Women's National Team

TOKYO (July 30, 2021) – By any name, a team from Russia can be a bear.

The U.S. Women’s National Team encountered a grizzly in pool play on Friday, falling to the team from the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), 3-0 (25-20, 25-12, 25-19) at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The U.S. Women (3-1) will finish pool play at 7:05 p.m. PT on Sunday against Italy (3-0). Teams from Russia are playing under the Russian Olympic Committee flag at these Olympic Games as part of a penalty for doping violations.


To add to the misery of Friday’s loss, the U.S. Women also lost starting opposite Jordan Thompson to an ankle injury early in the second set.

“We’re hoping to get her back,” Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “The word I got during the match is that it’s not a major ankle sprain; somewhere between mild and medium. We will learn more once they take an X-ray and an MRI. I was told we can be somewhat hopeful that she might be back.”

The ROC’s serving was on point and the Europeans led in aces 6-1. The team’s blocking and defense reaped the benefits and they led in blocks 13-8.

Offensively, the ROC led in kills, 47-35 and had a hitting efficiency of .516.

”Give Russia a ton of credit, they played a really sharp, clean game of volleyball,” Kiraly said. “Their serving really gave us some trouble. They had a couple of jump spinners who put us in some trouble, No. 16 and No. 10 (Irina Voronkova and Arina Fedorovtseva).

“More importantly, when our offense is struggling, it doesn’t really matter what we do against them.”

Outside hitter Jordan Larson and middle blocker Haleigh Washington each scored seven points for the U.S. Women. Larson scored on five kills and two blocks and Washington had six kills and one block. Every player on the U.S. roster got playing time.

Thompson finished with six points on five kills and one block. Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson scored six points on five kills and the team’s only ace. Middle Chiaka Ogbogu scored five points on three kills and two blocks. Opposite Annie Drews totaled five points on five kills. Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley scored three points on three kills.

Middle Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson scored two points on a kills and block. Setters Jordyn Poulter and Micha Hancock each scored a point. They combined to set the U.S. Women to a .311 hitting efficiency. Russia hit .516,

Libero Justine Wong Orantes was credited with nine digs and 17 successful receptions.


  • Kiraly pointed out that ROC Arina Fedorovtseva is only 17. “If you do the math, she probably would be a high school junior this fall. Luckily, she’s not playing against other high school players or she might kill somebody or at least dole out five concussions per match.”
  • U.S. setter Jordyn Poulter celebrated her 25th birthday on Saturday in Tokyo.

U.S. Women’s Roster for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Micha Hancock (S, 5-11, Edmond, Okla., Penn State Univ.)
Jordyn Poulter (S, 6-2, Aurora, Colo., Univ. of Illinois)
Justine Wong Orantes (L, 5-6, Cypress, Calif., Univ. of Nebraska)
10 Jordan Larson (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., Univ. of Nebraska)
11 Annie Drews (OPP, 6-4, Elkhart, Ind., Purdue Univ.)
12 Jordan Thompson (OPP, 6-4, Edina, Minn., Univ. of Cincinnati)
14 Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (OH, 6-3, Champaign, Ill., Univ. of Illinois)
15 Kim Hill (OH, 6-4, Portland, Ore., Pepperdine, Univ.)
16 Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson (M, 6-3, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Stanford Univ.)
22 Haleigh Washington (M, 6-3, Colorado Springs, Colo., Penn State Univ.)
23 Kelsey Robinson (OH, 6-2, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Univ. of Nebraska)
24 Chiaka Ogbogu (M, 6-2, Coppell, Texas, Univ. of Texas)

Head Coach Karch Kiraly
Asst. Coach Erin Virtue
Asst. Coach Tama Miyashiro
Asst. Coach Luka Slabe
Performance Analyst Jeff Liu
Sport Physiologist & Team Leader Jimmy Stitz
Physical Therapist & ATC Kara Kessans
Consultant Coach Sue Enquist
Consultant Coach Marv Dunphy
Team Doctor Dr. Chris Lee
Second Scout Justin Chang

Olympic Schedule (All times PT)
Jul 24: USA def Argentina, 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-20)
July 26: USA def China, 3-0 (29-27, 25-22, 25-21)
July 29: USA def Turkey, 3-2 (25-19, 25-20, 17-25, 20-25, 15-12)
July 30: Russian Olympic Committee def USA, 3-0 (25-20, 25-12, 25-19)
Aug. 1 at 7:05 p.m. USA v Italy
Aug. 3/4 Quarterfinals
Aug. 5/6 Semifinals
Aug. 7/8 Medal matches