International Volleyball

“Frustrating loss” for USA women to Poland in Volleyball Nations League

"Frustrating loss" for USA women to Poland in Volleyball Nations League

Jordan Larson rolls over the Polish block/Volleyball World photo by Dana Drambarean, @bet.on.her.collective

ARLINGTON, Texas — “Frustrating loss,” USA Karch Kiraly said Saturday after his team fell 29-27, 25-22, 20-25, 25-23 to Poland in Volleyball Nations League.

“It felt like we were trying to climb out of quicksand a lot and we were down most of the match.”

The American women have to climb out of it in a hurry, because they conclude the second round of VNL at 3 p.m. Central Sunday against Türkiye. 

Poland leaves here 8-0, tied atop the 16-team VNL lead with Brazil. Italy and Japan finished 6-2 and Türkiye is 5-2, alone in fifth place. Brazil finished the second round with a sweep of Thailand on Sunday in Macao, China.

The USA is 4-3 and in seventh place, percentage points ahead of Canada.

Canada continues its Olympic quest at UT Arlington at 11:30 a.m. Central when it plays Korea (1-6) and after USA-Türkiye, Bulgaria (1-6) plays Germany (1-6) in a battle of last-place teams. 

There were bright spots for the USA, for sure, not the least of which was the performance of 37-year-old  Jordan Larson. The outside hitter had 20 kills with one error — that attempt was blocked — in 40 attacks to hit .475. She also had a block and 11 digs.

“She’s playing unbelievably well right now,” Kiraly said. “When you look at her hitting .500 against China, close to .400 against Brazil, four-something against Canada, four-something tonight against a very good Poland team, she just keeps doing it.

“It’s really impressive how she prepared herself for this 2024 season.”

Larson, the Nebraska great and star of the Tokyo Olympics when the USA won gold, recognized that the team is still forming and this group has had limited time together, “but we shot ourselves in the foot.

“There are a lot of positives but more work to do than anything.”

If you take Larson out of the box score, her teammates combined for 42 kills with 21 errors in 106 swings. What’s more, the USA had one ace, by Jordan Thompson, and 15 serving errors. Poland had two aces and eight errors and hit .240.

Thompson had 16 kills and a block. Kathryn Plummer got the start at outside hitter and had six kills and three blocks, but also had four hitting errors in her 16 attacks and three service errors. She had five digs, but struggled a few times on serve receive and defense. Avery Skinner replaced her in the third set and made an immediate impact, finishing with seven kills and a block….

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