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Buffs Head to USA Volleyball Tryouts

Feb 19, 2015

BOULDER - The Buffaloes are sending five volleyball players to the USA Volleyball tryouts Feb. 20-22 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The University of Colorado's contingency includes junior outside hitter Alexis Austin, junior setter Nicole Edelman, freshman middle blocker Anna Pfefferle, sophomore libero Cierra Simpson and freshman setter/hitter Gabby Simpson.

"This is a great opportunity for many of our athletes to compete with and against the strongest competition in the country," coach Liz Kritza said. "Fortunately, our training philosophy at CU helps our athletes to be well prepared for opportunities like this that allow them to expand their volleyball careers beyond the collegiate game. Our athletes have worked very hard through the fall, and they have been very focused this spring with this tryout as a focal point of their personal motivation." 

The tryout will evaluate the athletes for spots on the U.S. Women's National Team, the U.S. Collegiate National Team program and for the U.S. Women's Junior National Team for athletes born in 1996 or 1997.

"Many of our athletes have been in USA programs in the past, and I am confident that they will continue to represent the University of Colorado with excellence in front of the U.S. National Team coaching staff," Kritza said. "I know that our athletes are excited."

The Buffs have a strong tie with USA Volleyball. Senior Taylor Simpson has trained with the U.S. National Team and was a member of the 2014 USA Senior A2 Team and the 2014 Beach A2 Team. In high school, she earned a spot on the 2010 U.S. Youth Olympic Team that finished second in Singapore at the Inaugural Youth Olympics and was a member of the USA Youth National Training Team.

Austin was a member of the 2011 U.S. Girls' Youth National Team that competed at the FIVB Girls' Youth World Championships in Turkey. In 2010, she was named to the U.S. Girls' Youth National A2 Team and participated at the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships.

Edelman was the co-captain of the 2013 U.S. Junior National Team and guided the team at the FIVB World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic. She was also a member of the 2011 U.S. Girls' Youth National Team and the 2010 U.S. Girls' Youth National A2 Team and has been a part of the USAV High Performance program.

Gabby Simpson is also no stranger to the USAV program. She was a member of the 2012 and '13 U.S. Youth National Training Teams.

Future Buff Taylor Joachim will also be at the tryout and has been a part of the USA Volleyball pipeline. In 2012, she was a member of the USAV Girls Youth Continental team that competed at the USAV High Performance Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. During the 2013 and GÇÿ14 seasons, Joachim was a member of the USA Junior A1 Red Team that won the women's international junior division.

U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly and his staff will direct the entire tryout process, which can be viewed with an online video stream. The tryout will involve four sessions with three waves per session. Friday's first session goes from 2-8 p.m. MT with Queen of the Court competitions, while Saturday's sessions are at 8 a.m. (focus on serve/receive and individual work) and 2 p.m. (middle-centered and out-of-system focus). The tryout concludes on Sunday at 8 a.m. with tournament style play, along with 16-18 athletes selected by the staff to participate in a "USA" training session.

Selected athletes for the U.S. Women's National Team may begin their training in Anaheim, Calif., as early as the spring of 2015, or when an athlete's scholastic or professional club season has concluded.

The U.S. Collegiate National Team program has three competition options:

  • World University Games Team (12 athletes): June 28-July 14
  • Tour of China (12 athletes): June 12-26
  • USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships (36 athletes): June 21-30

For athletes born in 1996 or 1997, they will also be evaluated to earn a spot on the U.S. Women's Junior National Team that will compete at the 2015 FIVB Volleyball Women's U20 World Championship in Cyprus July 1-13 with a training block from June 14-29 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Selections for the U.S. Collegiate National Teams will be made by the end of March, while selected athletes to the U.S. Women's Junior National Team will be notified by April 31 with a public announcement expected by May 7.

The tryouts are free and open to the public; however seating is very limited in Sports Center II.

The Buffs had another outstanding season in 2014, advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. CU finished with a 20-14 overall record and were ranked 21st in the final AVCA rankings. CU also tied for fourth in the Pac-12 standings (11-9).