International Volleyball

USA falls to Türkiye; Olympic volleyball roster coming this week

USA falls to Türkiye; Olympic volleyball roster coming this week

Jordyn Poulter sets with one hand as she tries to connect with Dana Rettke/Volleyball World photo by Dana Drambarean, @bet.on.her.collective

ARLINGTON, Texas — This is the week.

After two rounds of Volleyball Nations League, in which the USA women finished 4-4 and stand in eighth-place in the 16-team field, this is the week that coach Karch Kiraly said the USA’s Paris Olympic roster will be released.

The team will consist of 12 players and one alternate — an alternate who, for the first time, can be subbed into the roster during the Games — and Kiraly and staff have tough decisions to make.

Speaking of tough, they are coming off another tough defeat. 

The Americans, who lost in four to Poland on Saturday, lost in five Sunday, this time to Türkiye 25-21, 20-25, 21-25, 25-12, 12-15 in a fierce battle in a nearly sold-out College Park Center on the campus of UT Arlington.

Now, before the team heads to Fukuoka, Japan, for the third round that starts June 11, they’ll regroup at the training center in Anaheim and prepare for the stretch run into the summer.

“We would like to name (the roster) at some point this week. We’re not sure we’re going to accomplish that, but we’re optimistic. We would like to travel to week three with our Olympic team,” Kiraly said. “Plus a couple of alternates. We haven’t figured out who those will be. That’s something that’s hanging over the head of all the people here and all of our people home, too. It’s not an easy time for them.

“It’s a really stressful time, not only to have to not only compete hard with some of the world’s top teams, like Poland and Türkiye, but also the stress of a looming decision coming in a few short days.”

The USA staff has tough decisions to make, particularly at outside hitter and setter, and two veterans, opposite Annie Drews and outside Kelsey Robinson Cook, had not played VNL yet. And what player/role does the staff want to fill with the alternate?

The USA, of course, won the gold at the last Olympics, in 2021 in Tokyo, but now also has to focus on remaining in the top eight to make the VNL finals. 

The Americans led 11-9 in the fifth set before Türkiye went on a 7-1 run, a combination of big plays by the Turks and some untimely errors by the USA.

Opposite Jordan Thompson led the USA with 13 kills, seven digs and three blocks. Outside Jordan Larson had 12 kills and two of the team’s three aces to go with nine digs. Setter Jordyn Poulter had the other ace to go with…

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