Wednesday, July 2, 2014

National Team | Courtney Thompson named to USA roster for big Brazil series

  • Rematch of the 2012 Olympic Finals set for this weekend and next week
UPDATE: Visit for live stream of Match 1 (7PM July 5) and Match 2 (5PM July 6)

Olympians Courtney Thompson (L) and Nicole Davis will be on the roster
for all four matches against Brazil 
Olympian and University of Washington Hall of Famer Courtney Thompson will help lead Team USA in a four-match series featuring the world’s best two teams.

This Saturday at 7PM, #2 USA hosts #1 Brazil at UC Irvine. The same teams meet again Sunday at 5PM at USC’s Galen Center, then next Friday and Saturday at the University of Hawai’i.

Thompson is one of four Olympians on Karch Kiraly’s roster, joining Jordan Larson-Burbach, Foluke Akinradewo and Nicole Davis for the Brazil series. The Brazilians will feature nine players with Olympic experience, including stars like Fabiana Claudino, Jaque, Fe Garay and Dani Lins, among others.

Brazil won the last two Olympic gold medals, defeating the USA each time. Thompson was the American setter for the 2012 Olympic quarterfinals, and saw action in every match in London except the final, a 3-1 Brazil victory.

Thompson and fellow setter Alicia Glass will be among the 12 players on the roster for all four Brazil matches this weekend and next week, as will liberos Davis and Kayla Banwarth. Kiraly has already announced different lineups for the other 8 positions in each of the four matches.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for USA Volleyball Cup (see legend for corresponding matches)
# - Name (Position, Ht, World Championship App, Olympic App, Hometown, College)
1 – *^# Alisha Glass (S, 6-0, 11, 0, Leland, Mich., Penn State)
2 – *^# Kayla Banwarth (L, 5-10, 0, 0, Dubuque, Iowa, University of Nebraska)
3 – *^# Courtney Thompson (S, 5-8, 0, 8, Kent, Wash., University of Washington)
4 – *^ Lauren Paolini (MB, 6-4, 0, 0, Ann Arbor, Mich., University of Texas)
6 – *^# Nicole Davis (L, 5-4, 11, 16, Stockton, Calif., University of Southern California)
7 – *^# Cassidy Lichtman (OH, 6-1, 0, 0, Poway, Calif., Stanford University)
8 – *^# Lauren Gibbemeyer (MB, 6-2, 0, 0, St. Paul, Minn., University of Minnesota)
9 – *^ Kristin Hildebrand (OH, 6-1, 0, 0, Orem, Utah, Stanford University)
10 – *^# Jordan Larson-Burbach (OH, 6-2, 11, 8, Hooper, Neb., University of Nebraska)
12 - *^# Kelly Murphy (OPP, 6-2, 0, 0, Wilmington, Ill., University of Florida)
14 - # Nicole Fawcett (OPP, 6-4, 0, 0, Zanesfield, Ohio, Penn State)
15 - *# Kim Hill (OH, 6-4, 0, 0, Portland, Ore., Pepperdine University)
16 - *# Foluke Akinradewo (MB, 6-3, 11, 8, Plantation, Fla., Stanford University)
17 - *^ Alix Klineman (OPP, 6-5, 0, 0, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Stanford University)
22 - *^# Rachael Adams (MB, 6-2, 0, 0, Cincinnati, Ohio, University of Texas)
26 - ^# Kelsey Robinson (OH, 6-2, 0, 0, Bartlett, Ill., University of Nebraska)
28 - ^# Tori Dixon (MB, 6-3, 0, 0, Burnsville, Minn., University of Minnesota)
Legend: * = July 5 at UCI; ^ = July 6 at USC; # = July 11-12 at Hawaii
Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Jamie Morrison, Tom Black
Technical Coordinator: Joe Trinsey
Athletic Trainer: Jill Wosmek

