Another victory has vaulted the USA women into a three-way tie for second place in the Volleyball Nations League.

The Americans hit .467 and improved to 5-1, 2-0 in the second round with a 25-12, 25-21, 25-16 victory over Poland in Quezon City, Philippines.

A day earlier, the USA swept Bulgaria, and then Karch Kiraly changed his lineup.

Ali Frantti, who played so well in the team’s first-round matches in Bossier City, Louisiana, had her best effort yet. The Penn State product had 15 kills, three blocks and six digs.

“I’m having a lot of fun,” Frantti told Volleyball World. “It’s such an honor to be with these girls and this talent. It’s such a privilege to get to the gym and work hard with them. We’re just focusing on good serves, good first contacts and getting ready on the block, just the little things. And I think we’re running our offense really well.”

The other outside, Madi Kingdon Rishel, and opposite Nia Reed, making her first start, each had 11 kills and a block. Rishel, the Arizona product, had five digs, while Penn State’s Reed led with 13. 

Madi Kingdon Rishel attacks against Poland/Volleyball World photo

“I can honestly say, I was nervous. My legs felt like Jell-O. But they were good nerves,” Reed said. “With different lineups every other week or even every other game, it’s hard to stay together, stay connected. But I think USAV does a really good job with their players on connection and communication.

“I thought we competed hard today. We stayed calm and level-headed. We had patience and I think that worked in our favor.”

Middle Chiaka Ogbogu, the Texas product and only Olympian from the team that won gold last year on the court, had seven kills and two blocks, and the other middle, newcomer Anna Stevenson from Louisville, had five kills, an ace and a block.

Setter Lauren Carlini, the former Wisconsin great, had two kills, a block, eight digs and an ace, and libero Morgan Hentz, a three-time NCAA champion for Stanford, had 12 digs. 

In other VNL action Thursday in the Philippines, Canada beat Belgium in four and Japan swept Bulgaria.

In matches in Brasilia, Brazil, Serbia swept Korea but went more than overtime in tne first set, winning 40-38, 25-22, 25-22. Also, Italy beat the Dominican Republic in five and Brazil swept the Netherlands.

As this was being posted on Friday morning, China had beaten Canada in four.

Japan, which finished the first leg two weeks ago with a sweep of the USA, is atop the standings at 6-0. The USA, off on Friday before playing China on Saturday, is tied with China and Brazil. Serbia, Thailand, Italy and Poland are a game back at 4-2.

Kiraly talked about being able to use completely different lineups.

“Those two groups of seven are putting a lot of thought and effort into being great teammates for each other and bringing out the best in each other,” Kiraly said. “When they’ve battled in training, each group has gotten the other group very well prepared for the teams that we have faced here so far.”

Martyna Czyrnianska led Poland with 10 kills, an ace and a block and Martyna Lukasik had eight kills. 

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