Türkiye (TUR) vs. USA (USA) men - Pool 1 - Preliminary Phase #16088290

The young squad representing the United States of America during the first Volleyball Nations League 2024 competition week in Antalya finished their Pool 1 campaign on a high note. With opposite Jake Hanes exploding with 31 points, the Americans finally achieved their first win on Sunday, a four-set victory over hosts Türkiye.

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Hanes spiked 29 points at a 64% success rate and added two aces towards USA’s 3-1 (20-25, 25-22, 27-25, 25-21) win that improved their win-loss record to 1-3 and propelled them four positions up the current VNL standings to 12th place. Türkiye are yet to score their first-ever win in the VNL as they finish the week at home in Antalya on 0-4 and 1 point. Three Turkish players reached the double digits in the match - opposite Adis Lagumdzija with 19, and outside hitters Ramazan Efe Mandiraci with 15 and Efe Bayram with 10.

Türkiye were well in control of the first set. With Lagumdzija spearheading the attack and Bedirhan Bulbul putting up the kill blocks, they pleased the home crowd on the stands with a 25-20 win. The Turks had a three-point lead at 18-15, when the Americans started their comeback with five points in a row. With Hanes now completely on fire, they levelled the match after a 25-22 close. The American opposite kept the pressure on with his swings in a hard-fought set three, which ended in overtime, on their third set point at 27-25. After a slight early Turkish lead in set four, USA took charge and never let go until they celebrated the match victory on a 25-21 set win.

“Honestly, I don’t feel good, because the results are not good for us, but you can just take the result as an improvement for us, because we are the newcomers here. We need to learn how to compete. We need to accept that we are missing some tools to finish the game. We need to improve our volleyball as a team, we need to progress every day...” an emotional Turkish setter Murat Yenipazar told Volleyball World after the match.

“It feels great! We put in a lot of work. It’s a lot coming out here to play some of your volleyball heroes. I have to give credit to my teammates,” said American outside Ethan Champlin. “What we always talk about in the locker room is that this team, these 14 guys, are only going to play together once. It’s probably not going to happen ever again, so we are just enjoying the moments together, playing hard, playing for one another, and that’s what is most important. The guys back home are training hard and the coaches over there gave us a lot of trust to come out here and try to get a win, and we feel really good about that, and coming home, we are going to help them train.”

For the second competition week, USA will be in Ottawa, Canada, where they will start against Argentina on June 4 at 16:30 local time (20:30 UTC). Türkiye will have their first away VNL trip to Fukuoka, Japan. Slovenia will be their first opponent there, on June 5 at 15:30 local (06:30 UTC).

Netherlands win, Serbia lose, but both teams still below the Paris cut-off

In the last match of the week in Antalya, the Netherlands celebrated a 3-1 (25-16, 20-25, 25-13, 25-20) win over Bulgaria to improve to 2-2 and 6 in ninth place, leaving the opponents in 14th on 1-3 and 3. That win did not bring the Dutch enough FIVB World Ranking points to push them up in the chart and they are still second in line below the cut-off for Paris 2024. Opposite and captain Nimir Abdel-Aziz was the best scorer of the match with 15 points, including three aces.

In the second match of the say in Rio de Janeiro, Paris-bound Germany produced their first win of the tournament, a 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-20) shutout of Serbia, which cost the southern Europeans almost 11 World Ranking points and made their task of climbing back up into the Olympic qualification zone even more challenging. German outside hitters Tobias Brand and Moritz Reichert shared the top scorer honours of the match with 17 points each. Their team finished week one in 11th place on 1-3 and 3, while Serbia are in 13th place, behind on set ratio.

In the last match of the first VNL competition week, Iran and Argentina will meet in Rio de Janeiro at 17:30 local time (20:30 UTC).

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