Volleyball Olympic Qualifying Tournament - News


Jordan Larson hasn't played internationally with the United States since the Tokyo Olympics

The anticipation for the upcoming Road to Paris Volleyball Qualifiers went up a few levels on Friday, when the preliminary rosters for the 24 national teams in each gender that will take part in the event, which will qualify six women’s and six men’s sides for the Paris 2024 Olympics, were released.

The lists include the biggest stars of international volleyball and some major names who sat out of the Volleyball Nations League 2023 but will be back on the court in a few weeks to help their teams as they play for a coveted spot at next year’s Olympics.

  • Watch all matches of the Volleyball Olympic Qualifying Tournament live on VBTV.

With pools in China, Japan and Poland, the women will be the first to play in the Road to Paris Volleyball Qualifiers, from September 16-24. A week later, from September 30-October 8, the men will compete in Brazil, Japan and China. Two national teams in each of the three pools per gender will book their spots at next year’s Games.

One of the main attractions of the event on the women’s side will be the return of the Tokyo Olympics MVP, Jordan Larson, to international competition. The 36-year-old last appeared with the USA national team in an international event at the Tokyo Olympics – she’s been in action with the Americans at this week’s NORCECA Continental Championship.

The MVP of the Volleyball Nations League 2022, Paola Egonu will also be back in an Italian uniform during the Olympic Qualifiers. The superstar opposite missed the VNL 2023, but has been back with the team during the European Championship and will be a significant addition to the Europeans.

Poland, who took a historic bronze medal at the VNL 2023 without star setter Joanna Wolosz, will have their captain back for the Olympic Qualifier. Also returning to international competition will be Dominican veteran outside hitter Bethania De La Cruz.

**Road to Paris Volleyball Qualifiers – Women’s Rosters**

Besides Larson, the Americans will have most of their stars available to compete with hosts Poland, Italy, Germany, Thailand, Colombia, Korea and Slovenia in two weeks. Setter Micha Hancock, who remains as team captain, middle blocker Haleigh Washington, outside hitter Kelsey Robinson and opposites Annie Drews and Jordan Thompson are all on the list prepared by head coach Karch Kiraly.

VNL champions Türkiye will also take full power to Japan to face the hosts, Brazil, Belgium, Bulgaria, Puerto Rico, Argentina and Peru. VNL MVP Melissa Vargas will lead the team coached by Daniele Santarelli alongside opposite/outside hitter Ebrar Karakurt, middle blockers Eda Erdem and Zehra Gunes and outside hitter Hande Baladin.

In Pool A, Serbia’s squad will include superstar opposite Tijana Boskovic, setter Maja Ognjenovic, middle blocker Jovana Stevanovic and outside hitters Bianka Busa and Sara Lozo. Also competing in China will be the hosts, the Dominican Republic, the Netherlands, Canada, Czechia, Mexico and Ukraine.

On the men’s side, the return of Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Facundo Conte to the Argentinean squad is probably the most impactful one. The 34-year-old outside hitter wasn’t with the team during the VNL, but came back to help the team beat rivals Brazil and claim their first South American title in 59 years.

Serbia will also have a full-force Uros Kovacevic in action during the Olympic Qualifier. The 30-year-old, left-handed outside hitter had a brief appearance on the VNL 2023, but has been with the team for the European Championship.

**Road to Paris Volleyball Qualifiers – Men’s Rosters**

Reigning world champions Italy will make the trip to face hosts Brazil, Iran, Cuba, Ukraine, Germany, Czechia and Qatar with star setter Simone Giannelli, outside hitter Alessandro Michieletto and Daniele Lavia, opposite Yuri Romanò and libero Fabio Balaso.

The hosts of Pool B, Japan will rely on their ‘Big Three’ formed by team captain Yuki Ishikawa, opposite Yuji Nishida and outside hitter Ran Takahashi to face the strong competition of the United States, Slovenia, Serbia, Türkiye, Tunisia, Egypt and Finland.

In Pool C, reigning VNL champions Poland will battle hosts China, Argentina, the Netherlands, Canada, Mexico, Belgium and Bulgaria. The list elaborated by head coach Nikola Grbic includes opposite and team captain Bartosz Kurek, outside hitters Wilfredo Leon and Aleksander Sliwka, libero Pawel Zatorski and middle blocker Jakub Kochanowski.

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