Brazil Roster for Women’s USA Volleyball Cup
# - Name (Position, Ht, World Championship App, Olympic App, Club)
1 – Fabiana Claudino (MB, 6-4, 14, 13, SESI-SP)
3 – Danielle Lins (S, 5-11, 13, 7, Osasco/Molico)
4 – Ana Carolina Da Silva (MB, 6-0, 0, 0, Unilever)
5 – Adenizia Silva (MB, 6-1, 6, 7, Molico/Nestle)
6 – Thaisa Menezes (MB, 6-5, 14, 14, Molico/Nestle)
7 – Andreia Sforzin Laurence (OH, 6-0, 7, 0, Unilever)
8 – Jaqueline Pereira de Carvalho Endres (OH, 6-1, 13, 14, NA)
10 – Gabriela Braga Guimaraes (OH, 5-9, 0, 0, Unilever)
11 – Tandara Caixeta (OH, 6-0, 0, 7, Banana Boat/Praia Clube)
12 – Natalia Pereira (OH, 6-0, 14, 8, Unilever)
13 – Sheilla Castro (OPP, 6-1, 16, 14, VakifBank)
14 – Ana Tiemi (S, 6-2, 7, 0, Bursa B.B. SK)
15 – Monique Marinho Pavao (OPP, 5-10, 0, 0, SESI-SP)
16 – Fernanda Rodrigues (OH, 5-10, 0, 7, Dinamo Krasnodar)
17 – Josefa Fabiola Almeida De Sousa Alves (S, 6-0, 8, 0, Dinamo Krasnodar)
18 – Camila Brait (L, 5-7, 9, 0, Molico/Nestle)
Head Coach: Jose Roberto Lages Guimaraes
Assistant Coaches: Paulo do Rego Barros Junior, Claudio Lopes Pinheiro
Trainer: Fabio Correia
Statistician: Marco Antonio Di Bonifacio
Team Manager: Leonardo Gomes Pereira Cupertino Moraes

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pac-12 | Washington will play Stanford and Cal just once each in 2014

  • Cal will not visit Seattle and Washington will not travel to Stanford in 2014

Continuing a pattern established when Utah and Colorado joined the Pac-12, each conference volleyball team will miss two matches—one home and one away—against rival schools. For 2014, Washington will not face Cal in Seattle, nor will it travel to Stanford. Conversely, the Cardinal will visit Hec Ed, and the Bears will host UW in Berkeley.

AVCA Player of the Year will not face the Cal Bears at home during her senior season at UW
-photo by Shutter Geeks Photography
Last season, Washington’s imbalance was with the Oregon schools; the previous season it was the Arizona schools.

Since 2001, the Huskies have a 2-11 record in Stanford’s Maples Pavilion, and have not won there since 2007. Last year’s 0-3 loss was its seventh in a row in Palo Alto, and one of only three losses by Washington the entire season. Playing at home, Washington is 7-6 against the Cardinal since 2001.

Washington’s home Pac-12 schedule includes three Wednesday night matches: Washington State (September 24), USC (October 1) and Stanford (November 26). The Huskies’ four Friday night home league matches are UCLA (October 3), Utah (October 24), Oregon (November 7), and Arizona (November 21). UW plays three Sunday home Pac-12 matches: Colorado (October 26), Oregon State (November 9) and Arizona State (November 23).

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sand | This road to college volleyball began on Seattle sand

  • West Seattle star Eastyn Baleto will bring beach skills to New Mexico

Albuquerque soars more than a mile above sea level. There are no ocean beaches, but plenty of sand. And that suits Eastyn Baleto just fine.

West Seattle HS's Eastyn Baleto will play sand at New Mexico
-photo courtesy Juan Hernandez
Baleto, a West Seattle High School senior, will play collegiate sand volleyball next season at the University of New Mexico. Baleto has played both beach and indoor volleyball since middle school. Playing indoors, she earned 2013 MVP honors for the Metro Sound Division, and wide acclaim on her club team, Puget Sound Volleyball Academy. Playing outdoors, she and her partners have won several doubles tournaments, including U-16 division at the high profile 2012 Seaside Tournament, with partner Shayne McPherson.

“I love that it is doubles instead of sixes,” Baleto tells Volleyblog Seattle. “I love playing with a team, but I like the amount of reps that you get and that you have one partner. It’s almost a solo sport, but it’s not. And I feel like I have more freedom on the sand. I like to dive around.”

Baleto’s mom, the former Genne Terry, was a star player for the University of Washington, leading the 1986 Huskies in kills, kills per game, attacks and service aces. Her 54 aces was a school record that stood for 17 years until it was broken in 2003 by Sanja Tomasevic. Her dad, Joe, has been her sand coach, her club coach and her high school coach.

“Eastyn makes me a better coach,” Joe says. “She is a great kid to coach. As a daughter being coached by her dad, it is like being under a microscope. She has handled every day with class.”

