U.S. Women Head into VNL Week 2 in First Place

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | May 26, 2019, 12:36 a.m. (ET)

U.S. Women's National Team
The U.S. Women's National Team heads into the second week of FIVB Volleyball Nations League in a first-place tie with Turkey.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 26, 2019) – The U.S. Women’s National Team opened the first week of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League with a 3-0 record and hold a tie for first place with Turkey – the squad Team USA defeated in last year’s VNL gold-medal match.

The Americans defeated Belgium in straight sets, followed by a four-set win over Japan and a sweep over host Bulgaria this past week with eight players on the 14-player roster making their FIVB debuts.

Now Team USA travels to Italy to face a stiffer group of competition that includes Serbia and Italy – which made up the 2018 FIVB World Championship gold-medal match – and NORCECA rival Dominican Republic. Italy is the only other undefeated team in the VNL besides the U.S. and Turkey. Both Serbia and Dominican Republic head into the second preliminary week with 2-1 records.

The U.S. will have a near identical 14-player roster as last week. The only exception is that rookie Mikaela Foecke (West Point, Iowa) is not part of the travel roster as she headed back to the United States to get married this coming weekend.

U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly and his staff have chosen the following players for the VNL second weekend in Conegliano Venato, Italy:

The Americans, who won the 2018 Volleyball Nations League, open the week against world-top-ranked Serbia on May 28 at 11 a.m. ET, followed by host Italy at 2 p.m. ET on May 29 and Dominican Republic on May 30 at 11 a.m. ET.

Wilhite Parsons is the only American among the top 30 players in scoring at the VNL with 31 total points. Drews follows with 30 points and ranks eighth in best spiker with a 45.28 kill percent. She also ranked third in best server with a 0.60 ace average per USA sets played. Rettke ranks 11th in best blocker with a 0.70 block average per USA sets played.

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 Roster for FIVB Volleyball Nations League Week #2 in Italy
# - 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 def. Belgium 25-23, 25-8, 25-22
May 22: USA def. Japan 25-21, 24-26, 25-21, 25-20
May 23: USA def. Bulgaria 25-20, 25-16, 25-21
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