Three Texans, Seven Olympians on VNL Roster

ARLINGTON, Texas, May 27, 2024.- Three players from Texas and seven Olympic gold medalists are on the roster for the U.S. Women’s National Team at the second round of the Volleyball Nations League, May 28-June 2 in Arlington, Texas.

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.

The U.S. Women went 2-2 in their first week of play in Rio de Janeiro. In Arlington, they will face Canada (3-1), Bulgaria (0-4), Poland (4-0) and Türkiye (2-2).

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

Middle blockers Chiaka Ogbogu and Asjia O’Neal and outside hitter Avery Skinner, who all grew up in Texas, will be on the roster for Arlington.

Ogbogu is a 2020 Olympic gold medalist who grew up in Coppell, Texas, and played for the University of Texas.

O’Neal grew up in Southlake, Texas, and has won two NCAA National Championships with the University of Texas.

Skinner grew up in Katy, Texas, and played at the University of Kentucky, where she won an NCAA National Championship, and later at Baylor.

Olympic gold medalists who are joining Ogbogu on the roster are setters Micha Hancock and Jordyn Poulter, libero Justine Wong-Orantes, outside hitter Jordan Larson, opposite Jordan Thompson and middle Haleigh Washington.

VNL veterans on the roster are libero Morgan Hentz, outside hitters Ali Frantti, Khalia Lanier and Kathryn Plummer, and middle Dana Rettke.

Head Coach Karch Kiraly is a three-time Olympian and three-time gold medalist as a player who took over as head coach in 2013. He has led the U.S. Women to a World Championship in 2014 and an Olympic gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Kiraly’s first assistant is Tama Miyashiro, who won a silver medal as a libero with the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team. The second assistants will be Marv Dunphy, Alfee Reft and Erin Virtue.

The U.S. Women are the reigning Olympic champions and were ranked No. 2 in the world going into VNL. They have won the VNL three times (2018, ’19, ’21) since its inception in 2018. In 2023, they finished fourth overall.

United States Sweep Dominican Republic to End VNL Week 1

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, May 19, 2024.- United States ended the first round of Volleyball Nations League preliminary play on a high note with a sweep (25-23, 25-20, 25-18) of the Dominican Republic on Sunday in Rio de Janeiro.

United States dominated on the attack, leading the Dominican Republic in kills 51-35. The U.S. also led in aces 4-1. The Dominican led in blocks 11-6 and the teams tied in scoring errors 14-14.

Avery Skinner and Chiaka Ogbogu combined for 30 points, with the outside hitter producing 18 and the middle blocker adding another 12. Outside hitter Brayelin Martínez was the Dominican leading scorer with 11 points.

The 7.96 points earned with the sweep helped the United States gain a spot in the World Rankings, moving up to fourth place. The Dominicans remained in ninth place.

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

The women will now have a week off in the VNL 2024 before returning to the court from May 28 to June 2. Brazil, the Dominican Republic, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Thailand and hosts China will play in Macau while Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Korea, Poland, Serbia, Türkiye and hosts USA will compete in Arlington.

Next week, the men will start their campaigns with pools in Rio de Janeiro (Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan and Serbia) and Antalya (Bulgaria, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Türkiye and USA).

Canada overpowers Thailand for another VNL win

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, May 18, 2024.- Canada wrapped up the first week of Volleyball Nations League in style with a decisive win over Thailand in Rio, Brazil on Saturday.

Thailand had moments of energy but couldn’t hold back the powerful Canadians who took the match in four sets 3-1 (25-21, 25-13, 20-25, 25-17).

“There are no easy games in this tournament. Tonight, we knew we had to be patient in attack and clean on block. Thailand’s defense was outstanding and made it difficult to score, but our team shared the load tonight to get over the line,” said head coach Shannon Winzer. “We couldn’t ask for a better first round and we’ve laid a strong foundation from which we can keep pursuing our goal of qualifying for Paris.”

Top scorer was Kiera Van Ryk (22 points), who is leading VNL with 85 points so far.

Van Ryk told VBTV: “Obviously we would have liked to do it in three (sets), but Thailand came back and fought hard… it was up and down and it’s not the cleanest volleyball, but I’m proud of the way we came out and fought to the end and did the job that we needed to do. … everyone’s got their job and they are doing it well. It’s a team win.”

