International Volleyball

USA sweeps Bulgaria; readies for Volleyball Nations League matches with Poland, Türkiye

USA sweeps Bulgaria; readies for Volleyball Nations League matches with Poland, Türkiye

Avery Skinner attacks against Bulgaria/Volleyball World photo by Dana Drambarean, @bet.on.her.collective

ARLINGTON, Texas — Things ramp up here Saturday and Sunday for the USA women’s volleyball team in Volleyball Nations League.

After sweeping Bulgaria on Friday to improve to 4-2 and move up to sixth place in the 16-team field, the Americans go back-to-back against two of the better teams in the world.

At 4:30 p.m. Central Saturday they play first-place Poland (7-0, 21-1 in sets) and then finish this second round Sunday against fifth-place Türkiye (4-2).

“We’re really excited for a chance at Poland,” USA coach Karch Kiraly said. “One of the last times we played them was here (in 2023). We (later) played them in the Olympic qualifier, but we had a really gnarly match, 17-15 in the fifth, for the bronze medal in the VNL finals here on this same floor. 

“I’m really excited to play them. They’ve been playing really good volleyball. They’ve barely lost a set and are undefeated and it will be a nice test for both teams.”

Veteran outside Jordan Larson, who did not play Friday but will almost certainly be in the lineup this weekend, is ready.

“Huge. It’s going to be great. Obviously both teams are great and it will be great competition,” Larson said. “Good preparation for the matches coming this summer.”

The USA beat Bulgaria 25-17, 25-22, 25-22 as outside Avery Skinner led with 17 kills, hitting .352, and two blocks. 

Micha Hancock sets against Bulgaria/Volleyball World photo by Dana Drambarean, @bet.on.her.collective

Three former Penn State players were in the lineup. Outside Ali Frantti had eight kills and two blocks, middle Haleigh Washington had nine kills with one error in 13 swings and an ace, and setter Micha Hancock had two kills, three blocks, two aces and 10 digs, and her team hit .291.

Washington was playing in her first 2024 VNL match.

“Just been gearing up. We had a late season. My pro team (in Italy) did really, really well so I arrived (in Anaheim) a little later, so we were slowly trying to ramp me up,” Washington said. “So I missed the first week but it’s great to be back for week two and it was a fun first game.

“Lot of miniscule errors, a lot of technical things that I’m really trying to upgrade and work on, but I think it’s good when you come and don’t play the perfect match. You should feel the nerves and the jitters and make the little mistakes. I’m glad and I feel like I’m right where I need to…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at…