The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, currently ranked 2nd in the world, have announced their roster for the 2018 FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Championships.
The team enters the tournament as the defending World Champions, as well as having won the 2018 Volleyball Nations League title.
Key talking points from this roster:
- Karsta Lowe is Back – 2016 U.S. Olympian Karsta Lowe retired after the Rio Games. She announced her return to the court earlier this summer, and has already worked her way back onto the primary roster after playing in a few friendlies for Team USA. She supplants Annie Drews, who had a breakthrough 2017 season but didn’t get much playing time in 2018, as the team’s 2nd opposite, though at the end of the Nations League final, Kartsch Kiraly was playing 3 outsides at the hitter positions: Larson, Bartsch-Hackley, and Hill.
- No ‘Full-Time’ Liberos – International volleyball, especially international women’s volleyball, is becoming keener-and-keener upon using converted outside hitters at the libero positions. Team USA will actually use two at the World Championships: Kelsey Robinson, who took over the position after 2 matches at the Nations League; and Megan Courtney, who will be making her big return to Team USA after injuring herself while playing libero last summer. Both are primarily outside hitters for their professional teams and have played at hitter for Team USA in the past as well.
- The MVP Michelle Bartsch-Hackley: The Nations League MVP Michelle Bartsch Hackley leads one off the deepest outside hitter groups in the world. The fact that one of Bartsch-Hackley, Kim Hill, and Jordan Larson will start each match on the bench is mind-boggling.
- Sarah Wilhite Breaks Through: It seemed inevitable, but Sarah Wilhite Parson, the 2017 VolleyMob Collegiate Player of the Year, has been cemented as part of Team USA’s top rotation after bouncing between the “A” and “B” rosters since her graduation from Minnesota. Her addition means the dropping of power hitter Madison Kingdon, who was on the team’s VNL final roster.
- Lauren Carlini Still Waiting: Another recent college superstar setter Lauren Carlini wasn’t chosen in spite of a big performance earlier this summer. She was named the Best Setter at the 2018 Pan American Cup after starting all 6 matches and leading the U.S. to a gold medal.
The United States has been drawn into Pool C in the preliminary round of the tournament that will play in the 6,000 seat Kobe Green Arena in Kobe, Japan. There they’ll be matched with Azerbaijan, Russia, South Korea, Thailand, and Trinidad & Tobago. The top 4 teams advance to the 2nd round, with points carrying forward – so every match matters.
The tournament begins on September 29th, where the Americans will play their first match against Azerbaijan and dynamic 6’6″ opposite Polina Rahimova.
Roster (by Position):
- Setters: Micha Hancock, Carli Lloyd
- Opposites: Kelly Murphy, Karsta Lowe
- Middle Blockers: Rachael Adams, Tori Dixon, Foluke Akinradewo, Lauren Gibbemeyer
- Outside Hitters: Jordan Larson, Sarah Wilhite Parsons, Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, Kim Hill
- Liberos: Kelsey Robinson, Megan Courtney
Roster (by Jersey Number):
# – Player (Position, Height, College, Hometown)
1 – Micha Hancock (S, 5-11, Penn State, Edmond, Oklahoma)
3 – Carli Lloyd (S, 5-11, California, Bonsall, California)
5 – Rachael Adams (M, 6-2, Texas, Cincinnati, Ohio)
6 – Tori Dixon (M, 6-3, Minnesota, Burnsville, Minnesota)
8 – Lauren Gibbemeyer (M, 6-2, Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota)
10 – Jordan Larson (OH, 6-2, Nebraska, Hooper, Nebraska)
12 – Kelly Murphy (OPP, 6-2, Florida, Wilmington, Illinois)
13 – Sarah Wilhite Parsons (OH, 6-2, Minnesota, Eden Prairie, Minnesota)
14 – Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (OH, 6-3, Illinois, Champaign, Illinois)
15 – Kim Hill (OH, 6-4, Pepperdine, Portland, Oregon)
16 – Foluke Akinradewo (M, 6-3, Stanford, Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
17 – Megan Courtney (L, 6-1, Penn State, Dayton, Ohio)
23 – Kelsey Robinson (L, 6-2, Nebraska, Manhattan Beach, California)
24 – Karsta Lowe (OPP, 6-4, UCLA, Rancho Santa Fe, California)
Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Luka Slabe, Tama Miyashiro
Technical Coordinator: Jeff Liu
Physiotherapist: Kara Kessans
Team Manager: Jimmy Stitz
Doctors: Dr. Christopher Lee and Lori Boyajian-O’Neill
Consultant Coaches: Marv Dunphy
Scout Coach: Giuseppe Vinci
Mental Performance Coach: Traci Statler
FIVB World Championship
|9/29||Azerbaijan||3:10 a.m. ET||Kobe, Japan|
|9/30||Trinidad and Tobago||12:40 a.m. ET||Kobe, Japan|
|10/2||Korea||6:20 a.m. ET||Kobe, Japan|
|10/3||Thailand||6:20 a.m. ET||Kobe, Japan|
|10/4||Russia||6:10 a.m. ET||Kobe, Japan|
|10/7||Second Round TBA||Osaka, Japan|
|10/8||Second Round TBA||Osaka, Japan|
|10/10||Second Round TBA||Osaka, Japan|
|10/11||Second Round TBA||Osaka, Japan|
|10/14-16||Third Round TBA||Nagoya, Japan|
|10/14-16||Third Round TBA||Nagoya, Japan|
|10/19||Semifinals TBA||Yokohama, Japan|
|10/20||Medal Match TBA||Yokohama, Japan|
“The fact that either Bartsch-Hackley, Kim Hill, and Jordan Larson will start each match on the bench is mind-boggling” …. it’s hard to wrap one’s head around this…. At first I though Hackley would be the one sitting, but after her recent performances, it looks like Larson will be the one sitting…. at least that move makes more sense to me, even though Larson can get the nod based on her experience alone…
Also, the VT community is probably on suicide-watch after learning Micha is going to the WCH in place of Carlini
After the friendlies this year, there were outstanding performances by Carlini, Chiaka, Kingdom, & Drews. It’s a bit of a letdown, but not surprising. There needs to be new blood on Team USA that can stop Boskovic & Zhu Ting. Volleyball is a sport of youth & athleticism. Experience will only make them smarter & better. Turkey has come far this year with younger players. Since college Carlini has been an exceptional setter, & should be a starter. Hopefully by the Olympics. But I’m really happy Kartsa Lowe is back!