Three former Huskers named to U.S. Olympic Volleyball Team
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -Three former Nebraska volleyball standouts have been named to the U.S. Women’s Volleyball National Team that will represent the U.S. at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in July, pending approval from the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee.
Head Coach Karch Kiraly named former Huskers Jordan Larson, Kelsey Robinson and Justine Wong-Orantes to the 12-player roster. Nebraska is the most represented university with three former players on the squad.
The team includes four Olympic veterans and eight newcomers.
Making their third Olympic appearances will be two-time medalists Larson at outside hitter and Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson at middle blocker. Both won silver in London in 2012 and bronze in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Making their second Olympic appearances will be outside hitters Kim Hill and Robinson, who both won bronze medals in Rio.
The Olympic newcomers on the roster are outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, opposites Annie Drews and Jordan Thompson, setters Micha Hancock and Jordyn Poulter, middles Chiaka Ogbogu and Haleigh Washington and the libero, Justine Wong Orantes.
The six Olympic alternates are setter Lauren Carlini, outside hitters Kathryn Plummer and Sarah Wilhite Parsons, middle blockers Tori Dixon and Hannah Tapp and libero Megan Courtney.
“We’re extremely grateful for the extra time that the Olympic postponement provided,” U.S. Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “Our core group of 23 Women’s National Teamers has done amazing work in the last 14 months, setting us up for phenomenal trust, connection, purpose and performance.
“This roster announcement is a bittersweet moment, as we face a stark reminder that we cannot travel all 23 to Tokyo for battle, though they’ll all be there in our hearts and minds.”
Kiraly, a three-time Olympic medalist, has served as head coach for the U.S. Women since 2012 and will be an Olympic head coach for the second time. He helped the team to the Olympic bronze medal in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. His assistant coaches, Erin Virtue, Tama Miyashiro and Luka Slabe, will all be coaching at the Olympics for the first time. Miyashiro won a silver medal with the U.S. as a player at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
“Ultimately, we coaches are elated for this Olympic roster selection, and for our program,” Kiraly said. “Each one of the 12 contributes unique skills and qualities that make her the right person for the job. This collection of special people who are elite volleyball players is poised to make a fierce Olympic run. We can’t wait to watch them ‘Let It Rip’ in Tokyo.”
The average age of the roster is 25 with more than a decade span between Jordan Larson, 34, and Jordyn Poulter, 23.
The roster is youthful but experienced internationally. All have competed internationally for the U.S. Women’s National Team and all have played for professional teams in other countries during the offseason from USAV.
The U.S. Women’s National Team is ranked No. 1 in the world and currently pursuing its third straight FIVB Volleyball Nations League title in Rimini, Italy.
The 2020 Olympic Games, which were postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are scheduled to begin on July 23 with the Opening Ceremony. The women’s volleyball tournament will commence on July 24.
U.S. Women’s Roster for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
No. Name (Pos. Height, Hometown, College)
1 Micha Hancock (S, 5-11, Edmond, Okla., Penn State Univ.)
2 Jordyn Poulter (S, 6-2, Aurora, Colo., Univ. of Illinois)
4 Justine Wong Orantes (L, 5-6, Cypress, Calif., Univ. of Nebraska)
10 Jordan Larson (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., Univ. of Nebraska)
11 Annie Drews (OPP, 6-4, Elkhart, Ind., Purdue Univ.)
12 Jordan Thompson (OPP, 6-4, Edina, Minn., Univ. of Cincinnati)
14 Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (OH, 6-3, Champaign, Ill., Univ. of Illinois)
15 Kim Hill (OH, 6-4, Portland, Ore., Pepperdine, Univ.)
16 Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson (M, 6-3, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Stanford Univ.)
22 Haleigh Washington (M, 6-3, Colorado Springs, Colo., Penn State Univ.)
23 Kelsey Robinson (OH, 6-2, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Univ. of Nebraska)
24 Chiaka Ogbogu (M, 6-2, Coppell, Texas, Univ. of Texas)
3 Kathryn Plummer (OH, 6-6, Aliso Viejo, Calif., Stanford Univ.)
6 Tori Dixon (M, 6-3, Burnsville, Minn., Univ. of Minnesota)
7 Lauren Carlini (S, 6-2, Aurora, Ill., Univ. of Wisconsin)
8 Hannah Tapp (M, 6-3, Stewartville, Minn., Univ. of Minnesota)
13 Sarah Wilhite Parsons (OH, 6-2, Eden Prairie, Minn., Univ. of Minnesota)
17 Megan Courtney (L, 6-1, Dayton, Ohio, Penn State Univ.)
Head Coach Karch Kiraly
Asst. Coach Erin Virtue
Asst. Coach Tama Miyashiro
Asst. Coach Luka Slabe
Performance Analyst Jeff Liu
Sport Physiologist & Team Leader Jimmy Stitz
Physical Therapist & ATC Kara Kessans
Consultant Coach Sue Enquist
Consultant Coach Marv Dunphy
Team Doctor Dr. Chris Lee
Second Scout Justin Chang
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