Currently occupying the top spot of the FIVB world rankings, the United States women’s national team were the first to announce their Olympic roster when head coach Karch Kiraly confirmed the 12 players that will make the trip to Tokyo on Monday.

The Americans, who lead the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League with eight wins in as many matches, will feature a significant number of newcomers in Tokyo. Only four members of the team that took bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympics were called up by Kiraly, including middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo who recently returned to the team after becoming a mother, Kim Hill, Kelsey Robinson and Jordan Larson, who is also the team captain.

The other eight members of the American roster in Tokyo will be setters Micha Hancock and Jordyn Poulter, opposites Annie Drews and Jordan Thompson, outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, middle blockers Chiaka Ogbogu and Haleigh Washington and libero Justine Wong-Orantes.

“Each one of the 12 contributes unique skills and qualities that make her the right person for the job,” Kiraly commented. “This collection of special people who are elite volleyball players is poised to make a fierce Olympic run. We can’t wait to watch them ‘Let It Rip’ in Tokyo.”

Kiraly has made the final roster decisions during the VNL

Kiraly has made the final roster decisions during the VNL

Kiraly has also named six other players, setter Lauren Carlini, outside hitters Kathryn Plummer, who just made her VNL debut, and Sarah Wilhite Parsons, middle blockers Tori Dixon and Hannah Tapp and libero Megan Courtney, as Olympic alternates.

The coach is confident that the work done over the last few years and the team’s great run of form in the VNL should help the Americans to secure a fourth-straight Olympic medal after they took silver at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 and bronze at Rio 2016.

“Our core group of 23 Women’s National Teamers has done amazing work in the last 14 months, setting us up for phenomenal trust, connection, purpose and performance,” Kiraly, a three-time Olympic gold medalist during his playing career, added. “This roster announcement is a bittersweet moment, as we face a stark reminder that we cannot travel all 23 to Tokyo for battle, though they’ll all be there in our hearts and minds.”

The United States are in Pool B in the Olympics, where they will face Argentina, China, Italy, Russia and Turkey. Their opening match will be against the South Americans on July 25.

USA’s Olympic Roster

· Setters - Micha Hancock, Jordyn Poulter

· Opposites - Annie Drews, Jordan Thompson

· Outside Hitters - Kim Hill, Kelsey Robinson, Jordan Larson, Michelle Bartsch-Hackley

· Middle Blockers – Foluke Akinradewo, Chiaka Ogbogu, Haleigh Washington

· Libero - Justine Wong-Orantes