COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 15, 2016) – The U.S. Women’s National Team is qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games and nearly all are competing overseas in pro leagues getting ready for the all-important Olympic season. Meanwhile, athletes for the 2020 Olympic cycle will be exposed to the National Team coaches at this weekend’s U.S. Women’s National Team Open Tryouts held Feb. 19-21 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
DID YOU KNOW: Megan Easy (Boston), a 2012 Olympic silver medalist, is returning to form after missing nearly all of 2013 and 2014. She is competing in Italy’s Serie A with league-leader Conegliano after a productive 2015 U.S. National Team season.
- Born in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands where both her parents played for the U.S. Virgin Islands National Volleyball Team
- As a member of USA Jump Rope, won silver in the 12-14 Age Division at the World Championship in Belgium
- Named most valuable player and Best Scorer of the 2012 FIVB World Grand Prix as she won her third consecutive World Grand Prix gold medal
- Selected co-Honda Broderick Cup Award winner for best female collegiate athlete in all sports in 2009-2010
- Missed most of 2013 season after getting married to Dr. Omar Easy, who was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs, then missed all of the 2014 while pregnant with her first child
- Four-time AVCA All-America First-Team Selection
- In 2009 named Honda Award winner for Volleyball, AVCA Division I National Player of the Year and ESPN the Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year as Penn State won its third consecutive NCAA Division I title
- Member of the 2006 U.S. Women’s Junior National Team after earning spots on the 2004 and 2005 U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team.
- Won Best Attacker in the 2004 NORCECA Girls’ Youth Continental Championship, then competed in the 2005 FIVB Girls’ Youth World Championship
- Played junior club volleyball for North Carolina’s Triangle 18s where she became the first-ever Carolina Region player to be named to USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships all-tournament team
- Named Gatorade National High School Player of the Year in 2006
NATIONAL TEAM OPEN TRYOUTS: The annual U.S. Women’s National Team Open Tryouts will take place Feb. 19-21 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The tryout will evaluate approximately 231 athletes from 88 colleges from across the country for spots on the U.S. Women’s National Team and the U.S. Collegiate National Team program.
U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly and his staff will direct the entire tryout process. The tryout will involve four sessions with three waves per session. Friday’s first session goes from 2-8 p.m. MT, while Saturday’s sessions are at 8 a.m. (focus on serve/receive and individual work) and 2 p.m. (middle-centered and out-of-system focus). The tryout concludes on Sunday at 8 a.m. with tournament style play, along with 16-18 athletes selected by the staff to participate in a “USA” training session.
All sessions of the tryout will be streamed live. USA Volleyball will use #USAVTryout as the tryout hashtag for photos, notes, quotes and stories posted to its social media platforms Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram under the handle @usavolleyball. Be sure to watch the live stream and follow on Snapchat as USA Volleyball will be following a couple athletes throughout the entire process for behind the scenes access.
Selected athletes for the U.S. Women’s National Team may begin their training in Anaheim, Calif., as early as the spring of 2016, or when an athlete’s scholastic or professional club season has concluded.
The U.S. Collegiate National Team program has three competition options:
- Tour of China (12 athletes): June 18-July 1
- Tour of Europe (12 athletes): July 5-16
- USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships (projected 36 athletes): June 21-30 in Indianapolis
Selections for the U.S. Collegiate National Teams will be made by the end of March.
BEST OF JANUARY: The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team has been named Best of January for the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, the United States Olympic Committee announced today. The U.S. Women qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games by winning the four-team NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament held Jan. 7-9 in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Americans defeated Canada, Puerto Rico and Dominican to earn one of 12 spots into the 2016 Olympic Games. The title-clinching victory over Dominican Republic was broadcast live on NBC Sports with 10,213 fans watching in Pinnacle Bank Arena. The U.S. has now won six of its last seven tournaments dating back to the 2014 FIVB World Championship title it won in Italy. The Americans have now earned berths into the Olympic Games for the ninth consecutive time. Team USA returns to action in June when it defends its FIVB World Grand Prix title won last July in Omaha. The Americans will host Japan, Turkey and Germany June 17-19 during the second preliminary round weekend in Long Beach, California.
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 10 straight match, but was stretched to the limits before defeating eighth-place Metalleghe Sanitars Montichiari 22-25, 25-18, 26-28, 25-21, 15-13 on Feb. 14. Megan Easy scored a match-high 31 points with 25 kills on 54 attacks, five blocks and an ace. She also contributed a 58 percent reception percent on 48 of the team’s 101 total receptions. Adams followed with an impressive 26 points with 21 kills on 28 attacks and just one error to go with five blocks. Robinson chipped in 11 kills on 33 swings, two blocks and two aces for 15 points. Glass set the squad to a 48 kill percent for the match and added two individual kills on three attacks. Conegliano (15-3, 43 points) will seek its 11th straight win on Feb. 21 when it faces second-place Nordmeccanica Piacenza (13-5, 42 points).
