D.The casual observer does not get the suspicion that Justine Wong-Orantes might be too big for the VC Wiesbaden at first glance. After all, the 25-year-old American measures just 1.68 meters in length and could easily be overlooked in the guard of tall volleyball players.
But the way she acts on the field in her traditional position as Libera gave rise to the thought in the last Bundesliga season that she might be overqualified for a team that among eleven clubs did not even make it to the play-offs the best eight made it. Nevertheless, the little American with the big fighter heart extended for another season before she said goodbye to the long summer break – which of course had many tasks and hardly any free time in store for her.
While the new VCW coach Benedikt Frank was looking for new players for the VCW Bundesliga squad, which had shrunk to three, his probably most reliable support with the American volleyball team in the Nations League played a big role. The Americans won all 17 games in the mammoth tournament, which was held in a corona bubble in Rimini for pandemic reasons, up to a 3-1 final victory over Brazil. Personally, the tournament was a triumph for the Wiesbaden resident who first had to prove herself as a starting Libera within the American team and was then named the second best “Digger” of the tournament.
Her “dredging art” in trying not to let the ball hit the ground was considered exemplary. Another six weeks later, the VCW started the first preparatory phase for the Bundesliga season starting on October 6th with three quarters of the squad, while Justine Wong-Orantes is facing the greatest possible success of her career so far: in the final of the Olympic tournament, again against Brazil (Sunday 6.30 a.m. CEST in the FAZ live ticker for the Olympics, on ARD and on Eurosport).
In the unexpectedly smooth 3-0 win in the semifinals against Serbia, Wong-Orantes again did the best wiping work in the back field and enabled the American attackers to play their full force and brilliance on the net. Previously, the team trained by volleyball legend Karch Kiraly had suffered a damper in the preliminary round in the 3-0 draw against Russia, but won the other four games in the group stage. And with 3-0 in the quarter-finals, they didn’t give the Dominican Republic a chance.
After the final in Tokyo, Wong-Orantes will first spend time with her family in America. “This is very important to me after this busy summer,” she said in an interview on the VCW website. Then she will “come to Wiesbaden with a clear head” and “be ready” to play the season with the VCW. She is very excited about her new teammates and Frank’s concept. As a souvenir and motivational aid for her future colleagues, she will have a special piece of jewelry with her. Your Olympic medal. The color? “Hopefully made of gold”.