by: Kelsey Rogers
FILE – In this Dec. 20, 2014, file photo, Penn State’s Megan Courtney (17) celebrates with teammates Micha Hancock (12) and Haleigh Washington (15) after scoring a point during the NCAA women’s volleyball tournament championship match against BYU in Oklahoma City. Even after losing 2014 national player of the year Inky Ajanaku to a season-ending injury, Stanford is the main threat to a Penn State program that has won six of the last eight national championships. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
(WTAJ) — Three Penn State volleyball alumnae are heading to Tokyo after USA Volleyball announced its women’s roster for the 2021 Olympics.
Setter Micha Hancock and middle blocker Haleigh Washington made the cut, with libero Megan Courtney listed as an alternate. Hancock and Haleigh played together in 2014 when they won the NCAA Divison I championships against BYU. Hancock was also a part of the 2013 championship team against Wisconsin.
Hancock was the AVCA National Player of the Year in 2014 and a three-time AVCA First-Team All-American. She was ranked first nationally in aces per set (1.05) with at least one ace in all but three matches during the 2014 season. She averaged 11.49 assists per set in 2014 as well. Her Penn State records include first in service aces (380) and service aces per game (0.76).
Hancock joined the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2016, where she set the Pan Am Cup record for aces in a tournament and aces in a single match. She was named the MVP, best setter and best server in the 2017 Pan Am Cup, where the U.S. claimed the gold.
Middle-blocker Washington is also a three-time AVCA First Team All-American. She led the team to a Final Four appearance in 2017 during her senior season before falling to Nebraska. In 2017, Washington was named the 2017 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year with an average of 1.52 blocks per set.
🇺🇸 Congrats to @Hales__Yeah! Good luck in Tokyo.#WeAre // #MadeInHappyValley // #OlympiansMadeHere pic.twitter.com/e9gFreSTga
During her senior year, Washington had 22 performances with double-digit kills, with a career-best of 21 kills in a four-set match against Minnesota. She had a .503 hitting percentage with an average of 3.03 kills per set for the 2017 season.
Washington has been a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team since 2018 and has played in Italy since then. She was named the best blocker in the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League Final Round.
Libero Courtney has been a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team since 2016 but switched from outside hitter to libero in 2017. She also led the Nittany Lions to the 2013 and 2014 national titles. In 2014, she was named Most Outstanding Player in the 2014 national tournament after recording 23 kills and 16 digs in the national semifinals.
USA Volleyball brings four Olympic veterans and eight newcomers. Two-time medalist outside hitter Jordan Larson makes a return after being crowned as champion of the inaugural season of the Athletes Unlimited volleyball league. Middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson returns as well. Both Larson and Gunderson won silver in London’s 2012 games and bronze in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
According to team USA, the average age of the roster is 25 with over a decade between Larson (34) and newcomer Jordyn Poulter (23).
“We’re extremely grateful for the extra time that the Olympic postponement provided,” U.S. Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “Our core group of 23 Women’s National Teamers has done amazing work in the last 14 months, setting us up for phenomenal trust, connection, purpose and performance.”
1 Micha Hancock (S, 5-11, Edmond, Okla., Penn State Univ.)
2 Jordyn Poulter (S, 6-2, Aurora, Colo., Univ. of Illinois)
4 Justine Wong Orantes (L, 5-6, Cypress, Calif., Univ. of Nebraska)
10 Jordan Larson (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., Univ. of Nebraska)
11 Annie Drews (OPP, 6-4, Elkhart, Ind., Purdue Univ.)
12 Jordan Thompson (OPP, 6-4, Edina, Minn., Univ. of Cincinnati)
14 Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (OH, 6-3, Champaign, Ill., Univ. of Illinois)
15 Kim Hill (OH, 6-4, Portland, Ore., Pepperdine, Univ.)
16 Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson (M, 6-3, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Stanford Univ.)
22 Haleigh Washington (M, 6-3, Colorado Springs, Colo., Penn State Univ.)
23 Kelsey Robinson (OH, 6-2, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Univ. of Nebraska)
24 Chiaka Ogbogu (M, 6-2, Coppell, Texas, Univ. of Texas)
3 Kathryn Plummer (OH, 6-6, Aliso Viejo, Calif., Stanford Univ.)
6 Tori Dixon (M, 6-3, Burnsville, Minn., Univ. of Minnesota)
7 Lauren Carlini (S, 6-2, Aurora, Ill., Univ. of Wisconsin)
8 Hannah Tapp (M, 6-3, Stewartville, Minn., Univ. of Minnesota)
13 Sarah Wilhite Parsons (OH, 6-2, Eden Prairie, Minn., Univ. of Minnesota)
17 Megan Courtney (L, 6-1, Dayton, Ohio, Penn State Univ.)
The women’s tournament will start July 24.
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WEST MAHANOY TOWNSHIP, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Pennsylvania State Police at Frackville are holding a press conference with updated information after a bus crash on Interstate 81 in Frailey Township sent 32 people to the hospital Sunday.
The bus was carrying youth members and volunteers of the LCBC Church in Lancaster County. Troopers say the bus involved in the crash was one of three tour buses returning from a church retreat at Lake Champion in New York.
NANTICOKE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Crews have located the water main break in Nanticoke, which caused the Nanticoke Area School District to close on Monday.
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WATSONTOWN, NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A teenager was taken to the hospital after being struck by a suspected drunk driver while waiting for the bus Thursday morning, according to police.
Officers say they were dispatched to the 400 block of Liberty Street around 7:40 a.m. on Thursday for a report of a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle.