The U.S. Women’s National Team took one more step toward Olympic qualification on Friday by beating Italy 3-1 (25-19, 23-25, 25-21, 25-18) at the FIVB Road to Paris Olympic Qualifier in Łódź, Poland
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 23, 2023) – An inspired Polish team, playing in front of a massive hometown crowd, defeated the U.S. Women’s National Team 3-1 (27-25, 16-25, 25-23, 25-16) on Saturday at the FIVB Road to Paris Olympic Qualifier in Łódź, Poland.
A win by the U.S. Women would have clinched a berth in the 2024 Olympics. Now, Poland and the U.S. are tied atop the Pool C standings with 15 points. Two other teams, Italy and Germany, are also 4-1 and play later on Saturday.
The U.S. Women (5-1), the defending Olympic champions, will play Germany on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. PT. The top two teams in the standings will qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
In today’s match, the U.S. led Poland in aces (4-2) and blocks (11-8), but Poland had the edge in kills (58-56). A big difference was unforced errors, as Poland scored 25 points off of U.S. errors while the U.S. scored 18 off of Poland.
“It’s a real disappointment because we’re capable of beating that team,” U.S. Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “We had a lead in the third, had things in control, and then let it slip away by just not executing the way we are capable of and need to. So, all eyes ahead to Germany, and a chance to come back strong, pick ourselves back up, and respond with real strength and resolve.
Poland came out firing, leading for most of the first set. The U.S. chipped away at the lead, tying it at 18. The two teams traded points until a Kelsey Cook kill gave the U.S. set point at 24-23. Poland had two kills to get a set point of their own, but a U.S. block evened it again at 25. Poland then scored two straight to take the set.
Set two stayed even through most of the first half until a run by the U.S. Women gave them a 21-15 lead. The U.S. then won four of the next five points for a 25-16 win.
In set three, the U.S. Women watched a five-point lead dwindle when Poland tied it up at 20-20. At 23-23, Poland picked up an ace and a kill for the 25-23 win. Set four was all Poland as they led from the first point.
Opposite Jordan Thompson led the U.S. with 16 points on 13 kills, two blocks and one ace. Outside hitter Jordan Larson collected 14 points with 11 kills, two blocks and one ace.
Outside hitter Kelsey Cook had 12 kills and a block for 13 points. She also led the team with nine digs and 16 successful receptions. Middle blockers Dana Rettke and Chiaka Ogbogu each had nine points; Rettke on six kills, two blocks and an ace, and Ogbogu on four kills, a team-high four blocks and an ace.
Outside hitter Kathryn Plummer came off the bench in the third set and finished the match with five points on five kills. Opposite Annie Drews had all three of her kills in the fourth set.
Setter Lauren Carlini added two kills and three digs. Libero Justine Wong Orantes had four digs and six successful receptions.
In Pool A, Serbia has punched its ticket to Paris, and VNL champion Türkiye has also guaranteed its spot out of Pool B.
Matches will be shown on VolleyballWorld.tv.
U.S. Women’s Roster for 2023 Road to Paris Olympic Qualifier
No. Name (Pos., Ht., Hometown, College, USAV Region)
4C Justine Wong-Orantes (L, 5-6, Cypress, Calif., Univ. of Nebraska, Southern California)
5 Ali Frantti (OH, 6-1, Spring Grove, Ill., Penn State, Great Lakes)
6 Morgan Hentz (L, 5-9, Lakeside Park, Ky., Stanford Univ., Pioneer)
7 Lauren Carlini (S, 6-2, Aurora, Ill., Univ. of Wisconsin, Great Lakes)
10 Jordan Larson (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., Univ. of Nebraska, Great Plains)
11 Annie Drews (Opp, 6-4, Elkhart, Ind., Purdue Univ., Hoosier)
12 Jordan Thompson (Opp, 6-4, Edina, Minn., Univ. of Cincinnati, North Country)
15 Haleigh Washington (MB, 6-3, Colorado Springs, Colo., Penn State Univ., Rocky Mountain)
16 Dana Rettke (MB, 6-8, Riverside, Ill., Univ. of Wisconsin, Great Lakes)
22 Kathryn Plummer (OH, 6-6, Aliso Viejo, Calif., Stanford, Southern California)
23 Kelsey (Robinson) Cook (OH, 6-2, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Univ. of Nebraska, Southern California)
24 Chiaka Ogbogu (MB, 6-2, Coppell, Texas, Univ. of Texas, North Texas)
27 Avery Skinner (OH, 6-1, Katy, Texas, Baylor, Lone Star)
28 Ashley Evans (S, 6-1, Liberty Township, Ohio, Purdue, Ohio Valley)
Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coach: Tama Miyashiro
Second Assistant Coaches: Alfee Reft, Erin Virtue, Marv Dunphy
Physical Therapist/Athletic Trainer: Kara Kessans
Performance Analyst: Rianne Verhoek
Strength & Conditioning Coach: Brandon Siakel
Team Manager: Coley Pawlikowski
Team Doctor: Mark Hutchinson
Athletic Trainer: Jackie Chan
Nutritionist: Shawn Hueglin
Massage Therapist: Luis Hernandez
Mental Performance Coach: Sue Enquist
Performance Analyst: Matthieu Van Der Broeke
U.S. Schedule for the Road to Paris Olympic Qualifier
(all times PT)
Sept. 16 USA def Colombia, 3-0 (25-12, 25-12, 25-13)
Sept. 17 USA def Thailand, 3-0 (25-13, 25-16, 25-18)
Sept. 19 USA def Slovenia, 3-1 (25-13, 25-13. 20-25, 25-13)
Sept. 20 USA def Korea 3-1 (20-25, 25-17, 25-19, 25-17)
Sept. 22 USA def Italy 3-1 (25-19, 23-25, 25-21, 25-18)
Sept. 23 Poland def. USA 3-1 (27-25, 16-25, 25-23, 25-16)
Sept. 24 at 8:30 a.m. USA vs Germany (world No. 12)