Anna Stevenson

Photo courtesy of GoCards.com

Seven veteran U.S. Women’s National Team players and seven rookies are on the roster for the first round of the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Nations League this week at Brookshire Grocery Arena.

The U.S. Women are the three-time VNL champions and ranked No. 1 in the world. In 2021, they won their first Olympic gold medal.

Olympic gold medalists Annie Drews and Jordan Thompson; Olympic alternates Lauren Carlini, Tori Dixon, Madi Kingdon Rishel and Sarah Wilhite Parsons; and 2019 VNL veteran Dana Rettke will lead the way for the U.S. Women.

Drews and Thompson are both opposites. Carlini plays setter, Dixon and Rettke are middle blockers and Parsons and Rishel play outside hitter.

The VNL newcomers on the roster are middles Brionne Butler and Anna Stevenson, outside hitters Kara Bajema and Ali Frantti, setter Jenna Gray and liberos Morgan Hentz and Kendall White.

The U.S. players agreed they are excited to start the competition in the United States. Their last U.S. appearance was also in Shreveport-Bossier City at the Olympic qualifier in 2019.

“I am especially excited for Week 1,” Carlini said. “We’re starting in the United States. We are playing some of our NORCECA teams. That’s just very exciting. It’s a good way to start the tournament.”

The U.S. Women open competition on Tuesday against Dominican Republic at 8 p.m. CT. They get a break before facing Canada at 8 p.m. CT on Friday, June 3.

The marquee match will be a 8 p.m. Saturday (June 4) against Brazil, whom the U.S. beat in the Tokyo Olympic final. The U.S. Women close things out against Japan at 3 p.m. CT on Sunday.

”We’re really excited to go after it and continue to be competitive and grow as a team,” Thompson said. “Of course, when other teams see USA across the net, they are playing extra hard. We love that other teams are bringing the fire and challenging us because that’s going to make us better.”

All matches will be shown on VolleyballWorld.tv, which is a subscription service.

U.S. Women’s Roster for VNL First Round

No. Name (Pos., Ht, Hometown, College, USAV Region)

Morgan Hentz (L, 5-9, Lakeside Park, Ky., Stanford Univ., Pioneer)

Tori Dixon (MB, 6-3, Burnsville, Minn., Univ. of Minnesota, North Country)

Lauren Carlini (S, 6-2, Aurora, Ill., Univ. of Wisconsin, Great Lakes)

Madi Kingdon Rishel (OH, 6-1, Phoenix, Ariz., Univ. of Arizona, Arizona)

10 Brionne Butler (MB, 6-4, Kendleton, Texas, Univ. of Texas, Lone Star)

11 Annie Drews (Opp, 6-4, Elkhart, Ind., Purdue Univ., Hoosier)

12 Jordan Thompson (Opp, 6-4, Edina, Minn., Univ. of Cincinnati, North Country)

13 Sarah Wilhite Parsons (OH, 6-2, Eden Prairie, Minn., Univ. of Minnesota, North Country)

16 Dana Rettke (MB, 6-8, Riverside, Ill., Univ. of Wisconsin, Great Lakes)

18 Kara Bajema (OH, 6-2, Lynden, Wash., Univ. of Washington, Pugen Sound)

19 Jenna Gray (S, 6-1, Shawnee, Kan., Stanford Univ., Heart of America)

22 Kendall White (L, 5-5, Zionsville, Ind., Penn State, Hoosier)

30 Ali Frantti (OH, 6-1, Spring Grove, Ill., Penn State, Great Lakes)

31 Anna Stevenson (MB, 6-2, Laurens S.C., Univ. of Louisville, Palmetto)

2022 U.S. Women’s VNL Schedule (All times PDT)

Week 1 – Bossier City, La.

Tuesday, May 31

6 p.m. USA vs. Dominican Republic

Friday, June 3

6 p.m. USA vs. Canada

Saturday, June 4

6 p.m. USA vs. Brazil

Sunday, June 5

1 p.m. Japan vs. USA

Week 2 – Quezon City, Philippines

Wednesday, June 15

12 a.m. USA vs. Bulgaria

Thursday, June 16

8 p.m. USA vs Poland

Saturday, June 18

4 a.m. USA vs China

Sunday, June 19

Midnight USA vs Thailand

Week 3 – Calgary, Canada

Wednesday, June 29

7 p.m. USA vs Belgium

Thursday, June 30

7 p.m. USA vs Serbia

Saturday, July 2

1 p.m. USA vs Turkey

Sunday, July 4

1 p.m. USA vs Germany

Finals: July 13-17 in Ankara, Turkey