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 Cup Challenge Round, Novara lost to Azerbaijan’s Azeryol Baku 25-19, 25-17, 23-25, 25-17 on Feb. 11 to open the home-and-home series. Fawcett scored seven kills and a block for eight points. Novara needs to defeat Baku in the second match on Feb. 23 to force a golden set with the chance to advance to the semifinal round. In the Italian Serie A, Novara edged Pomi Casalmaggiore 25-19, 25-21, 18-25, 23-25, 15-11 on Feb. 13 to close the gap on the third-place team in the league standings. Fawcett, playing on the left side versus her normal opposite position with the U.S. Women’s National Team, scored nine kills on 28 attacks to go with two aces. She also handled seven receptions. “I signed here to be an outside and the past two seasons in Korea and China I was put on the left, so it doesn’t feel uncomfortable for me,” Fawcett said in regards to playing as outside hitter. “I have also played right side in matches here because of some different circumstances, so I still get a little time on the right as well.” Novara (13-4, 37 points), in fourth place, returns to Italian League action on Feb. 21 against eighth-place Metalleghe Sanitars Montichiari (8-10, 23 points).
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 the Italian Serie A1, Pomi Casalmaggiore nearly recovered from a two-set deficit to Igor Gorgonzola Novara before falling 25-19, 25-21, 18-25, 23-25, 15-11 on Feb. 13. Gibbemeyer placed nine points in the scoresheet with eight kills on 24 attacks and just one error to go with a block. Lloyd set the squad to a 34 kill percent while chipping in two blocks. Casalmaggiore (12-5, 38 points), now in third place, faces ninth-place Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio (7-11, 21 points) on Feb. 21. Casalmaggiore has also been selected to host the semifinals and finals of the CEV Champions League April 9-10, thus bypassing the Playoff 12 and Playoff 6 rounds.
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. Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio was unable to overcome Foppapedretti Bergamo in a 25-15, 25-23, 25-20 loss on Feb. 14. Lowe charted 15 points with 14 kills on 49 swings and a block. Hagglund set her squad to a 31 kill percent while scoring an ace. Busto Arsizio (7-11, 21 points), now in ninth place, will seek to get back in the win column on Feb. 21 as it faces third-place Pomi Casalmaggiore (12-5, 38 points).
THOMPSON WITH BRAZIL’S REXONA-ADES: Setter Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) has signed to compete for Rexona-Ades in the Brazilian Superliga. Rexona-Ades added to its league-leadership by defeating second-place Praia Clube 28-26, 24-26, 25-14, 25-20 on Feb. 12. Thompson set Rexona-Ades to a 33 kill percent and served in three aces to go with a block for four individual points. Rexona-Ades (18-1, 51 points), now in first-place with a three-match lead and six standings points advantage, resumes Brazilian Superliga action on Feb. 16 against Campones/Minas and on Feb. 19 against seventh-place Sesi-Sao Paulo (8-11, 26 points).
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 lost its second straight match as it fell to league-leader Rexona-Ades 28-26, 24-26, 25-14, 25-20 on Feb. 12. Klineman contributed 19 points in the loss with 16 kills on 54 swings and three blocks. She also handled 24 of the team’s 92 receptions. Praia Clube (15-4, 45 points) looks to break the two-match losing streak on Feb. 17 against 10th-place Concilig/Volei Bauru (6-13, 20 points).
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, Eczacibasi lost its opening Playoff 12 Round home-and-home series with Turkish rival VakifBank 27-25, 18-25, 10-25, 25-14, 15-10 on Feb. 10. Larson collected 11 points with 10 kills on 34 attacks and an ace. She also held a 62 positive reception percent on 13 chances. Kreklow was a sub in the fourth set. Eczacibasi needs to win the second match of the home-and-home series on Feb. 24 to have a chance to advance to the Playoff 6 Round. In the Turkish League, Eczacibasi dominated eighth-place Canakkale 25-17, 25-19, 25-23 on Feb. 13. Kreklow set the squad to a 42 kill percent and put up one block in her return to the starting lineup after suffering an injury a month ago. Larson did not play in the victory. Fourth-place Eczacibasi (12-4, 35 points) takes on eighth-place Halkbank 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, Fenerbahce started the Playoff 12 home-and-home round with a convincing 25-20, 25-18, 25-23 victory over Poland’s Chemik Police on Feb. 9. Dietzen pocketed six kills on nine errorless attacks and two blocks for eight points in the victory. Fenerbahce can close out the Playoff 12 Round on Feb. 23 and earn a berth into the Playoff 6 Round. Fenebahce dispatched 10th-place Idman Ocagi 25-19, 25-19, 28-26 on Feb. 13. Dietzen did not play in the victory. Fenerbahce (13-1, 43 points), now with a three-point lead over VakifBank for the league-lead, meets seventh-place Nilufer on Feb. 20 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, VakifBank rallied to defeat Turkish rival Eczacibasi 27-25, 18-25, 10-25, 25-14, 15-10 on Feb. 10 to open the Playoff 12 home-and-home series. As a sub in the third and fourth sets, Hill scored one kill on two attacks while serving two aces for three points. VakifBank can claim a spot in the Playoff 6 round with a win over Eczacibasi on Feb. 24 to conclude the series. In the Turkish League, VakifBank blanked Bursa B. Sehir 25-22, 28-26, 25-22 on Feb. 13. Hill hammered out 10 kills on 23 attacks and added two aces for 12 points in the victory. She also record 17 receptions with a 65 positive reception percent. VakifBank (14-2, 41 points), now in second place, takes on third-place Galatasaray on Feb. 20.
