21. 05. 2019

VNL 2019 W: With 4 players making their debut, titleholders USA sweep Belgium in opener

Source: volleyball.world, teamusa.org, sportal.bg; Photo: volleyball.world

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The United States started off the title defense in the FIVB Women’s Volleyball Nations League on the right foot as they swept Belgium in the Preliminary Round opener of this year’s edition of a prestigious international tournament.

 

The rejuvenated U.S. squad with eight players making their debut on a senior national team list for the FIVB competition, of which three debuted as starters (Dana Rettke, Chiaka Ogbogu, Jordy Poulter) and one as a backup (Mikaela Foecke) achieved a straight-set win over Belgium in Pool 2 in Ruse, Bulgaria.

The United States national team was so dominant that they even left the rivals on single digits in the second set in which they had a 13-0 run in one part of the set: 25-23, 25-8, 25-22. Andrea Drews top-scored for the winning side with 19 points, including 5 aces. Kaja Grobelna scored 12 points for Belgium.

 

The national team of Japan proved to be too strong for the pool hosts Bulgaria, beating them by a 3-1 (25-23, 21-25, 25-19, 25-23).

Bulgarian ladies missed a huge opportunity in the opening set as they dropped a 22-19 lead. Japan made a 6-1 run to close the set and this greatly determined a course of the match. Still, the home side was close to earn the tie-break as they had a seven-point lead (12-5) in the fourth set. At 23-20, it seemed that the fifth set was on the horizon but persistent Japanese players made a 5-0 run and clinched the match.

Yuki Ishii notched 19 points for the Asian side, while Mai Okumura made 5 kill blocks. Gergana Dimitrova scored 18 points for Bulgaria. Mira Todorova blocked the rivals 5 times.

2019 FIVB Women’s Volleyball Nations League, Week 1 – Day 1:

Pool 1 (Opole, Poland):

Thailand – Germany 3-0 (26-24, 25-19, 25-22)

Poland – Italy 2-3 (15-25, 22-25, 25-18, 25-21, 15-17)

Pool 2 (Ruse, Bulgaria):

Belgium – USA 0-3 (23-25, 8-25, 22-25)

Bulgaria – Japan 1-3 (23-25, 25-21, 19-25-23-25)

Pool 3 (Brasília, Brazil):

Dominican Republic – Russia 3-1 (25-21, 22-25, 25-18, 28-26) 

Brazil – China 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-21)

Pool 4: (Belgrade, Serbia):

 South Korea – Turkey 0-3 (15-25, 26-28, 19-25)

 Serbia – Netherlands 3-0 (25-15, 25-22, 25-19)

 

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