U.S. Women Set Roster for VNL Matches in Lincoln

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | May 30, 2019, 8:16 p.m. (ET)

Kelsey Robinson passes during 2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League while fellow Nebraska alum Jordan Larson looks on
Kelsey Robinson passes during 2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League while fellow Nebraska alum Jordan Larson looks on

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 30, 2019) – The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team returns to Lincoln, Nebraska, to play Korea, Germany and Brazil June 4-6 as part of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly and his staff have chosen a balance of veteran players to compete alongside younger athletes getting their first real taste of FIVB competition - and turning some heads on the court with a strong start in the early stages of the VNL.

Each country can designate 14 players from the 25-player overall roster to compete in each preliminary week and the Final Six. Rosters can change each week upon discretion of the coaching staff. Larson, Robinson, Lloyd, Dixon and Gibbemeyer are making their 2019 VNL debuts in Lincoln.

Related: VNL Tickets in Lincoln | Info on Team USA VNL Matches in Lincoln (June 4-6)

The U.S. Women host No. 9 Korea on June 4, No. 13 Germany on June 5 and No. 4 Brazil on June 6. All matches will be played at the 15,500-seat Pinnacle Bank Arena. The U.S. matches start at 7:30 p.m. CT in the round robin format, while the non-USA match is at 4:30 p.m. CT each day. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.

Team USA is in second place in the 16-team VNL. The Americans, 5-1 in the VNL with 15 points, won their first five matches before losing to zonal rival Dominican Republic in a heart-breaking five-set loss. While using a young roster, the U.S. has already defeated the gold and silver medalists from the 2018 FIVB World Championships in this year’s VNL in Serbia and Italy.

The American roster heading to Lincoln includes Olympians Larson, Robinson and Lloyd as the veteran cornerstones. All three players did not participate in the opening two weeks of VNL as a means to recover from a long overseas professional season. Larson and Robinson competed on separate teams in Turkey, while Lloyd played with a club in Brazil.

Meanwhile, the U.S. roster has youth on sides that continues to earn roster spots into week three of VNL. Foecke and Poulter finished their collegiate eligibility at Nebraska and Illinois this past fall. Rettke still has two years of college eligibility remaining at Wisconsin, while Thompson and Lake will be seniors this fall at Cincinnati and BYU, respectively. All five made their FIVB debuts in the opening week of the VNL and have been key parts on why Team USA is 5-1 in the early going.

Rettke ranks third in scoring for Team USA with 47 points, including 11 blocks. Ogbogu has contributed 44 points through six matches, while Thompson has notched 35 points. Foecke, who missed this past week’s three VNL matches in Italy as she was married this weekend, has collected 22 points with two starts.

Drews leads the USA in scoring through six matches with 72 total points, ranking 15th overall despite not playing in all six matches. She is also leading the Best Spiker category with a 51.3 kill percent. Kingdon Rishel has added 63 points for the Americans.

For a full statistical breakdown of the VNL, click here.

The VNL 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.

The U.S. won the inaugural VNL last year going 17-2 overall and defeating Turkey in the gold-medal match. The Americans played their three VNL home matches last year in Lincoln at the Devaney Center on the University of Nebraska campus.

Team USA is familiar with Pinnacle Bank Arena as it won the 2016 NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament in the facility. The U.S. has played other recent events in nearby Omaha, including the 2015 FIVB World Grand Prix Finals and the 2013 NORCECA Continental Championship, both events the Americans won.

U.S. Women's National Team Roster for FIVB Volleyball Nations League Week #3 – Lincoln, Nebraska
# - Player (Position, Height, College, Hometown)
2 – Jordyn Poulter (S, 6-2, Illinois, Aurora, Colorado)
3 – Carli Lloyd (S, 5-11, California, Bonsall, California)
6 – Tori Dixon (M, 6-3, Minnesota, Burnsville, Minnesota)
8 – Lauren Gibbemeyer (M, 6-2, Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota)
9 – Madi Kingdon Rishel (OH, 6-1, Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona)
10 – Jordan Larson (OH, 6-2, Nebraska, Hooper, Nebraska)
11 – Annie Drews (OPP, 6-4, Purdue, Elkhart, Indiana)
12 – Jordan Thompson (OPP, 6-4, Cincinnati, Edina, Minnesota)
17 – Megan Courtney (L, 6-1, Penn State, Dayton, Ohio)
18 – Mikaela Foecke (OH, 6-3, Nebraska, West Point, Iowa)
20 – Dana Rettke (M, 6-8, Wisconsin, Riverside, Illinois)
23 – Kelsey Robinson (OH, 6-2, Nebraska, Manhattan Beach, California)
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