Oct. 9, 2013
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - While her former teammates were gearing up for big competition last weekend, two-time All-American outside hitter Ariel Turner was playing her first matches for the USA at the FIVB Volleyball Women's Under-23 World Championship.
The Championships, which are being held in Tijuana and Mexicali, Mexico, will be played from Oct. 5-12. Turner, who is playing professionally in France after finishing her Boilermaker career in 2012, is one of 12 players on the U.S. squad.
U.S. Women's National team coach Karch Kiraly is coaching the team of both pre-and-post collegiate players.
"This is a great opportunity for some people who have shown some real promise to get exposure to the level just before senior national team, and to further ignite their passion and to further galvanize their hunger to continue their development," Kiraly said in the USA Volleyball announcement of the team. "And maybe someday they'll be back in the USA gym."
In addition to Turner, the 12-player roster includes: middle blockers Erica Wilson (Arizona State) and Sandra Adelaye (Clemson), opposites Sha'Dare McNeal (Neruda Volksbank Bolzano) and Monique Mead (Telekom Baku), setters Jordan Poulter (Front Range Volleyball Club) and Lauren Cook (Vaqueras de Bayamon), outside hitters Gina Mancuso (Leonas de Ponce), Hayley Hodson (T Street Volleyball Club), Tia Scambray (T Street Volleyball Club) and Lexi Sun (Coast Volleyball Club), and libero Bojana Todorovic (UCLA).
The team trained for a week at the American Sports Centers in Anaheim, Calif., before departing for Mexico, including some time with the Women's Senior National team members. Kiraly said that the U23 athletes got to pick the brains of the national team members, who got to act as their mentors for the week.
Group play for the FIVB Volleyball Women's U23 World Championship will be held Oct. 5-9 in Tijuana and Mexicali, followed by playoff rounds Oct. 11-12 in Tijuana. All Pool B matches will take place in the State Auditorium in Mexicali, Mexico.
The fifth and sixth-place teams in each pool will be eliminated and classified from positions nine through 12. On Oct. 11, the top two teams from each pool move on to the classification 1-4 semifinals, while third- and fourth-place pool finishers play in the classification 5-8 semifinals. The medal matches and final classification matches will take place on Oct. 12.
The U.S. is one of 12 countries participating in this inaugural event. The group includes two countries from each continent, the highest ranked country in the senior FIVB world rankings and the host country. Pool A consists of Italy, Turkey, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Mexico and Japan.
The team is in Pool B of the competition. The USA swept Kenya, Oct. 5 as Turner put down five kills in six attempts in a starting role. The team swept Cuba, Oct. 6, as Turner registered eight kills, three blocks and two aces in her second start. The squad edged Germany in five sets on Oct. 7, as Turner managed six kills and one block in another start. The U23 team lost its first match of the competition on Oct. 8, falling to China in five sets as Turner was credited with four points, while starting the first set of the match. The team wraps up pool play on Oct. 9 against Brazil. The winner of that match will advance to the gold medal round semifinals on Oct. 11, while the loser will fall into the 5-8 classification semifinals.
For more information on the FIVB Women's U23 World Championship, click here.
# - Name (Position, Hometown, Club)
1 - Sandra Adeleye (MB, Katy, Texas, Clemson University)
2 - Lauren Cook (S, Lincoln, Neb., Vaqueras de Bayamon)
4 - Hayley Hodson (OH, Newport Beach, Calif., T Street Volleyball Club)
5 - Monique Mead (Opp., Newnan, Ga., Telekom Baku)
6 - Jordyn Poulter (S, Aurora, Colo., Front Range Volleyball Club)
7 - Gina Mancuso (OH, Omaha, Neb., Leonas de Ponce)
8 - Ariel Turner (OH, Highlands Ranch, Colo., USGE Nantes)
9 - Bojana Todorovic (L, Irvine, Calif., UCLA)
10 - Erica Wilson (MB, Oceanside, Calif., Arizona State University)
11 - Lexi Sun (OH, Solana Beach, Calif., Coast Volleyball Club)
12 - Tiata Scambray (OH, Monarch Beach, Calif., T Street Volleyball Club)
14 - Sha'Dare McNeal (Opp., San Diego, Calif., Neruda Volksbank Bolzano)