COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 4, 2017) – Several U.S. Women’s National Team players competing in overseas pro leagues are battling for top positions in their respective standings as the first half nears a close, while other Americans are assisting their teams to major upsets and finding their way into the thick of things as the second half approaches.
- Kim Hill will lead first-place Imoco Volley Conegliano against Lauren Gibbemeyer and her second-place Igor Gorgonzola Novara squad in a battle of the top two Italian Serie A1 teams on Dec. 9. The match can be watched live on ESPN3 at 2:30 p.m. ET.
- adidas signs eight additional members of the U.S. Women’s National Team to multi-year contracts.
- Tori Dixon and Micha Hancock with Saugella Team Monza upset then-undefeated Igor Gorgonzola Novara in the Italian Serie A1 on Dec. 3.
TRIVIA QUESTION: Which current member of the U.S. Women’s National Team was also a standout beach player as a youth, including a ninth-place finish at the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch Youth World Championships?
adidas SIGNS EIGHT MORE U.S. WOMEN’S PLAYERS: adidas today announced multi-year partnerships with 16 USA Volleyball athletes, including eight from the U.S. Women’s National Team, vying for spots on either the 2020 Olympic or Paralympic Games rosters. Joining U.S. Women’s National Team setter Lauren Carlini, who signed with adidas Volleyball earlier this year, are outside hitters Jordan Larson, Kim Hill and Sarah Wilhite, setter Carli Lloyd, middles Tori Dixon, Hannah Tapp and Paige Tapp, and opposite Kelly Murphy. The new roster of adidas Volleyball athletes will be included in upcoming brand marketing campaigns and will collaborate on future volleyball sneakers, equipment and accessories. to help celebrate the partnerships with the newest members of the adidas family, adidas Volleyball unveiled its new Spring-Summer USA Volleyball apparel line, available starting today. Inspired by the word’s best volleyball athletes and designed for fans, the new Spring-Summer 2018 apparel line fuses the traditional sporting aesthetics of USA Volleyball fan gear with streetwear inspired trends. The new look features a muted color pallet that’s been married with the traditional patriotic red, white, and blue, stars and stripes to offer a cross-functional sports and lifestyle apparel line.
USAV TRANSFERS NOW TOTAL 368: USA Volleyball has processed 368 international transfer certificates (269 females, 99 males) allowing United States citizens to compete in foreign professional volleyball leagues for the 2017-18 season as of Nov. 30 – an increase of 10 players since the Nov. 8 report. Additional transfers are expected to be processed throughout the winter months. On the women’s side, athletes have transferred to play in 35 different countries. England has 37 United States citizens playing in its league, Germany 36 players, France with 26 players, Switzerland with 22 players, Italy with 17 players, and Finland and Sweden with 13 players each.
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. Eczacibasi edged Bursa B.Sehir Bld 23-25, 25-18, 23-25, 25-21, 15-12 on Dec. 2. Adams contributed 21 points with 14 kills on 22 attacks, four blocks and three aces. Larson tacked on 17 points with 16 kills on 33 swings and a block. She added a 52 positive reception percent on a team-best 29 chances. Eczacibasi (9-1), which moved into a three-way tie for first and holding the tie-breaker, closes out the first half of the Turkish regular season on Dec. 5 against Halkbank. Eczacibasi begins the CEV Cup competition with a home-and-home series with VC Oudegem in the 16th Finals Round starting on Dec. 13 followed by a Jan. 10 match.
ROBINSON WITH VAKIFBANK IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California, Instagram, Twitter), a 2016 Olympic Games bronze medalist, is playing club volleyball with VakifBank in the Turkish professional league this winter. VakifBank swept Seramiksan 25-17, 25-17, 25-22 on Dec. 2. Robinson notched six points with four kills and two blocks in the victory. She also handled a team-high 20 receptions with a 65 positive reception percent. VakifBank (9-1), which moved back into a three-way tie for first, will seek its fourth straight Turkish League win on Dec. 5 when it meets Bursa B. Sehir to close out the first half of the regular season. In European Champions League action, VakifBank has advanced to the group phase that starts next month. They are part of Pool D, where it will face Grot Budowlani Lodz, Dinamo Moscow and Turkish rival Galatasaray in double round-robin action. VakifBank opens against Galatasaray on Dec. 14.
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. Hisamitsu Springs stopped JT Marvelous 24-26, 25-22, 25-16, 25-23 on Dec. 2 for its 12th straight win to open the regular season. Akinradewo provided 16 kills on 25 attacks with a single error and two aces for 18 points. One day later Hisamitsu Springs swept Toyota 25-22, 25-20, 25-13 to remain undefeated. Akinradewo hammered seven kills on 15 attacks and adding three blocks and three aces for 13 points. Hisamitsu Springs (13-0) meets Toray on Dec. 9 followed by Toyota on Dec. 10.