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 opened the Challenge Round home-and-home series with a 22-25, 25-14, 25-14, 25-16 victory over Poland’s Impel Wroclaw on Feb. 11. Jackson chalked up 13 kills on 29 attacks and an ace for 14 points in the victory. Galatasaray can close out the Challenge Round on Feb. 24 and earn a bid to the semifinals. In the Turkish League, Galatasaray rallied to defeat last place Ilbank 24-26, 25-20, 25-20, 25-21 on Feb. 13. Jackson started the match and did not record a stat in just the one first set. Galatasaray (13-2, 38 points), in third place, challenges second-place VakifBank on Feb. 20.
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 won its second straight match to open the V-League playoffs after sweeping Hisamitsu Springs 25-21, 25-23, 25-21 on Feb. 13. Paolini notched 21 kills on 35 attacks and just two errors to go with two aces for 23 points. Hitachi (2-0, 9 points), in first place in the playoff standings which combines regular season final standings, plays fourth-place Toyota (2-0, 5 points) on Feb. 20 and third-place NEC (2-1, 6 points) on Feb. 21.
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.
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, Volero was shocked by Lokomotiv Baku in a 25-21, 22-25, 25-23, 20-25, 16-14 loss on Feb. 10 in Azerbaijan to open the Playoff 12 home-and-home series. Akinradewo scored four kills on 13 attacks, one ace and one block for six points in the loss. Vansant added one kill while starting the fourth set. Hagglund did not play in the match. Volero can still advance to the Playoff 6 Round by defeating Lokomotiv on Feb. 25 to close out the Playoff 12 Round. Volero ended the Swiss League regular season undefeated at 18-0 after defeating Viteos NUC I 23-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-17 on Feb. 13. Volero’s opening set loss was its only set it did not win throughout the entire regular season. Vansant ended the regular season ranked 10th in scoring with 152 points, including 138 kills, eight aces and six blocks.
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 before the squad dropped to the CEV Cup. After the heart-break of falling to the CEV Cup Challenge Round, Impel Wroclaw lost to Turkey’s Galatasaray 22-25, 25-14, 25-14, 25-16 on Feb. 11 in Istanbul. Hildebrand tallied five kills on 14 swings and a block for six points. She added 19 receptions in the loss. Impel Wroclaw will need to defeat Galatasaray in the second match of the home-and-home series on Feb. 24 to force a golden set for a chance to advance to the semifinals. In the Polish League, Impel Wroclaw continued its win streak with a 25-17, 27-25, 25-15 blanking of KS Palac Bydgoszcz on Feb. 13. Hildebrand did not play in the match. Impel Wroclaw (15-3, 40 points), which maintains third place, resumes Polish League action on Feb. 27 against ninth-place Legionovia (3-15, 11 points).
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, Dresdner lost its opening Playoff 12 Round home-and-home series match by falling to Russia’s Dinamo Moscow 33-31, 21-25, 25-22, 25-11 on Feb. 10. Bartsch totaled 15 points in the loss with 14 kills on 40 swings and an ace, while handling 39 of the team’s 98 receptions with a 46 positive percent. Dresdner completes the home-and-home series on Feb. 24 and needing a win to force a golden set to advance to the Playoff 6 Round. In the German Bundesliga, Dresdner won its third consecutive match with a 25-18, 25-19, 25-21 victory over NawaRo Straubing on Feb. 14. Bartsch did not play in the match against the 11th-place team in the league. Dresdner (17-3, 50 points), which remains in first place in the league standings, returns to German Bundesliga on Feb. 17 against seventh-place Pottsdam (8-11, 30 points) and on Feb. 20 against sixth-place Vilsbiburg (10-10, 31 points).