FIVB, USA women, Lori Okimura, NCAA weekend, links to it all

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There’s a ton of anticipation about all the big NCAA women’s matches this weekend. That’s one reason why later today our DestinationVolleyball.com video chat will be with Pac-12 announcer Anne Marie Anderson. She’s had some incredible matches of late and Friday night has Washington at UCLA and then the Huskies at USC on Sunday.

First off, however, let’s check out the FIVB beach tournament happening in Fort Lauderdale where action is already under way today. The best info is going to come from Volleyball magazine’s Megan Kaplon. From her story:

With a three-set win over Dutch duo Reinder Nummerdor and Christiaan Varenhorst, Florida boys Nick Lucena and Phil Dalhausser clinched a spot in the semifinals of the Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals. The undefeated American duo only has one match left in pool play—against Austrians Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst who are currently 0-2—and no matter what happens, they will move automatically into Saturday’s semifinal round.

Joining them in the semis will be Brazilian duo Pedro Solberg Salgado and Evandro Goncalves who maintained their squeaky clean record with a three-set win over Americans Casey Patterson and Jake Gibb. Gibb and Patterson came out slow in the first set and rallied in the second, but after Patterson missed a serve to tie the third set at 10-all, the Americans completely lost their grip on the match, allowing Pedro and Evandro to take the 15-10 victory.

Gibb and Patterson will take on Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET. Not only do the Americans need a win, they need to win by a significant point margin since a victory would created a three-way tie at 2-2.

For the entire account, click here. The picture of April Ross making a diving punch-up by tinefoto.com | martin steinthaler

USA women win in NORCECA semifinals

A victory over Puerto Rico put the U.S. in the title match in Mexico against the Dominican Republic.

From the USA Volleyball account:

Team USA, ranked No. 1 in the world, will face No. 7 Dominican Republic on Friday at 7 p.m. Pacific for the title. The Americans have won the biennial NORCECA Championship in the last two editions in 2011 and 2013 and will be seeking their eighth overall NORCECA title. Dominican Republic rallied past Canada 18-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-20 in the first semifinal on Thursday. The U.S. has defeated Dominican Republic in the last two title matches after the Caribbean nation won its only NORCECA title in 2009.

For the entire story, which includes the roster, click here.

Lori Okimura of USA Volleyball on FIVB World Cup

The chair of the USA Volleyball board of directors accompanied the team to Japan and wrote this column that offers some tremendous observations and insight.

NCAA weekend looms large

There are a fair number of pink-out matches around the country that raise breast-cancer awareness.

The match of the night, of course, is No. 4 Nebraska at No. 1 at unbeaten Penn State. Should be quite an affair in Rec Hall. You can watch on the Big Ten Network. Speaking of the Big Ten Network, if you haven’t seen the Close Up special about Wisconsin and Penn State preparing for their match last week, check it out. It was an extremely well-done, well-thought-out and fabulously edited hour of TV.

Among the matches to keep an eye on include surprising Syracuse at Louisville, and in a pink match, No, 7 Illinois at No, 16 Minnesota. and No. 8 Stanford at No. 6  and unbeaten Arizona State.

And finally, Thursday night at Texas State, former Volleyball Baton Rouge (my club) player Madison Daigle, a freshman middle, had nine kills in 18 swings with no errors (.500) as the Bobcats beat Arkansas-Little Rock in Sun Belt Conference play. Madison also had seven blocks, one solo as Texas State broke UALR’s SBC-record conference win streak of 26 matches.

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