The teams were even in attack points 53-53, but Canada dominated in block points 13-1; serves 5-3, and Thailand made more crucial errors 24-19.

Canada wraps up the first leg of VNL with an impressive 3-1 record, and next competes in Arlington, Texas, later this month. 

Viewers guide:
-All matches are streamed on VBTV and CBC Sports and CBC Gem.
-VNL Web site: https://en.volleyballworld.com/volleyball/competitions/volleyball-nations-league/

The women’s team is still in contention to qualify for Paris 2024 via the World Rankings.

Crowd Cheers Brazil to Win over U.S. Women

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado,  May 17, 2024. – The U.S. Women’s National Team had its comeback come up short on Friday as it fell to Brazil 3-1 (25-22, 25-16, 18-25, 25-19) in at Volleyball Nations League (VNL) preliminary match in Rio de Janeiro.

The U.S. Women (1-2) will finish their first round of VNL preliminary matches on at 10 a.m. PT on Sunday against the Dominican Republic (1-2).

VNL Web site: https://en.volleyballworld.com/volleyball/competitions/volleyball-nations-league/

 A crowd of more than 9,000 filled the Maracanazinho to watch the rematch of the Tokyo 2020 gold medal match.

 Outside hitter Jordan Larson led the U.S. scoring with 17 points on 15 kills, one block and one ace. But no other U.S. player scored in double figures.

 “Playing Brazil in Brazil; it’s an honor to play in a country that loves volleyball this much,” said U.S. setter Jordyn Poulter, who scored four points. “We’re still trying to figure things out. We use VNL a lot differently than other countries do. We’re trying to be good in two months, not necessarily put it all together right now.”

 The U.S. Women led Brazil in blocks (14-11) and aces (5-4). Brazil led in kills (54-50) and scored 24 points on U.S. errors while committing just 13.

 The U.S. could not slow down Brazil’s outside hitter Gabi Guimaraes, who finished with 24 points.

 Outside hitter Ali Frantti started the first two sets and scored nine points, including eight kills. Avery Skinner took over for Frantti and also scored nine points, including eight kills.

 Middle blocker Brionne Butler scored eight points, including a match-high five blocks. Middle Chiaka Ogbogu also had eight points, including two blocks.

 Opposite Danielle Cuttino started the first two sets and scored six points, including two blocks. Madi Skinner started the final two sets at opposite and also scored six points.

 Outside hitter Sarah Wilhite Parsons played as a substitute and scored one point. Middle Anna Stevenson Hall started the third set and scored one point but had to leave after being hit in the head by an attack.

Canada keeps up momentum with massive VNL Win

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, May 17, 2024.- Canada’s women’s team was able to beat higher-ranked China today in Rio, Brazil. This comes on the heels of a win over Dominican Republic last night, bringing the team to a 2-1 record so far in Volleyball Nations League.

Though China (now ranked 7th) beat perennial favourite USA (ranked 3rd) in its matchup yesterday, today they came up short against 11th ranked Canada 1-3 (22-25, 25-20, 23-25, 22-25). Both teams are still aiming to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. 

“Being able to back up last night’s performance (over Dominican Republic) with another big showing against another top team is huge,” said Canada’s head coach Shannon Winzer. “We are showing up with fierce determination and it’s fun to be a part of that. Tonight, our serving was ruthless, and key to disrupt China’s offense. Our middles did a great job of slowing down their attack and our hitters remained aggressive in key moments. I also cannot credit our subs enough for the jobs they did tonight, making an impact each time!”

China led in attack points 61-58, but Canada edged them out in blocking (8-6) and had an impressive service point record (13-6) but made more errors 19-16.



Canadian outside hitter Kiera Van Ryk has an impressive match-high 27 points, while teammate Alexa Gray contributed 21 points.

China’s Y.Y. Li scored 24 points, including 3 aces, for the losing side.

More match stats: https://bit.ly/3V6a1P9

Viewers guide:
-Next match is versus Thailand on Saturday. 
-All matches are streamed on VBTV and CBC Sports and CBC Gem.
-VNL Web site: https://en.volleyballworld.com/volleyball/competitions/volleyball-nations-league/

The women’s team is still in contention to qualify for Paris 2024 via the World Rankings.

