Team USA women’s national head coach Karch Kiraly praised his young side’s “poise, calm and consistency” as they opened their 2019 FIVB Women’s Volleyball Nations League in Bulgaria with a 3-0 whitewash of Belgium on Tuesday.
Despite four players making their national team debuts, the Americans coasted home 25-23, 25-8, 25-22 in Ruse, never trailing in any of the sets.
Kiraly told the Team USA website: “I am really impressed with this group. We have got a lot of youth here, with four players making their national team debuts. Their poise, calm and consistency was particularly impressive.
“[It was] just fun to see all the contributions that people were able to make. We were 14 players strong and whether people got onto the court or not, everybody was adding a lot of value. That is what we are trying to do – add up to a lot more than 14 players out there. And they did a lot to do that.”
Poulter, a University of Illinois graduate, set the USA to a 52-kill percent and .378 hitting efficiency (47-13-90), and expressed her pride in the squad.
“I am really proud how the team rallied throughout the match,” she said. “I thought we kept the pressure on them for most of the match and held a very steady composure. I am excited to get the VNL underway and looking forward to playing Japan tomorrow.”
The U.S. take on their long-time rivals at 10am ET on Wednesday, before ending the opening week round-robin on Thursday against Bulgaria at 1.30pm ET. All VNL matches are available on flovolleyball.tv.