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.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 24, 2023) – The U.S. Women’s National Team qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games on Sunday when it defeated Germany 3-1 (24-26, 25-21, 25-9, 25-16) at the FIVB Road to Paris Olympic Qualifier in Łódź, Poland.
The U.S. Women finished the tournament with a 6-1 record. They qualified for their 11th straight Olympic Games and 13th overall. The U.S. Women finished first in the group and also improved their world ranking to No. 2.
The U.S. Women dominated Germany on the attack (69-41) led by opposite Annie Drews who entered the match as a substitute to start the second set and led all scorers with 27 points on a match-high 27 kills (.544 hitting efficiency).
“My focus coming into tonight was to just be where my feet were and fill in the gaps as needed,” Drews said. “We sometimes talk about how we want to feel after the match is over. Can we truly say we have nothing left in the tank or finished with no regrets? So that was in the back of my mind tonight; playing in a way where I wouldn’t regret anything.”
Outside hitter Jordan Larson added 17 points on 11 kills, a team-high three aces and three blocks. She also led the team in successful receptions with five and had 16 digs.
“Really proud of our team for how we responded after a difficult loss (to Poland) yesterday,” said Larson, a three-time Olympic medalist. “Props to Germany for coming out strong in set one, but really proud of our team, which stayed steady and secured out ticket to Paris.”
Germany led in blocks (10-8). The teams tied in aces (6-6) and Germany had one more scoring error (16-15).
U.S. outside hitter Kelsey (Robinson) Cook totaled 13 points on 12 kills and one ace. Middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu scored 10 points on five kills, a team-high four blocks and one ace.
Middle Dana Rettke added nine points on seven kills, one block and one ace.
Setter Lauren Carlini scored a point with a kill and set the team to a .315 hitting efficiency. Libero Justine Wong-Orantes led in digs with 21.
Opposite Jordan Thompson played the first set and scored five points on five kills.
Outside hitter Ali Frantti played as a substitute and scored one point with a kill.
The U.S. Women are the second USA Volleyball team to qualify for Paris 2024. The U.S. Women’s Sitting Team has already qualified for the 2024 Paralympic Games.
The U.S. Men’s National Team will attempt to qualify Sept. 30-Oct. 8 in Tokyo, Japan.
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. Results for the Road to Paris Olympic Qualifier
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 USA def Germany 3-1 (24-26, 25-21, 25-9, 25-16)