The Red, White and Blue will be well-represented by Husker red on the volleyball court in Rio.
Three former Nebraska standouts were named to the U.S. Olympic women’s team Tuesday — Jordan Larson, Kayla Banwarth and Kelsey Robinson.
The presence of those three on the USA roster is not surprising, considering their recent credentials in international competition. Yet to have three players representing one school on one Olympic team remains unique.
There are 12 players on the roster. Nebraska leads the way with its three representatives, and Penn State has two. The roster has four Olympic veterans, including Larson, who played in the 2012 Summer Games in London. That team captured a silver medal.
The roster has eight players who will be making their first appearance at the Olympics.
With Robinson and Banwarth making the Olympic squad for the first time, the Huskers now have six former players who will have competed in the Olympics, including Larson, Nancy Metcalf, Allison Weston and Lori Endicott.
The current ex-Husker trio has been playing together with the national team since 2014. They helped the U.S. win its first major gold medal at the FIVB World Championship, and were part of the USA squads that won tournaments in Omaha and Lincoln.
Larson remains one of the top players in the world. She was named USA Volleyball’s female indoor athlete of the year in 2015.
“Jordan has never played better volleyball, or been physically stronger than she is right now,” Team USA coach Karch Kiraly said. “Combined with her vast success and experience at the highest levels of volleyball, the total package she brings for USA will be big in Rio.”
Robinson was the starting outside hitter in all five matches of the 2015 NORCECA Continental Championship, and she was named the most valuable player of the Italian League playoffs for her club team.
“Kelsey is pumped to help this team in any and every way she can, and she gives USA a ton — competitive fire, ball control, speed at the net, galvanizer under duress, the list goes on,” Kiraly said.
Banwarth, meanwhile, became Team USA’s starting libero in 2013. She helped lead the Americans to back-to-back golds at the Pan American Cup in 2012 and 2013. She served as a volunteer assistant coach for the Pepperdine’s men’s volleyball team this past spring.
“As our libero, Kayla’s worked hard to improve and contribute to our performance in as many ways as possible,” Kiraly said. “And she anchors our offense as one of the elite passers in international volleyball.”
Joining the former Huskers on the Olympic roster are: Alisha Glass (setter, Penn State), Courtney Thompson (setter, Washington), Rachael Adams (middle, Texas), Carli Lloyd (setter, California ... and no, not the star soccer player), Kelly Murphy (opposite hitter, Florida), Christa Dietzen (middle, Penn State), Kim Hill (outside hitter, Pepperdine), Foluke Akinradewo (middle, Stanford), and Karsta Lowe (opposite hitter, UCLA).
The Summer Games begin Aug. 6.