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Jordan Larson-Burbach from team USA looks across at other team
Photo Credit: John Peterson

Former Huskers Help USA Women’s Volleyball Capture First Gold Medal

August 08, 2021

Former Husker Jordan Larson made history early on Sunday as she recorded the match-point kill against Brazil, completing the sweep and delivering the United States its first gold medal in women’s volleyball.

United States, the No. 1 team in the world, swept No. 2 Brazil 25-21, 25-20, 25-14 in a dominant showing, becoming just the third team ever to win the gold medal match 3-0. China in 1984 and Japan in 1976 are the only other teams to accomplish the feat, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Larson, the Hooper, Nebraska, native, is one of three former Huskers on the team. She finished with 12 kills against Brazil. Justine Wong-Orantes led the team with seven digs. Kelsey Robinson did not play in the knockout rounds.

Purdue grad Annie Drew shook off a rough first set to lead the United States with 15 kills and Illinois alumna Michelle Bartsch-Hackley added 14 kills.

The Americans went 4-1 in the preliminary round to advance to bracket play where they became the first women’s team to win the quarterfinals, semifinals and final without dropping a set. In total, Team USA recorded six sweeps in seven matches, splitting a pair of five-set contests for the other two.

For the tournament, Larson averaged 3.3 kills and 2.1 digs per set, and she added nine blocks and six aces in 28 sets. Larson now owns one gold medal, one silver (2012) and one bronze (2016) in her Olympic career.

Wong-Orantes averaged 2.9 digs per set as the team’s starting libero. According to the broadcast, she led the tournament in reception percentage and made highlight-reel defensive plays routine during her first Olympic Games.

Robinson played in two matches and five total sets during preliminary play, recording 11 kills, two digs, one ace and one block. She was also on the 2016 team that won bronze in Rio de Janeiro.

Larson announced before the tournament that this summer would be her last Olympics, and the gold medal-winning match-point kill is a fitting way to cap off an incredible Olympic career for one of the greatest athletes to ever play at Nebraska.

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