COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 1, 2016) – Several of the U.S. Women’s National Team members have helped their European CEV Champions League teams advance to the Playoff 12 Round this past week. Find out details in the latest Weekly Update, along with features on Karsta Lowe, Lauren Gibbemeyer and Kelsey Robinson.
DID YOU KNOW: Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) had a remarkable rookie season with the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2015. She ended the season with a team-leading 328 points and was one of three players who competed in at least 100 sets. Lowe held a .326 hitting efficiency and 50.5 kill percent while accumulating averages of 0.15 aces and 0.29 blocks per set.
- Named most valuable player of the 2015 FIVB World Grand Prix, her very first FIVB tournament
- Led all NCAA Division I players in kills per set (5.96) and points per set (6.60) in 2014.
- Earned the prestigious Capital One Academic All-America Third-Team by College Sports Information Directors of America in 2014 along with a nominee for Lowe’s Senior Class Award, the nation’s premier award for NCAA senior student-athletes
- Never made the ‘A’ volleyball team until her junior year of high school
- Started her UCLA volleyball career as a walk-on before earning a college scholarship.
- Graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in geography/environmental studies, but had never lived outside of Southern California before starting her professional volleyball career.
- Played tennis competitively until middle of high school and her favorite athlete is Maria Sharapova.
CATCHING UP WITH GIBBEMEYER: Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.), a graduate of University of Minnesota, was featured on her alma mater’s website. Find out her answers to what it has been like transitioning from college to pro volleyball, what is was like winning the Italian Championship last year, her favorite sports moment in her career has been, her favorite places to visit and more.
24-HOURS BLOG SERIES BY KELSEY: Kelsey Robinson (Bartlett, Ill.) is exploring parts Europe and reporting back what she sees during a 24-hour trip to cities during her off-days. In her latest trip, Robinson visits London for a day and blogs about her trip. “One of the greatest parts of my job is the ability to travel to foreign places on a whim,” Robinson said. “The downfall, however, is that I often have to take these adventures in one day. So how do you spend 24 hours in a place like Florence or Pisa? I’ve got you covered.”
LARSON, KREKLOW WITH TURKEY’S ECZACIBASI: Outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) and setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) are playing for Eczacibasi of the Turkish League this winter, along with the CEV Champions League. In European CEV Champions League Pool C action, Eczacibasi came back from a two-set deficit to defeat Pomi Casalmaggiore 23-25, 20-25, 25-18, 25-22, 15-8 on Jan. 27 in the final league round match. Larson carried her squad with a match-high 24 points including 18 kills on 45 swings, three blocks and three aces. She contributed 18 receptions with a 39 positive percent. Kreklow, still recovering from an injury, subbed in briefly during the second set. Eczacibasi finished the round with identical 4-2 record with Casalmaggiore, but finished second due to standings points. Eczacibasi moves into the Playoff 12 Round to face Turkish League rival VakifBank. In the Turkish League, Eczacibasi continues to charge back up the league standings with a 20-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-18 victory over Idman Ocagi on Jan. 30. Larson hammered down 22 kills on 32 attacks with just one error to go with two blocks for 24 points. She also handled 21 receptions with an 81 positive percent. Fourth-place Eczacibasi (10-4, 29 points) takes on sixth-place Nilufer on Feb. 6 in the next Turkish League match.
HILL WITH TURKEY’S VAKIFBANK: Outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Ore.), the MVP of the 2014 FIVB World Championship, is playing for VakifBank in the Turkish League and CEV Champions League this winter. In the European Champions League Pool B, VakifBank edged Italy’s Igor Gorgonzola Novara 25-20, 21-25, 25-21, 21-25, 15-12 on Jan. 27 to conclude the first round undefeated Hill, who started the third and fourth sets, totaled seven kills on 21 swings with a 62 positive reception percent on 13 chances. VakifBank (6-0, 17 points), which won Pool B, now moves into the Playoff 12 Round to face Turkish rival Eczacibasi in a home-and-home series Feb. 10 and Feb. 24. In the Turkish League, VakifBank overcame its first league loss in defeating HalkBank 25-10, 25-18, 25-19 on Jan. 30. Hill charted 11 kills on 21 attacks and a block for a team-high 12 points. She chipped in 14 receptions in the victory. VakifBank (13-1, 38 points), now in second place, looks to win a second match in a row on Feb. 6 as it faces league-leader Fenerbahce.
