May 7, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Lady Vol volleyball team will have representatives working out with the USA Women's National Team for the fourth consecutive summer. Rising senior Ellen Mullins was chosen to participate in the Senior A2 Team Program, while recent alumnae Leslie Cikra was hand-selected by head coach Karch Kiraly for a second tryout with the Red, White and Blue.
"We're very excited about Ellen and Leslie playing with a couple of the USA teams," said Tennessee head coach Rob Patrick. "I'm really proud of young ladies who are willing to be coachable, take the skills and techniques we're teaching and then put that hard work in during practices and then see that they're able to play at the highest level. We obviously wish both of them luck. I know they're going to represent Tennessee really well and we can't wait to see how they do in their training this summer."
The record 240 Senior A2 Team tryout participants have been narrowed down to 48, with Mullins getting one of the eight libero nods. The program will take place in Dallas, Texas, from June 25 to July 4 and will include training and competing at the USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships. The roster has athlete representation from a total of 29 universities.
After not making the squad last season, the All-American and All-South Region honoree is ready to prove she belongs this summer.
"A group of us went last year and I unfortunately didn't make it, but it was still a great experience," Mullins said. "This year I went back and got on the team. It's been a really good opportunity and a really competitive environment - which I love - so I'm really excited to go to Dallas."
Cikra, an All-American, All-Region and All-SEC performer during her stellar Lady Vol career, will head to Anaheim, Calif., for a second tryout with Team USA after her first go-round in Colorado Springs, Colo. The 6-foot-4 opposite hitter will work out with the team at American Sports Centers from May 12-24, with the possibility of extending her tryout.
The U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team Program is available to athletes who have concluded their college eligibility and who wish to be invited to be a member of the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team on a full-time basis. This program could begin as early as the spring of 2013, or when an athlete's scholastic or professional club season has concluded.
The Chagrin Falls, Ohio, native participated in the Senior A2 Team Program in the summer of 2011. She was invited to this summer's tryout with the world's best by the skipper himself.
"Karch actually emailed me so that was pretty cool," said Cikra. "I've been in contact with him to kind of see how things work and to figure out what I needed to do to get my face seen, but it was pretty cool."