COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 5, 2018) – The U.S. Women’s National Team Open Tryout evaluated 228 athletes, all with the common goal of seeing where they fit into national team pipeline, this past weekend at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM OPEN TRYOUT: Athletes dream of playing in the Olympics or having the opportunity to don the red, white and blue USA uniform representing their country. This past weekend, 228 athletes had the opportunity to see where they may fit into the National Team pipeline during the U.S. Women’s National Team Open Tryout held March 2-4 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
“I think we saw lots of potential,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “The big thing is it is potential now, and how can each of these individuals maximize their development and accelerate their learning. There are clearly people here at this tryout who have serious USA potential. It doesn’t mean it is guarantee though. They have to keep working at it and finding things they can improve.”
The tryout allowed athletes to showcase their talents for either a spot on the U.S. Women’s National Team or the U.S. Collegiate National Team program. Of the 228 athletes at the tryout, 16 have exhausted their collegiate eligibility while the rest had at least one year remaining.
The U.S. Collegiate National Team Program, with 48 positions available this summer, is open to any athlete with at least one year of college eligibility remaining. The program has three distinct teams. A group of 12 athletes will be picked to take a tour of Asia from May 20-31, while a second group of 12 players will take part in the European tour from July 4-15. A total of 24 athletes will train and compete in Detroit from June 22 to July 1.
Kiraly and his staff conducted the tryout and led the evaluation process for each athlete. Outside of the National Team staff, 14 individuals volunteered their time serving as evaluators for the tryout. The tryout included 13 court coaches running the drills and eight statisticians tracking all the skills.
“We are incredibly blessed in this country to have so many players,” Kiraly said. “We have a real advantage in how popular women’s volleyball is as a sport – the most popular sport and overtaking all the other team sports. Over half a million girls play in high school and hundreds of thousands in youth clubs and many, many thousands on scholarships in university. That is a real advantage over other countries, and they are jealous of that.”
While the popularity of the sport is a huge advantage to the U.S. Women’s National Team pipeline, Kiraly mentioned the team must overcome some major challenges when it comes time to picking athletes for the next level after college.
“We also have some disadvantages, too, in terms of the rules the college game plays with,” Kiraly said. “One of the nice things about this three-day event is that we get to see these very good college players playing more within the parameters of an international game and try to make some projections on how they might develop in the future. Some of them will clearly work their way at some point into our USA gym. It is always inspiring, it is a lot of work and it is a lot of fun working with these people who put so much passion and energy into these three days.”
Selections to the U.S. Women’s National Team and the U.S. Collegiate National Team will be announced starting in late March and early April.
AKINRADEWO WITH JAPAN V-LEAGUE’S HISAMITSU SPRINGS: Two-time U.S. Olympic medalist Foluke Akinradewo (Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Instagram, Twitter) is playing middle for Japan V.League’s Hisamitsu Springs this winter. After absorbing its only loss in the regular (21-0) and Playoff 6 round (4-1), Hisamitsu Springs bounced back to claim consecutive victories in the Playoff 3 round to move on to the finals. Hisamitsu Springs defeated Toyota 25-22, 25-23, 25-22 on March 3 to start the two-match playoff round. Akinradewo contributed eight kills on 20 attacks and four blocks for 12 points. In the rematch, Hisamitsu Springs didn’t let up with a 25-17, 25-20, 25-12 victory to advance to the finals against JT Marvelous. Akinradewo scored 12 kills on 17 swings and added two blocks for 14 points in the second contest. Hisamitsu Springs, which took its only loss of the season to JT Marvelous in the final round robin match of the Playoff 6 round, meets JT Marvelous again on March 10 and March 17 in the finals.
