U.S. Women's National Team competing at VNL

SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, La. (June 5, 2022) – The U.S. Women’s National Team suffered its first loss of the 2022 Volleyball Nations League on Sunday as it fell to Japan, 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-20) in a preliminary round match at Brookshire Grocery Arena.

The U.S. Women (3-1), the three-time defending VNL champion and ranked No. 1 in the world, will regroup at its training base in Anaheim, California, before traveling to the Philippines for the second round of preliminary play beginning June 15. The U.S. Men will begin VNL play in Brasilia, Brazil this week.

A night after beating their biggest rival in world No. 2 Brazil, the U.S. Women struggled to find answers for No. 7 Japan’s outside hitters Sarina Koga and Arisa Inoue, who each finished with 19 points. Japan improved to 4-0 with the victory.

Opposite Annie Drews, who has played professionally in Japan the past three seasons, was impressed with Japan’s game.

“I thought they played great,” said Drews, who led the U.S. scoring with 11 points on 11 kills. “They looked like they play together a lot and had a lot of clarity on what they were going to do against us.”

Japan led in kills (47-46), blocks (6-5) and aces (4-0). Japan also scored 18 points on U.S. errors while committing 11.

“Japan played a really nice match and gave us a lot of trouble with their short serves,” U.S. Head Coach Karch Kiraly said.

“They put us in really uncomfortable positions, and it took us far too long to adjust. In the meantime, they had a nice passing crew out who controlled our serves. So we didn’t cause nearly the amount of trouble that we like to.

“They were able to run much more of their offense than we were able to run and implement our offense.”

Amongst the U.S. scorers, outside hitter Kara Bajema added 10 points on 10 kills. Middle blocker Anna Stevenson scored 10 points on seven kills and a team-high three blocks.

Outside hitter Madi Kingdon Rishel scored seven points on seven kills. Sarah Wilhite Parsons, who started the third set as a substitute for Kingdon Rishel totaled six points on six kills.

Starting middle Tori Dixon scored two points on two kills. Dana Rettke, who took over for Dixon in the second set, scored two points on one kill and one block.

Outside hitter Ali Frantti, who took over for Bajema in the third set, scored two points on a kill and a block.

Setter Lauren Carlini scored one point with a kill and set the U.S. to a .250 hitting efficiency. Libero Morgan Hentz was credited with 15 digs and six successful receptions. Carlini led in digs with 16 and Bajema led in receptions with nine.

All matches will be shown on VolleyballWorld.tv, which is a subscription service.

U.S. Women’s Roster for VNL First Round
No. Name (Pos., Ht, Hometown, College, USAV Region)

5 Morgan Hentz (L, 5-9, Lakeside Park, Ky., Stanford Univ., Pioneer)
Tori Dixon (MB, 6-3, Burnsville, Minn., Univ. of Minnesota, North Country)
Lauren Carlini (S, 6-2, Aurora, Ill., Univ. of Wisconsin, Great Lakes)
9 Madi Kingdon Rishel (OH, 6-1, Phoenix, Ariz., Univ. of Arizona, Arizona)
10 Brionne Butler (MB, 6-4, Kendleton, Texas, Univ. of Texas, Lone Star)
11 Annie Drews (Opp, 6-4, Elkhart, Ind., Purdue Univ., Hoosier)
12 Jordan Thompson (Opp, 6-4, Edina, Minn., Univ. of Cincinnati, North Country)
13 Sarah Wilhite Parsons (OH, 6-2, Eden Prairie, Minn., Univ. of Minnesota, North Country)
16 Dana Rettke (MB, 6-8, Riverside, Ill., Univ. of Wisconsin, Great Lakes)
18 Kara Bajema (OH, 6-2, Lynden, Wash., Univ. of Washington, Puget Sound)
19 Jenna Gray (S, 6-1, Shawnee, Kan., Stanford Univ., Heart of America)
22 Kendall White (L, 5-5, Zionsville, Ind., Penn State, Hoosier)
30 Ali Frantti (OH, 6-1, Spring Grove, Ill., Penn State, Great Lakes)
31 Anna Stevenson (MB, 6-2, Laurens S.C., Univ. of Louisville, Palmetto)

Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Erin Virtue, Tama Miyashiro, Alfee Reft
Performance Analyst: Brian Hurler
Physical Therapist/Athletic Trainer: Kara Kessans
Team Doctor: Christopher Lee
Consultant Coach: Sue Enquist
Team Manager: Coley Pawlikowski
Sports Dietitian: Shawn Hueglin
Strength & Conditioning Coach: Brandon Siakel

2022 U.S. Women’s VNL Schedule (All times PDT)

Week 1 – Shreveport-Bossier City, La.
USA def. Dominican Republic, 3-0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-18)
USA def Canada, 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 25-19)
USA def Brazil, 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-18)
Japan def USA, 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-20)

Week 2 – Quezon City, Philippines
Wednesday, June 15
12 a.m. USA vs. Bulgaria

Thursday, June 16
8 p.m. USA vs Poland

Saturday, June 18
4 a.m. USA vs China

Sunday, June 19
Midnight USA vs Thailand

Week 3 – Calgary, Canada
Wednesday, June 29
7 p.m. USA vs Belgium

Thursday, June 30
7 p.m. USA vs Serbia

Saturday, July 2
1 p.m. USA vs Turkey

Sunday, July 4
1 p.m. USA vs Germany

Finals: July 13-17 in Ankara, Turkey