Feb. 24, 2011

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M outside hitter Kelsey Black is one of more than 200 volleyball athletes slated to participate in open tryouts for the U.S. Women's National Team, U.S. Women's National A2 Program and U.S. Women's Junior National Team, Feb. 25-27 at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The U.S. Women's National Team coaching staff, including head coach Hugh McCutcheon and assistant coaches Karch Kiraly and Paula Weishoff, will take part in the evaluation oversight process.

This is the fourth consecutive year the 5-11 Black has participated in the tryouts. In 2010, the Amarillo, Texas native was named to the U.S. Women's National A2 Red Team and played libero for the bronze medal-winning team at the USA Volleyball Open National Championships.

In 2009, Black was named to the 12-player U.S. Women's Junior National Team as a libero and competed at the FIVB World Championship at Tijuana and Mexicali, Mexico. Black was named to the 19-player U.S. Women's Junior National Training Team in 2008, but she withdrew from the final training camp because of an illness.

The 2011 tryouts are open to current college-age athletes and older. The U.S. Women's National Team program is open to athletes who have concluded their college eligibility and who wish to train full-time. This program could begin as early as March 2011, or when an athlete's scholastic or professional club season has concluded. Athletes who have collegiate eligibility remaining may still participate in the program with participation beginning May 2011 or when their scholastic calendar ends.

Athletes in college with collegiate eligibility remaining for the 2011 season and not selected to the USA Women's National Team may be invited to participate in the U.S. Women's National Senior A2 Team. This program is tentatively scheduled to take place in Dallas from May 23 through June 1. A projected 36 athletes will be invited to participate in the program, which will include training and competition in the 2010 USA Volleyball Open National Championships in the Open Division from May 28-31. USA Volleyball considers the event as the National Championship for the sport of volleyball in the United States.

According to USA Volleyball, there will be a record 208 participants representing 81 different colleges at this weekend's tryouts. By position, there are 57 outside hitters, 52 middle blockers, 46 liberos, 27 setters and 26 opposites. A total of 65 athletes were born in either 1992 or 1993 and are also eligible to be evaluated as U.S. Women's Junior National Team prospects.

This past season, Black was named to the All-Big 12 first team and received A&M's MVP and Best Offensive Player awards after finishing the season ranked 25th in the nation in points (4.77) per set and 31st in the nation in kills (4.08) per set in her first year as a starter. The junior team captain twice tied the A&M all-time record for aces in a match with six each against Sam Houston State and Pacific, and she led the Big 12 in aces (.37) per set and ranked second in the league in points, fourth in kills and 15th in digs (2.99) per set for the full season.

Black started every match and played in all 113 sets as the Aggies went 13-17, including a 3-0 sweep against 2010 NCAA finalist Texas at Reed Arena. She posted double figures in kills in 25 of 30 matches, including seven matches in which she posted 20 or more kills. Black led or tied for the team lead in kills in all but one match and also led the team with 17 double-doubles.