COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (April 18, 2016) – Outside hitter Krista Vansant (Redlands, California) is spotlighted in the “Did You Know” section in the current U.S. Women’s National Team Weekly Update, which includes news from around the globe on Team USA players in the final stages of the pro playoff season.
DID YOU KNOW: Krista Vansant (Redlands, California) joined the U.S. Women’s National Team in May 2015 after a stellar four-year career at the University of Washington. She won both individual and team hardware during her rookie season with Team USA. Vansant is currently overseas playing for Volero Zurich in the Swiss League, where here team has won its 11th Swiss League title this year and about to wrap up the league’s playoff. Learn more about Vansant below.
- Selected most valuable player and best outside spiker at the 2015 Pan American Cup, her first international tournament. She led Team USA to gold at the Pan Am Cup with a tournament-leading 50.4 kill percent to go with 81 points.
- Led Team USA in scoring in five of the six 2015 Pan American Games matches as the Americans won the title. She averaged 4.14 points in the tournament.
- Started two matches during the 2015 FIVB World Grand Prix preliminary round, including a team-best 20 points versus Belgium on July 5.
- Two-time Honda Award winner for best collegiate volleyball player in 2013 and 2014, as well as AVCA Division I National Player of the Year in 2013 followed by espnW National Player of the Year in 2014
- Played two seasons of beach volleyball at University of Washington in 2014 and 2015.
- Named Capital One Academic All-American of the Year in 2014 and later graduated from Washington with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2015.
- Spent most of the month of June 2014 in Tahiti as part of an independent study excursion learning about colonialism and the impact the French have on the island country.
- Named Gatorade National High School Player of the Year in 2010
- Elected homecoming queen her senior year at Redlands East Valley High School where she led the team to three CIF championship titles.
- Started playing indoor volleyball in 2001 with Rancho Valley 12-1 in Rancho Cucamonga, California
- Mother Tricia played basketball at Loyola Marymount University from 1987-1991
BANWARTH ANSWERS NBC SPORTS: Libero Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa) answered questions from NBC Sports in a recent interview. As part of the interview, she discusses how her volleyball family influenced her career, her earliest memories playing volleyball, what her typical day of training is like, what she would like to be doing if not an athlete, her greatest influence within volleyball and what motivates her to stay in the game.
FIVB WORLD GRAND PRIX WILL HAVE A VOL-B-QUE: The U.S. Women’s National Team will be hosting a weekend preliminary round of the 2016 FIVB World Grand Prix June 17-19 in Long Beach, California. The U.S. hosts Germany (June 17), Japan (June 18) and Turkey (June 19). As part of the weekend festivities, VOL-B-QUE V – America’s biggest and best volleyball tailgate party – will be held prior to the June 18 match against Japan.
DIXON’S OLYMPIC DREAM IN QUESTION AFTER ACL: Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota) knew in an instant on Jan. 23 that something went horribly wrong and it could impact her dreams to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games for the U.S. Women’s National Team. Playing in her second to last regular season match for her professional team Toray Arrows in the Japan V-League, Dixon went up to swing and powered down a kill like she had so many times before. However, this time was different as she came back to earth landing awkwardly on her left leg and immediately grimacing in pain with her Toray teammates surrounding her and her U.S. Women’s National Team teammate Kelly Murphy on the opposite side of the net playing for Ageo Medics. In the immediate aftermath of the injury, Dixon hoped for the best possible prognosis. To her disappointment, doctors delivered the news she didn’t want to hear – ACL tear. Her emotions ran the gamut in hearing the unwanted news. However, she quickly turned the page to what’s next.
