VNL 2024 - News

USA (USA) vs. Japan (JPN) women - Quarterfinals #5806874

Olympic champions Haleigh Washington and Justine Wong-Orantes celebrate a point

Three-time Volleyball Nations League champions the United States will play in front of their home fans in Arlington, Texas, in the medal rounds of the 2023 edition of the tournament this weekend.

The reigning Olympic champions played in the second quarterfinal on Wednesday, the opening day of the VNL Finals at the College Park Center, and topped Japan 3-1 (25-23, 25-21, 18-25, 25-18) to secure the second spot in the semifinals, joining Poland, who had advanced earlier.

  • Watch Volleyball Nations League 2023 Finals live on VBTV

The Americans will be back on the court on Saturday, but will have to wait until Thursday to find out who their next opponents will be – defending champions Italy and Türkiye are the two teams on the same side of the bracket.

The victory in the quarterfinals had a special taste for the Americans as Japan was one of just two teams to overcome the Olympic champions in the Preliminary Phase of the VNL 2023 with a five-set victory in the second week of play in Brasilia, Brazil.

Head coach Karch Kiraly selected seven Olympic champions to be a part of the roster in the VNL Finals and two of them, Annie Drews and Kelsey Robinson Cook, reached double digits in scoring against Japan. The left-handed opposite tallied 13 points (11 kills, two aces) while the veteran outside hitter added another 11 with ten kills and one block.

“It’s a great feeling to be home after three weeks in different countries,” setter Micha Hancock commented. “Just the homecourt advantage and singing your anthem in your home country is huge. It was great and we hope to put two more really good matches together. Japan always play really hard defense and we had to stay really patient. They challenge us every time we play them.”

The Americans also got good production from rookie outside hitter Avery Skinner, who came off the bench in the third set and left the court with 11 points (nine kills, two blocks).

USA (USA) vs. Japan (JPN) women - Quarterfinals #5806916

Robinson Cook faces the Japanese block at the net

Japan had the match’s top scorer, opposite Yukiko Wada, with 14 points (13 kills, one block), and three players reaching double digits in scoring – outside hitter Arisa Inoue (12), middle blocker Airi Miyabe (ten) and outside hitter Sarina Koga (ten).

The strong American offensive performance was good enough to offset the team’s highest number of errors – 26 to 19. The Olympic champions were more productive in kills (62 to 50) and blocks (ten to nine), while each team fired two aces.

Volleyball Nations League 2023: full schedule and results

The quarterfinals of the VNL 2023 started earlier on Wednesday in Arlington with top-seeded Poland defeating European rivals Germany 3-1 (25-12, 21-25, 25-21, 26-24) to secure the first spot in the semifinals.

The two remaining duels will be held on Thursday, with fourth-placed Brazil playing fifth-placed China at 10:30 local time (15:30 UTC) and third-placed Türkiye battling sixth-placed Italy at 14:00 local time (19:00 UTC).

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