USA VOLLEYBALL COMPLETE RELEASE
TEMPE, Ariz.—Arizona State volleyball sophomore Mercedes Binns and freshman Kizzy Willey have been selected to participate in the U.S. Collegiate National Team program, which will train and compete in conjunction with the USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships from June 22 to July 1 in Minneapolis, Minn., USA Volleyball announced on Tuesday.
Of the 36 student-athletes chosen for the event, Binns is one of nine middle blockers while Willey is one of nine outside hitters.
“It’s going to be so beneficial for Mercedes and Kizzy to be a part of it because they’re going to be able to take part in the training and compete against athletes who also play a high level,” assistant coach Linda Hampton-Keith said. “It will challenge them and make them better.”
Also for the Sun Devils, assistant coach Linda Hampton-Keith will serve as one of the coaches. This marks the second time in two years that Hampton-Keith has been a member of the Collegiate National Team staff.
“I think the opportunity is fantastic for both myself and the student-athletes,” Hampton-Keith added. “This will be my second year, and last year was such a great experience to be able to coach the top-level athletes in college, and have them compete against each other is so fun to see.”
After the training portion of the program, the 36 athletes will be divided into three equal teams, which will compete in a round-robin event June 27-30. The round-robin event may add an international team to increase the field to four teams that would complete June 26-30. This program is considered a second tryout for the U.S. Women’s National Team.
This CNT program will be instructed by lead coaches Mike Hebert and Bill Neville, who are both retired college head coaches. Neville has served as head coach for both the men’s and women’s U.S. National Teams as well as assistant on the U.S. Men’s National Team. Hebert has contributed to the U.S. Women’s National Team as an assistant coach.
In the fall, the Sun Devils (19-14, 8-12 Pac-12) unseated the then-defending national champions en route to its second-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. ASU opened the season with a 12-1 record, sweeping each team they defeated. Battling through the Pac-12 Conference schedule, the Sun Devils rounded out their season in Hawaii, falling in a five-set thriller to BYU. Senior Stephanie Preach stepped into the record books, rounding out her career as the second-ever Sun Devil to reach the 2000-dig plateau. Macey Gardner was named to the Pac-12 All-Conference team, while BreElle Bailey was named to the All-Freshman Team. Caitlyn Francis earned First-Team All-Academic honors, while Shannan McCready was named to the second team, and Gardner and Whitney Follette each earned honorable mention nods.