New Mexico won’t launch its sand program until next spring. “Eastyn is a kid I foresee with a bright future,” says Lobos head coach Jeff Nelson. “Right now, in year one and year two, we are a non-scholarship program. Starting in year three, we will be a full scholarship program.”

During its first three seasons, women’s collegiate sand volleyball has been an NCAA demonstration sport, with national championships conducted by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. With dozens of schools adding the sport this year and next—including Washington and most of the Pac-12—sand volleyball is all but certain to be a full-fledged NCAA sport soon.

While rules are still being adjusted, players on sand scholarships may not play indoor for at least their first two seasons (indoor scholarship players, however, may also play sand. Baleto intends to keep a close eye on her options after her first two seasons.

“Right now I’m just really happy about my opportunity to play sand,” she says. “I love sand and indoor equally. But if I got the opportunity to play indoor, of course, I’d love to play both.”

Team USA setter Courtney Thompson (L) and
libero Nicole Davis celebrate in Montreux
  • On Memorial Day, Baleto was honored with the 18s Division Candis Carter Inspiration Award at the Annual Emerald City Classic Invitational at the University of Washington. Washington Volleyball Academy’s Rebecca Owen of Pine Lake Middle School won the 16s Division award; Puget Sound Volleyball Academy’s Kasey Woodruff of Curtis Junior High earned the 14s Division honor. The honorees—selected by coaches—is given to liberos whose attitude on and off the court is an inspiration to teammates and opponents.
  • In Montreux, Switzerland, former Washington All-American setters Jenna Hagglund and Courtney Thompson led Team USA to its second straight victory at the 29th Montreux Volley Masters Invitational. USA (2-0) swept Japan (1-1) 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-20). Head coach Karch Kiraly gave most of the playing time to those who had not had seen much action in the previous day’s victory over Germany. Hagglund—celebrating her birthday—started all three sets, with Thompson seeing action in each frame. Kristin Hildebrand led all attackers with 11 kills. Team USA finishes Pool Play Friday at noon (Pacific) against Dominican Republic.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Seattle | Super Bowl Parade

A departure today from the usual volleyball fare. Seattle Police say we were among 700,000 to line downtown streets for the Seahawks' Super Bowl Parade. Photos, from Lower Queen Anne, by Leslie and Jack Hamann.

The Lombardi Trophy

Marshawn Lynch, cigar and Skittles in hand, leads the parade

Lynch rides the Ducks

Pete Carroll

Typical scene: Seahawks juggling Google glasses, cellphones and cameras

Legion and Lombardi

Hugs all around

Richard Sherman

Lombardi on Lower Queen Anne

Russell Wilson

Sunday, December 22, 2013

NCAA | Volleyball fans do Seattle proud

Huge crowds fill Key Arena, even when home team no longer in contention
  • #2 Penn State def. #14 Wisconsin 3-1 (25-19, 26-24, 20-25, 25-23)

Penn State libero Dominique Gonzalez stood on the Key Arena volleyball court and marveled at the noise.
Wisconsin's Lauren Carlini
-Volleyblog Seattle photo by Leslie Hamann

“It was really loud,” she said. “They filled the stands. Even though their home team wasn’t playing here, they still came out to cheer on the national championship game. That is, obviously, great.”

Two days after the Nittany Lions eliminated Washington in the national semifinals, there was trepidation in some circles about whether Seattle fans would show for Penn State vs. Wisconsin. Not only were the seats filled, but players figured fans had picked a favorite.

“There were a couple times I heard boos,” said PSU setter Micha Hancock, voted the championship’s Most Outstanding Player. “It was, like, dang! Tough crowd!”

“I think a lot of people were cheering for Wisconsin, the underdog,” said Gonzalez. “And why not? They play hard. They want to win.”

The loudest explosion came toward the end of the third set, when Wisconsin’s 5-7 Deme Morales stuffed 6-1 All-American Deja McClendon. That gave the Badgers a 23-18 lead, on the way to their only set win of the match.

Penn State players celebrate their championship in front of an appreciative Seattle crowd
-Volleyblog Seattle photo by Brett Hamann
From our perspective at courtside, the roar of the crowd seemed evenly balanced. More than anything, appreciative fans screamed approval for big plays, especially on defense, no matter which team won the point. And the crowd stood and cheered for both squads when Penn State won the final point and the school’s sixth championship.

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