GLASS, ROBINSON, EASY, ADAMS ALL WITH ITALY’S IMOCO CONEGLIANO: Setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Michigan), the 2013 and 2014 USA Volleyball Female Athlete of the Year, outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Bartlett, Illinois), outside hitter Megan Easy (Boston, Massachusetts), 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. After playing just one match in a 30-day period at the end of the Italian Serie A 1 regular season, top-seed Conegliano wasted little time in winning its best-of-three quarterfinal round series with eighth seeded Metalleghe Sanitars Montichairi starting with a 25-19, 25-19, 25-22 victory on April 12. Adams scored a match-high 20 points with 13 kills on 20 attacks, five blocks and two aces, Glass set the team to a 38 kill percent while chipping in three individual kills on four swings, one block and one ace. Easy accounted for 10 points with eight kills on 29 swings with one error to go with one block and one ace. She also handled a team-best 21 receptions with a 71 positive percent. Robinson added four kills and an 81 positive reception percent on 16 chances in the victory. Conegliano rallied to defeat Metalleghe Sanitars Montichiari 25-19, 16-25, 18-25, 25-17, 19-17 on April 14 to earn a spot into the best-of-three semifinals. Adams collected a team-high 19 points in the victory with 11 kills on 26 swings, six blocks and two aces. Robinson added 13 points via 11 kills, one block and one ace. She handled 38 of the team’s 95 receptions with a 74 positive percent. Glass set the team to a 32 kill percent and scored six points with four blocks and two aces. Easy did not play in the victory. Conegliano will face Liu Jo Modena in the semifinals with matches on April 19 and April 21, while the tiebreaker is scheduled for April 24 if necessary.
GIBBEMEYER, LLOYD WITH ITALY’S POMI CASALMAGGIORE: Middle blocker Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota) and setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California), 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. Less than a week after capturing the prestigious European Champions League, Casalmaggiore was unable to replicate the same success as the second seed in the Italian League playoffs exiting the best-of-three quarterfinals following the second match. Foppapedretti Bergamo won the opening match 25-16, 25-15, 25-22 on April 13. Gibbemeyer was credited with six points with five kills on 12 attacks and one ace. Lloyd set the team to a 30 kill percent while adding one individual kill. Casalmaggiore’s playoff run ended on April 15 as Bergamo won 25-21, 25-15, 20-25, 25-18. Gibbemeyer scored 12 points in the loss, while Lloyd kicked in two 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. Fourth-seed Novara opened its best-of-three quarterfinal round series with a 25-19, 25-22, 25-18 loss to Liu Jo Modena on April 12. Fawcett claimed nine points in the loss with eight kills on 20 swings and an ace while starting the first two sets. Novara came back to even up the series with a 25-20, 23-25, 25-14, 25-20 victory on April 14 to push the series to a tiebreaker. Fawcett notched 16 kills on 33 attacks and one ace for 17 points in the victory. After winning the opening set of the third match, Novara was unable to hold the momentum as Modena came back to win 17-25, 25-16, 25-23, 25-23. Fawcett tallied six kills and a block for seven points in the first three sets.
HILL WITH TURKEY’S VAKIFBANK: Outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon), the MVP of the 2014 FIVB World Championship, is playing for VakifBank in the Turkish League and CEV Champions League this winter. In the Turkish League playoffs, VakifBank swept Eczacibasi 25-17, 25-22, 25-16 on April 15. Hill notched six kills on 22 swings, two aces and two blocks for 10 points. She added a 50 positive reception percent on 12 receptions. VakifBank needed to rally from two sets down to defeat fourth-seed Galatasaray 24-26, 18-25, 25-14, 25-19, 15-7 on April 16. Hill contributed 19 points in the victory with 18 kills on 35 swings and an ace. She handled 38 of the team’s 82 receptions with a 50 positive percent. VakifBank ended the first round of the double round robin playoffs 3-0 after edging Fenerbahce 25-20, 25-14, 22-25, 25-22 on April 17. Hill piled up 22 points with 17 kills on 33 swings and just two errors to go with three aces and two blocks. She added 24 receptions with a 58 positive reception percent. The Turkish League playoffs will have an off-week before concluding with another round robin weekend April 28-30. VakifBank (3-0, 8 points) takes on Eczacibasi (1-2, 4 points) on April 28, Galatasaray (0-3, 1 point) on April 29 and Fenerbahce (2-1, 5 points) on April 30.
