Three former Huskers have earned the opportunity to represent the United States in the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
Outside hitters Jordan Larson and Kelsey Robinson will once again compete for Team USA in the Olympics while libero Justine Wong-Orantes will be making her debut. Coach Karch Kiraly announced the roster on Monday.
“We’re extremely grateful for the extra time that the Olympic postponement provided,” Kiraly said in a release. “Our core group of 23 Women’s National Teamers has done amazing work in the last 14 months, setting us up for phenomenal trust, connection, purpose and performance.
“This roster announcement is a bittersweet moment, as we face a stark reminder that we cannot travel all 23 to Tokyo for battle, though they’ll all be there in our hearts and minds.”
The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the 2020 Olympic Games to the summer of 2021 with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for July 23. The volleyball tournament will begin on July 24.
Larson is the veteran of the group at 34 years old and is preparing to compete in her third Olympic Games. She was on the teams that won silver in London in 2012 and bronze in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Robinson, another USA veteran, is playing in her second Olympics as she was also on the bronze medal-winning team in 2016.
Wong-Orantes has been competing internationally with Team USA since 2016 and will now get a chance to add an Olympics appearance to her résumé.
Nebraska is the only school with three alumni on the team. Joining the former Huskers are outside hitters Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Illinois) and Kim Hill (Pepperdine); opposite hitters Jordan Thompson (Cincinnati) and Annie Drews (Purdue); middle blockers Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson (Stanford), Haleigh Washington (Penn State) and Chiaka Ogbogu (Texas); and setters Micha Hancock (Penn State) and Jordyn Poulter (Illinois).
The alternates are outside hitter Tori Dixon and Hannah Tapp (both Minnesota), outside hitters Kathryn Plummer (Stanford) and Sarah Wilhite Parsons (Minnesota), setter Lauren Carlini (Wisconsin) and libero Megan Courtney (Penn State).
The three former Huskers are all currently playing with Team USA in the Volleyball Nations League. The Americans opened VNL play with eight straight victories including seven sweeps and will close out the current leg of competition against Italy on Tuesday. The U.S. Women’s National Team is ranked No. 1 in the world.
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.