June 23, 2014
Minneapolis, Minn. – University of Pittsburgh volleyball player Delaney Clesen is heading to the USA Girls Junior National Championships to train and compete with the USA Volleyball Collegiate National Team in Minneapolis, Minnesota from June 22-30.
Clesen made the roster after competing in open tryouts at the US Olympic Training Facility in Colorado Springs in late February. A record 248 athletes were on-hand to compete for slots on the US Women’s National Team and two Collegiate National Teams. One collegiate team will travel to China for exhibition matches with the Pac-12, while the other will participate in the USA Girls Junior National Championships in Minneapolis.
Of all who tried out, Clesen was one of only 36 women selected to compete in the USA Girls Junior National Championships, which run in total from June 22 to July 1. She was one of six liberos named to the team.
Training will be conducted from June 22-25 before the program transitions to competition from June 26-30. The 36 athletes will be broken into three equal teams, competing against each other in a round-robin tournament, with the possibility of a fourth international team being added. The competition will exhibit the skills of top college volleyball talent for aspiring young players competing in the GJNC. Additionally, a standout performance in these matches could lead to a position on the U.S. Women’s National Team, as this week often serves as a second National Team tryout.
The rising senior had a standout junior campaign for the Panthers, both anchoring the back row and increasing her output. Her 542 digs nearly doubled her digs per set mark of 2.61 from her sophomore year, and she increased her assists per set by nearly ten-fold, recording 123 on the season. She has played in 356 sets and 95 matches at Pitt, and has collected a career total of 1,122 digs entering her senior season.
American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) hall-of-famers Mike Hebert and Bill Neville will be the coaches for the USA Collegiate team. Hebert began his successful career at Pitt, leading the Pitt women to a 128-53 record from 1976-1979. Both coaches have accrued collegiate and international experience, including time on the coaching staff of both Men’s and Women’s National Teams.