The U.S. Women’s National Team finished the 2023 Volleyball Nations League (VNL) in fourth place after falling to Poland on Sunday, 3-2 (25-15, 16-25, 25-19, 18-25, 17-15) at College Park Center
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 29, 2023) – The U.S. Women’s National Team began play at the 2023 NORCECA Championship in Quebec with a 3-0 (25-3, 25-13, 25-5) victory over a young Costa Rica squad on Tuesday.
The U.S., ranked third in the world, faces Cuba at 10:30 a.m. PT on Wednesday.
The U.S. never trailed in the match and hit at a .623 efficiency percentage with a 43-12 advantage in kills to go with an 8-1 lead in both blocks and aces.
“We go in hoping each opponent is going to present some very serious and significant challenges for us. We don’t have control over what they do on their side of the net, but I thought our team today did a really nice job of honoring our opponent by playing really hard against them,” U.S. Head Coach Karch Kiraly commented. “We’ve been working hard the past few weeks on the speed of our offense and that was showing, so there were some nice things coming out of today.”
The top five scoring players in the match were all from the U.S., led by opposite Jordan Thompson, who totaled 16 points on 11 kills, three blocks, and two aces, while hitting at a .563 clip. Thompson was named Player of the Match and received a selection of maple syrup products.
Outside hitter Jordan Larson made a memorable return as she finished the match with 10 kills on 11 total attacks (.909 hitting efficiency percentage) in her first appearance for the U.S. Women since the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Middle blocker Dana Rettke contributed 13 points on six kills, three blocks, and a match-high four aces. She served out the match with three aces in a row. Setter Lauren Carlini ran the offense that made only six errors in 61 total attacks, and also led all players with six digs.
Middle blocker Haleigh Washington and outside hitter Kelsey Robinson Cook each recorded seven kills with one error. Washington added two blocks and an ace; Cook added an ace.
The U.S. dominance started with a 7-0 run to start the match. With her team leading 9-2, Thompson scored 11 consecutive points, including a pair of aces. She was one of three players to score five points in the set, matching Washington and Cook. The U.S. connected on 14 of 15 attacks without committing a hitting error.
After falling behind 9-2 in the second set, Costa Rica managed to play even with the U.S. for the next 14 points, before dropping five consecutive points. Thompson paced the U.S. again with six points on four kills and two blocks.
In addition to her three aces to end the match, Rettke registered four kills and a block to lead the way in the third set with eight points. Larson scored on five of her six attacks.
Seven teams are competing in Quebec, divided in two groups: Pool A consisting of host Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, while Cuba, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic join the U.S. in Pool B.
The U.S. Women have won the NORCECA Championship eight times, but not since 2015. The Dominican Republic won the last two editions in 2019 and ’21.
U.S. Women’s Preliminary Roster for 2023 NORCECA Championship
No. Name (Pos., Ht., Hometown, College, USAV Region)
1C Micha Hancock (S, 5-11, Edmond, Okla., Penn State Univ., Oklahoma)
4 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)
Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coach: Tama Miyashiro
Second Assistant Coaches: Alfee Reft, Erin Virtue
Physical Therapist/Athletic Trainer: Kara Kessans
Performance Analyst: Rianne Verhoek
Strength & Conditioning Coach: Brandon Siakel
Team Manager: Dana Burkholder
Team Doctor: William Stetson
Massage Therapist: Ricardo Brambila
NORCECA Championship Schedule
All times PDT
Aug. 29 USA def. Costa Rica, 3-0 (25-3, 25-13, 25-5)
Aug. 30 at 10:30 a.m. USA vs. Cuba
Aug. 31 at 4:30 p.m. USA vs. Dominican Republic
Sept. 1 at 2 and 4:30 p.m. Quarterfinals
Sept. 2 Classification/Semifinals
Sept. 3 Gold, Bronze, and Fifth-Place matches