COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 24, 2021) – The U.S. Women’s National Team, ranked No. 2 in the world, begins its 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League (VNL) campaign on Tuesday (9 a.m. PDT) against the Dominican Republic in Rimini, Italy.

Coincidentally, the last match that the U.S. Women played as a team was a 3-2 loss to the Dominican Republic in the final of the NORCECA Championship in October 2019 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

U.S. Head Coach Karch Kiraly said the U.S. Women are just happy to be competing together again, no matter who the opponent is.

“This team is really excited to be together again for the first time since late 2019 and to actually spend some time together,” he said. “We’re looking forward to being together in the bubble. Just us. We haven’t had that for a long time.”

The U.S. Women’s Team, the two-time VNL champion, had only a few weeks of full team practices prior to leaving for Italy, adding players gradually as they finished with their international clubs.

The final players to return were outside hitters Kim Hill and Michelle Bartsch-Hackley who played with their respective club teams in the final of the CEV Champions League on May 1 (Hill and Italy’s A. Carraro Imoco Conegliano beat Bartsch-Hackley and Turkey’s VakifBank Istanbul in the final, 3-2 (22-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23, 15-12).

“So far, things are coming together alright,” Kiraly said. “Of course, we’d like to be better. I’m sure every other team would feel the same. Nobody feels like they have had enough time with training. But we’re really excited to get it going.”

While the U.S. Women are focused on defending their VNL title, they are also looking at the tournament as a way to prepare for another important event later this year in Tokyo.

“We’ll play a number of different lineups (at VNL),” Kiraly said. “I’m excited to see how it all fits together. I’m also happy because we had some people rehabbing various health things and that all seems to be going well too.”

To keep all participants safe and healthy, the 2021 VNL is being played in a “bubble” with no fans in attendance.

The U.S. Women are the two-time and only defending champions of the VNL, which began in 2018. The 2020 edition of the VNL was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As in past VNL editions, 16 women’s teams will compete against each other in three-day round-robin segments during the five-week preliminary round May 25-June 20.

Unlike the past, only the top four teams will advance to the final round. The semifinals will be played June 23 and the medal matches on June 24.

This year’s VNL will be the U.S. Women’s only official international competition prior to the Tokyo Olympic Games, which begin July 24.

The VNL will be broadcast in the United States on the FIVB’s streaming service Volleyball World TV.

U.S. Women’s National Team 18-Person Roster for FIVB Volleyball Nations League

No. Player (Position, Height, Hometown, College)

1 Micha Hancock (S, 5-11, Edmond, Okla., Penn State Univ.)
2 Jordyn Poulter (S, 6-2, Aurora, Colo., Univ. of Illinois)
3 Kathryn Plummer (OH, 6-6, Aliso Viejo, Calif., Stanford Univ.)
4 Justine Wong-Orantes (L, 5-6, Cypress, Calif., Univ. of Nebraska)
6 Tori Dixon (M, 6-3, Burnsville, Minn., Univ. of Minnesota)
7 Lauren Carlini (S, 6-2, Aurora, Ill., Univ. of Wisconsin)
8 Hannah Tapp (M, 6-3, Stewartville, Minn., Univ. of Minnesota)
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)
13 Sarah Wilhite Parsons (OH, 6-2, Eden Prairie, Minn., Univ. of Minnesota)
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.)
17 Megan Courtney (L, 6-1, Dayton, Ohio, Penn State 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
Assistant Coaches: Luka Slabe, Erin Virtue, Tama Miyashiro
Technical Coordinator: Jeff Liu
Athletic Trainer: Kara Kessans
Team Manager: Jimmy Stitz

U.S. Women’s Schedule for FIVB Volleyball Nations League (all times Pacific)

May 25 at 9 a.m.: Dominican Republic vs USA
May 26 at 10:30 a.m.: USA vs Canada
May 27 at noon: Brazil vs USA

May 31 at 10:30 a.m.: Serbia vs USA
June 1 at 9 a.m.: USA vs Netherlands
June 2 at 3 a.m.: Thailand vs USA

June 6 at 10:30 a.m.: German vs USA
June 7 at 7 a.m.: Korea vs USA
June 8 at 10:30 a.m.: Italy vs USA

June 12 at 6 a.m.: USA vs Belgium
June 13 at 3 a.m.: USA vs Japan
June 14 at noon: USA vs Turkey

June 18 at 9 a.m.: Poland vs USA
June 19 at 3 a.m.: USA vs Russia
June 20 at 3 a.m.: China vs USA

June 23: Semifinals 1 and 2
June 24: Bronze and Gold medal matches