Seven women’s teams are already qualified for the Games. The remaining five places are filled by selecting the top five not yet qualified teams in the FIVB World Ranking as of the end of the preliminary phase of Volleyball Nations League.

United States Fall to China 3-1 at 2024 VNL

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, May 16, 2024.– The U.S. Women’s National Team fell to China 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-19) on Thursday at the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) at the Maracanazinho in Rio de Janeiro.

The U.S. Women (1-1) will look to bounce back against host Brazil (2-0) on Friday at 5 p.m. PT.

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

While the U.S. Women have already qualified for the Olympic Games, China (2-0) has not and is looking to qualify via its world ranking at the end of VNL.

Led by outside hitter Li Yinying (20 kills) and setter Wang Yuanyuan (eight blocks), China was strong at the net, leading the U.S. in kills (60-58) and blocks (12-6). The U.S. Women led in aces (5-4). The U.S. scored on 22 Chinese errors and committed 20.

Opposite Danielle Cuttino led the U.S. scoring with 19 points on 16 kills, two blocks and one ace. Outside hitter Jordan Larson added 18 points on 16 kills (.411 hitting efficiency), one block and one ace.

“We had moments where we were grooving,” Larson told Volleyball World. “We know what we need to do to get better. I am proud of us for sticking through it.”

Outside hitter Avery Skinner scored 14 points on 12 kills, one block and one ace. She was also credited with 14 digs and 11 successful receptions.

Middle blocker Anna Stevenson Hall added nine points on seven kills, one block and one ace.

Middle Chiaka Ogbogu totaled five points on four kills and one ace. Middle Brionne Butler, who subbed for Ogbogu in the third set and finished the match, scored three points on three kills.

Setter Lauren Carlini scored one point with a kill. Libero Justine Wong-Orantes was credited with 11 digs and seven successful receptions.

Outside hitters Ali Frantti and Sarah Wilhite Parsons also played as substitutes.

Canada earns first win at 2024 VNL

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, May 16, 2024.- Canada’s women’s team earned its first win at the 2024 edition of Volleyball Nations League against a familiar tough opponent, Dominican Republic. But the Dominican team couldn’t hold back a determined Canada, ending in a 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-22) sweep in Rio, Brazil.

“It was a good solid game for us,” said head coach Shannon Winzer. “We felt in control the first two sets, playing aggressive but calm volleyball. Winning in three was really important because we wanted to maximize the world ranking points, so when we fell behind in the third with a shaky start it was great to see the players battle with a sense of urgency to come back and take the third set.”

Canada led in attack points 43-37, blocks 7-6 and ace serves 4-1. Dominican Republic also made more errors than Canada 21-19. Alexa Gray led Canada in scoring with 19 points and Kiera Van Ryk had 18.

Winzer commented: “Our service pressure was much better tonight (than against Brazil yesterday), as was our block/defense. China is next and they are a very tough team to beat in system, we will need to bring our best serving game tomorrow!”

Dominican Republic is qualified for Paris 2024, while Canada is battling for each set and match to qualify via ranking points.

Early in the tournament, Canada is 1-1.

Viewers guide:
-Next match is versus China on May 17.
-All matches are streamed on VBTV and CBC Sports and CBC Gem.
-VNL Web site: https://en.volleyballworld.com/volleyball/competitions/volleyball-nations-league/

The women’s team is still in contention to qualify for Paris 2024 via the World Rankings.

Seven women’s teams are already qualified for the Games. The remaining five places are filled by selecting the top five not yet qualified teams in the FIVB World Ranking as of the end of the preliminary phase of Volleyball Nations League.

Dominican Republic defeats Serbia 3-1 in VNL debut

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, May 15, 2024.- The Dominican Republic Women’s Volleyball Team, known as “Las Reinas del Caribe,” got off to a good start in their Volleyball Nations League debut by defeating the reigning world champion Serbia 3-1 (25-18, 25-17, 21-25, 25-20) in a Pool 2 clash.

On Thursday, the Dominican team will face Canada in their second VNL match at eight in the evening (Dominican time).

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

This is the second consecutive victory for Las Reinas del Caribe against Serbia, as they also defeated them last September in the Pre-Olympic Tournament held in China, where the Caribbean team secured their fourth ticket to the Paris Olympic Games. Serbia’s main player, Tijana Boskovic, did not play.