JACKSON WITH TURKEY’S GALATASARAY: Middle blocker Cursty Jackson (Los Angeles, California) is competing for Galatasaray of the Turkish League this winter. In CEV Cup action, Galatasaray swept the CEV Cup 4th Final Round series with Switzerland’s Volley Koniz after winning the second match 25-21, 25-14, 24-26, 25-17 on Jan. 27. Jackson pocketed eight kills on 17 attacks and a block for nine points in the victory. Galatasaray now advances to the CEV Cup Challenge Round to take on Poland’s Impel Wroclaw in the home-and-home series Feb. 11 and Feb. 24. In the Turkish League, Galatasaray swept Salihli 25-17, 25-16, 25-19 on Jan. 31 to remain in the top of half of the standings. Jackson powered home 13 points with nine kills on 15 attacks, two blocks and two aces. Galatasaray (12-2, 32 points), in third place, faces fifth-place Sariyer on Feb. 6 in the next Turkish League match.
DIETZEN WITH TURKEY’S FENERBAHCE: Middle blocker Christa Dietzen (Hopewell Township, Pa.) is competing this winter for Fenerbahce in the Turkish League and CEV Champions League. In European CEV Champions League Pool E action, Fenerbahce finished the league round undefeated following a 25-22, 25-15, 25-23 victory over Germany’s Dresdner SC on Jan. 27. Dietzen contributed three kills and two blocks for five points in the victory. Fenerbahce (6-0, 17 points), one of three teams to finish undefeated in the six-match league round, challenges Poland’s Chemik Police in the Playoff 12 Round in the home-and-home series Feb. 9 and Feb. 23. Fenebahce eased by Ilbank 25-16, 25-16, 25-23 on Jan. 30 in the Turkish League. Dietzen compiled nine kills on 19 attacks with just one error to go with five blocks for 14 points. Fenerbahce (12-1, 40 points) meets second-place VakifBank on Feb. 6 in the next Turkish League match.
AKINRADEWO, NATALIE HAGGLUND, VANSANT WITH SWITZERLAND’S VOLERO ZURICH: Middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.), libero Natalie Hagglund (Encinitas, Calif.) and Krista Vansant (Redlands, Calif.) are playing for Volero Zurich in the Swiss League as well as the CEV Champions League. In CEV Champions League Pool D action, Volero finished the league round undefeated after defeating Russia’s Uralochka-NTMK Ekaterinburg 19-25, 25-18, 25-11, 25-12 on Jan. 26. Akinradewo, playing just the first three sets, tallied three kills on five swings and two blocks in the victory. Vansant was a sub in the second and fourth sets. Volero (6-0, 18 points), which won Pool D with an eight-point lead over Uralochka, moves into the Playoff 12 Round against Azerbaijan’s Lokomotiv Baku with home-and-home matches on Feb. 10 and Feb. 25. Volero improved to 15-0 in the Swiss League by stopping fifth-place Volley Koniz 25-13, 25-17, 25-19 on Jan. 30. Volero, which has not lost a set in the Swiss League, faces last-place Volley Toggenburg I on Feb. 6 in the next Swiss League match.
GLASS, ROBINSON, EASY, ADAMS ALL WITH ITALY’S IMOCO CONEGLIANO: Setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.), the 2013 and 2014 USA Volleyball Female Athlete of the Year, outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Bartlett, Ill.), outside hitter Megan Easy (Boston, Mass.), a 2012 Olympic silver medalist, and Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio) are all playing for Imoco Volley Conegliano of the Italian Serie A1 League this winter. Conegliano won its seventh consecutive match by edging second-place Pomi Casalmaggiore 25-22, 25-15, 23-25, 13-25, 15-10 on Jan. 31. Megan Easy slammed down a match-high 23 points with 20 kills on 56 swings and three blocks. She added a 57 positive reception percent on 60 of her team’s 88 receptions. Robinson added 13 kills on 41 swings and a block for 14 points, along with a 64 positive reception percent on 14 chances. Adams chipped in seven kills on 14 attacks and a team-high five blocks for 12 points. Glass set the squad to a 39 kill percent and chipped in two aces and a kill. Conegliano (12-3, 35 points) will seek an eighth straight win on Feb. 7 when it faces 12th-place Suditrol Bolzano (3-12, 10 points) on Feb. 3 followed by ninth-place Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio (6-9, 18 points) on Feb. 6.