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 CEV Cup action, Eczacibasi swept its home-and-home quarterfinal round series with Yenisei Krasnoyarsk with a 25-20, 25-11, 25-18 win on Feb. 28. Adams, starting just the first two sets, tallied six kills on 10 attacks, one block and one ace for eight points. Larson matched her eight points with eight kills on 18 errorless swings. She added a 55 positive reception percent on 20 chances. Eczacibasi meets Germany’s SSC Palmberg Schwerin in the CEV Cup semifinal home-and-home round with match dates to be determined. In the Turkish League, Eczacibasi concluded the regular season with a 21-1 record and a two-match advantage over second-place VakifBank. Eczacibasi opened its best-of-three quarterfinal round with a 27-25, 25-20, 25-14 victory over Nilufer on March 4. Larson pocketed 11 points with eight kills on 25 attacks, two aces and a block. She was credited with a 55 positive reception percent on 11 chances. Adams, a sub in the first set, added one block and one ace for two points in the win. Eczacibasi resumes its quarterfinal round series with Nilufer on March 8.
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 European Champions League action, VakifBank concluded Pool D undefeated after a 25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 26-24 win over Turkish rival Galatasaray on Feb. 27. As a sub in the second and third sets, Robinson handled four receptions with a 50 positive percent. VakifBank ended the main phase with a 6-0 record and 17 points. VakifBank now faces Switzerland’s Volero Zurich in a home-and-home quarterfinal round series with dates to be announced (first round between March 20-22 and second round between April 3-5). In the Turkish League, VakifBank opened its best-of-three quarterfinal round series with a 25-20, 25-13, 25-14 victory over seventh-seed Besiktas on March 3. Robinson contributed eight points with six kills on 14 swings and two blocks. She was credited with a 78 positive reception percent on nine chances. VakifBank can close out the Turkish quarterfinal round series with Besiktas on March 6. Robinson has launched her own website, www.nomandplay.com, on her passions for play, travel and food. To read her 24 Hour Series on visiting Florence, Italy, click here.
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 European Champions League, Novara downed Italian rival Imoco Volley Conegliano 25-16, 29-27, 23-25, 25-16 on Feb. 27 to leapfrog their opponent for first place in the main phase Pool B. Gibbemeyer pounded six kills on 10 errorless attacks in the victory. Novara ended Pool B with a 5-1 record and 14 points, while Conegliano ended the group phase with a 5-1 record and 13 points. Novara advances to the quarterfinal home-and-home series where it meets Turkish rival Galatasaray with dates to be determined (first round between March 20-22 and second round between April 3-5). In the Italian Serie A1 regular season, Novara beat Conegliano for the second time in the same week with a 25-21, 25-22, 19-25, 16-25, 15-11 victory on March 4. Gibbemeyer put 11 points on the stats page with eight kills on 14 attacks and three blocks. Novara (16-5, 48 points), which remains in third place, concludes the Italian league regular season on March 10 against 11th-place Sab Volley Legnano (6-15, 17 points).
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. In the European Champions League, Conegliano lost to Igor Gorgonzola Novara 25-16, 29-27, 23-25, 25-16 on Feb. 27 to conclude the main phase Pool B. Hill produced 13 points with 10 kills on 22 attacks and three aces. She was credited with a 53 positive reception percent after handling 32 of the team’s 86 receptions. Conegliano finished Pool B with a 5-1 record and 13 points, while Novara moved into first place with a 5-1 record and 14 points. Despite finishing second in the pool, Conegliano moves on to the quarterfinal home-and-home round where it meets Russia’s Dinamo Kazan with match dates to be announced (first round between March 20-22 and second round between April 3-5). In the Italian Serie A1 regular season, Conegliano lost for the second time in a row in league action and also to Novara overall in the same week. Hill recorded 11 kills on 30 swings and two aces in the loss. She added an 85 positive reception percent on 26 chances. American teammate Simone Lee was a sub in the second set, recording one kill on four swings. Conegliano (17-4, 50 points), which holds on to first place, meets seventh-place MyCicero Volley Pesaro (9-12, 29 points) on March 10 to conclude the regular season.
