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Drews will provide the Americans some a veteran scoring presence as they battle some of the top teams in the world in Türkiye

The United States women’s national team will rely on the experience of three Tokyo Olympic champions to lead a relatively young roster in the opening week of the Volleyball Nations League 2023 in Antalya, Türkiye.

Opposite Annie Drews, setter Micha Hancock and libero Justine Wong-Orantes were selected by head coach Karch Kiraly to be a part of the 14-player squad that will make the trip to Türkiye to compete in Pool 1 from Tuesday to Sunday.

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The 29-year-old Drews has been with the national team since 2017. In the six-year period, besides winning gold at Tokyo two years ago, she also helped the Americans secure three straight VNL titles in 2018, 2019 and 2021 and take silver at the 2019 FIVB World Cup. She was also the MVP of the VNL 2019 and the best opposite in the World Cup in that same year.

Hancock, 30, joined one year earlier, in 2016, during the Pan American Cup, and was also with the team for the Olympic and VNL victories. She will captain the American team in the opening week of the VNL. Wong-Orantes, 27, also made her debut in the 2016 Pan American Cup and was in Tokyo, where she was awarded as the best player in her position, and the VNL victories in 2018 and 2021.

The Americans have five other Olympic champions in their 30-player roster for the VNL in opposite Jordan Thompson, outside hitters Jordan Larson and Kelsey Robinson-Cook and middle blockers Haleigh Washington and Chiaka Ogbogu. They are all expected to get on the court in the next week of the VNL 2023.

Kiraly will have new faces to work with in basically every position in Antalya as setter Asley Evans, outside hitters Roni Jones-Perry, Khalia Lanier, Brooke Nuneviller and Avery Skinner and middle blockers Madeleine Gates and Asija O’Neal will all be making their VNL debuts over the next days.

Completing the traveling roster for the reigning Olympic champions in the opening week of the event are opposite Danielle Cuttino, middle blockers Brionne Butler and Dana Rettke and libero Morgan Hentz.

Currently in fourth place in the FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Ranking, the United States will start their VNL 2023 campaign on Wednesday, May 31, against reigning world champions Serbia, at 17:00 local time (14:00 UTC). The Americans will also face Italy, Korea and Türkiye in Pool 1.

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