COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (March 13, 2017) – Several U.S. Women’s National Team players are nearing the end of their overseas pro club regular seasons, but there is still a lot of volleyball to be played as most are on teams expected to go deep into the playoffs. Six athletes are also playing in the European Champions League quarterfinals slated for later this month and two are one match away from the CEV Cup semifinals.
LARSON, ADAMS WITH TURKEY’S ECZACIBASI: Outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska, Twitter, Instagram) and middle Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio, Twitter, Instagram), both members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team that won bronze in Rio, are playing for Eczacibasi of the Turkish League and as part of the European Champions League this winter. In the Turkish League, Eczacibasi swept Nilufer 25-23, 25-14, 25-21 on March 11. Adams scored eight kills on 11 swings and two aces on 18 serves for 10 points. Larson did not play against last-place Nilufer. Eczacibasi, which remains in third place with a 15-5 record, concludes the regular season on March 18 against 11th-place Sariyer. In Champions League Pool D, Eczacibasi finished Pool D in second place with a 4-2 record and advanced to the Playoff 6 (quarterfinal) round. Eczacibasi will face Turkish rival Fenerbahce in a home-and-home series with matches on March 23 and April 4 to determine which team advances to the semifinals on April 22.
HILL WITH TURKEY’S VAKIFBANK: Outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon, Instagram) a bronze medalist on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team, returns this winter to play for Turkey’s VakifBank and in the European Champions League. In the Turkish regular season, VakifBank recovered from its first league loss the previous week by defeating Canakkale 25-14, 25-27, 25-12, 25-10 on March 12. Hill totaled 14 points in the victory with 12 kills coming on 22 attacks and two aces on 19 serves. She was credited with a 45 positive reception percent on a team-best 29 reception chances. VakifBank, 19-1 overall in the Turkish League and two fewer losses than second-place Fenerbahce, concludes the regular season against Halkbank on March 18. In the European Champions League, VakifBank won Pool D of the group phase with a 6-0 record to advance to the Playoff 6 (quarterfinal) round. The squad will play Switzerland’s Volero Zurich in a home-and-home series with matches on March 23 and April 5.
CRIMES WITH TURKEY’S SARIYER: Middle Alexis Crimes (Rancho Cucamonga, California, Instagram), an alternate to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team, is competing for Sariyer in the Turkish League this winter. Sariyer fell to Besiktas 21-25, 25-18, 25-19, 25-20 on March 11. Crimes notched eight points with all via kills on 15 swings and just one error. Sariyer, in 11th place in the Turkish League with a 4-16 record, closes out the regular season on March 18 against third-place Eczacibasi (15-5).
ROBINSON, FAWCETT WITH ITALY’S CONEGLIANO: Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Bartlett, Illinois, Twitter, Instagram), a 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, and opposite Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio, Instagram) are playing in the Italian Serie A1 after transferring midseason from teams China and Turkey, respectively. In Italian Serie A action, first-place Conegliano held off seventh-place Unet Yamamay Busto Arsizio (10-10, 29 points) 22-25, 25-20, 25-20, 22-25, 15-9 on March 12. Robinson pocketed 15 points with 13 kills on 33 swings, one ace and one block. She added a 65 positive reception percent after receiving 63 of the team’s 89 total receptions. Fawcett turned in 16 points with 14 kills on 32 attacks, one block and one ace. Conegliano (18-2, 51 points), which wrapped up the top seed in the Italian playoffs with two matches remaining in the regular season, returns to regular season action on March 18 against sixth-place Liu Jo Nordmeccanica Modena (10-10, 30 points). In the European Champions League, Conegliano receives a bye in the Playoff 6 (quarterfinal round) as the host to the Final Four that will be staged April 22-23.
