Fighting Illini volleyball standouts Brandi Donnelly and Ali Bastianelli are set to be two of 244 athletes from 81 colleges and 10 high schools to participate in the U.S. Women’s National Team Open Tryouts, held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., on March 3-5.
Participates will be vying for spots on the U.S. Women’s National Team, the U.S. Collegiate National Teams program and the U.S. Junior National Team. 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 for the U.S. Women’s National Team may begin their training in Anaheim, California, as early as the spring of 2017, or when an athlete’s scholastic or professional club season has concluded. Selections for the U.S. Collegiate National Teams will be made by the end of March.
All sessions of the tryout will be streamed live by clicking here. USA Volleyball will use #USAVtryout as the event hashtag for photos, notes, quotes and stories posted to its social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, I
Illini fans interested in following Bastianelli and Donnelly’s experience at the USA Volleyball tryouts can head to the volleyball team’s Instagram and Snapchat accounts as the junior will be taking over on the @IlliniVBall Instagram Story and sophomore will be taking over on Snapchat (IlliniVBall) throughout the weekend.
One of the premier blockers in the nation, Bastianelli finished the regular season as the NCAA and Big Ten Conference leader with 1.79 blocks per set and 201 total blocks on the year, while also pacing the league in conference matches with 1.79 stuffs per set and 129 total blocks. She was an All-Big Ten selection this season as well as an American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Honorable Mention All-America and AVCA All-Northeast Region honoree. She ranked 12th in the Big Ten and was second on the Illini with a .326 hitting percentage in overall action and was tied for 15th with 17 service aces in conference play. The Marysville, Mich., native started in all 31 matches for the Illini, totaling 197 kills and 30 digs and earned Billiken Invitational All-Tournament Team honors as well as FloVolleyball Player of the Week and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week accolades this season.
Donnelly, who earned All-Big Ten Honorable Mention accolades, American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Honorable Mention All-America and AVCA All-Northeast Region Honorable Mention honors, paced the Big Ten in both overall and conference matches with an overall 4.46 digs per set mark during the regular season and a 4.63 clip in league play. The MVP of the Billiken Invitational, Donnelly’s passing allowed the Illini to hit at a .251 percentage, while also tying for the team-lead with 17 service aces and ranking second on the team with 76 assists. She totaled seven matches with 20 digs or more and was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 17.
For more Fighting Illini volleyball news, stay tuned to FightingIllini.com and follow the team on Twitter (@IlliniVBall), Instagram (@IlliniVBall) and like Fighting Illini Volleyball on Facebook.
News courtesy of Illinois Athletics.