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 Italian Serie A1, Conegliano moved back into first place following a 24-26, 22-25, 25-22, 25-23 victory over third-place Savino Del Bene Scandicci on Dec. 3, coupled with then-undefeated Igor Gorgonzola Novara’s five-set loss to Saugella Team Monza. Hill scored a team-best 21 points with 20 kills on 49 attacks and a block. She added a 64 positive reception percent on 28 chances. Conegliano (8-1, 24 points) has a showdown with second-place Novara (8-1, 23 points) on Dec. 9. In the European Champions League, Conegliano will take part in the main group phase in December. They are grouped in Pool and will face Agel Prostejov, Fenerbahce and Igor Gorgonzola in a double round-robin format. Conegliano meets Italian rival Novara on Dec. 13 to start Pool B.
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 upset then-league leader and undefeated Igor Gorgonzola Novara 25-23, 25-27, 21-25, 27-25, 16-14 on Dec. 3 a tight five-set contest. Dixon pocketed 14 points with 10 kills on 23 swings, three blocks and an ace. Hancock set the squad to a 42 kill percent and .240 hitting efficiency. She added five kills on nine attacks and an ace with a team-high 19 serves. Team Monza (4-5, 12 points), now in seventh place, will go for three victories in a row when it meets fifth-place Liu Jo Nordmeccanica Modena (5-4, 13 points) on Dec. 10.
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. A week after securing the top spot in the Italian Serie A1 with a key win coupled with upset losses by their rivals, Novara was bit by the upset bug after falling to seventh-place Saugella Team Monza (4-5, 12 points) 25-23, 25-27, 21-25, 27-25, 16-14 in a five-set battle with four of the five sets settled by two points. The loss marked Novara’s first setback of the season. Gibbemeyer provided 17 points in the loss with nine kills on 19 attacks and a match-high eight blocks. Novara (8-1, 23 points), now in second place in the Italian Serie A1, returns to Italian League action on Dec. 9 against first-place Imoco Volley Conegliano (8-1, 24 points). Novara is also participating in the European Champions League this winter and will have a bye into fourth round. They are part of Pool B, where it will face Agel Prostejov, Fenerbahce and Imoco Volley Conegliano in a double round-robin format. Novara challenge Italian rival Conegliano on Dec. 13 to start the European Champions Cup.
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 rallied to defeat Il Bisonte Firenze 14-25, 25-16, 25-22, 23-25, 15-11 on Nov. 27. Bartsch-Hackley amassed a team-best 15 points via 14 kills on 56 swings and a block. She also was credited with an 81 positive reception percent (71 excellent percent) on 21 chances. To watch highlights of the match, click here. Busto Arsizio delivered a 25-20, 25-18, 26-24 victory over sixth-place Mycicero Volley Pesaro (4-5, 13 points) on Dec. 3. Bartsch-Hackley tallied five kills on 18 swings, one block and one ace for seven points in a balanced Busto Arsizio offense. She also handled 14 receptions with a 79 positive reception percent. Wilhite did not play in the match. Busto Arsizio (7-2, 21 points, which moved up from fourth to third in the standings, challenges 10th-place Pomi Casalmaggiore (2-7, 9 points) on Dec. 8 in its next league match. Busto Arsizio is also competing in the European CEV Cup with a home-and-home series in the 16th Finals Round against ZOK Bimal-Jedinstvo Brcko on Dec. 12 and the return match in early January.
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 lost its second match of the Italian Serie A1 with a 24-26, 25-22, 25-22, 25-23 setback to current leader Imoco Volley Conegliano on Dec. 3. Carlini set Scandicci to a 40 kill percent for the match and added one individual kill. Scandicci (7-2, 20 points), now in fourth place, will look to avoid a losing streak as it meets 11th-place Foppapedretti Bergamo (2-7, 5 points) on Dec. 10.
HANNAH TAPP WITH FIRENZE IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Middle Hannah Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota, Instagram, Twitter), who played her first season with the U.S. Women’s National Team this past summer, is playing her pro season with Il Bisonte Firenze in the Italian Serie A1. Firenze nearly upset current third-place Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio (7-2, 21 points) on Nov. 27 before falling 14-25, 25-16, 25-22, 23-25, 15-11. Tapp hammered down 12 kills on 21 swings with just two errors to go with seven blocks and an ace for a team-best 20 points. Although Firenze was unable to pull out the victory, it used the momentum from its mid-week match to defeat fifth-place Liu Jo Nordmeccanica Modena (5-4, 13 points) 25-21, 25-12, 19-25, 25-17 on Dec. 3 in a key road victory. Tapp turned in 13 points with nine kills on 13 swings, three blocks and an ace in the victory. Firenze (3-6, 10 points), now in eighth-place, will seek a second straight victory when it meets sixth-place Mycicero Volley Pesaro (4-5, 13 points) on Dec. 10.
DREWS, NEWCOMBE WITH LEGNANO IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Opposite Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana, Instagram, Twitter), who was a rookie with the U.S. Women’s National Team this past summer, is competing for Sab Volley Legnano in the Italian Serie A1 alongside fellow American and former U.S. Women’s National Team member Sonja Newcombe (Lake Arrowhead, California, Instagram, Twitter). Legnano rallied to defeat 10th-place Pomi Casalmaggiore 18-25, 25-18, 15-25, 25-23, 23-21 in a lengthy five-set battle on Dec. 3. Drew provided two kills on five attacks as a sub in the odd-numbered sets. Newcombe scored 16 points, all on kills via 28 swings. Legnano (3-6, 9 points), now in ninth-place, faces 12th-place Lardini Filottrano (1-8, 3 points) on Dec. 10.
