U.S. U21 team celebrates

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 26, 2023) – The U.S. Women’s U21 National Team finished sixth at the FIVB U21 World Championship after losing to Türkiye 3-1 (26-28, 25-20, 25-19, 25-18) on Saturday in Leon, Mexico.

The United States finished the tournament with a 4-4 record. This is the first time FIVB has held a world championship for the women’s U21 division as the age group classification was changed from U20 to U21 in 2022. The U.S. Women never medaled in the U20 World Championship, although they finished fourth in 2007 and 2011.

“I am very proud of this group in the way they battled in today’s match against Türkiye despite a short turnaround after last night’s five-set match against Mexico,” U.S. Head Coach Tom Hogan said. “What we accomplished at this U21 World Championship with a bunch of 16- and 17-year-olds is nothing short of amazing. Playing against professional and (senior) national team players from around the world accelerated the growth and development of this young group. They represented USA with pride and class, and they grew from this experience.”

Five of the athletes on the U21 team were also part of the Girls U19 team that won gold at the FIVB U19 World Championship on Aug. 11. With most of the top U.S. U21 athletes already beginning their college season, USA Volleyball turned to the U19 athletes, and they were more than up for the challenge.


Saturday’s matchup was the third meeting between the U.S. and Türkiye in the tournament, with the two teams splitting the previous matches. Not surprisingly, this match was close throughout.

In the first set, the two teams were locked in a battle, and Türkiye led late, 21-19 and 22-21. The U.S. scored three straight points to go up 24-22, but Türkiye scored three to get their first set point at 25-24. A Skyler Pierce kill evened it at 25, but Türkiye went up 26-25 on a kill. But a kill from Pierce, a Türkiye error and then another kill from Pierce gave the U.S. the 28-26 win.

The U.S. never got a foothold against Türkiye in the final three sets. In set two, Türkiye had a lead of 20-12 before the U.S. started chipping away, getting as close as 23-19. But it was too much to overcome, and the U.S. fell 25-20.

In set three, the U.S. led early at 6-3, but Türkiye took the lead at 8-7. The two teams were tied at 15 before Türkiye reeled off four straight points to effectively put the game out of reach. Set four was similar, with the U.S. staying close until a run by Türkiye gave them a 20-13 lead. The U.S. held off five match points before the 25-18 final.

“Türkiye is a very good team, and they played a great match,” U.S. opposite Abigail Mullen said. “With that, I’m super proud of how this team fought all the way to the end. We never let go of the American spirit in the match and even throughout the tournament. This group is very special for many reasons, and I know we all grew as people and players in this tournament.”

Türkiye led in kills (52-50), blocks (12-3) and aces (10-6). They scored 27 points off of U.S. errors while giving up 26.

Outside hitter Emerson Sellman and middle blocker Taylor Harvey both scored 14 points for the U.S. Sellman had 12 kills and two aces while Harvey had 12 kills, one block and one ace.

Pierce finished with 11 points on nine kills and two blocks. Middle blocker Lizzy Andrew scored seven points on seven kills. Setter Izzy Starck had three kills, two aces and 14 digs. Outside hitter Kelly Kinney scored four points on four kills.

Mullen had a kill and an ace, and outside hitter Kaci Demaria had two kills.

Libero Ava Falduto had a team-leading 16 digs and 10 successful receptions.

U.S. Women’s U21 Roster for the 2023 FIVB World Championship

No. Name (Position, Height, Birth Year, Hometown, School, USAV Region)
Lizzy Andrew (MB, 6-5, 2005, Ridgefield, Wash., Ridgefield HS, Columbia Empire)
Campbell Flynn (S, 6-3, 2006, Rochester Hills, Mich., Mercy HS, Lakeshore)
Kaci Demaria (OH, 6-4, 2007, San Pedro, Calif., Palos Verdes HS, Southern California)
Ava Falduto (L, 5-7, 2006, Elmhurst, Ill., IC Catholic Prep, Great Lakes)
11 Kelly Kinney (OH, 6-2, 2007, West Palm Beach, Fla., The King’s Academy, Florida)
13C Emerson Sellman (OH, 6-4, 2005, Burtonsville, Md., The Academy of the Holy Cross, Chesapeake)
14 Skyler Pierce (OH, 6-2, 2005, Lenexa, Kan., Olathe Northwest HS, Heart of America)
15 Abigail Mullen (OPP, 6-3, 2006, Kansas City, Mo., Liberty HS, Heart of America)
17 Taylor Harvey (MB, 6-3, 2006, Bountiful, Utah, Bountiful HS, Intermountain)
18 Izzy Starck (S, 6-1, 2006, Melbourne, Fla., Viera HS, Rocky Mountain)
19 Abby Vander Wal (OH, 6-3, 2006, Elmhurst, Ill., Timothy Christian HS, Great Lakes)
20 Alec Rothe (MB, 6-3, 2006, Dublin, Ohio, Dublin Scioto HS, Ohio Valley)

Head Coach: Tom Hogan
Assistant Coach: Stacy Sykora
Second Assistant: Lauren Plum
Team Manager: Courtney Smith
Performance Analyst: Evan Metzger
Athletic Trainer: Cherryl-Marie Bueno

U.S. Schedule for the 2023 FIVB Women’s U21 World Championship
Matches will be livestreamed on the Volleyball World YouTube channel
All times PDT
Aug. 17 USA def. Cuba, 3-0 (25-23, 25-14, 25-21)
Aug. 18 Türkiye def. USA, 3-1 (25-17, 22-25, 25-23, 25-14)
Aug. 19 USA def. Netherlands, 3-1 (21-25, 25-21, 25-15, 25-17)
Aug. 21 Italy def. USA, 3-1 (25-19, 25-10, 32-34, 25-17)
Aug. 22 Brazil def. USA, 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-22)
Aug. 23 USA def. Türkiye,  3-1 (23-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-21)
Aug. 25 Classification 5th-8th USA def Mexico 3-2 (23-25, 25-21, 27-25, 24-26, 15-11)
Aug. 26 5th-place match Türkiye def. USA, 3-1 (26-28, 25-20, 25-19, 25-18)