February 19, 2015

Ex-NDSU Shortstop Nicole Rivera Member of USA Women's Baseball Pan Am Qualifier Team

DURHAM, N.C.--Former North Dakota State University softball shortstop Nicole Rivera is a member of the 18-player USA Women's Baseball team that will be compete in the first-ever Pan American Games Qualifier for the sport on March 8-15 in La Vega, Dominican Republic.

Team USA will be vying to become one of four teams to qualify for the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games scheduled for July 10-26. The Toronto Pan American games will be the first-ever multi-sport Games to host women's baseball.

Rivera, who started 225 career games for the Bison from 2008-11, was a two-time all-Summit League performer for North Dakota State including first team honors in 2010. She was a valuable member of three Summit League tournament championship teams including the 2009 unit that went on to win the NCAA Norman Regional and advance to the NCAA Tempe Super Regional.

Rivera, who is from Lakeside, Calif., finished her career with a .313 batting average, three home runs and 55 runs batted in. She ranks third all-time in stolen bases (95) and stolen base attempts (107); fifth in fielding assists (383) and double plays turned (31); eighth in at bats (726) and runs scored (147), and ninth in hits (147).

Featuring athletes from nine different states, the roster also includes 10 athletes from the 2014 USA Baseball Women's National Team.

If Team USA qualifies for the Pan American Games, the Women's National Team schedule will continue with National Team Trials, May 22 to 24, 2015. Thirty-six players have already been invited to participate in Trials following a multi-event selection process approved by the U.S. Olympic Committee. The final 18 players selected to represent the United States at the Pan American Games, should the U.S. qualify, will be selected out of those 36 individuals attending the National Team Trials.

For more information on the Women's National Team, please visit USABaseball.com.
The 18-player USA Baseball Women's Pan American Qualifying Team roster is as follows:
Name, Position, Hometown
Veronica Alvarez, C, Miami, Fla.*
Ryleigh Buck, IF/RHP, Wellington, Kan.
Samantha Cobb, OF/RHP, Garland, Texas*
Caitlin Everett, OF, Sunnyvale, Texas*
Alex Fulmer, RHP, Little Mountain, S.C.
Jade Gortarez, IF/RHP, Riverside, Calif.*
Tara Harbert, OF, Boulder, Colo.*
Tamara Holmes, OF, Albany, Calif.*
Lindsay Horwitz, RHP, Gurnee, Ill.*
Anna Kimbrell, C/RHP, Fort Mill, S.C.*
Jenna Marston, RHP/IF, St. Louis, Mo.*
Nicole Rivera, IF/RHP, Lakeside, Calif.
Michelle Snyder, IF/RHP, Wenatchee, Wash.*
Malaika Underwood, IF, San Diego, Calif.*
Meagan May Whitley, C, Spring, Texas
Kelsie Whitmore, OF/RHP, Temecula, Calif.*
Donna Williams, RHP/IF, Fremont, Calif.*
Codee Yeske, IF/RHP, Lexington, S.C.

USA Baseball Women's National Team alumni are denoted with an asterisk*

February 18, 2015


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Two IUPUI volleyball players who have been instrumental in helping the Jaguars claim three consecutive Summit League regular-season titles will get the opportunity to head to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., to participate in the U.S. Women's National Team Open Tryouts.

Senior Beth Howard and junior Kaitlyn Hickey are two of 232 athletes from 90 universities participating in the tryouts Feb. 20-22 for spots on the U.S. Women's National Team, U.S. Collegiate National Teams program and U.S. Junior National Team.

Hickey is a three-time All-Summit League selection, and this past season she became the second player in program history to earn AVCA All-Region honors. That led to her becoming the first player in IUPUI history to be named an All-American after she was tabbed an AVCA Honorable-Mention All-American.

"For Beth and I to have this opportunity to represent IUPUI shows the strength of our program right now," Hickey said. "This weekend, my main goal is to improve as an individual and learn from these high profile Division-I athletes and Olympic coaches so that I can come back as a better player and compete for a fourthstraight conference championship next year."

Howard completed her four-year career this past fall and ranks third in school history in career digs. The two-time All-Summit League performer was named the Summit League Defensive Player of the Year as a junior and a senior, marking just the second time in league history that a player has won the award in consecutive years.

"This opportunity means a lot to me," Howard said. "I get the chance to prove myself against some of the best players from all across the country. I hope to gain more experience and exposure."

The tryouts begin at 4 p.m. ET on Friday, Feb. 20, and live streaming of the tryouts can be accessed here.

"This is a great opportunity for Kaitlyn and Beth to show what they can do on the court against some of the best competition," head coach Steve Payne said. "They are two great players who have done a lot for our program. We see what they can do on a daily basis, and now it will be great for others around the country to see what they are capable of."

Three-time Olympic gold medalist and U.S. Olympic Hall of Famer Karch Kiraly and the U.S. Women's National Team staff will lead the tryout process. Selected athletes will be notified by early March and USA Volleyball will announce the selections by the end of March once all roster spots are confirmed.

February 17, 2015

IPFW's Spencer Set to Try out for USA National Team

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Emily Spencer, IPFW’s two-time Summit League Volleyball Player of the Year, will travel to Colorado Springs, Colorado Feb. 20-22 for the U.S. Women's National Team tryouts at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

Spencer ended here four-year career with the Mastodons as an American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Honorable Mention All-American, an AVCA North All-Region First Team selection, and the Summit League Player of the Year.

A Jenison, Michigan native, Spencer was the sixth player in Summit League history to earn multiple Player of the Year honors in her career after earning the award as a sophomore in 2012. In her final campaign with the team, Spencer tied for a league-high with two Offensive Player of the Week honors and finished her career with a school-record 54-match streak with double-digit kills. She became the second player in IPFW and Summit League history to record 2,000 career kills. Spencer is also one of eight Mastodons players with 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs for their career.

The tryout will evaluate approximately 238 athletes from 93 colleges from across the country for spots on the U.S. Women's National Team, the U.S. Collegiate National Team program and for the U.S. Women's Junior National Team for athletes born in 1996 or 1997.

U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly and his staff will direct the entire tryout process, which can be viewed with an online video stream. The tryout will involve four sessions with three waves per session. Friday's first session goes from 2-8 p.m. MT with Queen of the Court competitions, while Saturday's sessions are at 8 a.m. (focus on serve/receive and individual work) and 2 p.m. (middle-centered and out-of-system focus). The tryout concludes on Sunday at 8 a.m. with tournament style play, along with 16-18 athletes selected by the staff to participate in a "USA" training session.