The victory over a higher-ranked opponent earned the Dominicans 9.86 points in the FIVB World Rankings and made them regain eighth place from Japan. Serbia dropped the same amount of points, but remained in fourth place.

Dominican Republic scored 56 attacks, while Serbia managed 38. Serbia led in blocks 14-12 and in serves 4-3.

Dominican Yonkaira Peña topped all scorers with 18 points (16 kills, one block, one ace), one more than fellow outside hitter Brayelin Martínez and opposite Gaila Gonzalez.

Opposite Ana Bjelica led Serbia’s offense with 15 points (12 kills, two blocks, one ace).

U.S. Women Beat Thailand to Open 2024 VNL

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, May 16, 2024. – The U.S. Women’s National Team opened the 2024 Volleyball Nations League with a 3-1 (25-22, 19-25, 25-12, 25-18) on Wednesday at the Maracanazinho in Rio de Janeiro.

The U.S. Women (1-0) will face China (1-0) in their second Preliminary Round match at 1:30 p.m. PT on Thursday.

Three-time NCAA champion Madi Skinner made her debut with the U.S. Women, playing opposite instead of her usual outside hitter. She led all scorers with 19 points on 12 kills, four blocks and a match-high three aces.

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

“My teammates supported me through and through,” Skinner told Volleyball World. “They gave me a lot of confidence as we were training throughout the last week.”

Overall, the U.S. Women led Thailand in kills (53-49), blocks (12-1) and aces (8-4). Nevertheless, Thailand used tough passing and digging, and took advantage of nine U.S. errors, to win the second set.

“Thailand is a great team and can be very dangerous at any time,” U.S. Head Coach Karch Kiraly told Volleyball World. “We were a little too error prone in that second game and we (needed) to get back to our steadiness.”

The U.S. Women also had setter Jordyn Poulter back in the lineup after a yearlong absence while she rehabbed from a knee injury she suffered while playing for her Italian club team. She and backup setter Lauren Carlini, who subbed in the second set, combined to help the team to a .364 hitting efficiency.

Behind Madi Skinner, outside hitter Ali Frantti scored 14 points on 13 kills and one ace. Madi Skinner’s sister Avery Skinner scored 11 points on nine kills, one block and one ace at outside hitter.

Middle blocker Anna Stevenson Hall totaled 12 points on nine kills, one block and two aces. Middle Brionne Butler totaled 10 points on six kills and four blocks. Poulter added two points on a kill and block.

Libero Zoe Fleck made her senior team debut and was credited with 12 digs and six successful receptions.

Backup outside hitter Sarah Wilhite Parsons scored two points on a kill and ace. Substitute opposite Danielle Cuttino scored two points on a kill and block.

Canada Women kicks off VNL with a loss to Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil May 14, 2024.- Canada’s women’s team opened its Volleyball Nations League 2024 campaign in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Tuesday evening.

It was a hard-fought 3-1 (26-24, 23-25, 26-24, 25-12) win for the world-ranked number three Brazil home team, with Canada still fighting for an Olympic spot, and is at 11th spot in rankings (as of May 15). 

“Playing Brazil in Brazil is tough. I thought we battled hard the first three sets. For a first game it was a solid performance. We need to clean up our serving and our block/defense, but I think we set a high standard for the competition in the first game and it’s a solid start from which to build,” said Canada’s head coach Shannon Winzer.

Though Canada led in attack points (55-53), Brazil dominated in blocking (15-5) and Brazil earned more points from errors (27-20); the teams were equal in service points (5-5).

Alexa Gray led Canada’s scoring with 23 points (23 kills, one block, on ace). Kiera Van Ryk contributed with 18 points, two on aces.

Photo FIVB Jazmine White CAN


“The road to qualification is going to be long,” admits Winzer. “We have another 11 games to play in VNL. We will keep focusing on one point at a time, never getting too far ahead of ourselves.”

Canada goes back in action on Thursday May 16 against the Dominican Republic.

VNL Web site: https://en.volleyballworld.com/volleyball/competitions/volleyball-nations-league/

The women’s team is still in contention to qualify for Paris 2024 via the World Rankings.

Seven women’s teams are already qualified for the Games. The remaining five places are filled by selecting the top five not yet qualified teams in the FIVB World Ranking as of the end of the preliminary phase of Volleyball Nations League.

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