Lauren Carlini-USA volleyball photo

Former Badger Lauren Carlini, center, is a member of the U.S. national volleyball team.

The U.S. women’s volleyball team secured its berth to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, beating Argentina in straight sets at a Tokyo Women’s Volleyball Qualification Tournament in Bossier City, Louisiana.

Coach Karch Kiraly’s third-ranked Americans went unbeaten in Pool C of qualifying, rallying from a set down and again from a 2-1 deficit Saturday night to beat 16th-ranked Bulgaria before a 25-22, 25-17, 25-13 victory over No. 11 Argentina.

The U.S. has never won an Olympic gold medal, capturing bronze in the Rio Games three years ago. Now, the Americans have qualified a year out — a different path than during the last Olympic cycle when they had to win a second qualifying event in January 2016.

This U.S. squad has some familiar Olympic veterans such as Jordan Larson, Kelsey Robinson and Kim Hill along with a mix of young players, including ex-University of Wisconsin setter Lauren Carlini. The Americans beat No. 23 Kazakhstan in straight sets Friday.

Opposite Jordan Thompson had a match-high 16 points with 13 kills and two aces against Argentina.


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