U.S. Women competing at VNL

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 29, 2022) – U.S. outside hitter Kara Bajema may be in her first season with the U.S. Women’s National Team, but she is performing like a veteran.

Bajema led all scorers with 20 points on Wednesday as the U.S. Women beat Belgium, 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-19) in a Volleyball Nations League (VNL) match in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

With Japan (8-1) losing its first match of the tournament to Netherlands on Wednesday, the U.S. Women (8-1) have moved into first place in the VNL by virtue of their points ratio.

Bajema, who scored on a match-high 18 kills (.536 hitting efficiency) one block and one ace, made her debut with the Women’s National Team during its first week of VNL preliminary play in Shreveport, La., and played in two matches.

She was not on the roster for the second week in the Philippines, but she slid into the lineup on Wednesday without a hitch.

“We have multiple rosters we can throw out every week,” Bajema said. “I think that’s what makes Team USA so amazing.

“I felt really comfortable out there and we had a good group going.”

Moreover, Bajema, who finished her career at the University of Washington in 2019, said the U.S. Women have made joining the team easy for her.

“That’s credit to the people I have around me,” she said. “The staff, the players, they’re being really communicative on and off the court. It’s just a really fun program to be in.”

Olympic setter Jordyn Poulter made her first appearance of the 2022 season for the U.S. and finished with a match-high three blocks and set the U.S. Women to a .392 hitting efficiency.

Opposite Annie Drews finished with 15 points on 12 kills, two blocks and one ace. Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson scored 12 points on 11 kills and one block.

Middle blocker Dana Rettke scored six points on four kills, one block and one ace. Middle Tori Dixon added five points on four kills and one block.

Libero Justine Wong-Orantes, who served as team captain, was credited with five digs and three successful receptions. Belgium focused its serves on Bajema, who finished with 11 successful receptions. Robinson led the team in digs with 12.


The Anaheim Police Department announced on Wednesday that it had recovered Jordyn Poulter’s Olympic gold medal, which had been stolen on May 25.

According to police, on Monday, the owners of Anaheim’s Noel Barber Shop, Maria Carillo and Noe Hernandez, found the medal in a plastic bag on their property.

“It is very exciting and surprising news that the medal has been found and recovered,” Poulter said. “A huge thank you to the couple who returned it to the Anaheim PD, as well as to everyone who has helped in this case. I am forever grateful!”

Anaheim police have arrested a suspect they believe stole the medal.


Congratulations to Dana Rettke who won two big honors over the past three days. On Monday, she was named the University of Wisconsin’s Athlete of the Year for 2021-22. On Wednesday, she was named Big Ten Conference Female Athlete of the Year.

It was the second time Rettke earned each award.