Feb. 21, 2014
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
By JIL PRICE
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A record number 248 student-athletes from 106 colleges and universities will be taking part in the U.S. Women's National Team Open Tryouts at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Co., Feb. 21-23. Three of them -- junior Alessandra Dietz, sophomore Erin Radke and freshman Lauren Brobst -- will be representing the University of Iowa volleyball program.
"I'm excited about it," Radke said. "No matter what happens, it's going to be a great opportunity. It's something I'm looking forward to and I'm thankful I have the opportunity to do, so I'm going to give it my all, play to the best of my ability and not back hold back."
Twelve student-athletes will be chosen to represent the U.S. Collegiate National Team and travel to China from June 13-27, 2014, for a series of training sessions and matches. Thirty-six participate at the 2014 USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships held in Minneapolis from June 26-30, 2014.
"These are great opportunities for them to be evaluated and pushed," said UI head coach Bond Shymansky. "They will be able to go up against the top tier players in the country for volleyball. We want all of our individual players to strive for the absolute best they can be so that our program can do the same. Anytime we can support their Olympic dreams, we're going to do it. These are great steps forward for our program and for them to get involved in the tryout."
Dietz brings an impressive resume into the tryout. She led the Hawkeyes in blocks, hitting percentage and aces, and set career-highs in nine statistical categories: sets played (117), kills (220), hitting percentage (.262), assists (27), service aces (26), digs (91), solo blocks (20), block assists (92), and total blocks (112).
"I'm excited to train at the Olympic Training Center, and it's going to be a great experience," Dietz said. "To be trying out with really talented girls is great. I'm excited to see what kind of training they do out there."
Radke also posted career-best numbers in nine statistical categories in her sophomore campaign: matches played (31), sets played (104), starts (22), kills (163), assists (4), digs (20), solo blocks (4), block assists (56), and total blocks (60).
"I'm looking forward to getting to see the Olympic Training Center and to be trying out with girls from all over the country, some of which are in the Big Ten," Radke said. "It will be fun to meet some of them and be in an environment with some girls we play against every year."
Brobst made nine starts in her freshman season and posted impressive numbers. Her match-highs include 23 kills, a .436 attack percentage, two solo blocks and five total blocks. She looks forward to learning and developing as a player with her experience at the tryout.
"I'm hoping to come out of this tryout a better player," Brobst said. "I want to learn more about the sport and learn how to be more court smart. Trying out at the Olympic Training Center is a huge honor, and I'm excited to compete against the top girls in the nation."
All sessions of the three-day tryout will be video streamed live and available for all to view at teamusa.org. Fans can also follow USA Volleyball on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for exclusive content.