Jordan Larson has been named the 2016 USA Volleyball Female Indoor Player of the Year, marking the second-straight season that the 30-year old outside hitter has earned the honor.
“I feel so honored,” Larson said upon hearing the news of being selected for the honor a second year in a row. “These past two years have been both challenging but so rewarding at the same time. I am so thankful to be surrounded with such great teammates, coaches and people who make me and allow me to be the best version of myself every single day. I couldn’t have done this without them. I am so grateful.”
Over the course of the National Team season, Larson averaged 3.35 points/set and hit at a .292 efficiency percentage.
Season stats for USA Volleyball:
- 74 sets played
- 248 points (led Team USA)
- 3.35 points/set
- converted on 40.6% of her attacks, .292 hitting efficiency
- 2.78 kills/set
- .24 aces/set
- .32 blocks/set
- 127 digs (tied for most on Team USA)
- 1.72 digs/set
- 410 service receptions (led Team USA)
- 63% in-system passes
- .419 first ball side out efficiency.
She was right on most of those averages at the Olympics, with 2.69 kills/set and 3.31 points/set – at a slightly more efficient pace – to help the Americans to a bronze medal.
In that bronze medal game, a 3-1 victory over the Netherlands, Larson tied with Kim Hill for the most kills, 13, for Team USA. The two also tied with 2 blocks each and 4 digs each.
That was one podium finish of a 3-for-3 season for Team USA in tournaments that Larson played in – including a silver at the World Grand Prix in Bangkok. Team USA finished 2016 with a 27-4 record.
“The longer one plays this game, the more difficult it is to add new skills and tools, which makes it all the more remarkable that Jordan probably had her best year ever in a USA uniform,” U.S. National Team head coach Kiraly said. “Everything she set her mind to improving – her physical power, her already solid leadership and teammateship skills, her offensive efficiency – became reality. All of that, plus her stellar all-around game, helped guide USA to another strong Olympic medal finish.”
Alongside Larson, USA Volleyball named Rachel Adams as the Most Improved Indoor Female Player of 2016. She actually averaged just slightly more points per set, 3.37, than Larson did, thanks in part to her more prolific blocking role out of the middle (.82/set).
In her first ever Olympics, the former Texas Longhorn hat a .457 hitting efficiency in starting all 8 matches. After not playing in any FIVB events for Team USA in 2015, Adams’ improvements were critical to Team USA”s success.
“I had many setbacks during the summer of 2015, and during those moments I was left with a choice to make: to either let the setbacks defeat me or keep pushing, trust my process and hold my vision of where I want to be. One of my favorite quotes says, ‘I am thankful for my struggle because without it, I wouldn’t have stumbled upon my strength.’ These times weren’t easy, but they shaped me into the person I needed to be and gave me strength I needed to have in order to be the player I was for my team in Rio.
“So, in short, this award means a lot to me because it represents the journey I’ve been on, the determination I’ve had to have to get to where I want to be and that was to be a complete player so I could help the team in any way that I could during the 2016 Olympics. This award makes me extremely thankful for all the support I’ve had along the way that believed in me and reminded me to working hard and to keep going.”
“Three years ago, Rachael could barely hit a one-footed slide,” Kiraly said. “One year ago, she struggled to make USA travel rosters. Knowing that, Rachael surprised more than a few people by not only earning a spot on the Rio Olympic roster, but earning a starting role as well. All of which is a strong tribute to Rachael’s ability to put in the ‘hard yards,’ to fight through the discomfort of learning in order to build a better game – and to make USA the best it can be.”
Both players also had success playing for their club teams around the world. Adams’ successful season was a springboard from an Italian League title with Imoco Volley Conegliano. She then made the jump to join Larson’s team, Eczacibasi VitrA in the Turkish League, and the two led their squad to the FIVB Club World Championship in the Philippines.