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Spartan Volleyball Members Travel to USOTC for Open Tryouts

Abron, Emro, Mathews, Rathje and Weiler tryout for U.S. National volleyball teams.  Photo courtesy of MSU SID.

Abron, Emro, Mathews, Rathje and Weiler tryout for U.S. National volleyball teams. Photo courtesy of MSU SID.


EAST LANSING, Mich. – Members of the Michigan State volleyball team traveled to Colorado Springs, Colo., this past weekend (Feb. 25-27) to participate in open tryouts for the U.S. Women’s National and U.S. Women’s National A2 Teams. The Spartans sent five student-athletes – Kyndra Abron, Natalie Emro, Alexis Mathews, Jenilee Rathje and Carli Weiler – to compete in the tryouts amongst the record setting 204 participants.


“The tryout was a great experience for our players,” said Michigan State head coach Cathy George. “Whenever you can surround yourself with the best athletes in the country, you elevate your game. In the end, this opportunity not only benefits our individuals who participated in the tryouts, but the entire team, as well. I certainly look for our team to be better off as a whole because of this experience.”


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The five Spartans and George traveled to the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Friday, Feb. 25 to begin their experience. After checking-in, each individual was divided up into three groups – red, white and blue – and began to undergo physical testing and various drills and play. Players will be informed of their status in a few weeks after evaluations and statistics are reviewed by the National Team coaches.


Student-athletes in college with eligibility remaining for the 2011 season and not selected to the USA Women’s National Team may be invited to participate in the U.S. Women’s National Senior A2 Team. This program is tentatively scheduled to take place in Dallas from May 23 through June 1. A projected 36 athletes will be invited to participate in the program, which will include training and competition in the 2010 USA Volleyball Open National Championships in the Open Division from May 28-31. USA Volleyball considers the event as the National Championship for the sport of volleyball in the United States.


George also served as an evaluator at the tryouts as she has experience working with U.S. National teams. George spent the spring of 2008 coaching the USA A2 Red team to the USA Adult Open Championship. The USA A2 Red Team topped the University of Washington's Huskies VBC team, 3-1, in Atlanta. George and University of Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott, the A2 Blue coach, conducted training of 20 selected collegiate student-athletes before the championships and split the student-athletes into two teams for competition. George's A2 Red Team took home the gold, while the Blue team finished with the bronze. This was George's second stint with USA Volleyball as she was an assistant coach for the US team at the 1999 World University Games.


“Overall, I am very happy with the tryouts this weekend,” said U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Hugh McCutcheon. “We had a great group of athletes on the court, and our court coaches and stat crew did well in evaluating the talent. This was a good opportunity for the players to show what they could do.”