COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 14, 2016) – U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly and libero Kayla Banwarth took part in the Team USA Media Summit with nearly 700 media in attendance at the Beverly Hilton last week, while other team members were playing in the final stages of their overseas club seasons on three continents.
>DID YOU KNOW: Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.), who joined the U.S. Women’s National Team in January 2011, has been a part of eight medal-winning U.S. Women’s National Teams since her international debut in the summer of 2011.
- Nicknames are Gibby, Gibblet and Gibbs
- In international debut, started all five matches of 2011 Pan American Games and helped Team USA earn the bronze medal
- Part of 2015 FIVB World Grand Prix gold-medal team, as well as 2015 FIVB World Cup bronze-medal team
- Two-time AVCA All-American at University of Minnesota where she concluded collegiate career as the school’s all-time total block leader and ninth in kills
- Competed on U.S. Women’s Junior National Team in 2006 and 2007, which resulted in gold at 2006 NORCECA Women’s Junior Continental Championship and fourth-place finish in 2007 FIVB Women’s U-20 World Championship
- Inspired by younger sister to want to help kids struggling with weight and obesity and would like to work on finding a prevention to childhood obesity
- Wanted to be a veterinarian as a child
- Did not start playing volleyball until high school and was part of the freshman team. Played club for the first time when a high school sophomore.
- If not playing volleyball, she says she would probably be playing basketball
- Christa Dietzen is her role model and looks up to her in all respects
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, Impel Wroclaw concluded the regular season by sweeping BKS Aluprof Profi Credit Bielsko-Biala 25-16, 25-18, 25-21 on March 12. Hildebrand notched 11 points in the victory with nine kills on 21 attacks and just two errors to go with two aces. She handled 12 receptions with a 42 positive percent. Impel Wroclaw finished the regular season in third place with an 18-4 record and 49 points. They will face second-seed PGE Atom Trefl Sopot in a best-of-three series with matches on March 23 and April 9. If necessary, the tiebreaking match will be played on April 16.
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 15th straight match by defeating sixth-place Savino Del Bene Scandicci 25-19, 18-25, 25-19, 25-19 on March 12. Robinson contributed a match-high 22 points with 16 kills on 39 swings, three aces and three blocks. She chipped in a 73 positive reception percent (52 excellent percent) on a team-best 33 receptions. Easy charted 16 points with 14 kills via 35 swings and two blocks. She added a 63 positive reception percent on 27 chances. Adams pocketed nine points with six kills on 14 attacks, two blocks and an ace. Glass set the team to a 41 kill percent while adding four individual kills on six attacks. Due to the Italian Cup playoffs followed by a bye week, Conegliano (20-3, 57 points) will not return to regular season action until the regular season finale when it seeks its 16th straight win on April 2 against 12th-place Il Bisonte Firenze (3-19, 10 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. Novara edged Foppapedretti Bergamo 16-25, 25-19, 28-26, 22-25, 15-12 on March 13. Fawcett claimed 25 points in the victory with 23 kills on 56 attacks and two blocks. Novara (16-6, 44 points), in fourth place, returns to Italian League action on March 26 against second-place Nordmeccanica Piacenza (16-6, 51 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 the Turkish League, Eczacibasi (15-4, 43 points), which moved up into sole possession of third place and idle this past week, faces fourth-place Galatasaray on March 16 in the next Turkish League match, followed by 11th-place Salihli on March 19.
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 opened the Playoff 6 quarterfinal home-and-home series by edging Switzerland’s Volero Zurich 25-23, 25-23, 22-25, 23-25, 15-13 on March 10. Hill, who played all five sets and started the third, recorded two kills and an ace for three points. She also produced a 50 positive reception percent on 18 reception chances despite her limited time on the court. The teams close out the series with a March 24 match to determine which team advances to the CEV Champions League semifinals on April 9. In the Turkish League, VakifBank swept last place Ilbank 25-17, 27-25, 25-17 on March 13. Hill notched 15 points with nine kills on 20 attacks, five aces and a block. She contributed 26 receptions with a 46 positive percent. VakifBank (18-2, 53 points), now in second place and just two points behind league-leader Fenerbahce, takes on seventh-place Canakkale on March 17.
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 quarterfinal Playoff 6 home-and-home series with an impressive 25-21, 25-14, 21-25, 25-19 victory over Russia’s Dinamo Moscow on March 9. Dietzen contributed 12 points in the victory, including seven of her team’s 13 blocks to go with four kills on 12 swings. For her performance, Dietzen was named to the CEV’s Dream Team for the week. Fenerbahce can earn a spot into the CEV Champions League semifinals April 9 with a win in the return quarterfinal match on March 22. In the Turkish League, Fenebahce stopped sixth-place Canakkale 25-22, 25-17, 18-25, 25-15 on March 12. Dietzen did not play in the match. Fenerbahce (18-2, 55 points), in first place by two points over VakifBank, plays fifth-place Bursa B. Sehir on March 19 in the next Turkish League match.
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 its CEV Cup semifinal round home-and-home series with Germany’s Schweriner with a 25-10, 25-23, 25-19 victory on March 8 in Germany. Jackson scored nine points in the victory, including three aces, three blocks and three kills. Galatasaray closed out the series on March 12 with a 30-28, 25-20, 25-23 victory. Jackson scored nine kills on 15 attacks and just one error to go with four aces and two blocks for 15 points. Galatasaray now advances to the CEV Cup Finals as it faces Russia’s Dinamo Krasnodar in a home-and-home series with dates to be announced. In the Turkish League, Galatasaray (14-5, 40 points) was idle this past week and will play third-place Eczacibasi on March 16 and ninth-place Halkbank on March 19.
THOMPSON WITH BRAZIL’S REXONA-ADES: Setter Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) has signed to compete for Rexona-Ades in the Brazilian Superliga. Rexona-Ades, as a the regular season champion, headed into the playoffs as the top seed and promptly defeated Pinheiros/Klar 25-19, 25-16, 25-23 on March 12 to open the best-of-three quarterfinal series. Thompson set Rexona-Ades to a 42 kill percent while putting up a block in the victory. Rexona-Ades can close out the series on March 15. If necessary, the series tiebreaker will be held on a date to be announced.
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, which finished the regular season in second place, absorbed a 25-20, 25-18, 25-19 loss to seventh-seed Sesi Sao Paolo to open the quarterfinal best-of-three series on March 11. Klineman knocked down 11 kills on 29 attack with just two errors in the loss and handled 20 receptions with a 55 positive percent. The second match of the series is scheduled for March 14, and if necessary, the tiebreaker match will be played on a date to be determined.
PAOLINI WITH JAPAN’S HITACHI RIVALE: Middle blocker
DIXON WITH JAPAN’S TORAY ARROWS: Middle blocker Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minn.), Best Blocker in the 2015 FIVB World Cup helping Team USA to the bronze medal, is playing her first season in the Japan V-League with Toray Arrows. Dixon, who had her season cut short due to injury, earned Best Spiker for the 2015-16 V-League regular season.
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. Dresdner (20-4, 60 points) captured the regular season title and top seed into the playoffs based a three-point edge in the standings over second-place Schweriner (20-4, 57 points). Dresdner was idle during the play-in matches and advanced directly to the quarterfinals where they will now face eighth-seed Kopenick in a best-of-three series with matches on March 19 and March 26. If necessary, the tiebreaker will be held on March 30.