June 8, 2012
University of Louisville senior middle blocker Gwen Rucker is set to begin her training along with 47 other elite players with USA in this summer's U.S. Women's National A2 Team Program.
Training begins June 26 at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, while the matches will be held June 30 to July 4 during the USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships (GJNC) at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. During the pre-tournament training session, the 48 athletes will be divided into four teams of 12 players that will play one match per day during the GJNC. All matches will be A2 competing against each other in a round-robin format followed by a semifinal and final round.
" I am very excited about this opportunity to play with the A2 program," said Rucker. "I am thrilled to play with some of the best college volleyball players in the nation and learn from them as well as from the talented coaching staff. It will be highly competitive and also fun to get to know everyone."
The 48 U.S. Women's National A2 Team Program players hail from 34 different collegiate programs. The A2 program includes eight liberos, 12 middle blockers, 14 outside hitters, six opposites and eight setters.
Repeat A2 selections from 2011 include Kelli Fiegen (South Dakota State University, Parkston, S.D.), Natalie Hagglund (University of Southern California, Encinitas, Calif.), Madison Kingdon (University of Arizona, Phoenix, Ariz.), Rachel Krabacher (University of Dayton, Cincinnati, Ohio), Alexis Mathews (Michigan State University, Detroit, Mich.), Gwen Rucker (University of Louisville, Lexington, Ky.) and Ariel Turner (Purdue University, Highlands Ranch, Colo.).
Coaches selected for the 2012 U.S. Women's National A2 Team Program are Northwestern University's Keylor Chan, San Diego State University's Deitre Collins-Parker, Georgia Tech's Tanya Johnson, Pepperdine University's Nina Matthies and Cal State Northridge's Jeff Stork. One additional coaching position will be filled at a later date.
. "I feel that moving the U.S. Women's National A2 Program to be in conjunction with the USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships will be a very positive move for the program," USA Volleyball Senior Director Tom Pingel said. "The exposure and impact that the program and its athletes will have at the GJNC will far surpass that experienced at the USA Volleyball Open National Championships with the adults competing. It will also be a `win' for the GJNC event and its participants."
The 2012 U.S. Women's National A2 Team program was selected through the U.S. Women's National Team Open Tryouts held Feb. 10-12 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. A record 207 athletes participated in the tryout. Athletes in college and with collegiate eligibility remaining for the 2012 collegiate season not selected to join the U.S. Women's National Team were eligible for the U.S. Women's A2 program.