LLOYD, GIBBEMEYER WITH ITALY’S CASALMAGGIORE: Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California, Instagram), a 2016 Olympic bronze medalist setter for Team USA, and middle Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram) have returned to Italy to compete for Pomi Casalmaggiore in the Italian Serie A1 league and the CEV Cup. In CEV Cup action, Casalmaggiore held off Germany’s Allianz MTV Stuttgart 25-19, 25-19, 22-25, 21-25, 15-12 in a two-hour battle on March 7 in Stuttgart to open the 4th Finals home-and-home series. Lloyd set the squad to a 39 kill percent for the match and added two kills on three errorless swings, two blocks and an ace. Gibbemeyer collected 10 points with seven kills on 13 swings and three aces on 19 serves. Gibbemeyer served two of her aces in the deciding fifth set. Casalmaggiore will host Stuttgart on March 15 to conclude the series and determine which team advances to the semifinals. In the Italian League, Casalmaggiore got back on the winning side by beating fourth-place Foppapedretti Bergamo (14-6, 37 points) 25-19, 22-25, 25-22, 25-15 on March 11. Lloyd set Casalmaggiore to a 46 kill percent for the match while scoring six individual points with three kills on seven errorless attacks and three blocks. Gibbemeyer contributed four kills on 13 errorless swings to go with two blocks for six points. Casalmaggiore (15-5, 43 points), which remains in second place, resumes Italian League action on March 19 against fifth-place Savino Del Bene Scandicci (11-9, 32 points).
BARTSCH WITH ITALY’S BOLZANO: Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch (Maryville, Illinois, Instagram), an alternate on the U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team, is competing for Sudtirol Bolzano in the Italian Serie A1 this winter. Bolzano rallied to defeat 11th-place Saugella Team Monza (5-15, 17 points) 25-27, 25-18, 25-17, 25-19 on March 12. Bartsch notched 21 points with 17 kills on 42 swings, three aces on 23 serves and a block. She added a 73 positive reception percent on 33 of her team’s 75 total receptions. Bolzano (8-12, 28 points), which remains in eighth-place, returns to the court on March 19 against fourth-place Foppapedretti Bergamo (14-6, 37 points).
AKINRADEWO WITH SWITZERLAND’S VOLERO ZURICH: Middle Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Florida, Twitter, Instagram), the Best Blocker in the 2016 Olympic Games after leading the U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team to a bronze medal, is playing for Volero Zurich in the Swiss League and in the European Champions League. In the Swiss League, Volero swept second-place Sm’Aesch Pfeffingen 25-15, 25-8, 25-14 on March 8 before defeating third-place Hotel Cristal VFM (25-19, 25-19, 25-17 on March 11. Volero defeated VC Kanti Schaffhausen 25-22, 25-13, 25-17 on March 12 to conclude the regular season. Volero (27-0, 80 points) finished 17 points ahead of second-place Sm’Aesch Pfeffingen with six fewer losses. Volero will face eighth-seed VC Kanti Schaffhausen in the quarterfinal round. In the CEV Champions League, Volero finished the group playoff stage in second place with a 4-2 record to advance to the Playoff 6 (quarterfinal round). Volero will meet Turkey’s VakifBank in a home-and-home series on March 23 and April 5.
JACKSON WITH JAPAN’S HITACHI RIVALE: Middle Cursty Jackson (Los Angeles, Twitter, Instagram), who was part of the U.S. Women’s National Team most of the last Olympic quadrennial, is playing for Japan’s Hitachi Rivale. In the Final 3 playoffs, Hitachi lost to Hisamitsu Springs 25-17, 26-24, 25-17 on March 11. Jackson collected nine kills on 17 swings, two blocks and an ace for 12 points. In the rematch on March 12, Hisamitsu Springs closed out the two-match series with a 25-16, 20-25, 25-23, 25-21 victory. Jackson scored 14 kills on 25 attacks in the loss.
HANCOCK WITH POLAND’S IMPEL WROCLAW: Setter Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma, Twitter, Instagram), who played for the U.S. Women during the 2016 Pan American Cup and set the tournament record for aces in a match and tournament, is playing for Poland’s Impel Wroclaw in the Orlen Liga. Wroclaw beat eight-place KS Palac Bydgoszcz (7-17, 26 points) 23-25, 25-20, 17-25, 25-11, 15-8 on March 12. Hancock scored 13 points from her setter position, including five kills on nine attacks, six aces on 19 serves and two block. She set the team to a 44 kill percent for the match. American teammate Megan Courtney added nine points with seven kills on 28 attacks and two blocks. Wroclaw’s match with league-leader Chemik Police (22-0, 63 points) that was set for March 8 was pushed back to March 21. Wroclaw, in second place in the regular season with a 19-4 record and 58 points, will face 14th-place Legionovia Legionowo (5-19, 20 points) on March 16.