Dominant Performance: USA Outshines Germany to Claim the Number One Position in VNL Standings

Seven kill blocks from Weitzel not enough to stop the Americans

 

Published 11:02, 01 Jul 2023

United States rose to the top of the current Volleyball Nations League 2023 standings after defeating Germany in a Pool 5 game in Suwon on Saturday. With both teams already packing for the Finals in Arlington, the Americans persevered through Germany’s excellent blocking to claim a 3-1 (25-22, 18-25, 25-22, 25-13) victory, their 10th in 11 matches so far, and overtake Poland (9-2) in the table. After completing all 12 of their Preliminary Phase matches, the Germans finished on a 7-5 win-loss record and 20 points, currently standing sixth.

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German middle Camilla Weitzel alone registered seven of her team’s 12 kill blocks in the game to lead the team on a total of 15 points. USA outperformed their opponents on all other elements, with outside hitter Alexandra Frantti and opposite Jordan Thompson producing a match-high 17 points each.

Germany opened an early 6-2 lead and kept in front until USA finally caught up at 19-19. Spearheaded by Jordan Thompson, the Americans outplayed the opponents in attack, stayed more focused in the money time of the set and took it by 25-22. While both teams cleaned up the errors in their game during the second set, Germany improved tremendously on all point-scoring elements, especially with Lena Stigrot and Hanna Orthmann’s attacks and Camilla Weitzel’s blocks, and dominated on the court. Lina Alsmeier put away the 25-18 set winner with a block-out swing.

Weitzel celebrates after another one of her monster blocks

The Americans stormed the third set on a 5-0 run, with setter Micha Hancock serving, and never looked back. The Germans continued to block well, but not well enough to prevent the opponents from scoring as many as 17 points in offence during the set. Alexandra Frantti led the way with six kills in attack, including the 25-22 set winner. Set four was completely one-sided. The Americans broke away with a 6-1 lead and cruised on to close the match at 25-13 on a monster block by Hancock.

“We knew Germany was going to scrap. They have great defence and great ball control, but just putting pressure on the serve allowed us to be really good in our block and defence,” said US libero and captain Justine Wong-Orantes after the game. “What we did well was staying patient. We knew Germany had been battling each week and every match and I think we did a great job at staying patient on our side of the net when we had opportunities to transition and execute.”

The Americans have one more game to play in Suwon. On Sunday, they will face China at 17:30 local time (08:30 UTC).

Saturday’s competition day continues with the last two Pool 6 games in Bangkok. The Netherlands and Canada meet at 17:00 local time (10:00 UTC) and Thailand entertain Japan at 20:30 (13:30).

 

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