With Wołosz available, Poland should be even stronger this week in Texas

After a week of break for the men to get on the court, the women return to the spotlights in the Volleyball Nations League 2024 with the second of the three weeks of action in the Preliminary Phase taking place from Tuesday to Sunday.

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The host of the 2023 VNL Finals, the American city of Arlington stages one of the two pools of Week 2 at the College Park Center, where the home team the United States, Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Korea, Poland, Serbia and Türkiye will play four matches each during the six days of competition.

The top team in the opening week, Poland, who won all four matches without dropping a single set in Antalya, will be even stronger this week in Arlington, where they won the bronze medal last year, as star setter Joanna Wołosz, who didn’t play in Türkiye, will now be part of the team for their matches against Serbia, Poland, Germany and the United States. The playmaker also missed the entire 2023 edition of the VNL and will reappear in the tournament after two years.

The United States, who got two wins and two losses in the opening week in Rio de Janeiro, are also expected to field a stronger lineup this week in their matches against Canada, Bulgaria, Poland and Türkiye as Olympic champions Micha Hancock, Haleigh Washington and Jordan Thompson, as well as other key players, such as Kathryn Plummer and Dana Rettke, could all be available for head coach Karch Kiraly.

Defending champions Türkiye will return to the stage of their first VNL victory after getting two wins and two losses in front of their home fans two weeks ago. The Europeans will count on star opposite Melissa Vargas, who was last year’s MVP and the top scorer in this season’s opening week, to try and improve their position in the standings in their duels against Germany, Serbia, Korea and the USA. Captain Eda Erdem, who didn't play in Antalya in the opening week, made the trip to the United States and will be another option for head coach Daniele Santarelli.

Canada and Germany fighting for Olympic spots

Heavily involved in the race to qualify for the Paris Olympics through the FIVB World Rankings, Canada and Germany will get on the court in Arlington looking to add valuable points and get closer to a berth in the Games.

The Canadians, who did a great job in the opening week, getting three wins in four matches in Rio, managed to enter the qualification zone with 290.61 points after their results and rely on opposite Kiera Van Ryk, who scored 85 points in four matches, and setter Brie O’Reilly, who dished out 115 assists, to keep their high level this week against the USA, Germany, Serbia and Korea.

The Germans weren’t as efficient in Antalya, getting one win in four matches, and have 223.38 points, but will have a good opportunity to make a push this week, playing higher-ranked Türkiye, Canada and Poland, besides Bulgaria, in Arlington.

The first day of matches in Arlington, Tuesday will have a pair of exciting duels, with Poland facing world champions Serbia at 16:00 local time (21:00 GMT) and hosts the USA battling continental rivals Canada at 19:30 local time (00:30 GMT, Wednesday).

The four remaining teams will play on Thursday, with Korea and Bulgaria meeting at 11:00 local time (16:00 GMT) and Germany and Türkiye battling at 14:30 (19:30 GMT).

The second week of the women's VNL 2024 will also have matches in Macau, China, where the hosts, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Thailand will be in action.

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