COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 23, 2018) – Fresh of their CEV Cup title, Jordan Larson and Rachael Adams have led their Turkish club Team Eczacibasi to a 2-1 advantage over VakifBank in the Turkish League’s best-of-five championship series.
TRIVIA QUESTION: Which U.S. Women’s National Team player’s father was an NFL veteran of 11 seasons and hailed from New Zealand?
PRELIM ROSTER SET FOR VOLLEYBALL NATIONS LEAGUE: The U.S. Women’s National Team has set its 26-player preliminary roster for the inaugural FIVB Volleyball Nations League that officially opens the 2018 season.
- Setters (4): Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois), Lexi Dannemiller (West Chester, Ohio), Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma), Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California)
- Opposites (4): Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana), Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois), Krystal Rivers (Birmingham, Alabama), Aiyana Whitney (Norwood, New Jersey)
- Outside Hitters (8): Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois), Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio), Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon), Madi Kingdon (Hermosa Beach, California), Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska), Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California), Kadie Rolfzen (Papillion, Nebraska), Sarah Wilhite (Eden Prairie, Minnesota)
- Middle Blockers (7): Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio), Foluke Akinradewo (Fort Lauderdale, Florida), Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota), Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota), Molly McCage (Spring, Texas), Chiaka Ogbogu (Coppell, Texas), Paige Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota)
- Liberos (3): Amanda Benson (Litchfield Park, Arizona), Caroline Knop (Pasadena, California), Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, California)
Per FIVB regulations, the 26-player preliminary roster will be trimmed to 21 players by May 5, which every week’s 14-player roster must be selected from. Each country must declare its 14-player roster two days before the start of each week’s round-robin competition.
“Our 2018 eligibility roster contains a blend of experience and youth,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “From returning Olympic medalists to people barely out of college, we’re thrilled to see how this group comes together during a challenging five weeks of preliminary competition, and thrilled to be preparing for the first-ever Volleyball Nations League.”
The U.S. Women, ranked second in the world by the FIVB, open the FIVB Volleyball Nations League against No. 22 Poland on May 15, followed by No. 12 Turkey on May 16 and No. 7 Italy on May 17. All three USA matches begin at 7 p.m. CT. The matches will be played at the Devaney Center on the University of Nebraska campus.
LARSON, ADAMS WITH ECZACIBASI IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska, Instagram, Twitter), a two-time Olympic Games medalist, and middle Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio, Instagram, Twitter), a 2016 Olympic Games bronze medalist, are playing professionally with Eczacibasi in the Turkish League for the 2017-18 season. In the Turkish League, top-seeded Eczacibasi lost to second-seeded VakifBank 25-22, 25-17, 25-20 on April 17 to open the best-of-five Championship round series. Larson was held to four points – all on kills via 17 swings. She handled 22 receptions with a 64 positive percent. Adams was a sub in the final two sets with one kill on two swings and two serves. Eczacibasi bounced back to win the second match 20-25, 25-22, 26-24, 25-21 on April 19 to level the series at 1-1. Larson contributed 10 kills on 25 swings and a block for 11 points in the win. She was credited with a 69 positive reception percent on 16 chances. Adams was a sub in the opening set, registering two kills on four errorless attacks. Eczacibasi went up 2-1 in the series with a hard-fought 27-25, 19-25, 27-29, 26-24, 15-10 victory over VakifBank on April 22. Larson hammered 20 kills on 43 swings and added three aces on 23 serves for 23 points in the victory. She added 20 receptions with a 40 positive percent. Adams was a sub in the first three sets. Eczacibasi can claim the title at home on April 24 in match four.
ROBINSON WITH VAKIFBANK IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California, Instagram, Twitter, Website), a 2016 Olympic Games bronze medalist, is playing club volleyball with VakifBank in the Turkish professional league this winter. In the Turkish League, second-seeded VakifBank swept top-seeded Eczacibasi 25-22, 25-17, 25-20 on April 17 to open the best-of-five championship series. Robinson was a sub in all three sets in which she handled one reception with an excellent rating. VakifBank lost the second match 20-25, 25-22, 26-24, 25-21 on April 19 as the series evened at 1-1. Robinson was a sub in three of the four sets and handled three receptions with a 67 excellent percent. VakifBank took its second loss in the series with a 27-25, 19-25, 27-29, 26-24, 15-10 setback on April 22. Robinson was a sub in the last four sets, recording six receptions with a 50 excellent percent. She also served six times in the match as a back-row specialist. VakifBank is now in a must-win situation in match four on April 24 at Eczacibasi’s home facility. In European Champions League action, VakifBank face Italy’s Imoco Volley Conegliano in the semifinals on May 5. Robinson has launched her own website, www.nomandplay.com on her passions for play, travel and food. To read her latest blog on travel tricks and tips, click here.