LARSON, KREKLOW WITH TURKEY’S ECZACIBASI: Outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska) and setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minnesota) are playing for Eczacibasi of the Turkish League this winter, along with the CEV Champions League. In the Turkish League playoffs, Eczacibasi lost its opener to VakifBank 25-17, 25-22, 25-16 on April 15. Larson scored a team-high 13 points, all on kills via 27 attacks. She also handled eight receptions with a 63 positive percent. Kreklow did not play in the match. In the second round robin match on April 16, Eczacibasi pushed Fenerbahce to five sets before falling 25-22, 15-25, 25-21, 24-26, 15-12. Larson pocketed 24 points with 21 kills on 41 swings and just one error to go with two aces and a block. She also held a 72 positive reception percent on 25 chances. Kreklow, who started the first four sets, scored an ace and kill while helping Eczacibasi to a 42 kill percent for the match. Eczasibasi got into the playoff win column by defeating Galatasaray 25-23, 25-22, 25-22 on April 17. Larson charted 13 points with 11 kills on 23 swings, one ace and one block. She handled 11 receptions with a 73 positive percent. Kreklow set the team to a 42 kill percent for the match. The Turkish League playoffs will have an off-week before concluding with another round robin weekend April 28-30. Eczacibasi (2-1, 4 points) takes on leader VakifBank (3-0, 8 points) on April 28, followed by Fenerbache (2-1, 5 points) on April 29 and Galatasaray (0-3, 1 point) on April 30.
JACKSON WITH TURKEY’S GALATASARAY: Middle blocker Cursty Jackson (Los Angeles, California) is competing for Galatasaray of the Turkish League this winter. Galatsaray opened the Turkish League playoffs on April 15 with a 25-15, 25-13, 22-25, 25-12 loss to Fenerbahce. Jackson totaled nine points, all on kills via 22 attacks and just two errors. Galatasaray nearly upset VakifBank in the second match on April 16 before falling 24-26, 18-25, 25-14, 25-19, 15-7. Jackson connected for nine kills on 15 swings with just one error to go with a block in the hard-fought match. Galatasaray lost its third playoff match in a row, but was a tight 25-23, 25-22, 25-22 loss to Eczacibasi on April 17. Jackson had three kills and a block for four points in the loss. The Turkish League playoffs will have an off-week before concluding with another round robin weekend April 28-30. Galatasaray (0-3, 1 point), in fourth place after the first weekend, faces Fenerbahce (2-1, 5 points) on April 28, leader VakifBank (3-0, 8 points) on April 29 and Eczacibasi (1-2, 4 points) on April 30.
BARTSCH WITH GERMANY’S DRESDNER: Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch (Maryville, Illinois) is playing for Dresdner SC of the German Bundesliga and CEV Champions League this winter. Dresdner (20-4, 60 points), which captured the regular season title and top seed into the playoffs, opened its best-of-five finals playoff against Allianz MTV Stuttgart 25-21, 25-12, 25-16 on April 16. Bartsch amassed 12 points with seven kills on 21 swings, four aces and a block to go with a 65 positive reception percent on 17 chances. Her American teammates Katie Slay and Gina Mancuso also produced well in the match. Sla scored a match-high 15 points with eight blocks, four kills on nine swings and three aces. Mancuso added 14 points with 12 kills on 19 errorless swings, one block and one ace. The series continues with matches on April 23 and April 27, while if necessary, matches four and five will be played on April 30 and May 2.
AKINRADEWO, NATALIE HAGGLUND, VANSANT WITH SWITZERLAND’S VOLERO ZURICH: Middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.), libero Natalie Hagglund (Encinitas, California) and Krista Vansant (Redlands, Calif.) are playing for Volero Zurich in the Swiss League as well as the CEV Champions League. Volero, which won the Swiss League regular season and playoffs without dropping a single match, defeated Sm’Aesch Pfeffingen I 25-14, 25-16, 25-16 in the opening match of the Swiss Finals playoffs on April 13. Volero edged Sm’Aesch Pfeffingen 25-16, 25-18, 24-26, 25-20 on April 16 to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five final round series. Volero can clinch the series at home on April 20. If necessary, match four will take place on April 23.
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. In the Polish League playoff, evened its best of three-of-three semifinal round series with a 20-25, 25-21, 16-25, 25-23, 16-14 victory over PGE Atom Trefl Sopot on April 11. Hildebrand connected for 14 points, all on kills via 36 swings. She also handled 28 of the team’s 101 receptions. However, Sopot came back to win the tiebreaking match 25-23, 25-17, 25-18 on April 16. Wroclaw will now play in the best-of-five bronze-medal series with matches on April 23, April 24 and April 28. If necessary, matches four and five will take place on April 29 and May 2.