Monday, 4 March 2024

International Volleyball

Pro Volleyball Federation: Thrill opens at Omaha; Gillen wows; TV woes abound

Pro Volleyball Federation: Thrill opens at Omaha; Gillen wows; TV woes abound

The third week of Pro Volleyball Federation action begins Wednesday when the Omaha Supernovas entertain the Vegas Thrill, who play their first match in the league’s inaugural season.

The Supernovas (1-1) come off a sweep of the San Diego Mojo and will play under new interim head coach Bird Kuhn after Shelton Collier was reassigned. Read our story here:

The Supernovas had a scare against the Mojo when leading attacker Brooke Nuneviller went down with an ankle injury. She likely will not play this week.

Action continues Friday when the Grand Rapids Rise (1-0) goes to the Atlanta Vibe (3-0). Vibe OH Alli Linnehan suffered a leg injury early in a sweep of the Mojo last week. The last shot we saw of Linnehan was sitting on the bench with her foot elevated and her shoe off. On Monday, the team placed her on short-term injured reserve.

On Saturday, Vegas goes to the Orlando Valkries (0-1) and Monday, the Supernovas are at the Grand Rapids Rise (1-0) and the Valkries visit the Atlanta Vibe.

All the matches can been seen on the league’s YouTube channel, and we have plenty about that in this report.

Encouraging first steps for rookie Valkyries

Could the “tynamic” Jill Gillen become the PVF’s first home-grown breakout star? 

Gillen made an eye-popping debut in front of an appreciative crowd that seemed to hang on the high-flying 5-foot-7 rookie’s every move.

Orlando fans made Scott Skiles, another feisty giant killer, the face of the expansion NBA Magic in the franchise’s pre-Shaq infancy. Like Skiles, Gillen rates high on the “scrappy underdog” scale. She also starred at Arkansas, a Southeastern Conference school, and even though UCF’s athletic program has made great strides, Central Florida still is very much SEC country.

Coming to the Valkyries in a 2-for-1 draft-day swap after being selected by the Supernovas with the first pick of the second round (eighth overall), Gillen earned a starting outside-hitter spot with a strong training camp. In her first match as a pro, Gillen had 15 kills against four errors on 48 swings (.229 efficiency), two aces, 14 digs and four block assists. Hitting .229 might not seem like a big deal, but in a five-set thriller against the Vibe in which the teams combined to hit .135, that was the best number among the starting outsides.

The hometown squad might have come up three points short in the tiebreaker, but the fans enjoyed their first look at an energetic bunch fueled by “true rookie” starters in Gillen and libero…

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