Jordyn Poulter, Kelsey Robinson, Justine Wong Orantes celebrate

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 2, 2022) – Türkiye took the U.S. Women’s National Team to the brink Saturday afternoon, but key plays by Annie Drews, Kelsey Robinson and Hannah Tapp helped lead the U.S. to a five-set victory (25-22, 18-25, 27-25, 23-25, 18-16) in the Volleyball Nations League in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

The U.S. Women are in first place in the VNL standings at 10-1 and have assured themselves a place in the Final Round, July 13-17, in Ankara, Türkiye. The U.S. finishes VNL play Sunday at 1 p.m. PT against Germany.

On Saturday, the U.S. and Türkiye battled evenly through all five sets. U.S. starters Drews, Robinson, Tapp, Haleigh Washington, Jordyn Poulter, and Kara Bajema had the upper hand through most of the first set, with Bajema leading the way with six points on five kills and one ace.

Türkiye did not give in, though. Led by Ebrar Karakurt with six points, they went on a run midway through the second to take control of the set and win 25-18.

Türkiye led most of the third set and had three set points at 24-21. An error by Türkiye, an ace by Poulter and a kill by Drews tied the game at 24. Türkiye denied a set point to the U.S. at 25-24, but at 26-25, the U.S. successfully challenged a block touch for the victory, 27-25.

Set four was even until Karakurt scored on a massive kill to give Türkiye a two-point lead at 21-19. The U.S. couldn’t get the break back, falling 25-23.

The fifth set was everything you want in a volleyball match. Great rallies, spectacular kills, awe-inspiring blocks. Türkiye led most of the way, up by three at 12-9, but then Drews hit the service line at 12-10. Two straight aces by Drews changed the momentum of the match at 12-12. Türkiye had one match point at 14-13, but a kill by Robinson tied it back up.

The U.S. had two match points at 15-14 and 16-15, but each time Türkiye responded. Two points later at 17-16 for the U.S., Tapp put down a monster block off Karakurt for the victory.

“It definitely wasn’t a pretty match, but we got it done,” Drews said. “I thought our passers did a really nice job tonight, and as a group, we did a good job putting our foot on the gas when we needed to. Playing Türkiye is always a fun match-up, and going five sets is always good for us to experience and learn from. I think we have a lot to be excited about, but equally as much to learn from and get better at.”

Drews finished the match with 24 points on 20 kills, one block and three aces. She ranked second in points to Bajema, who scored 26 on 24 kills and two aces. Robinson scored 21 (19 kills, two aces), Washington had 11 (10 kills, one ace), Tapp scored six with four blocks and two kills. Poulter picked up an ace. At libero, Justine Wong Orantes led all players with 17 digs.

The U.S. led Türkiye in kills (75-72) and aces (9-2) but were outblocked by Türkiye 12-5.

“It was huge,” Bajema said. “This is our first fifth-setter of 2022. I thought we put forth a lot of effort. We were down for a majority of the fifth, the majority of the third. It was a great comeback. I loved it.”

U.S. Women’s Roster for 2022 VNL Week 3
No. Name (Pos., Ht, Hometown, College, USAV Region)

Micha Hancock (S, 5-11, Edmond, Okla., Penn State Univ., Oklahoma)
Jordyn Poulter (S, 6-2, Aurora, Colo., Univ. of Illinois, Great Lakes)
Kathryn Plummer (OH, 6-6, Aliso Viejo, Calif., Stanford Univ., Southern California)
Justine Wong-Orantes (L, 5-6, Cypress, Calif., Univ. of Nebraska, Southern California)
5 Morgan Hentz (L, 5-9, Lakeside Park, Ky., Stanford Univ., Pioneer)
Tori Dixon (MB, 6-3, Burnsville, Minn., Univ. of Minnesota, North Country)
8 Hannah Tapp (MB, 6-3, Stewartville, Minn., Univ. of Minnesota, North Country)
11 Annie Drews (Opp, 6-4, Elkhart, Ind., Purdue Univ., Hoosier)
12 Jordan Thompson (Opp, 6-4, Edina, Minn., Univ. of Cincinnati, North Country)
13 Sarah Wilhite Parsons (OH, 6-2, Eden Prairie, Minn., Univ. of Minnesota, 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)
18 Kara Bajema (OH, 6-2, Lynden, Wash., Univ. of Washington, Pugen Sound)
23 Kelsey Robinson (OH, 6-2, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Univ. of Nebraska, Southern California)

Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Erin Virtue, Tama Miyashiro, Alfee Reft
Performance Analyst: Brian Hurler
Physical Therapist/Athletic Trainer: Kara Kessans
Consultant Coach: Sue Enquist
Team Manager: Coley Pawlikowski
Sports Dietitian: Shawn Hueglin
Strength & Conditioning Coach: Brandon Siakel

2022 U.S. Women’s VNL Schedule (All times PDT)

Week 1 – Shreveport-Bossier City, La.
May 31-June 5
USA def. Dominican Republic, 3-0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-18)
USA def Canada, 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 25-19)
USA def Brazil, 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-18)
Japan def USA, 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-20)

Week 2 – Quezon City, Philippines
June 15-19
USA def Bulgaria, 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-20)
USA def Poland, 3-0 (25-12, 25-21, 25-16)
USA def China, 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-21)
USA def Thailand, 3-1 (17-25, 25-13, 25-23, 25-18)

Week 3 – Calgary, Canada
Wednesday, June 29-July 4
USA def Belgium, 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-19)
USA def Serbia, 3-0 (25-17, 33-31, 25-16)
USA def. Türkiye, 3-2 (25-22, 18-25, 27-25, 23-25, 18-16)

Sunday, July 4
1 p.m. USA vs Germany

Finals: July 13-17 in Ankara, Turkey