CARLINI WITH SCANDICCI IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Setter Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois, Instagram, Twitter), who played her first year with the U.S. Women’s National Team this past summer, is playing her first pro season with Savino Del Bene Scandicci in the Italian Serie A1 this winter. Scandicci defeated 10th-place Foppapedretti Bergamo 25-22, 23-25, 25-19, 25-17 on March 3. Carlini set Scandicci to a 47 kill percent for the match with a .346 hitting efficiency. She added three kills on three swings, one block and one ace for five points. Scandicci (17-4, 48 points), which inched into second place on tiebreakers, concludes the regular season on March 10 against fifth-place Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio (11-9, 35 points).
DIXON, HANCOCK WITH MONZA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Middle Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota, Instagram, Twitter), an alternate to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Team, and U.S. Women’s National Team setter Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma, Instagram, Twitter) are playing for Saugella Team Monza in the Italian Serie A1 this winter after missing the 2016-17. Team Monza rallied past sixth-place Liu Jo Nordmeccanica Modena 23-25, 19-25, 25-21, 25-21, 15-12 on March 4. Hancock contributed three kills on five errorless swings and an ace for four points in the win. She helped Team Monza to a 30 kill percent for the match. Dixon, who started the first two sets and was a sub in the fifth, tallied two kills and a block in the win. Team Monza (12-9, 35 points), now in fourth place, challenges 10th-place Foppapedretti Bergamo (7-14, 18 points) on March 10 to conclude the regular season.
BARTSCH-HACKLEY, WILHITE WITH ITALY’S UNET E-WORK BUSTO ARSIZIO: Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois, Instagram, Twitter) and Sarah Wilhite (Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Instagram, Twitter), both outside hitters for the U.S. Women’s National Team, are playing their 2017-18 pro season for Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio in the Italian Serie A1. Busto Arsizio (11-9, 35 points), now in fifth place, faces ninth-place Pomi Casalmaggiore (6-14, 22 points) on March 5 in its next Italian Serie A1 match before concluding the regular season on March 10 against second-place Savino Del Bene Scandicci (17-4, 48 points).
DREWS WITH CASALMAGGIORE IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Opposite Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana, Instagram, Twitter), who played her first season with the U.S. Women’s National Team, is currently playing for Pomi Casalmaggiore in the Italian Serie A1 after transferring from Sab Volleyball Legnano. In the CEV Cup, Casalmaggiore lost its second match of the home-and-home quarterfinal round series with SSC Palmberg Schwerin with a 25-18, 20-25, 25-15, 28-26 loss on March 1. Drews scored a match-high 21 points, all on kills via 42 swings. In the Italian Serie A, ninth-place Casalmaggiore (6-14, 22 points) challenges fourth-place Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio (11-9, 35 points) on March 5 in its next Italian Serie A1 match before concluding the regular season on March 10 against sixth-place Liu Jo Nordmeccanica Modena (11-10, 31 points).
LLOYD WITH BARUERI IN BRAZIL: Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California, Instagram), a 2016 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist, joined Hinode Barueri of the Brazil Superliga in January after successfully recovering from an injury during the 2017 FIVB World Grand Champions Cup. Barueri lost to league-leader Dentil Praia 25-22, 25-10, 21-25, 25-14 on March 2 in the regular season finale. Lloyd had three blocks in the loss while setting Barueri to a 35 kill percent. Barueri finished the regular season with a 13-9 record and in fifth place with 37 points. Barueri meets Volei Nestle in the quarterfinals with matches on March 11 and March 17. If necessary, the three-match playoff tiebreaker is set for March 20.
KINGDON WITH KOREA V-LEAGUE’S IBK: Outside hitter Madi Kingdon (Hermosa Beach, California, Instagram, Twitter), a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, is playing her second consecutive professional season with IBK of the Korea V-League. IBK (19-9, 55 points), now in second place, challenges GS Caltex on March 6 in its next league match after being idle last week.
