MANILA, Philippines – Defending champions United States lost to Poland 25-12, 25-21, 25-16 in the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) Week 2 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday.
Outside Spyker Ali Franti dropped 18 points with three blocks and his first game in the Queens City leg had a great defensive effort with seven receptions and six digs while opposite Spokesperson Nia Reid made an exciting VNL debut.
Franti, a product of the NCAA Division I powerhouse Penn State, is having a great time playing with a team of Tokyo Olympic gold medalists and VNL newcomers.
“It’s incredible to have girls in this team. It was an honor and privilege to be associated with all these amazing talents, “said Franti, who played for Italian club Chieri ’76. “It was a group effort tonight. I am very happy about that. “
Reid, also a Penn State standout, introduced himself as a Team USA member with 12 points and 13 digs for their fifth win in six games at the World Tournament.
The first experience of playing under legendary coach Kirch Kirali was excellent for Reed.
“This is actually my first game competing with USA Volleyball. It’s a blessing to be here right now, “he said.
Team captain Micha Hancock, middle blocker Haley Washington and Kelsey Robinson have rested for the match. But Madi Kingdon Rieschel also advanced with 12 points, as well as Olympian Chiaka Ogbogu, who added nine markers with a pair of blocks.
The USA, the world’s number one volleyball team, will end its VNL Philippine leg stunt against two Asian powerhouse squads, facing China on Saturday and Thailand on Sunday.
Poland leaned on outsider Spiker Martina Cesarenska’s 12-point effort to slide to a 4-3 record in just the No. 8 seed.
Saturday’s Polish battle Belgium to end its Week 2 term.
The top seven teams in the three-week preliminary round will advance to the final against host Turkey in Ankara on July 13-17.
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