GIBBEMEYER, LLOYD WITH ITALY’S POMI CASALMAGGIORE: Middle blocker Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.) and setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif.), the MVP of the Pan American Games, are playing for Pomi Casalmaggiore of the Italian Serie A1 league this winter and the CEV Champions League. In CEV Champions League Pool C, group leader Casamaggiore lost its final league round match to Turkey’s Eczacibasi 23-25, 20-25, 25-18, 25-22, 15-8 on Jan. 27. Gibbemeyer totaled 11 points with five kills on 18 swings and six blocks in the loss. Lloyd set the squad to a 32 kill percent while adding an individual kill and block. Despite the loss, Casalmaggiore ended the double-round robin four-team playoff in first place with a 4-2 record and 13 points, two points more than second-place Eczacibasi. Casalmaggiore has also been selected to host the semifinals and finals of the Champions League April 9-10. In the Italian Serie A1, Pomi Casalmaggiore nearly recovered from a two-set deficit to league leader Conegliano before losing 25-22, 25-15, 23-25, 13-25, 15-10 on Jan. 31. Gibbemeyer scored 11 kills on 20 attacks with just one error, while Lloyd set the team to a 36 kill percent. Casalmaggiore (11-4, 34 points) faces eighth-place Metalleghe Sanitars Montichiari (8-7, 21 points) on Feb. 3 and is idle over the weekend.
FAWCETT WITH ITALY’S NOVARA: Opposite Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio), most valuable player of the 2015 NORCECA Championship and the 2016 NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament, transferred to Italy’s Igor Gorgonzola Novara after completing the short-season Chinese professional league. In the CEV Champions League, Novara (2-4, 7 points) lost to VakifBank 25-20, 21-25, 25-21, 21-25, 15-12 on Jan. 27 to conclude the league round in third place. Fawcett started the first three sets and scored eight kills on 25 attacks and a block for nine points. Novara will now take part in the CEV Cup Challenge phase with a home-and-home series against Azeryol Baku on Feb. 11 and Feb. 23. In the Italian Serie A, fourth-place Novara (11-3, 32 points) was idle this past weekend. They will face 13th-place Il Bisonte Firenze (2-13, 6 points) on Feb. 3 and fifth-place LIU JO Modena (10-5, 29 points) on Feb. 7.
LOWE, JENNA HAGGLUND WITH ITALY’S BUSTO ARSIZIO: Opposite Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.), MVP of the 2015 FIVB World Grand Prix, and setter Jenna Hagglund (West Chester, Ohio) are competing for Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio of the Italian Serie A1 League this winter. Busto Arsizio fell to LIU JO Modena 25-19, 25-20, 26-24 on Jan. 31. Lowe posted 16 points with 14 kills on 37 swings, one block and one ace. Hagglund tallied one kill while setting the team to a 31 kill percent. Busto Arsizio (6-9, 18 points), now in ninth place, will seek to get back on a winning streak next week with matches against 11th-place Obiettivo Risarcimento Vicenza (4-11, 10 points) on Feb. 3 and league-leader Imoco Volley Conegliano (12-3, 35 points) on Feb. 6.
THOMPSON WITH BRAZIL’S REXONA-ADES: Setter Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) has signed to compete for Rexona-Ades in the Brazilian Superliga. In a break from the Superliga regular season, Rexona-Ades topped Volei Nestle 25-22, 25-19, 20-25, 30-28 in the Brazil Cup semifinals on Jan. 30. In the Brazil Cup title match, Thompson led Rexona-Ades to a 25-19, 25-23, 25-18 victory to capture the cup title. Rexona-Ades (15-1, 43 points) resumes Brazilian Superliga action in first place on Feb. 2 against fifth-place Terracap/Brasilia Volei (8-8, 25 points) and versus eighth-place Pinheiros/Klar (6-10, 19 points) on Feb. 4.
