-9, 20 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, Beziers swept Germany’s Aachen 25-20, 25-21, 25-18 on to start the 4th Finals Round home-and-home series on Feb. 19 in Germany. Seliger-Swenson set Beziers to a 48 kill percent and added two kills on two attacks, one ace and one block for four points. Beziers can advance to the CEV Challenge Cup semifianls with a win on March 4. In the French League, Beziers defeated France Avenir 2024 25-14, 25-19, 25-20 on Feb. 22. Seliger-Swenson set Beziers to a 32 kill percent and scored an ace. Smith tallied five kills, one block and one ace for seven points in a starting role. She handled 19 receptions with a 100 positive percent. Beziers (17-5, 51 points), which is in third place, resumes French League action on Feb. 29 against fifth-place Le Cannet (17-5, 49 points).
JONES-PERRY WITH E.LECLERC RADOMKA IN POLISH LEAGUE: Outside hitter Roni Jones-Perry (West Jordan, Utah, Instagram, Twitter) has transferred to Poland’s E.Leclerc Radomka in the Polish League after playing with Brescia earlier this year in the Italian Serie A1. Radomka defeated Bank Pocztowy Palac Bydgoszcz 25-23, 25-16, 25-21 on Feb. 17. Jones-Perry carried 13 kills on 26 attacks, two blocks and one ace for 16 points. Radomka swept Wisla Warsaw 25-20, 25-20, 25-10 on Feb. 22. Jones-Perry, who was a sub in the first two sets and starter in the third, provided seven kils, two aces and a block for 10 points. Radomka (7-13, 20 points), now in 10th place, returns to action on Feb. 25 against second-place Developres SkyRes Rzeszow (19-1, 53 points).
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). Neuchatel edged Volley Lugano 25-11, 19-25, 25-17, 22-25, 16-14 on Feb. 22, coming back from a 12-10 deficit in the tiebreaking set. Benson was 61 percent positive on 18 chances. Holt collected 26 points with a 46 positive reception percent on 39 chances. Scambray added 20 points with a 50 positive reception percent on 22 chances. Neuchatel takes a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series with Lugano with the third match taking place on Feb. 27, and if necessary, match four will be on Feb. 29 and the tiebreaker on March 1.
OGBOGU, HILL WITH CONEGLIANO IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Middle Chiaka Ogbogu (Coppell, Texas, Instagram, Twitter) and outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon, Instagram) are playing in the Italian Serie A1 and European Champions League for Imoco Volleyball Conegliano this winter. In European Champions League, Conegliano proved too much for Nantes in sweeping the French club 25-23, 25-19, 25-17 on Feb. 18 to claim the top spot in Pool C. Ogbogu tallied seven kills on 10 swings and a block for eight points in the victory. Hill did not play in the match. Conegliano now advances to the home-and-home quarterfinals where it will meet Pool C second-place Allianz MTV Stuttgart on March 4 and March 10. In the Italian Serie A1 regular season, Conegliano had its Feb. 23 match with Bosca Sao Bernardo Cuneo suspended due to ministerial decree in regards to the coronavirus. Conegliano (18-1, 54 points), which is in first place with a six-point lead, were scheduled to return to action on Feb. 26 versus fourth-place Savino Del Benne Scandicci followed by Bartoccini Fortinfissi Perugia on Feb. 29, but those matches now postponed as well.
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. In the CEV Cup, Busto Arsizio lost to Dinamo Kazan 25-17, 25-12, 25-20 to open their 4th Finals Round home-and-home series on Feb. 20 in Russia. Lowe scored seven kills in the loss while Washington added six kills. Busto Arsizio needs to defeat Dinamo Kazan in three or four sets on March 4 then win a golden set to advance to the CEV Cup semifinals. In the Italian Serie A1 regular season, had its Feb. 23 match with Zanetti Bergamo postponed due to a ministerial decree in regards to the coronavirus. Busto Arsizio (16-3, 48 points), which remains in second place, was set to face Bosca Sao Bernardo Cuneo on Feb. 26 followed by Savino Del Benne Scandicci on Feb. 29 before the league suspended action until at least March 1 due to the coronavirus threat.
COURTNEY, HANCKOCK WITH NOVARA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Libero/outside hitter Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio, Instagram) and setter Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma, Instagram, Twitter) are playing for Igor Gorgonzola Novara in the Italian Serie A1 and European Champions League this winter. In European Champions League, Novara swept KLS Commercecon Lodz 25-21, 25-20, 26-24 on Feb. 18 to claim the top spot in Pool C. Courtney turned in six kills on 17 attacks and a match-hIgh six blocks. She was credited with a 75 positive reception percent on 12 chances. Hancock set Novara to a 43 kill percent while adding two kills and a block for three points. Novara (5-1, 14 points) moves into the home-and-home quarterfinal round against Turkey’s Fenerbahce with matches on March 5 and March 11. In the Italian Serie A1 regular season, Novara had its Feb. 23 match with Golden Tulip Volalto 2.0 Caserta postponed due to a ministerial decree in regards to the coronavirus. Novara (13-6, 38 points), now in third place, was scheduled to play fifth-place Saugella Monza on Feb. 26 and Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri on March 1 before the league suspended play through March 1.
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 had its match with Lardini Filottrano postponed due to a ministerial decree for the coronavirus. Chieri (8-11, 27 points), now in seventh place, was scheduled to play Pomi Casalmaggiore on Feb. 26 followed by Igor Gorgonzola Novara on Feb. 29 before the league postponed competition through at least March 1 due to the coronavirus.
PLUMMER WITH MONZA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Kathryn Plummer (Aliso Viejo, California, Instagram, Twitter) has signed her first professional contract to play for Saugella Monza in the Italian Serie A1. In the Italian Serie A1, Monza edged Pomi Casalmaggiore 20-25, 26-24, 25-20, 19-25, 15-11 on Feb. 22. Plummer, who started the first three sets, tallied eight kills on 14 swings, two blocks and an ace for 11 points. She handled 18 receptions with a 67 positive percent. Monza (12-8, 36 points), which is in fifth place, was set to return to action on Feb. 26 against third-place Igor Gorgonzola Novara followed by Banca Valsabbina Millenium Brescia on Feb. 29 before the league suspended matches and training through at least March 1.
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 fourth-place Savino Del Bene Scandicci 25-21, 29-31, 25-16, 25-14 on Feb. 23. Foecke recorded 10 kills on 32 swings, one ace and one block for 12 points. She handled 20 receptions with a 65 positive percent. Firenze (8-12, 24 points), now in ninth place, was scheduled to play Zanetti Bergamo on Feb. 26 followed by Pomi Casalmaggiore on March 1 before the league suspended all training an play through March 1 due to the coronavirus.
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 Suagella Monza 202-5, 26-24, 25-20, 19-25, 15-11 on Feb. 22. Cuttino scored eight kills on 22 attacks, two blocks and an ace for 11 points. Casalmaggiore (11-9, 34 points), now in sixth place, was scheduled to play Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri on Feb. 26 followed by Il Bisonte Firenze on March 1 before the league suspended all training and competitions through March 1 due to the outbreak of coronavirus in Italy.
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 (11-7, 36 points), currently in fifth place, returns to action on Feb. 28 against second-place Itambe Minas (16-2, 48 points).