On the eve of the FIVB Grand Prix Final Round in Sapporo, Japan, the United States women's national volleyball team received news of their NORCECA women's Continental Championship, which begins on Monday, Sept. 16, at the Ralston Arena in Omaha, Neb.
In addition to current Stanford grads Kristin Richards Hildebrand and Cassidy Lichtman, former Cardinal All-Americans Logan Tom and Alix Klineman are eligible to participate in Omaha.
Team USA, the world's No. 1 team heading into the Grand Prix final, takes on Cuba and Mexico during pool play at the Continental Championship, of which the winner will play in the season-ending FIVB Grand Champions Cup this November in Japan.
The Americans have won 16 of 17 matches this year, with the only loss to Brazil during the first week of group play in the FIVB Grand Prix.
The U.S. gets a chance at redemption on Wednesday, taking on Brazil in the final round opener. The final round is a round-robin schedule.
Meanwhile, the Americans open NORCECA play against Cuba.
"Omaha will get to see all the other strong teams in our zone, and that is probably headed by Dominican Republic, who had a really strong finish in the London Olympics with a four-way tie for fifth place," USA coach Karch Kiraly said. "Dominican Republic is always a very dangerous opponent, as is Cuba, who has a great, great tradition of volleyball success including winning three Olympic gold medals in a row in the 1990s and 2000. Mexico is improving with their young outside hitter Samantha Bricio."
Tickets for the event can be purchased online at www.homepridetix.com, via phone at 800-440-3741 or at the Ralston Arena box office. Single day tickets start at just $20 and include all three games for that day. Championship weekend packages also are available starting at just $50 and include all Friday and Saturday games.
"Nebraska is a great volleyball state and great volleyball community," Kiraly added. "It is a fantastic place to host a tournament."
Omaha Sports Commission president Harold Cliff said its the closest the city has come to hosting an international event.
Dominican Republic finished the FIVB World Grand Prix with a country-best 6-3 record and in 10th place. Cuba (0-9) used a very young squad that improved with each match at the World Grand Prix, gaining valuable international experience in the first year of the Olympic quadrennial.
Dominican Republic vs. Costa Rica (Pool A)
Puerto Rico vs. St. Lucia (Pool C)
United States vs. Mexico, 8 p.m. (Pool B)