The Volleyball Nations League rolls on this week with the final six, and all three former Huskers were selected to the 14-player roster for the United States.
USA earned the No. 2 seed with a 12-3 record, tying China — the host country for the final round — who took the top seed with a better set ratio. Brazil, Italy, Turkey and Poland round out the six-team field for the VNL Finals Round.
Three of the four outside hitters on the roster are former Huskers: Jordan Larson, Kelsey Robinson and Mikaela Foecke. All three have been active at different points throughout the VNL, and now all three will be there to close it out.
Husker fans got a chance to see Larson, Robinson and Foecke play together in Lincoln during week three of the league. Since then, both Robinson and Foecke have taken turns playing at the libero spot. Robinson did so during last year’s VNL as well, but Foecke made her debut in that spot last week as the United States closed out preliminary play with a sweep over Thailand.
The United States opened pool play with a 3-1 win over Poland on Wednesday (21-25, 25-16, 25-15, 26-24).
Robinson was the only former Husker in the lineup for that match and she had a strong game, finishing with 15 kills on 30 swings, two aces and two blocks. Opposite hitter Annie Drews led USA with 21 kills.
The Olympic Channel will show a replay of the match on Thursday at 7 p.m. CST.
The United States will return to the court on Friday to conclude pool play against Brazil with first serve at 2 a.m. CST. The Brazilians beat the United States in four sets in the final match of the preliminary pod in Lincoln.
The semifinals are set for Saturday with the medal round scheduled for Sunday. The gold medal match will also be televised on the Olympic Channel at 6:30 a.m. CST while all the USA games will be streamed on flovolleyball.tv.
In other international volleyball news, two other former Huskers will get the chance to represent the United States this week as outside hitter Kadie Rolfzen and libero Justine Wong-Orantes both made the USA roster for the Pan-American Cup.
The former Huskers will be joined by 12 other players for the 11-team tournament which runs July 6-14 in Trujillo and Chiclayo, Peru.
USA is in Pool B along with Colombia, Trinidad & Tobago, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Pool A includes Argentina, Canada, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Peru.
The United States, who won the Pan American Cup titles in 2017 and 2018, will begin play on Saturday against Colombia at 3 p.m. CST. They’ll face Trinidad & Tobago on Sunday at 3 p.m., Mexico on Monday at 5 p.m. and Puerto Rico on Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Bracket play begins on July 12 with the quarterfinals. The medal round is set for July 14.
The full roster is below.
U.S. Pan American Cup Women’s Volleyball Team Roster
- 1 – Micha Hancock (S, 5-11, Penn State)
- 2 – Kathryn Plummer (OH, 6-6, Stanford)
- 4 – Justine Wong-Orantes (L, 5-6, Nebraska)
- 5 – Rachael Adams (M, 6-2, Texas)
- 9 – Madi Kingdon Rishel (OH, 6-1, Arizona)
- 10 – Gabby Curry (L, 5-8, Kentucky)
- 11 – Madison Lilley (S, 5-11, Kentucky)
- 15 – Roni Jones-Perry (OH, 6-0, BYU)
- 16 – Danielle Cuttino (OPP, 6-4, Purdue)
- 19 – Hannah Tapp (M, 6-3, Minnesota)
- 20 – Brionne Butler (M, 6-4, Texas)
- 22 – Kadie Rolfzen (OH, 6-3, Nebraska)
- 24 – Jenna Rosenthal (M, 6-6, Marquette)
- 25 – Karsta Lowe (OPP, 6-4, UCLA)
A few of the players on the roster were also part of the 25-player pool Senior Women’s National Team coach Karch Kiraly drew from each week to form the 14-player roster for the VNL. Wong-Orontes and Rolfzen were among the last five cuts to narrow the player pool down from 30 to 25.
Rolfzen and Wong-Orantes played together for four years in Lincoln, leading the Huskers to a record of 111-24 over that time featuring four trips to the Elite Eight and a national championship in 2015. Rolfzen was a two-time First Team AVCA All-American who finished her career with 1,564 kills and 1,255 digs. Wong-Orantes is Nebraska’s all-time digs leader with 1,890 in her career and was a two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
Rob Browning will coach the team with assistants Laurie Corbelli and Tayyiba Haneef-Park, technical coordinator Justin Chang and team manager John Xie.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.