Women's National Team at VNL

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 31, 2023) – The U.S. Women’s National Team opened the 2023 Volleyball Nations League (VNL) by winning a battle with world No. 1 Serbia 3-2 (25-20, 19-25, 21-25, 25-21, 15-12) on Wednesday in Antalya, Türkiye.

The U.S. Women (1-0) will get Thursday off before facing defending VNL champion and world No. 2 Italy at 10 a.m. PT on Friday. The U.S. Women are the defending Olympic champions and ranked No. 4 in the world.

U.S. Head Coach Karch Kiraly started his three Olympic gold medalists against Serbia: opposite Annie Drews, setter Micha Hancock and libero Justine Wong-Orantes and all played key roles in the win.


Drews led all scorers with 25 points on a match-high 22 kills, two aces and one block. She was credited with 14 digs. Hancock set the team to a .343 hitting efficiency and scored three points on kills.

“We had some new faces come out and take some heavy swings and started placing the ball as our defense picked up as well,” Hancock said. “Our serving pressure got better as the match went on. I’m really excited to see what this group can do.”

Wong-Orantes was credited with 11 digs and four successful receptions.

The U.S. led Serbia in kills (67-61) and blocks (13-8). Serbia led in aces (6-5) and scored 28 points on U.S. errors while committing 20.

Middle blocker Brionne Butler, who played in the VNL last year, scored 13 points on a match-high eight blocks and five kills. Skinner and Lanier each had 10 digs and Lanier had seven successful receptions while Skinner had five.

Several VNL rookies also stepped forward for the U.S. Women. Outside hitter Avery Skinner finished with 19 points on 17 kills, one block and one ace. Outside Khalia Lanier scored 16 points on 13 kills, two aces and one block.

“I think the fact that we had so many people come in and make such a difference is really going to carry us far,” Skinner said. “Everybody came in confident and really did whatever they could to help us get this win.”

Middle Asjia O’Neal entered the match at the start of the third set for Dana Rettke and finished the match, scoring five points on four kills and one block. Rettke scored four points on three kills and one block.

Outside hitter Brooke Nuneviller played as a back-row substitute to shore up the defense. Opposite Danielle Cuttino was also brought in to help with blocking.

VNL matches are livestreamed in the United States on VolleyballWorld.tv.

U.S. Women’s Roster for 2023 VNL Preliminary Round 1
No. Name (Pos., Ht., Hometown, College, USAV Region)

1C Micha Hancock (S, 5-11, Edmond, Okla., Penn State Univ., Oklahoma)
Justine Wong-Orantes (L, 5-6, Cypress, Calif., Univ. of Nebraska, Southern California)
Morgan Hentz (L, 5-9, Lakeside Park, Ky., Stanford Univ., Pioneer)
8  Brionne Butler (MB, 6-4, Kendleton, Texas, Univ. of Texas, Lone Star)
11 Annie Drews (Opp, 6-4, Elkhart, Ind., Purdue Univ., Hoosier)
16 Dana Rettke (MB, 6-8, Riverside, Ill., Univ. of Wisconsin, Great Lakes)
20 Danielle Cuttino (Opp, 6-4, Indianapolis, Ind., Purdue, Hoosier)
25 Brooke Nuneviller (OH, 5-11, Chandler, Ariz., Univ. of Oregon, Arizona)
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)
28 Ashley Evans (S, 6-1, Liberty Township, Ohio, Purdue, Ohio Valley)
29 Khalia Lanier (OH, 6-2, Scottsdale, Ariz., Univ. of Southern California, Arizona)
31 Roni Jones-Perry (OH, 6-0, West Jordan, Utah, BYU, Intermountain)
36 Madeleine Gates (MB, 6-3, San Diego, Calif., Stanford, Southern California)

Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coach: Tama Miyashiro
Second Assistant Coaches: Alfee ReftErin Virtue
Performance Analyst: Rianne Verhoek
Physical Therapist/Athletic Trainer: Kara Kessans
Team Doctor: James Suchy
Team Manager: Coley Pawlikowski

U.S. Women’s Schedule for the 2023 VNL
All matches will be broadcast on volleyballworld.tv

Week 1 (all times PT) at Antalya, Türkiye
May 31: USA def Serbia 3-2 (25-20, 19-25, 21-25, 25-21, 15-12)
June 2 at 10 a.m. USA vs Italy
June 3 at 7 a.m. USA vs Korea
June 4 at 10 a.m. USA vs Türkiye

Week 2 at Brasilia, Brazil
June 13 at 1:30 p.m. USA vs Croatia
June 15 at 10 a.m. USA vs Thailand
June 17 at 1:30 p.m. USA vs Japan
June 18 at 6 a.m. USA vs Brazil

Week 3 at Suwon, Korea
June 27 at 11:30 p.m. USA vs Poland
June 28 at 11:30 p.m. USA vs Bulgaria
July 1 at 1:30 a.m. USA vs Germany
July 2 at 1:30 a.m. USA vs China

Final Round on July 12-16 at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas