On Wednesday, USA volleyball announced its 12-player US Women’s Collegiate National Team for the China tour taking place from May 20-31:
- T’ara Ceasar (OH, Georgia, 6-1, Panama City, Florida)
- Thayer Hall (OH, Florida, 6-3, Moore, South Carolina)
- Taryn Kloth (OH, Creighton, 6-4, Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
- Rachael Kramer (M, Florida, 6-8, Phoenix, Arizona, Aspire Volleyball Club)
- Rebecca Latham (OPP, Denver, 6-4, Austin, Texas, Austin Juniors)
- Madison Lilley (S, Kentucky, 5-11, Overland Park, Kansas)
- Carlyle Nusbaum (OH, Lipscomb University, 5-10, Overland Park, Kansas)
- Julia Patterson (S, Arizona, 5-11, Los Alamitos, California)
- Dana Rettke (M, Wisconsin, 6-8, Riverside, Illinois)
- Jenna Rosenthal (M, Marquette University, 6-6, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin)
- Stephanie Samedy (RS, Minnesota, 6-2, Clermont, Florida)
- Molly Sauer (L, Louisville, 5-11, Louisville, Kentucky)
Tasked with leading the talented and tall group, with the average height at 6-3, is Illinois coach Chris Tamas, who helped the Fighting Illini get back to the Sweet 16 this past season in his first year at the school. He is joined by assistants Joe Trinsey, part of the Trinsey clan that put Delaware high school volleyball on the map; and Natalie Morgan, who is the assistant at LMU.
“I appreciate the opportunity to coach with USA after both my wife (Jen (Joines) Tamas) and I wore the jersey for 14 years,” Tamas said in a release. “As part of our USA Volleyball High Performance pipeline, I believe our university system helps develop some of the top players in the world. It will also help introduce and adjust our players to international rules and competition environment for their post-collegiate careers, which may be with our U.S. Women’s National Team. We look forward to compete in China at the end of May with a top-level U.S. Collegiate National Team.”
Of the 12 players, three were part of last year’s Collegiate National Team program in Carlyle Nusbaum, Jenna Rosenthal and Taryn Kloth. Nusbaum will team up with fellow hometown native Madison Lilley, who captured the 18 Open gold medal last year with KC Power 18-1. Lilley, a highly-rated PrepVolleyball.com Senior Ace, starred in her first season at Kentucky, taking over the starting setting role and helping the Wildcats reach the Elite Eight.
The only college teammates on the roster are Florida’s Thayer Hall and Rachel Kramer. Hall, of course, is PVB’s top-rated Senior Ace, and the PrepVolleyball.com and Gatorade National Player of the Year. She enrolled at Florida early and is missing the club season as a result. She is also the only incoming freshman on the roster. Hall and Kramer, along with Molly Sauer, played together at the FIVB Women’s U20 World Championships. Hall also teamed with Lilley as part of the U20 Pan Am Cup roster last year.
Along with Lilley, T’ara Ceasar, Dana Rettke and Stephanie Samedy all completed their rookie seasons this past fall and all had monster campaigns. Rettke was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year after leading Wisconsin in kills as a middle. Samedy, an explosive right side that shined for Top Select last club season, led Minnesota in winners as a rookie as well. While Samedy and Rettke were both Top-10 Senior Aces, Ceasar was rated lower among the Senior Aces but had a huge year for Georgia.
Ceasar helps the SEC lead the way with four representatives. The Big Ten is next with two.