volleybFormer Golden Gopher volleyball standout Nicole Branagh was selected to the U.S. National Team that will compete in the Pan-American Games on from Aug. 3 to Aug. 16.
Current Minnesota head volleyball coach Mike Hebert will be the head coach of a squad that includes a mixture of national team players, collegiate starts and one high-school phenom. Hebert will be aided by Denise Corlett (assistant coach at Stanford) and Chris Gonzalez (who was recently hired as Iowa's assistant volleyball coach).
The roster includes Erin Aldrich (Texas), Wiz Bachman (UCLA), Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach Wilson High School), Branagh, Therese Crawford (Hawai'i), Sarah Drury (Louisville), Lizzy Fitzgerald (Wisconsin), Brittany Hochevar (Long Beach State), Jennifer Joines (Pacific), Ogonna Nnamani (Stanford), Katie Olsovsky (USC) and Tracy Stalls (Lakewood High School).
Aldrich, Bachman, Branagh, Crawford, Drury, Fitzgerald, Hochevar and Stalls are all currently members of the USA women's national volleyball team. Joines, Nnamani and Olsovsky are all returning to college this season, while Barboza is about to start her junior year of high school.
Branagh, who played at Minnesota from 1997 to 2000, is the Golden Gophers' career leader in kills 2,379 and is third in career digs at 1,291. She helped lead the 2000 team to 30-4 overall record, a second-place Big Ten finish at 17-3 and a school record No. 5 national ranking.
The United States will be a member of Pool A with Brazil, Peru and Puerto Rico. Pool B consists of Cuba, the Dominican Republic Mexico and Venezuela. The women's volleyball tournament will take place at the Volleyball Pavilion in the Olympic Center Juan Pablo Duarte.