VNL: Ali Frantti stars as USA dominates Poland
MANILA, Philippines — Defending champion United States made quick work of Poland, 25-12, 25-21, 25-16, in Volleyball Nations League (VNL) Week 2 on Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Outside spiker Ali Frantti dropped 18 points including three blocks and had a great defensive effort with seven receptions and six digs in her first game in the Quezon City leg while opposite spiker Nia Reed made a rousing VNL debut.
Frantti, a product of US NCAA Division I powerhouse Penn State, is having a great time playing with a group composed of a mix of Tokyo Olympic gold medalists and VNL newcomers.
“It has been unbelievable with this being in this group of girls. It has been an honor and privilege just to be with all of these amazing talents,” said Frantti, who plays in the Italian club Chieri ’76. “It was a group effort tonight. I’m very happy with it.”
Reed, also a Penn State standout introduced herself as a Team USA member with 12 points and 13 digs to deliver their fifth win in six games in the world tournament.
The first experience of playing under legendary coach Karch Kiraly was wonderful for Reed.
“It’s actually my first game competing with USA Volleyball. It’s a blessing to be here right now,” she said.
Team captain Micha Hancock, middle blocker Haleigh Washington, and Kelsey Robinson rested for the match. But Madi Kingdon Rishel also stepped up with 12 points, as well as Olympian Chiaka Ogbogu, who added nine markers including a pair of blocks.
USA, the No.1 volleyball team in the World, will wrap up its VNL Philippine leg stint against two Asian powerhouse squads facing China on Saturday and Thailand on Sunday.
Poland leaned on the 12-point effort of outside spiker Martyna Czyrnianska only to slide to a 4-3 record in the No.8 seed.
The Polish battle Belgium on Saturday to end its Week 2 stint.
The top seven teams of the three-week preliminary stage will advance to the Finals along with hosts Turkey in Ankara on July 13-17.