ARLINGTON, Texas (July 16, 2023) – 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.
The U.S. Women, the defending Olympic champions, finished VNL with an 11-4 record. The team will compete next at the NORCECA Continental Championship on Aug. 28-Sept. 3 in Canada.
Less than 16 hours after battling Türkiye in the semifinals and just missing a chance at a fifth set, the U.S. Women struggled in the first set against Poland.
U.S. Women’s Head Coach Karch Kiraly started a completely different lineup in the second set, except for libero Justine Wong-Orantes, and the team seemed to find the spark it needed. But the success didn’t last and Kiraly continued to adjust the lineup, eventually putting every player on the court at some point.
In the fifth set, the U.S. Women trailed 9-6 before tying the score at 11-11. The U.S. held match point at 14-13 and 15-14 but could not convert.
“We’re proud that our team emptied the tank, and we tried every possible answer and came close,” Kiraly said. “But this is a bitter disappointment, and we need to use this to get better for our next tournament, for the Olympic qualifier and for next year.”
Poland led the U.S. in kills (63-50) and aces (7-5). The U.S. Women led in blocks (14-11) and scored 30 points on Poland errors while committing 20.
Setter Lauren Carlini saw her first action of the final round, starting sets 2-5. She scored three points on two kills and a block.
“I thought the comeback in the fifth was great. We had match point,” Carlini said. “That’s something we’re going to work on over this next training block is executing when it matters.”
Outside hitter Avery Skinner, a Texas native who played collegiately at Baylor, started sets 2-5 and led the team in scoring with 18 points on 15 kills and three blocks. She was also credited with five digs.
Opposite Annie Drews, who started the first, fourth and fifth sets, scored 10 points on nine kills and one block.
Starting libero Justine Wong-Orantes led the team with 12 digs and was credited with two successful receptions.
Middle blockers Chiaka Ogbogu and Asjia O’Neal, who each grew up in Texas and played for the University of Texas, had identical score lines with each scoring nine points on four kills, four blocks and one ace. Both athletes started sets 2-5.
Outside hitter Kelsey (Robinson) Cook scored six points on six kills. She was credited with eight successful receptions to lead the team and seven digs.
Opposite Jordan Thompson, who started the second and third sets, scored five points on five kills.
Outside hitter Ali Frantti, who started the first set and played as a substitute, scored three points on two kills and one ace.
Outside hitter Khalia Lanier scored three points on three kills. Starting setter Micha Hancock was also used as a serving substitute and scored with two aces.
Middle Haleigh Washington scored one point with a block.
U.S. Women’s Preliminary Roster for 2023 VNL
No. Name (Pos., Ht., Hometown, College, USAV Region)
1 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)
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)
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)
26 Asjia O’Neal (MB, 6-3, Southlake, Texas, Univ. of Texas, North Texas)
27 Avery Skinner (OH, 6-1, Katy, Texas, Baylor, Lone Star)
29 Khalia Lanier (OH, 6-2, Scottsdale, Ariz., Univ. of Southern California, Arizona)
Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coach: Tama Miyashiro
Second Assistant Coaches: Alfee Reft, Erin Virtue, Marv Dunphy
Performance Analyst: Rianne Verhoek
Physical Therapist/Athletic Trainer: Kara Kessans
Consultant Coach: Sue Enquist,
Team Manager: Dana Burkholder
Sports Dietitian: Shawn Hueglin
Strength & Conditioning Coach: Brandon Siakel
U.S. Women’s Schedule for the 2023 VNL
All matches will be broadcast on volleyballworld.tv
Week 1 at Antalya, Türkiye
May 31: USA def. Serbia 3-2 (25-20, 19-25, 21-25, 25-21, 15-12)
June 2: USA def. Italy 3-2 (25-16, 14-25, 22-25, 25-20, 15-9)
June 3: USA def. Korea 3-0 (25-16, 27-25, 25-11)
June 4: USA def. Türkiye 3-2 (25-22, 25-22, 22-25, 11-25, 15-9)
Week 2 at Brasilia, Brazil
June 13 USA def. Croatia 3-1 (17-22, 25-22, 25-18, 25-15)
June 15 USA def. Thailand 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-16)
June 17 Japan def. USA 3-2 (23-25, 25-23, 25-19, 23-25, 15-6)
June 18 USA def Brazil 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-22)
Week 3 at Suwon, Korea
June 27 USA def Poland 3-2 (17-25, 25-15, 27-25, 28-30, 16-14)
June 28 USA def Bulgaria 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-17)
July 1 USA def Germany 3-1 (25-22, 18-25, 25-22, 25-13)
July 2 China def USA 3-2 (18-25, 25-19, 19-25, 25-20, 15-8)
Final Round on July 12-16 at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas
(All times PT)
July 12 USA def Japan 3-1 (25-23, 25-21, 18-25, 25-18)
July 15 Türkiye def USA 3-1 (25-21, 25-14, 24-26, 27-25)
July 16 Bronze medal: Poland def USA 3-2 (25-15, 16-25, 25-19, 18-25, 17-15)
July 16 Gold medal: Türkiye def China 3-1 (25-22, 22-25, 25-19, 25-16)