KLINEMAN WITH BRAZIL’S PRAIA CLUBE: Opposite Alix Klineman (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) is competing for Praia Clube in the Brazilian Superliga this winter. Praia Clube topped Camponesa Minas 26-24, 25-22, 25-18 on Jan. 30 in the Brazil Cup semifinals. Unfortunately, Praia Clube was unable to defeat Rexona-Ades in the finals in a 25-19, 25-23, 25-18 loss. Praia Clube resumes the Brazilian Superliga regular season in second-place on Feb. 2 against sixth-place Sesi-Sao Paulo (8-8, 25 points) and on Feb. 5 against third-place Volei Nestle (12-4, 35 points).
HILDEBRAND WITH POLAND’S IMPEL WROCLAW: Outside hitter Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah) is competing this winter for Impel Wroclaw in the Polish League and CEV Champions League. In CEV Champions League Pool E, Impel Wroclaw lost a heartbreaking 25-18, 23-25, 25-16, 23-25, 15-11 match to Azerbaijan’s Telekom Baku to fall out of the Champions League playoffs. Hildebrand notched eight kills on 31 swings, four aces and two blocks for 14 points. She also handled 30 of her team’s 105 receptions. Impel Wroclaw falls down to the CEV Cup Challenge Round where it will play Turkey’s Galatasaray on Feb. 11 and Feb. 24 in a home-and-home series to determine who advances to the Final Phase of the Cup. In the Polish League, Impel Wroclaw fell to second-place PGE Atom Trefl Sopot (13-2, 38 points) 25-19, 25-17, 25-10 on Jan. 30. Hildebrand scored three kills, one block and one ace for five points. She also handled 13 receptions in the loss. Impel Wroclaw (12-3, 32 points), which remains in fourth place despite the loss, resumes Polish League action on Feb. 3 against eighth-place PTPS Pila (8-7, 23 points) and on Feb. 7 against seventh-place Polski Cukier Muszynianka Enea (8-7, 24 points).
PAOLINI WITH JAPAN’S HITACHI RIVALE: Middle blocker Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.), a middle blocker on Team USA, is playing her second consecutive season with Hitachi Rivale of the Japan V-League. Hitachi (13-8, 36 points) ended the regular season in third place and advance to the six-team V-League top-division playoffs. Paolini held the second-best kill percent with a 50.2 mark.
MURPHY WITH JAPAN’S AGEO MEDICS: Opposite Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.), Team USA’s leading scorer in 2013 and 2014, is playing her second season in the Japan V-League with Ageo Medics. Murphy ended the regular season ranked second in scoring with 507 points and a 6.03 per set scoring average. She averaged 5.42 kills per set, also second in the league. Murphy held a 17.3 serve efficiency for second-best in the league, while having 26 aces for third-place.
BARTSCH WITH GERMANY’S DRESDNER: Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch (Maryville, Ill.) is playing for Dresdner SC of the German Bundesliga and CEV Champions League this winter. In CEV Champions League Pool E action, Dresdner lost to Turkey’s Fenerbahce 25-22, 25-15, 25-23 on Jan. 27 to conclude the league phase. Bartsch scored seven points in the loss with five kills and two blocks. Dresdner (3-3, 7 points) ended the four-team group in second place to advance to the Playoff 12 Round to face Russia’s Dinamo Moscow on Feb. 10 and a second date to be determined in the home-and-home series. In the German Bundesliga, Dresdner was upset by sixth-place Allianz MTV Stuttgart 25-20, 25-12, 25-20 on Jan. 30. Bartsch scored 14 points with 10 kills on 21 attacks, three blocks and an ace in the loss. Dresdner (14-3, 41 points), which remains in first place in the league standings, returns to German Bundesliga action on Feb. 3 versus eighth-place Hamburg (8-9, 22 points) and on Feb. 6 against third-place Wiesbaden (11-6, 32 points).