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Local Sports

JCA grad Kelly Murphy selected for U.S. women's volleyball Olympics team

If there was one honor in the women's volleyball world that had eluded Kelly Murphy, it was a berth on the U.S. Olympic team.

No longer.

The former Joliet Catholic all-stater and Gatorade National High School Player of the Year as a senior in 2007-08 was among 12 women named Tuesday to the roster for the upcoming Rio Olympics by coach Karch Kiraly.

Outside hitter Jordan Larson and setter Courtney Thompson were selected and were joined by middles Foluke Akinradewo and Christa Dietzen as returnees from the team that won the silver medal at the 2012 London Games.

Murphy, an opposite who hails from Wilmington and starred at Florida, is among the newcomers to the roster. Others are outside hitters Kim Hill and Kelsey Robinson, middle Rachael Adams, opposite Karsta Lowe, setters Alisha Glass and Carli Lloyd and libero Kayla Banwarth.

In addition to being national player of the year, Murphy was a three-time All-America selection while playing for coach Christine Scheibe at Joliet Catholic. During her Florida career, she was a third-team All-American as a freshman, second team as a sophomore and first team each of her last two seasons. She has played in numerous international competitions with Team USA and has played professionally in Japan.

The top-ranked U.S. team, which has won silver medals at the past two Olympics, opens the tournament Aug. 6 against Puerto Rico. Brazil, ranked No. 3 in the world, is the two-time defending Olympic champion.

"Ultimately, we have assembled a group that we believe is capable of embracing the challenges a tournament like the Olympics will surely present," said Kiraly, a two-time gold medalist in volleyball and a gold medalist in beach volleyball.

The U.S. team is coming off a 3-2 loss Sunday to Brazil in the final match of the FIVB World Grand Prix in Thailand. It was the last major international tournament before the Rio Games.

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