BOULDER - The University of Colorado volleyball program will have four of its players attend the USA Volleyball Open Tryouts, Feb. 22-24, in Colorado Springs, Colo. at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
Freshmen Alexis Austin (outside hitter) and Nicole Edelman (setter) will be competing for a spot on the U.S. Women's Junior National Volleyball Team, while sophomore Taylor Simpson (outside hitter) and junior Elysse Richardson (defensive specialist) are trying out for a spot on the U.S. Women's Senior A2 Team and the U.S. Women's National Team this summer.
"We are very excited to have four of our players competing at the USA Volleyball open tryouts this weekend," coach Liz Kritza said. "They are extremely talented athletes who have the drive, work-ethic, and motivation it takes to be considered to represent the USA in the National Team program. The experience will be extremely valuable, as there are so many worthy athletes attending tryouts, the competition will be excellent. Their previous experiences with USA Volleyball coupled with the gains they have made individually will serve them well."
Austin was named CU's Most Improved Player after leading the Buffs with 364 kills (3.14 kills per set) this past season. She was named the Sam Houston State Invitational Most Valuable Player to start the season; leading CU to three straight wins to start the year. Austin recorded a career-high 19 kills in a four-set loss at No.2 Stanford near the end of the season. She earned CU Athlete of the Week honors four times and was a Pac-12 All-Freshman honorable mention selection.
Edelman stepped into the role of team captain after just a couple of matches into the season. She directed the Buffs to a 10-2 non-conference record, one of the best starts in school history. Edelman earned the team's Most Valuable Player of the Year award and was named to the Sam Houston State Invitational and Maddie Bingaman Memorial All-Tournament Teams. She ranks ninth on CU's career assist chart after handing out 1,060 in her freshman season. Edelman also earned one CU Athlete of the Week honor and was a Pac-12 All-Freshman honorable mention selection.
Both Austin and Edelman are no stranger to the USA Volleyball program. Edelman and Austin were part of the USA Volleyball High Performance program and in 2011 both were selected to participate on the U.S. Girls' Youth National Team that competed at the world championships. Austin was also on the U.S. Girls' Youth National A2 Team in 2010.
Simpson most recently played for Missouri, helping the Tigers to a 19-11 record in 2012. She recorded 118 kills and hit .267 while adding 50 digs and 30 blocks in 14 matches at MU. Simpson recorded 12 kills and 13 digs against Virginia Tech and led the Tigers with 11 kills against Appalachian State.
Simpson is also not a stranger to USA Volleyball as she was a member of the 2010 U.S. Youth Olympic Team that finished second in Singapore. She led the team at the tournament and recorded 11 kills, six blocks and an ace in the final match of the tournament.
Richardson recorded double-digit digs in nine matches during the 2012 season, including a career-best of 23 in a five-set thriller at Air Force. She ranked second on the team with 221 digs and averaged 2.10 digs per set. Richardson was also second on the team with 16 service aces.
USA Volleyball has a projected record of 243 athletes signed up to participate in the open tryouts. Those 243 athletes represent 90 different colleges and 38 of those athletes are from Pac-12 Conference schools. The previous record for participants was 207 in 2012.
Throughout the tryout process, USA Volleyball will be identifying prospective athletes for the following three different programs: first and foremost the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team Program; those not selected to the National Team may also be considered for an invitation to the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Senior A2 Team; and/or U.S. Women's Junior National Volleyball Team program and its various programs.
The U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team Program is available to athletes who have concluded their college eligibility and who wish to be invited to be a member of the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team on a full-time basis. This program could begin as early as the spring of 2013, or when an athlete's scholastic or professional club season has concluded. Also considered for training with this group will be athletes who have remaining collegiate eligibility and their participation beginning in mid-May or when their scholastic calendar ends for 2013.
The U.S. Women's National Volleyball Senior A2 program is available to athletes with collegiate eligibility remaining for the 2013 season. This program is scheduled to take place in Dallas from June 25 to July 4. A projected 48 athletes will be invited to participate in the program, which will include training and competing at the USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships (GJNC) from July 1-4. These athletes may also be invited to participate with the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team.
The U.S. Women's Junior Program is available for athletes born in either 1994 or 1995. The U.S. Women's Junior National Volleyball Team will compete in the FIVB Volleyball Women's Junior World Championship June 21-30 at Brno, Czech Republic. In addition the U.S. Women's Junior A1 National Training Team will compete I the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships and the U.S. Women's Junior A1 International Training Team will compete in the European Global Challenge in Pula, Croatia. High school age athletes eligible for the U.S. Women's Junior Program can also attend USA Volleyball High Performance tryouts around the country.