Asjia O'Neal celebrates with the team
Asjia O'Neal celebrates. Photo by Volleyball World

ARLINGTON, Texas (May 28, 2024) – Playing in front of the home fans in Arlington, the U.S. Women’s National Team opened the second round of Volleyball Nations League preliminary play with a 3-1 (25-22, 25-17, 23-25, 25-20) victory over Canada on Tuesday night.

The U.S. Women (3-2) will return to the court to face Bulgaria (0-4) on Friday, May 31, at 6 p.m. PT/8 p.m. CT. Canada, which is fighting for a berth at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris based on its world ranking, fell to 3-2.

Outside hitter Kathryn Plummer made her 2024 VNL debut and scored a team-high 16 points on 14 kills and two blocks. Outside hitter Jordan Larson (12 points, two blocks, one ace) and opposite Jordan Thompson (13 kills, one block, one ace) each contributed 15 points.

Larson steadied the U.S. defense with 18 digs and four successful receptions. Plummer recorded 13 digs and three successful receptions.

“I think we are trying to find a balance between a sense of urgency and a presence of calm,” Larson said. “Also, we’re kind of a new crew here. So I think we’re adapting and adjusting to each other.”

Middle blockers Dana Rettke and Asjia O’Neal, who were both making their 2024 VNL debuts, had a combined 17 points and five blocks, each finishing with six kills. Rettke posted a team-high three blocks. O’Neal was back in the state where she was part of back-to-back NCAA championships with the University of Texas.

“It’s so cool to be back at home, playing in front of familiar faces and looking in the crowd seeing Texas shirts. It’s the best feeling and super full circle for me,” said O’Neal, who recognizes the pressure of trying to make the Olympic team. “You want to have something to push you every single day and it’s a blessing to have that pressure because it means people expect a lot from you.”

Libero Justine Wong-Orantes finished with 12 digs and three successful receptions. Setter Jordyn Poulter ran the offense that hit .418.

“We had our hands full tonight (with Canada),” U.S. Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “This was only really day 4 for us together because we had a lot of people finish late in the pro season in Europe… It’s going to be rough and it’s not always going to look pretty, but that’s OK.”

Canada finished with a 59-52 advantage in kills, but the U.S. made only 11 errors in the match, while Canada totaled 33. Outside hitter Alexa Gray led all scorers with 20 kills and 23 points, while teammate Kiera Van Ryk totaled 17 kills and 20 points.

A pair of Thompson kills spurred a 4-0 run to give the U.S. the biggest lead of the first set, 23-19. Canada fought back with three consecutive points, highlighted by an ace by Gray. Another tough serve gave Canada a chance to tie, but a huge Rettke block made it 24-22, and Thompson served an ace to end the set. Plummer paced the team with six points on five kills and a block in the set.

The second set was tied at seven before the U.S. took over. A Plummer back row attack capped a 7-2 run for a 14-9 lead, prompting a Canada timeout. The momentum stayed with the U.S. as they went on another 7-2 run. Thompson closed out the set with her fifth kill of the match. Plummer and O’Neal each scored four points in the second set.

Through the first two sets, the U.S. committed only three scoring errors, while Canada made 20.

Canada scored six of the final nine points in the third set to cut the lead to two sets to one. After being error prone in the first two sets, Canada made only four errors in the third set. Gray led all scorers in the set with seven points on seven kills. Larson, who scored three consecutive points to give the U.S. an 18-16 lead, led her team with six points on five kills and a block in the third set.

After trailing most of the fourth set, Canada rallied to take an 18-17 lead on a Gray ace, her 23rd point of the match. A Larson kill, a hitting error, and a Thompson block gave the U.S. the lead for good, 20-18. Canada scored the next point to pull back within a point, but the U.S. sealed the match by scoring five of the six points. Four different players scored the team’s final four points: Thompson, O’Neal, Plummer, and Rettke.

Volleyball Nations League is the world’s premier annual international indoor volleyball tournament. The top 16 teams in the world play four matches a week for three weeks of preliminary competition. The top eight teams at the end of the preliminaries will go to the Final Round.

U.S. Women’s Roster for 2024 VNL Week 2
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, Rocky Mountain)
Avery Skinner (OH, 6-1, Katy, Texas, Univ. of Kentucky and Baylor, Lone Star)
Justine Wong-Orantes (L, 5-6, Cypress, Calif., Univ. of Nebraska, Southern California)
Ali Frantti (OH, 6-1, Spring Grove, Ill., Penn State, Great Lakes)
Morgan Hentz (L, 5-9, Lakeside Park, Ky., Stanford Univ., Pioneer)
10 Jordan Larson (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., Univ. of Nebraska, Great Plains)
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)
18 Asjia O’Neal (MB, 6-3, Southlake, Texas, Univ. of Texas, North Texas)
22 Kathryn Plummer (OH, 6-6, Aliso Viejo, Calif., Stanford, Southern California)
24 Chiaka Ogbogu (MB, 6-2, Coppell, Texas, Univ. of Texas, North Texas)
29 Khalia Lanier (OH, 6-2, Scottsdale, Ariz., Univ. of Southern California, Arizona)

Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coach: Tama Miyashiro
Second Assistant Coaches: Marv DunphyAlfee ReftErin Virtue
Performance Analyst: Rianne Verhoek
Physical Therapist/Athletic Trainer: Kara Kessans
Team Doctor: Lori Boyajian-O’Neill, William Briner, James Suchy
Consultant Coaches: Sue Enquist, Katy Stanfill
Team Manager: Coley Pawlikowski
Sports Dietitian: Shawn Hueglin
Strength & Conditioning Coach: Brandon Siakel
General Managers: Peter Vint and John Crawley

U.S. Women’s Schedule for the 2024 Volleyball Nations League
Matches will be shown live and on-demand on
(All times PDT)

Week 1 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
May 15 USA def Thailand 3-1 (25-22, 19-25, 25-12, 25-18)
May 16 China def USA 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-19)
May 17 Brazil def USA 3-1 (25-22, 25-16, 18-25, 25-19)
May 19 USA def Dominican Republic 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-18)

Week 2 in Arlington, Texas
May 28 USA def Canada 3-1 (25-22, 25-17, 23-25, 25-20)
May 31 at 6 p.m. PT/8 p.m. CT USA vs Bulgaria
June 1 at 2:30 p.m. PT/4:30 p.m. CT USA vs Poland
June 2 at 1 p.m. PT/3 p.m. CT USA vs Türkiye

Week 3 in Fukuoka, Japan
June 10 at 11:30 p.m. USA vs France
June 12 at 8 p.m. USA vs Netherlands
June 14 at 11:30 p.m. USA vs Italy
June 16 at 2:45 a.m. USA vs Japan

Final Round: June 20-23 in Bangkok, Thailand.