Feb. 20, 2014
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Four members of the Colorado State volleyball team will attend USA Volleyball’s open tryout this weekend at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. Acacia Andrews, Jaime Colaizzi, Adrianna Culbert and Kelsey Snider are four of a record 247 projected participants vying for a spot on this summer’s U.S. Collegiate National Teams.
Following the open tryout – which begins Friday at 2 p.m. MT and runs through Sunday, with all sessions being live streamed for free – approximately 48 athletes will be selected to U.S. Collegiate National Teams.
Twelve will travel to China (June 13-27) for a series of training sessions and matches in conjunction with a separate team representing the Pac-12 Conference, while roughly 36 will train and participate at the 2014 USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships (June 22-30), held in Minneapolis, Minn. U.S. Collegiate National Teams will compete against each other while serving as inspiration for junior athletes competing in the GJNC on what the next level of competition is like in college.
“When you’re competing for a USA Volleyball program you have to be good all the time” said CSU associate head coach Brook Coulter, who had an extensive international playing career and has spent several summers as a coach with USA Volleyball programs. “Being part of this program – whether it’s the tryout or the Collegiate National Team – will help these girls form that attitude of being the best they can be. It’s the expectation of being great all the time.”
Five CSU players have participated on the U.S. Collegiate National Team – formerly the U.S. National A2 Team – including three in the past four years. Last summer, setter Deedra Foss helped her team to a silver medal at the competition while being coached by six-time national champion Andy Banachowski.
For Andrews, it will be her first time participating in the tryout.
“I’m super excited for the experience,” Andrews said. “I’m just really excited to play with players from all over the country.”
Andrews said she has also relied on her teammates who have been through the process before.
“Having a year under my belt, I know the atmosphere and know what the coaches are looking for,” Culbert said. “My goal is to get more touches on the ball, play with some of the best athletes across the nation and hopefully make a team.”
Colaizzi also went through the process last year, but is excited to get another opportunity after being sick during last year’s tryout.
“I’m hoping that this year I’ll be able to play a little better and more relaxed,” the sophomore from Windsor, Colo., said. “It’s a pretty intense weekend; we do a lot of drills and technical work, and then a lot of scrimmaging.”
Regardless of the result, they all believe the tryout will improve their level of play.
“Whether it works out or not, I’ve got the mindset to go and have fun and make the most of the opportunity,” Snider said. “It will help me become a better player either way.”
The U.S. Collegiate National Team is open to athletes born between 1986 and 1996 with collegiate eligibility remaining for the 2014 season.
Evaluators and coaches for the event include several current and former collegiate and international coaches, led by three-time Olympic gold medalist and U.S. Olympic Hall of Famer Karch Kiraly. In addition to the four CSU student-athletes, Jared Hazel will serve as a DataVolley coordinator. Hazel recently completed his third season as the Rams’ video coordinator.
Culbert and Snider were each All-Mountain West selections in 2013, helping the Rams to a program record 28-2 season. Culbert, a sophomore from Delton, Mich., averaged 2.53 kills and 2.78 digs from the right side, in addition to 0.51 blocks per set. She was also an AVCA All-America Honorable Mention selection. Snider, a Westminster, Colo., native, switched to the middle as a junior, flourishing with 2.60 kills per set on .365 hitting. She also ranked second on the team with 1.04 blocks per set.
Colaizzi averaged 4.08 digs per set during her first season at libero. Her 445 total digs rank fourth in CSU single-season history. Andrews was named the Rams’ BOM Squad MVP, an award which goes to the team’s top up-and-coming player. She played a limited role for CSU in 2013, but coaches believe the 6-5 redshirt freshman from Norman, Okla., has one of the most powerful swings on the team.
USA Volleyball is expected to make its roster announcements by the end of March.
“No matter what happens, it will be a great experience,” Colaizzi said. “You’re playing with great athletes and are being coached by some of the best coaches in the United States, so it’s a win-win.”
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