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USA, Italy, Turkey, Poland open VNL in College Volleyball capital Lincoln
|USA in last training at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on the campus of University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska, ahead of the opening week of the Volleyball Nations League.|
Lincoln, USA, May 14, 2018 - Reigning world champions USA begin their quest for glory in the inauguaral FIVB Volleyball Nations League at home in Lincoln, Nebraska, where they host Poland, Italy and Turkey over the next three days on the opening week of the brand new competition.
"The thing that has us most excited is playing inside our country," said USA head coach Karch Kiraly ahead of the tournament. "We don't get to do that a ton. And what an honor it is to start this newly-named, reformatted and rebranded tournament called Volleyball Nations League here in Nebraska, where women's collegiate volleyball is supported as fiercely as anywhere else with the attendance records and all the things that University of Nebraska Husker fans do to support their college team. We are hoping they come out and support us, and we are excited to play in a truly fantastic venue."
"Every team faces the same challenge here in the fact this competition is starting weeks and weeks earlier than it has ever started before," Kiraly added. "We have never started the year with an FIVB competition as early as May 15. Most years we start around early July. We all have adjustments to make and it will be a learning process in terms of what is the appropriate amount of rest. Most of our players, especially the ones who just got back this week, got very little of that rest."
Turkey head coach Giovanni Guidetti, despite the challenges ahead, is anxious and curious at the same time for the start of the new Volleyball Nations League.
"For us it will be a very interesting tournament because we are a pretty young team," added Guidetti. "There are a lot of changes in the team. We lost a lot of very experienced players for Turkey. We will start with something new, we start with a new generation. We start with a new mentality with a lot of motivation and a lot of challenges ahead. But, of course, at the beginning we will face a lot of difficulties because for sure we are not ready for this level. We are here to learn and to become better every day."
Italy Head Coach David Mazzanti has elected to fill his 14-player roster with younger players and giving rest to his athletes who went deep into the European Champions League and other domestic pro leagues.
"Now the first target is to log more experience with the young players in the first and second preliminary weeks," Mazzanti said. "After the second round I will call up the other players. I want to try and play with the first string of my players in the third, fourth and fifth rounds in Italy. For me, the first and second rounds are important for experience. The last three rounds are to improve our game and to try to play all the players on my team."
Poland head coach Jacek Nawrocki sets the goals differently for his team.
"First, our goal is to stay in the Volleyball Nations League for next year," Nawrocki said. "We now have time for transformation. We have a couple strong players with experience who we have lost this year. We will play for more experience and to take another step to the next level of volleyball, to the top of the class. Last year our national team didn’t have a chance to play with this kind of top-level teams like USA, Brazil. This is very important for us now to take this chance against them."
To smo mi v 2014/15 " ŽOK Braslovče"