U.S. Women Beat Thailand to Open 2024 VNL

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, May 16, 2024. – The U.S. Women’s National Team opened the 2024 Volleyball Nations League with a 3-1 (25-22, 19-25, 25-12, 25-18) on Wednesday at the Maracanazinho in Rio de Janeiro.

The U.S. Women (1-0) will face China (1-0) in their second Preliminary Round match at 1:30 p.m. PT on Thursday.

Three-time NCAA champion Madi Skinner made her debut with the U.S. Women, playing opposite instead of her usual outside hitter. She led all scorers with 19 points on 12 kills, four blocks and a match-high three aces.

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

“My teammates supported me through and through,” Skinner told Volleyball World. “They gave me a lot of confidence as we were training throughout the last week.”

Overall, the U.S. Women led Thailand in kills (53-49), blocks (12-1) and aces (8-4). Nevertheless, Thailand used tough passing and digging, and took advantage of nine U.S. errors, to win the second set.

“Thailand is a great team and can be very dangerous at any time,” U.S. Head Coach Karch Kiraly told Volleyball World. “We were a little too error prone in that second game and we (needed) to get back to our steadiness.”

The U.S. Women also had setter Jordyn Poulter back in the lineup after a yearlong absence while she rehabbed from a knee injury she suffered while playing for her Italian club team. She and backup setter Lauren Carlini, who subbed in the second set, combined to help the team to a .364 hitting efficiency.

Behind Madi Skinner, outside hitter Ali Frantti scored 14 points on 13 kills and one ace. Madi Skinner’s sister Avery Skinner scored 11 points on nine kills, one block and one ace at outside hitter.

Middle blocker Anna Stevenson Hall totaled 12 points on nine kills, one block and two aces. Middle Brionne Butler totaled 10 points on six kills and four blocks. Poulter added two points on a kill and block.

Libero Zoe Fleck made her senior team debut and was credited with 12 digs and six successful receptions.

Backup outside hitter Sarah Wilhite Parsons scored two points on a kill and ace. Substitute opposite Danielle Cuttino scored two points on a kill and block.