COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 7, 2018) – U.S. Women’s National Team members were on squads that won gold and bronze in the European Champions League as the women’s pro season came to an end for all Team USA members.
TRIVIA QUESTION: Which current U.S. Women’s National Team player was the youngest known player to earn a AAA CBVA rating after winning a AAA beach tournament at the age of 12?
U.S. WOMEN’S SEASON PREVIEW AND STORYLINES: The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, ranked No. 2 in the world by the FIVB, enters the second year of the 2020 Olympic quadrennial with seven returning Olympians mixing with a handful of newer faces who found lots of playing time in 2017. U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly will bring in additional recent college grads into the USA gym for 2018 to provide depth and creating competition for positions on every tournament roster. The 2018 roster has a core of seven Olympians in the form of three outside hitters (Jordan Larson, Kim Hill, Kelsey Robinson), two middles (Foluke Akinradewo, Rachael Adams), one opposite (Kelly Murphy) and one setter (Carli Lloyd). Adams, Akinradewo, Hill and Larson did not compete in the 2017 FIVB World Grand Prix, but made an impressive showing in the USA Volleyball Cup against Brazil and during Team USA’s bronze-medal run at the 2017 FIVB World Grand Champions Cup. Murphy paced the U.S. offense early in the season during the FIVB World Grand Prix before taking a break from the National Team to finish her college degree at the University of Florida.
UPDATED VNL ROSTER AND OPPONENT CAPSULES: The U.S. Women’s National Team has submitted its 21-player roster for the FIVB Volleyball Nations League in which each week’s 14-player roster can be selected. Team USA opens the five-week preliminary round May 15-17 by hosting Italy, Poland and Turkey in Lincoln, Nebraska.
WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM AUTOGRAPH SESSION LINCOLN: The U.S. Women’s National Team will hold an autograph session on Sunday, May 13, at The Railyard (350 Canopy Street) in Lincoln, Nebraska, prior to its first training session for the FIVB Volleyball Nations League. Fans can get autographs from 3:30-4 p.m. CT.
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. VakifBank used momentum from winning the Turkish League championship last week by defeating Italian Serie A1 champion Imoco Conegliano 25-22, 25-21, 17-25, 15-25, 16-14 in the European Champions League semifinals on May 5. VakifBank overcame a 12-9 deficit in the tiebreaking set to win. Robinson was a sub in the final four sets, registering two kills on eight swings. She also handled seven receptions with a 57 positive percent. VakifBank went on to defeat host CSM Volei Alba Blaj 25-17, 25-11, 25-17 in the gold-medal match on May 6. Robinson was a sub in the third set, registering two receptions and 50 positive reception percent. Robinson has launched her own website, www.nomandplay.com on her passions for play, travel and food. To read her latest blog on travel tricks and tips, click here.
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. Conegliano lost a heart-breaking five-set match to Turkey’s VakifBank 25-22, 25-21, 17-25, 15-25, 16-14 in the European Champions League semifinals on May 5. Conegliano, which had won the Italian Serie A1 playoffs last week, had rallied from a two-set deficit and led 12-9 in the tiebreaker before VakifBank charged back for the win. Hill totaled 17 kills on 44 swings and a block for 18 points. She added an 80 positive reception percent on 15 chances. Conegliano bounced back to claim bronze by defeating Turkey’s Galatasaray 25-17, 25-18, 25-20 on May 6. Hill pocketed 11 points with eight kills on 19 swings and three aces on 18 serves. She added a 70 positive reception percent on 10 chances. Hill was named one of the two best outside hitters in the European Champions League following the tournament.
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 edged RC Cannes 25-22, 20-25, 25-18, 25-27, 15-8 in the French League championship match in a battle of the top two seeds. Rolfzen scored 12 points for top-seed Beziers, including a match-high eight blocks to go with four kills on 10 attacks. Rolfzen scored half of her eight blocks in the deciding fifth set. American teammate Krystal Rivers contributed 19 kills on 52 swings and four aces for a match-high 23 points.
TRIVIA ANSWER: At age 12, Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, California, Instagram, Twitter) won a AAA beach tournament with current beach star Summer Ross, which propelled her to becoming the youngest player to earn the AAA CBVA rating.