A 2-1 week, a quick turnaround, and some new faces that will make the Nebraska faithful pretty happy next week.

Just hours after his team lost in five sets to the Dominican Republic in the Volleyball Nations League on Thursday, USA women’s volleyball coach Karch Kiraly announced his new 14-player roster for next week’s three VNL matches in Lincoln, Nebraska, against Korea, Germany, and Brazil.

But first a recap of this week, when the USA beat Serbia and defeated Italy before falling to the Dominican Republic in Conegliano, Italy.

The USA’s Jordan
Thompson powers through the block of the Dominican Republic’s Prisilla Rivera Brens/FIVB photo

VNL this week: The Americans, who went 3-0 to open the tournament in Bulgaria with victories over Belgium, Japan, and Bulgaria, moved to Italy and opened with 23-25, 25-16, 25-15, 25-21 win over Serbia on Tuesday. 

Former Purdue standout Annie Drews came up big as the opposite had 19 kills and three blocks. Middle Dana Rettke, who will be a junior at Wisconsin this fall, had 11 kills in 15 attacks and added three blocks and an ace. And Penn State alum Haleigh Washington had five kills on just seven swings, five blocks and five aces. Madi Kingdon Rishel, a former Arizona player, added nine kills, three blocks and an ace.

Then Wednesday, in a 25-22, 17-25, 23-25, 25-19, 15-11 victory over Italy, Kingdon Rishel led with 18 kills and a block. Another Penn State player, Simone Lee, had 11 kills and two blocks, and Chiaka Ogbogu, the former Texas middle, had eight kills on nine attacks, two blocks and two aces.

That set up the tough 25-10, 16-25, 25-19, 19-25, 15-11 loss Thursday to the Dominican Republic, leaving no teams in the tournament unbeaten.

Ogbogu led the USA with 14 kills, a block and an ace. Rettke had 10 kills, a block and an ace. Rishel had nine kills and two blocks. Drews played the final two sets at opposite and had 10 kills and a block, and Jordan Thompson, who will be a senior at Cincinnati this season, had 10 kills and a block.

Roster update: The setters for the first six matches had been former Penn State great Micha Hancock and newcomer Jordyn Poulter, who was a senior at Illinois last season. For the next three matches, Olympic veteran Carli Lloyd will replace Hancock. 

The two liberos stay the same, former Penn State outside Megan Courtney and Mary Lake, who will be a senior at BYU. 

The middles lineup will be a bit different. While Ogbogu and Rettke stay, Washington and Hannah Tapp will be replaced by two former Minnesota players, Tori Dixon and Lauren Gibbenmeyer. 

The opposites will again be Drews and Thompson, while the home crowd at Nebraska will get to cheer on three of its greats.

All-American Mikaela Foecke, who finished at Nebraska last season, will remain one of the outsides, and so will Kingdon Rishel. But replacing Lee and Sarah Wilhite Parsons will be Nebraska legend and Olympic veteran Jordan Larson and former Husker Kelsey Robinson, back at outside after playing libero in the past.

VNL next week: All three matches will be televised by FloVolleyball.tv and all three will start at 7:30 p.m. Central.
— Tuesday, June 4, vs. Korea
— Wednesday, June 5, vs. Germany
— Thursday, June 6, vs. Brazil


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