International Volleyball

USA women win Volleyball Nations League opener; big upset for Japan

USA women win Volleyball Nations League opener; big upset for Japan

Ali Frantti eyes her shot through the Thailand block/Volleyball World photo

What a Volleyball Nations League debut for Madi Skinner.

Skinner, coming off back-to-back NCAA titles at Texas with still another season ahead for the Longhorns, and the only current college player on the roster, led the USA to a four-set win Wednesday over Thailand in Rio de Janeiro.

Madi Skinner hits against Thailand/Volleyball World photo

Skinner had 13 kills, four blocks and three aces in the USAโ€™s 25-22, 19-25, 25-12, 25-18 victory. While that outcome was expected, Japanโ€™s stunning five-set win over defending-champion Tรผrkiye wasnโ€™t as the tournament went into its second day.

Action began Tuesday with Poland sweeping Italy in Antalya, Tรผrkiye, before China swept Korea and Brazil beat Canada in four in Rio.

Wednesday in Tรผrkiye, Germany swept France and then Japan came away with a 25-23, 25-21, 23-25, 20-25, 15-11 upset of the home team. In the later match in Rio, the Dominican Republic swept Serbia.

There are six matches Thursday, including the USA vs. China. Also in Rio, Brazil plays Korea and the Dominican Republic plays Canada. All can be seen on Volleyball World TV.

Skinner, an outside in college where she also won an NCAA title at Kentucky as a freshman before transferring to Texas, played opposite against Thailand and had nine digs.

Ali Frantti had 13 kills, seven digs and an ace. Anna Hall had nine kills, a block and two aces, and Skinnerโ€™s older sister, Avery had nine kills, a block and an ace. Brionne Butler had six kills and four blocks. Setter Jordyn Poulter, making her international return after reconstructive knee surgery, had a kill, eight digs and an ace. Libero Zoe Fleck had 12 digs.

Pimpichaya Kokram had 13 kills and an ace for Thailand and Chatchu-Moksri had 13 kills.

In Japanโ€™s victory, Sarina Koga had 27 kills, a block, three aces and 14 digs. Mayu Ishikawa had 18 kills, two aces and 13 digs. Manami Kojima had 20 digs.

Tรผrkiyeโ€™s Tugba Senoglu Ivegin had 15 kills, three blocks and an ace. Ebrar Karakut had 14 kills, a block and an ace, and Hande Baladin had 14 kills and an ace. Melissa Vargas had nine kills three blocks.

Anna Hall cuts her shot past the Thailand block/Volleyball World photo

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