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Devon Forester to Play with US National Training Team

March 15, 2006

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP)- The USA Women's National Volleyball Training Team departs for Italy on Saturday, March 18, to compete in a series of friendly matches against five European club teams.

Team USA will play eight matches against five teams in four cities from March 22-April 2. Four of the matches will be against Conegliano, a Serie A2 team in the Italian League. The Americans will also play single matches against three Serie A1 Italian League teams - Padova, Pesaro and Vicenza - and one match against Slovenian club team Nova KBM Branik Maribor.

"This will be a good trip for our group," said Team USA head coach "Jenny" Lang Ping. "It will allow us to evaluate our young players in actual game situations and to determine what they need to work on more. There are some very good players in the Italian League so it will be a good test, especially for our younger players."

United States setter Lindsey Berg (Honolulu, Hawaii) is currently playing professionally for the Pesaro team, which is in third place in the Italian League standings. Vicenza is currently in seventh place and Padova sits in eighth place. Conegliano is in ninth place in the A2 standings.

Team USA's roster for the Italy Tour includes: setters Lindsey Hunter (Papillion, Neb.) and Erin Virtue (St. Charles, Ill.); middle blockers Elisabeth Bachman (Lakeville, Minn.), Jennifer Hoffman (Chicago, Ill.) and Jennifer Joines (Milpitas, Calif.); outside hitters Jamie DeKiewiet (Hemet, Calif.), Devon Forster (Boulder, Colo.) and Katie Wilkins (Lakeside, Calif.); opposites Tess Rogers (Merino, Colo.) and Katie Olsovsky (Torrance, Calif.); and liberos Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.), Sarah Drury (Louisville, Ky.) and Candace Lee (Eugene, Ore.).

"A lot of these players have never been overseas and don't have much game experience," Lang Ping added. "These matches will be a good opportunity for them to learn and gain some international maturity. Hopefully by taking this tour we can improve."

Many of the veteran National Team players are currently playing professionally overseas and will return to Colorado Springs in May to train.

Last year's team - which finished the year ranked No. 5 in the world - earned medals in each of its final three events, including a gold medal at the FIVB World Championship Qualifying Tournament (Puerto Rico); a gold medal at the NORCECA Championships (Trinidad and Tobago); and a silver medal at the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup (Japan).

Team USA (26-15) finished the 2005 season by winning 15 of its last 17 matches, including a stunning 3-0 win over 2004 Olympic gold medalist China in November at the Grand Champions Cup.

The 2006 schedule brings even greater challenges for Lang Ping's second year. Her squad will compete at the Pan American Cup in Puerto Rico in June, the World Grand Prix in Asia and Italy in August and September and the World Championships in Japan in October and November.

Schedule

Wednesday, March 22 (Conegliano)

Conegliano (A2) vs. USA

Thursday, March 23 (Sacile)

Padova (A1) vs. USA

Saturday, March 25 (Conegliano)

Conegliano (A2) vs. USA

Sunday, March 26 (Codogne)

Nova KBM Branik Maribor/Slovenia (A1) vs. USA

Tuesday, March 28 (Conegliano)

Conegliano (A2) vs. USA

Wednesday, March 29 ( Pordenone)m

Pesaro (A1) vs. USA

Thursday, March 30 (Conegliano)

Vicenza (A1) vs. USA

Sunday, April 2 (Conegliano)

Conegliano (A2) vs. USA