Former VNL titlist and MVP Paola Egonu will test her mettle against the United States’ scoring duo and opposites Annie Drews and Jordan Thompson at the Volleyball Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Lodz, Poland.

The 2022 VNL winners and the reigning 2020 Olympic champions will play their Pool C match on September 22 at 20:45 local time (18:45 UTC)

The strong offense of the opposites is expected to carry the huge scoring load of both teams, but the strong defensive efforts of Anna Danesi and Haleigh Washington could also be key in this matchup.

The Olympic champions are not only the Italians’ tough opponents in the group. They will also be facing 2023 VNL bronze medalists Poland, other VNL rivals Germany, Thailand and Korea, plus Colombia and Slovenia.

With Egonu’s presence in their lineup this time around, the Italian offense will be amped up, as the scoring leader will provide motivation to the younger hitters to contribute points for the team, while Danesi will serve the same role in motivating everyone to help out on defense.

On the USA side, coach Karch Kiraly has the privilege of selecting the cream of the crop from a wide roster of talents with several niches on offense and defense. Whether it is Drews or Thompson on the court, expect these stars to always play their best and lead the other players to win the match.