The exact same group of 14 athletes who just a week ago finished the 2019 FIVB Women’s World Cup with a silver medal will represent the USA at the NORCECA Continental Championships, Oct. 8-13 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
That means the Continental Champs roster includes Annie Drews, the MVP of the 2019 Volleyball Nations League and team points leaders (123 points) from the World Cup where she was named Best Opposite.
It also features Kelsey Robinson, back in the outside hitting position after playing libero for much of the 2018 season, finished the World Cup second on the team with 116 points. Robinson was included on the World Cup Dream Team as one of two Best Outsides.
And how about Chiaka Ogbogu who ranked first on the team and fourth among all players at the World Cup with 32 blocks.
The competition at the setter position that we saw in Japan, with Jordyn Poulter starting seven World Cup matches and Lauren Carlini earning the nod in the other six, will continue in Puerto Rico. Justine Wong-Orantes and Megan Courtney also shared time at the libero position throughout the most recent tournament and will continue to duke it out for playing time during NORCECA Champs.
The complete roster is below:
2 – Jordyn Poulter (S, 6-2, Illinois, Aurora, Colorado)
4 – Justine Wong-Orantes (L, 5-6, Nebraska, Cypress, California)
6 – Tori Dixon (M, 6-3, Minnesota, Burnsville, Minnesota)
7 – Lauren Carlini (S, 6-2, Wisconsin, Aurora, Illinois)
10 – Jordan Larson (OH, 6-2, Nebraska, Hooper, Nebraska)
11 – Annie Drews (OPP, 6-4, Purdue, Elkhart, Indiana)
14 – Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (OH, 6-3, Illinois, Champaign, Illinois)
15 – Kim Hill (OH, 6-4, Pepperdine, Portland, Oregon)
17 – Megan Courtney (L, 6-1, Penn State, Dayton, Ohio)
19 – Hannah Tapp (M, 6-3, Minnesota, Stewartville, Minnesota)
22 – Haleigh Washington (M, 6-3, Penn State, Colorado Springs, Colorado)
23 – Kelsey Robinson (OH, 6-2, Nebraska, Manhattan Beach, California)
24 – Chiaka Ogbogu (M, 6-2, Texas, Coppell, Texas)
25 – Karsta Lowe (OPP, 6-4, UCLA, Rancho Santa Fe, California)
The U.S. women are 40-6 in tournament play this year and will be clear favorites in the biggest NORCECA competition of the season. At stake in this tournament are three berths to the NORCECA Qualification Tournament; however, the USA, having already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, will not be in the running.
USA has won the last three editions of the biennial Continental Championships, defeating the Dominican Republic in the championship match all three times. In total, the USA boasts eight NORCECA Contiental Championships titles, second only to Cuba, which has 13.
Once again, the toughest competition will likely come from Dominican Republic, which is also bringing its World Cup roster to San Juan. That group includes Brayelin Martinez, who logged 197 points to finish the World Cup as the third-highest scorer among all players. Bethania de la Cruz also finished in the top 10 with 148 points, ninth overall.
Dominican Republic finished the World Cup with a 6-5 record in seventh place. USA and the Dominican Republic will face each other in the third match of Pool B on Oct. 10.
“We go to Puerto Rico with a team in very good shape that is playing its best volleyball,” Marcos Kwiek, head coach of the Dominican team, said. “The overall performance of our team in the World Cup was very good and pleased everyone, especially the way we finished winning the last three matches.”
Watch every match of the NORCECA Continental Championship live right here on FloVolleyball.
Team USA Schedule at NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship:
Oct. 8: USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 4 p.m. ET
Oct. 9: USA vs. Mexico, 6 p.m. ET
Oct. 10: USA vs. Dominican Republic, 6 p.m. ET
Oct. 11: Pool 2A vs. Pool 3B, 6 p.m. ET
Oct. 11: Pool 2B vs. Pool 3A, 8:15 p.m. ET
Oct. 12: Pool 1B vs Winner of Quarterfinal TBA, 6 p.m. ET
Oct. 12: Pool 1A vs Winner of Quarterfinal TBA, 8:15 p.m. ET
Medal Round Matches
Oct. 13: Semifinal Losers, 3 p.m. ET (Bronze Medal Match)
Oct. 13: Semifinal Winners, 5:15 p.m. ET (Gold-Medal Match)