Wednesday, 29 May 2024

U.S. Women’s Team Learns Valuable Lessons from Japan’s Victory in 2022 VNL

The U.S. Women’s National Team experienced their first defeat of the 2022 Volleyball Nations League (VNL) as they were outplayed by Japan in a preliminary round match. Despite a valiant effort, the U.S. Women’s Team lost 3-0 to Japan (25-22, 25-20, 25-20) at Brookshire Grocery Arena on June 5, 2022.

A Tough Match against Japan

Japan’s outside hitters, Sarina Koga and Arisa Inoue, displayed exceptional skills, each scoring 19 points. The U.S. Women’s Team found it difficult to counter their formidable attack throughout the match.

The U.S. Women’s Team, currently ranked number one in the world and three-time defending VNL champions, had achieved a significant victory against their rival, Brazil, the night before. However, they struggled to replicate their performance and adapt to Japan’s strong gameplay.

Impressed by Japan’s Performance

Annie Drews, the U.S. Women’s Team opposite, who had played professionally in Japan for the past three seasons, commended Japan’s performance. Drews acknowledged Japan’s cohesive teamwork and clear game plan against them.

“I thought they played great,” Drews said, leading the U.S. scoring with 11 points. “They looked like they play together a lot and had a lot of clarity on what they were going to do against us.”

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Analyzing the Game

Japan outperformed the U.S. Women’s Team in various aspects of the game, leading in kills (47-46), blocks (6-5), and aces (4-0). Additionally, Japan capitalized on U.S. errors, scoring 18 points while committing only 11 themselves.

U.S. Head Coach Karch Kiraly acknowledged Japan’s effective strategy, emphasizing their short serves that posed challenges for the U.S. Women’s Team. The discomfort caused by Japan’s serves prevented the U.S. from executing their game plan successfully.

“They put us in really uncomfortable positions, and it took us far too long to adjust,” Kiraly said. “In the meantime, they had a nice passing crew out who controlled our serves. So we didn’t cause nearly the amount of trouble that we like to.”

Individual Performances

Despite the loss, several U.S. players showcased their talents. Outside hitter Kara Bajema and middle blocker Anna Stevenson each contributed 10 points to the team’s effort. Outside hitter Madi Kingdon Rishel scored seven points, while Sarah Wilhite Parsons and Annie Drews both provided six points.

Looking Ahead

Although disappointed with the loss, the U.S. Women’s Team will regroup at their training base in Anaheim, California, before heading to the Philippines for the second round of preliminary play, starting on June 15. They remain determined to learn from their experience against Japan and improve their performance in the upcoming matches.


Q: What is the Volleyball Nations League (VNL)?
The Volleyball Nations League (VNL) is an annual international women’s volleyball competition. It features the world’s top national teams competing against each other in a round-robin format.

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Q: What is the U.S. Women’s Roster for the VNL first round?
The U.S. Women’s Roster for the VNL first round includes Morgan Hentz, Tori Dixon, Lauren Carlini, Madi Kingdon Rishel, Brionne Butler, Annie Drews, Jordan Thompson, Sarah Wilhite Parsons, Dana Rettke, Kara Bajema, Jenna Gray, Kendall White, Ali Frantti, and Anna Stevenson.


The U.S. Women’s National Team faced a formidable opponent in Japan but learned valuable lessons from the defeat. Despite the loss, their determination remains unwavering as they strive to improve in the subsequent rounds of the Volleyball Nations League. Stay tuned as the U.S. Women’s Team continues their journey towards success in the VNL.

For more information about the U.S. Women’s Volleyball Team, visit Alpinetgheep.