HILL WITH CONEGLIANO IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon, Instagram), a 2016 Olympic Games bronze medalist, is playing for Imoco Volley Conegliano in the Italian Serie A1 this winter. Conegliano, seeded third in the Italian Serie A1 playoffs, lost to top-seeded Novara 25-23, 25-20, 25-21 on April 18 to open the best-of-five championship series. Hill scored eight points in the loss with seven kills on 18 swings and an ace. She added a 74 positive reception percent on 19 chances. American teammate Simone Lee was a sub in the third set. In the second match, Conegliano saved five consecutive set points after trailing 24-19 in the opening set to win 30-28 setting off a wild match on April 21. Conegliano appeared ready to win in three sets leading 23-21 in the middle set, only to see Novara come back and win 25-23 and taking the fourth set. Conegliano trailed 5-3 early in the tiebreaker, but rattled off six of the next seven points to take a 9-6 advantage en route to a 15-13 victory. Hill scored 16 points, all on kills via 41 swings. She was credited with an 89 positive reception percent in handling 38 of the team’s 95 receptions. The series continues April 25 with the third match followed by the fourth match on April 29. If necessary, the deciding fifth match will take place on May 2. In the European Champions League, Conegliano will face Turkey’s VakifBank on May 5 in the semifinals with the winner advancing to the finals on May 6.
GIBBEMEYER WITH NOVARA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: U.S. Women’s National Team middle Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota, Instagram, Twitter) is playing her 2017-18 professional season with Igor Gorgonzola Novara in the Italian Serie A1. In the Italian Serie A1 playoffs, top-seeded Novara swept third-seeded Conegliano 25-23, 25-20, 25-21 at Novara on April 18 to open the best-of-five championship round series. Gibbemeyer picked up three kills on seven errorless attacks, a team-best four blocks and an ace for eight points. For highlights of the match, click here. Novara lost a wild second match of the series 30-28, 25-15, 23-25, 20-25, 15-13 on April 21. Gibbemeyer pocketed nine kills on 23 swings and eight of the team’s 13 blocks for 17 points in the setback. The two teams will meet again on April 25 and April 29. If necessary, match five will be held on May 2.
PAIGE TAPP, McCAGE WITH ALLIANZ MTV STUTTGART IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Middles Paige Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota, Instagram, Twitter) and Molly McCage (Spring, Texas, Instagram), who were part of the U.S. Women’s National Team this past summer, are playing professionally this winter with Allianz MTV Stuttgart in the German Bundesliga. In the German Bundesliga playoffs, top-seeded Stuttgart lost to Schwerin 21-25, 25-22, 25-22, 21-25, 15-12 on April 21 to open the best-of-five championship series. McCage totaled 16 points with nine blocks, six kills on 17 attacks and an ace. Tapp added four kills and four blocks for eight points. Matches are scheduled for April 25 and April 28. If necessary, matches four and five will be played May 1 and May 5.
McMAHON WITH SOVERATO IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: U.S. Women’s National Team opposite Liz McMahon (Liberty Township, Ohio, Instagram) is playing for Volley Soverato in the Italian Serie A2 this winter. Soverato, seeded seventh in the playoffs, lost to fourth-seeded Battistelli S.G. Marignano 17-25, 25-17, 23-25, 25-20, 15-13 on April 18 to lose the best-of-three quarterfinal round series in straight matches. McMahon totaled 12 points with 10 kills on 27 swings and just one error to go with one block and one ace.
AMBER ROLFZEN WITH BEZIERS IN FRENCH LEAGUE: Middle Amber Rolfzen (Papillion, Nebraska, Instagram), who was part of the U.S. Women’s National Team this past summer, is competing with Beziers in the French League this winter. Beziers, the top seed in the French playoffs, defeated St. Raphael 25-22, 25-18, 26-24 on April 21 to open the best-of-three semifinal round series. Rolfzen pocketed three kills on eight swings and a block for four points. American teammate Krystal Rivers chipped in nine kills. The second match is scheduled for April 25, and if necessary, the tiebreaking match is scheduled for April 28.
DANNEMILLER WITH MULHOUSE IN FRENCH LEAGUE: Setter Lexi Dannemiller (West Chester, Ohio, Instagram, Twitter), a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team this past summer, is competing for ASPTT Mulhouse in the French League this winter. Mulhouse, seeded third in the playoffs, defeated sixth-seeded Pays d’Aix Venelles 19-25, 20-25, 25-18, 25-19, 15-8 in the final match of the best-of-three quarterfinal round series. Dannemiller started the first set as Mulhouse converted 26 percent of its attacks. Mulhouse opened its best-of-three semifinals with second-seed RC Cannes with a 25-11, 25-17, 25-15 loss on April 21. Dannemiller started the opening set, producing one block. Mulhouse must defeat RC Cannes on April 26 to force a tiebreaking match on April 28. The second match is scheduled for April 25, and if necessary, the tiebreaking match is scheduled for April 28.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Tori Dixon’s father David played 11 seasons in the National Football League and is the second player from New Zealand to compete in the NFL.