With a roster of 14 players, including a reunited group of seven Olympians, the United States, ranked No. 2 in the world is an odds-on favorite to contend for the Volleyball Nations League title.
The VNL replaces the World Grand Prix event, where the Americans finished fifth without the services of many of those Olympians in 2017.
Those players are back and were on full display in Team USA’s opening day 3-1 victory over Poland.
Captain and two-time medalist Jordan Larson headlined Tuesday’s lineup, with fellow Rio Olympians Rachael Adams, Foluke Akinradewo, Carli Lloyd and Kelly Murphy joining her on the floor. New to the starting lineup were libero Justine Wong-Orantes and outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley.
Bartsch-Hackley stole the show with a match-high 27 points, followed by Larson.
Also making a brief appearance was 2016 Olympian Kelsey Robinson, who registered one kill in three swings in the opening set.
Head coach Karch Kiraly has the freedom to change out his lineup from this week’s 14-player group on a nightly basis and is likely to do so for Wednesday’s match vs. Turkey.
Waiting for their first appearances of the season are outside hitter Kim Hill, the last of the seven Olympians to hit the floor, middles Tori Dixon and Lauren Gibbemeyer, opposite Annie Drews, setter Micha Hancock and libero Amanda Benson.
After Tuesday’s match, VolleyMob caught up with Larson, Bartsch-Hackley and Wong-Orantes and got nothing but positive vibes for the future from the trio.