USA coach Karch Kiraly says his team “has a lot to be proud of” after they secured a spot in the final round in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League in China next month.
The Americans cruised to a straight-sets win over hosts Russia in Yekaterinburg on Tuesday and were made to improvise with neither of their designated liberos available.
“A lot of things here are not close to perfect, so this is what I would call a beautiful imperfect match of volleyball,” Kiraly told TeamUSA.org.
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“Whether it was the bus showing up 20 minutes later than scheduled to leave for the match, or not having either of our designated liberos available for action. And things were not particularly clean or easy, and in fact they were really unclean and uneasy in the first set.”
It was the first time Kelsey Robinson had filled in as libero in 2019 but the University of Nebraska graduate recorded a team-best 14 digs.
The Stars and Stripes have two remaining games in the preliminary round against Netherlands and Thailand as they aim to defend their VNL title.
“Our team was incredibly impressive how they battled and ground out and we stole one at the end (in the first set). So that made our work a lot easier,” said the coach.
“The team has a lot to be proud of, working hard for four and one-third weeks, locking in berth to go compete in the Final Six in China.”