Youth Highlights U.S. Women's Roster in VNL Opener

By Bill Kauffman ( | May 17, 2019, 6:29 p.m. (ET)

Chiaka Ogbogu
Chiaka Ogbogu is one of eight U.S. Women's National Team members making their FIVB debuts during the opening week of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 17, 2019) – The U.S. Women’s National Team is off to Ruse, Bulgaria, to compete in the opening week of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League, and Team USA will have some new faces wearing the red, white and blue as part of its 14-player roster.

The Americans, who won the 2018 Volleyball Nations League, open the tournament versus Belgium on May 21 at 10 a.m. ET. The U.S. faces long-time rival Japan on May 22 at 10 a.m. ET before concluding the opening week round robin on May 23 against host Bulgaria at 1:30 p.m. ET.

The VNL, a 16-country league for both genders, includes 15 pool play matches for each country spread over five consecutive weeks with four pods of four teams competing in round-robin action every week. The top five teams from the preliminary round will compete in the VNL Final Six along with host China from July 3-7 with the winner receiving $1 million.

U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly and his staff have chosen the following 14 players for the VNL opening week in Bulgaria:

“Last year’s first-ever edition of VNL was a huge hit with fans and teams alike,” Kiraly said. “We’re looking forward to an even-better version in year two, to learning how this youthful week one roster responds to the fierce challenges that top-level international competition will surely provide, and to laying the foundation for great development in the years ahead.”

Each country can designate 14 players from the 25-player roster to compete in each preliminary week and the Final Six. Rosters can change each week upon discretion of the coaching staff.

Courtney, Drews, Hancock, Kingdon Rishel and Wilhite Parsons competed in either last year’s VNL or the FIVB World Championship and represent the veteran present on the roster. Tapp was injured for much of last season and did not compete in tournaments.

Volleyball Nations League Women TicketsThe USA roster has three players with collegiate eligibility making their international debuts with the U.S. Women’s National Team: Lake (BYU), Rettke (University of Wisconsin) and Thompson (University of Cincinnati). Further, Foecke, Lee, Ogbogu, Poulter and Washington are all making their debuts in FIVB senior-level competition.

After the three matches in Bulgaria, the U.S. travels to Italy to play Serbia, Dominican Republic and the host Italians May 28-30.

Team USA will then host No. 9 Korea on June 4, No. 13 Germany on June 5 and No. 4 Brazil on June 6 in Lincoln, Nebraska. All three matches in Lincoln will be played at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.

    Tuesday, June 4
    Brazil vs. Germany, 4:30 p.m. CT
    USA vs. Korea, 7:30 p.m. CT

    Wednesday, June 5
    Korea vs. Brazil, 4:30 p.m. CT
    USA vs. Germany, 7:30 p.m. CT

    Thursday, June 6
    Germany vs. Korea, 4:30 p.m. CT
    USA vs. Brazil, 7:30 p.m. CT

U.S. Women's National Team Roster for FIVB Volleyball Nations League Week #1 in Bulgaria
# - Player (Position, Height, College, Hometown)
1 – Micha Hancock (S, 5-11, Penn State, Edmond, Oklahoma)
2 – Jordyn Poulter (S, 6-2, Illinois, Aurora, Colorado)
9 – Madi Kingdon Rishel (OH, 6-1, Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona)
11 – Annie Drews (OPP, 6-4, Purdue, Elkhart, Indiana)
12 – Jordan Thompson (OPP, 6-4, Cincinnati, Edina, Minnesota)
13 – Sarah Wilhite Parsons (OH, 6-2, Minnesota, Eden Prairie, Minnesota)
17 – Megan Courtney (L, 6-1, Penn State, Dayton, Ohio)
18 – Mikaela Foecke (OH, 6-3, Nebraska, West Point, Iowa)
19 – Hannah Tapp (M, 6-3, Minnesota, Stewartville, Minnesota)
20 – Dana Rettke (M, 6-8, Wisconsin, Riverside, Illinois)
21 – Simone Lee (OH, 6-1, Penn State, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin)
22 – Haleigh Washington (M, 6-3, Penn State, Colorado Springs, Colorado)
24 – Chiaka Ogbogu (M, 6-2, Texas, Coppell, Texas)
27 – Mary Lake (L, 5-7, BYU, Palm Springs, California)

Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Luka Slabe, Tama Miyashiro, Erin Virtue
Technical Coordinator: Jeff Liu
Athletic Trainer: Aimee Miyazawa
Team Manager: Matjaz Hafner

FIVB Volleyball Nations League Schedule - U.S. Women's National Team (All Times ET)
May 21: USA vs. Belgium (at Ruse Bulgaria), 10 a.m.
May 22: USA vs. Japan (at Ruse, Bulgaria), 10 a.m.
May 23: USA vs. Bulgaria (at Ruse, Bulgaria), 1:30 p.m.
May 28: USA vs. Serbia (at Conegliano Venato, Italy), 11 a.m. ET
May 29: USA vs. Italy (at Conegliano Venato, Italy), 2 p.m.
May 30: USA vs. Dominican Republic (at Conegliano Venato, Italy), 11 a.m.
June 4: USA vs. Korea (at Lincoln, Nebraska), 8:30 p.m.
June 5: USA vs. Germany (at Lincoln, Nebraska), 8:30 p.m.
June 6: USA vs. Brazil (at Lincoln, Nebraska), 8:30 p.m.
June 11: USA vs. Turkey (at Jiangmen, China), 4 a.m.
June 12: USA vs. Poland (at Jiangmen, China), 4 a.m.
June 13: USA vs. China (at Jiangmen, China), 8 a.m.
June 18: USA vs. Russia (at Ekaterinburg, Russia), 10 a.m.
June 19: USA vs. Netherlands (at Ekaterinburg, Russia), 7 a.m.
June 20: USA vs. Thailand (at Ekaterinburg, Russia), 7 a.m.

FIVB Volleyball Nations League Final Round - at Nanjing, China
July 3-7: China plus top five other countries in preliminary round