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Tokyo Roster at your Service

USA Volleyball
Jordan Larson and the United States women’s volleyball team played Korea in Lincoln in 2019 as part of the Volleyball Nations League. This summer Larson will attempt to make the Olympic team for the third time. JOURNAL STAR FILE PHOTO

The Olympic roster for the women’s indoor volleyball team is official. Karch Kiraly will return as head coach to try and improve after the bronze medal finish last time around. As a player, Kiraly has won three gold medals in 1984,1988, and 1996. Four players will return from the pervious team. Eight are brand new. Let’s break it down by position.

Outside Hitters and Opposites

For those who don’t watch volleyball often, the hitters are where most of the offense and scoring will come from. Outside hitters Jordan Larson, Kelsey Robinson, and Kim Hill are returning. Larson was with the Rio team that won bronze and the London team that won silver. Robinson and Hill were on the Rio squad. The new outside hitter is Michelle Bartsch-Hackley. The opposite hitter plays on the right side, and can contribute regularly on both offense and defense. Annie Drews and Jordan Thompson will take those spots. Some coaches opt to go with two outside hitters instead of having one of each. Either way is fine.

Middle Blockers

This is exactly what is sounds like. MB’s clog up the holes similar to a defensive tackle with the run game in football. They also add to the offense on a fairly regular to regular basis. Sometimes it depends on the system. Flouke Akinradewo Gunderson highlights that group. Chiaka Ogbogu and Haleigh Washington will fight for the second starting spot.

Setters and the Libero

Okay, this will require a little explaining. The setter’s job is to get the offense moving. Consider the setter as the quarterback. That is how the hitters and blockers get the ball to score. There will be two brand new setters on the team. Micha Hancock and Jordyn Poulter will fight for the starting job. The job of the libero is strictly defense, and must wear a different color jersey. The libero cannot attack the net, but can still score occasionally off digs, which are basically ricochet balls. The only libero on the roster is rookie Olympian Justine Wong Orantes.

All of the players played DI volleyball in college and play professionally overseas. If you want to find out more about the players, you can check out this NBC article. The US is currently ranked #1 in the international rankings by the International Federation of Volleyball.

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