Pair of Illinois Standouts Set to Help US Women's Volleyball Team Go for Gold at Tokyo Olympics

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The United States women’s indoor volleyball team, which has medaled in each of the last three Olympics, will be looking to capture the gold in Tokyo this summer, and the squad will feature plenty of players from the Midwest.

The United States collected silver medals in 2008 and 2012, losing to Brazil in the gold medal match in each event, and captured the bronze medal in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

This time around, the U.S. will be seeking gold, and they’ll be bringing a pair of alums from the University of Illinois to help them achieve that goal. Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, an outside hitter from Champaign, was named as one of 12 players on the roster, as was setter Jordyn Poulter, who hails from Aurora, Colorado.

Bartsch-Hackley graduated from Illinois in 2012. She was inducted into the Illinois Hall of Fame in 2020, and has been a member of the national team since 2015. She was an alternate for the 2016 Olympic squad, and was part of the FIVB World Championship-winning squad in 2018.

Poulter graduated from Illinois in 2018. She played for the US squad that won the silver medal at the 2019 FIVB World Cup, and was also on the Pan-American Cup winning squad in 2018.

Several other Midwest athletes made the squad. Justine Wong Orantes and Jordan Larson, both alumni at Nebraska, made the squad, as did Purdue’s Annie Drews.

Jordan Thompson, who hails from Edina, Minnesota and who attended the University of Cincinnati, also made the team.

Here is the full roster:

1 Micha Hancock, Edmond, OK

2 Jordyn Poulter, Aurora, CO

4 Justine Wong Orantes, Cypress, CA

10 Jordan Larson, Hooper, NE

11 Annie Drews, Elkhart, IN

12 Jordan Thompson, Edina, MN

14 Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, Champaign, IL

15 Kim Hill, Portland, OR

16 Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson, Fort Lauderdale, FL

22 Haleigh Washington, Colorado Springs, CO

23 Kelsey Robinson, Manhattan Beach, CA

24 Chiaka Ogbogu, Coppell, TX

The women’s volleyball tournament will start in Tokyo on July 24, according to USA Volleyball.

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