Published Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 10:22 pm / Updated at 11:38 pm
Volleyball
Ex-Husker duo in the fast lane with Team USA
What's NORCECA?
An acronym for the North America, Central America and Caribbean volleyball federation.

Team USA roster


The U.S. women’s national volleyball team roster for the NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship:
No., Name, Position, Ht., Hometown, College
1, Alisha Glass, S, 6-0, Leland, Mich., Penn State
7, Cassidy Lichtman, OH, 6-1, Poway, Calif., Stanford
8, Lauren Gibbemeyer, MB, 6-2, St. Paul, Minn., Minnesota
9, Kristin Hildebrand, OH, 6-1, Orem, Utah, Stanford
10, Jordan Larson-Burbach, OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., Nebraska
12, Kayla Banwarth, L, 5-10, Dubuque, Iowa, Nebraska
13, Christa Harmotto, MB, 6-2, Hopewell Township, Pa., Penn State
14, Nicole Fawcett, OPP, 6-4, Zanesfield, Ohio, Penn State
15, Kelly Murphy, OPP, 6-2, Wilmington, Ill., Florida
17, Lauren Paolini, MB, 6-4, Ann Arbor, Mich., Texas
20, Jenna Hagglund, S, 5-10, West Chester, Ohio, Washington
24, Kim Hill, OH, 6-4, Portland, Ore., Pepperdine

Karch Kiraly sums it up in two words when asked about the Team USA focus for the NORCECA Women's Continental Championship next week.

Play fast.

The American team, including former Nebraska players Jordan Larson-Burbach and Kayla Banwarth, will work off low sets and a waste-no-time transition game as it hosts eight other nations in the six-day volleyball tournament at the Ralston Arena.

“One of our big focal points for the start of a new four-year Olympic cycle is playing with a lot of speed,” said Kiraly, who took over the U.S. women's national team last fall from Hugh McCutcheon. “We feel like we can play faster and cleaner than just about anybody out there. And when we play with speed, we can create space that can be taken advantage of.

“We really got a nice confirmation during Grand Prix of how effective that offense can be.”

Team USA finished sixth at the recent FIVB World Grand Prix. Since it's standard procedure for some veterans to take time off after an Olympic year, the Americans played that event with a mostly young and inexperienced lineup.

So what did Kiraly find out about some of the youngsters who will stay with Team USA for NORCECA?

“We learned that they can do it at an international level,” he said. “I don't think they knew it about themselves and we didn't know what to expect, either. We had lots of people, probably 11 out of the 16, that had never gotten any significant playing time against quality opponents. So they proved to themselves that they can play with the world's best and challenge at a major tournament.”

Larson-Burbach rejoins the team for the NORCECA Continental Championship after playing on the U.S. team that won a silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics. The Americans currently are ranked No. 2 in the world.

Larson-Burbach told The World-Herald this summer that her plan as of now is to stay with Team USA for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“I'm looking at Jordan right now and she is 26,” Kiraly said, “but I think of her as quite young and with lots and lots of volleyball ahead of her, if she so chooses.”

The 6-foot-2 Larson-Burbach, from Hooper, Neb., will play a big part in the Americans playing fast as she attacks from the left side. The hitters will need to have their timing down with setter Alisha Glass.

“What you'll see is when we set it to the sidelines it won't have much height to it,” Kiraly said. “The setter's going to shoot it out there pretty fast. For Jordan and our other hitters, we want to have that ball arrive from setter release to contact in well under one second.”

Kiraly said the object is to put stress on opposing blockers and defenders. Playing fast also is about the transition of going from being blockers to sprinting off the net, keeping an eye on the ball and returning as hitters.

Kiraly, a former UCLA star and three-time Olympic gold medalist, said it's not necessarily a trend at any or all levels.

“Not everybody in volleyball is trying to do it,” he said. “We do see some things happening in the international men's side of the game, where they play with more speed and more out of the back row.”

The top threats for the NORCECA Continental Championship likely will come from No. 8-ranked Dominican Republic and No. 15 Cuba. It starts Monday with pool play (three pools of three) and the champion advances to the FIVB Grand Champions Cup in Japan in November.

“Is it on the same level as qualifying for Rio? Probably not,” Kiraly said. “But we played Brazil a couple weeks ago and we'd love to have another shot at them (in Japan), and the only way to do that is by winning NORCECA”

Contact the writer: Rich Kaipust

rich.kaipust@owh.com    |   402-444-1042    |  

Rich Kaipust is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football and some general assignment tasks, including the College World Series and U.S. Olympic Swim Trials.

PHOTO GALLERY AND VIDEO »

 

< >
SPOTLIGHT »
2013 college football preview
View our 2013 college football preview, a 26-page, three-part section filled with coverage of the Huskers, Big Ten conference and more.
Big Red Bowl Retrospective
See complete historical results, game recaps and photo coverage from the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football bowl game appearances, from the 1941 Rose Bowl up to today.
Big Ten football recruits
The World-Herald's Big Ten recruiting database contains every football recruit that signed with a Big Ten school from 2002 to 2011, complete with color-coded interactive map representations, player information, high-concentrations recruiting clusters and more.
Devaney Center timeline
Check out a World-Herald timeline to see the evolution of memorable moments at the Devaney Center, complete with photos, videos, memorable quotes and more.
Follow OWHbigred on Twitter
Looking for the latest Husker sports news from The Omaha World-Herald and Omaha.com? Follow us on Twitter!
Husker scholarship distribution chart
Want to see how many scholarships NU has invested at each position? Wondering how the Huskers have appropriated their offers by class? Check out our handy chart to look further into how Bo Pelini has built his team.
Husker Signing Day 2013
The World-Herald's top-notch coverage of the Nebraska football's class of 2013, complete with videos, photos, articles, live recruit interviews, interactive components and more.
Husker turnovers: A slippery slope
Bo Pelini has coached 68 games at Nebraska. When NUís turnover margin is positive or even, the Huskers are 35-2. When they lose the turnover battle, theyíre 13-18. Why hasnít Nebraska joined the nationís elite? More than anything, itís turnovers.
Interactive: Bo Pelini's contract
View an interactive PDF of Pelini's revised contract signed by the NU football coach, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Darin Erstad's contract (2012)
View an interactive PDF of NU baseball coach Darin Erstad's contract released in August 2012, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Tim Miles' contract
View an interactive PDF of Tim Miles' contract signed by the Nebraska men's basketball coach on May 4, 2012, complete with brief legal explanations, comparisons to other Big Ten coaches and more.
Omaha.com's Big Ten coverage
Delivering the best news coverage and analysis of the Big Ten Conference, from Omaha.com and other top news outlets from around country.
Husker Recruiting: Changes shrink NU's sphere of influence
For decades, the Great Plains represented fertile recruiting ground for Tom Osborne's football program. Restoring that lost tradition won't be easy.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Shoreline Golf Club
$40 for 2 Players, 18 Holes of Golf with Cart ($85 Value)
Buy Now
BRT ON TWITTER »
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT »
< >