Former Minnesota volleyball standouts Cassie Busse and Lindsey Berg were both named to the U.S. Preliminary Olympic Games Roster. That roster consists of 19 players, and will eventually be trimmed down to the 12 who will compete for the U.S. team at the Olympics in Beijing, China.
Busse and Berg join Ogonna Nnamani (Stanford), Danielle Scott-Arruda (Long Beach State), Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Long Beach State), Stacy Sykora (Texas A&M), Nicole Davis (USC), Heather Bown (Hawai’i), Cynthia Barboza (Stanford), Jennifer Joines (Pacific), Kim Glass (Arizona), Robyn AH Mow-Santos (Hawai’i), Kim Willoughby (Hawai’i), Heather Hughes (Loyola Marymount), Kristin Richards (Stanford), Logan Tom (Stanford), Foluke Akinradewo (Stanford), Angie McGinnis (Florida) and Tracy Stalls (Nebraska) as part of the preliminary roster.
Minnesota, Hawai’i, Long Beach State and Stanford are the only four schools with multiple players on the roster. Stanford has five, Hawai’i has three, while the Golden Gophers and 49ers each have two.
Berg (2004) joins Nnamani (2004), Scott-Arruda (1996, 2000, 2004), Haneef-Park (2004), Sykora (2000, 2004), Bown (2000, 2004), Ah Mow-Santos (2000, 2004) and Tom (2000, 2004) as players who have participated in past Olympics. Busse, Davis, Barboza, Joines, Glass, Willoughby, Hughes, Richards, Akinradewo, McGinnis and Stalls as players trying to earn their spot on the Olympic team for the first time in their respective careers.
The U.S. Women’s National Team is currently competing in the FIVB World Grand Prix. Team USA finished the first preliminary round weekend with a 2-1 record and is in fifth place based on the points won ratio tiebreaker. The Americans are currently in Poland for weekend matches versus Thailand on June 27, Dominican Republic on June 28 and Poland on June 29. The team concludes the preliminary round at Chinese Taipei with contests versus Poland on July 4, Turkey on July 5 and Italy on July 6. The FIVB World Grand Prix Finals, which takes the top five teams plus host Japan, is scheduled for July 8-13 at Yokohoma, Japan.
U.S. Women’s Volleyball Coach Lang Ping and the coaching staff are using this tournament, along with other tournaments and exhibition matches held this year, as a tool to evaluate players Olympic Games roster spots.
Busse gained national recognition in 2003 by receiving AVCA First-Team All-American honors and Big Ten Player of the Year honors. During the NCAA Tournament she was also named the Pacific Region’s Most Outstanding Player, and garnered Final Four All-Tournament honors after recording 23 kills against the eventual national champion USC Women of Troy in the 2003 Final Four.
She is also ranked seventh on the Minnesota kills list with 1,502. Busse is one of only five players in school history to record over 600 kills in a single-season, recording the sixth-highest total in school history at 614 in 2003.
In 2004, Berg became the first player from the Minnesota volleyball program to make the U.S. Olympic team.
As a four-year starting setter for Minnesota from 1998-2001, Berg amassed 5,913 assists, which was good for third on the Minnesota and Big Ten career list. Berg is also second on the Minnesota career list in service aces at 283 and ninth in digs at 1,047.
Berg helped lead Minnesota to a pair of Big Ten second place finishes and NCAA Regional appearances in 1999 and 2000. In 2000, she helped lead the Golden Gophers to their highest winning percentage in school history at .882 (30-4).