WOPAT WITH BAIC MOTORS IN CHINA: Carly Wopat (Santa Barbara, California, Instagram, Twitter), a middle for the U.S. Women’s National Team, is playing for BAIC Motors in Beijing as part of the Chinese professional league. BAIC defeated fifth-place Shandong 25-23, 22-25, 26-24, 25-19 on Nov. 28 to start its week. Wopat pocketed 18 points in the victory, but was not among the top two leaders in any scoring category. BAIC lost a five-set heartbreaker to second-place Tianjin 25-19, 21-25, 17-25, 25-11, 17-15 on Dec. 2 to conclude the week. Wopat scored eight points in the loss. BAIC (5-3), now in third place in Group B of the regular season, gets back on the court on Dec. 9 against fourth-place Zheijiang.
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 won its fourth straight match with a 22-25, 25-19, 25-19, 32-30 victory over Golem Olbia on Nov. 29. McMahon slammed seven kills on 33 swings with a block for eight points in the victory. However, Soverato was clipped by Conad Olimpia Teodora Ravenna 16-25, 25-18, 18-25, 28-26, 15-12 on Dec. 3. McMahon unleashed 21 points on the day with 16 kills on 42 attacks with just one error. She added five blocks in the loss. Soverato (9-2, 26 points), which dropped from first to second with the loss, will try to avoid a losing skid when it meets 17th-place Golden Tulip Volalto Caserta (2-9, 4 points) on Dec. 10.
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 swept the Pink Spiders 25-18, 25-19, 25-14 on Dec. 2. Kindgon hammered 26 kills on 50 attacks while adding eight digs and a 46.2 positive reception percent on 13 attempts. IBK (6-5) faces league-leader Hyundai (7-3) on Dec. 5 in its next league match.
McCAGE WITH ALLIANZ MTV STUTTGART IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Middle Molly McCage (Spring, Texas, Instagram), who was part of the U.S. Women’s National Team this past summer, is playing professionally this winter with Allianz MTV Stuttgart in the German Bundesliga. Stuttgart held off sixth-place Wiesbaden 25-9, 25-15, 19-25, 25-17 on Dec. 2. McCage scored a match-tying high 19 points with 11 kills on 23 attacks and just one error while chipping in a match-high six blocks and two aces. Stuttgart (5-1, 16 points), which moved into second place in the Bundesliga, returns to regular season action on Dec. 9 when it meets 11th-place VCO Berlin (0-8, 0 points). Stuttgart is also competing in the CEV Cup this winter and has a 16th Finals Round home-and-home series against VK Up Olomouc on Dec. 13 and Jan. 10.
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 was idle the past week in the Bundesliga regular season. Dresdner (5-1, 15 points), now in second place, resumes German Bundesliga action on Dec. 6 against first-place Schwerin (6-0, 18 points). Dresdner is competing in the CEV Cup this winter and begins 16th Finals Round home-and-home competition against Pays d’Aix Venelles VB on Dec. 13.
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 defeated Quimper 25-15, 25-19, 20-25, 25-14 on Dec. 2 to stay within reach of league-leader RC Cannes. Rolfzen pocketed 12 points with six kills on nine attacks and a team-leading five blocks along with an ace. Beziers (7-1, 20 points), in second place and one point behind league leader RC Cannes (7-1, 21 points), meets 12th-place Chamalieres (1-7, 3 points) on Dec. 5 in its next French League match before challenging fifth-place St. Raphael (4-4, 13 points) on Dec. 9.
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. Mulhouse lost its second straight French League match as it fell to league-leader RC Cannes 25-21, 25-11, 25-18 on Dec. 2. Dannemiller started the first two sets and recorded two blocks. Mulhouse converted 48 percent of its attacks in the close opening set, but fell to 10 percent in the second set. Mulhouse (5-3, 15 points), which is in third place, will look to break its two-match skid on Dec. 5 as it faces SF Paris St Cloud before meeting Quimper on Dec. 8. Mulhouse will also compete in the European Champions League this year and has a bye into the main format, or fourth round. They are grouped in double-round-robin Pool A with CSm Volei Alba Blaj, Volero Zurich and Developres SkyRes Rzeszow. Mulhouse faces Rzeszow on Dec. 13 to start the Champions League schedule.
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 got back in the win column by edging Chamalieres 25-19, 22-25, 25-19, 18-25, 15-4 on Dec. 2. Benson handled 13 receptions with a 92 positive reception percent, which helped Vandoeuvre Nancy to a 40 kill percent for the match. Vanoeuvre Nancy (3-5, 7 points), now in 10th place, resumes French League action on Dec. 5 against Evreux, followed by a Dec. 9 match versus Venelles.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, California, Instagram, Twitter) was a standout beach volleyball players as a youth. She teamed with Sarah Hughes to finish in ninth place at the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch Youth World Championships. At the age of 12, she was also the youngest female to ever earn her AAA beach rating, a benchmark for top beach players.