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 lost to 11th-place Zambelli Orvieto 18-25, 25-17, 25-22, 25-23 on March 4. McMahon notched eight points with seven kills on 25 swings and a block. Soverato (16-9, 45 points), which is in seventh-place place, plays 14th-place Golem Olbia (8-18, 23 points) on March 7 in its next league match, followed by 10th-place Conad Olimpia Teodora Ravenna (14-11, 39 points) on March 11.
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 CEV Cup, Stuttgart swept its home-and-home quarterfinal round series with German rival Dresdner with a 25-15, 25-17, 21-25, 25-19 victory on Feb. 28. McCage and Tapp, who both started just the first two sets, scored five kills on seven swings and two blocks for seven points apiece in the victory. Stuttgart now faces Minchanka Minsk in the CEV Cup semifinal home-and-home series with dates to be determined. In the German Bundesliga regular season, first-place Stuttgart (17-2, 52 points) challenges third-place Schwerin (15-4, 46 points) on March 10 in its final regular season match. Regardless of the match outcome, Stuttgart has already secured the top seed into the playoffs.
BUGG WITH DRESDNER IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Setter Madi Bugg (Apex, North Carolina, Instagram), who was part of the U.S. Women’s National Team this past summer, is competing in the German Bundesliga with Dresdner SC this winter. Dresdner swept VC Wiesbaden 25-21 25-22, 25-18 on March 4 to capture the German Cup title. Bugg did not play in the match. In the German Bundesliga, Dresdner (16-3, 47 points), which moved into second place, faces 10th-place Erfurt (3-16, 9 points) on March 10 in its final regular season match.
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 claimed a 25-22, 25-22, 25-22 trifecta win over last-place Chamalieres on Feb. 26. Rolfzen turned in one kill on four swings and a block for two points. Beziers dropped a 25-23, 28-30, 25-20, 25-18 match to fourth-place St. Raphael on March 3. Rolfzen contributed 10 points with nine kills on 16 attacks and a block. American teammate Krystal Rivers tallied a team-best 27 points in the loss. Beziers (16-3, 48 points), now in second place behind RC Cannes, takes on 11th-place 11th-place Evreux (6-14, 17 points) in its last regular season match on March 17. Beziers challenges RC Cannes in the French Cup title match on March 10.
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. In the European Champions League, Mulhouse lost its final main phase pool A match 25-23, 25-14, 23-25, 25-17 to Developres Skyres Rzeszow on Feb. 27. Dannemiller, who started all but the second set, helped Mulhouse to a 38 kill percent for the match while adding two blocks and one individual kill for three points. Mulhouse bows out of the Champions League with a 1-5 record in Pool A. In the French League, Mulhouse blanked SF Paris St. Cloud 25-11, 25-17, 25-20 on Feb. 24. Dannemiller set Mulhouse to a 47 kill percent and .442 hitting efficiency (40-2-86). She added one individual kill on one attack. Mulhouse (14-6, 42 points), which is in third place, resumes French League action on March 17 against fifth-place Le Cannett (13-7, 33 points).
BENSON WITH VANDOEUVRE NANCY IN FRENCH LEAGUE: Libero Amanda Benson (Litchfield Park, Arizona, Instagram, Twitter), who was part of the U.S. Women’s National Team this past summer, is competing for Vandoeuvre Nancy in the French professional league this winter. Vandoeuvre Nancy lost its second straight match with a 26-28, 25-22, 25-21, 25-18 setback to sixth-place Venelles (101-0, 28 points) on March 3. Benson handled 44 of the team’s 87 receptions with a 59 positive percent. Nancy (8-12, 23 points), now in eighth-place place, concludes the French League regular season on March 17 against fourth-place St. Raphael (10-10, 33 points).
TRIVIA ANSWER: Danielle Scott-Arruda is a five-time Olympian representing the United States in indoor volleyball. She made her first appearance the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, followed by the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and finally the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Scott-Arruda earned silver medals in her final two Olympic Games appearances.