VOLLEYBALL: U.S. one of four squads at 5-1 in Women’s Nations League as Lincoln hosts pool play

Leading U.S. Nations League scorer Andrea Drews (Photo: FIVB)

The FIVB Women’s Nations League comes to the United States this week, with Pinnacle Bank Arena hosting pool play:

4 June: Brazil (4-2) vs. Germany (1-5); U.S. (5-1) vs. Korea (1-5)
5 June: Korea vs. Brazil; U.S. vs. Germany
6 June: Germany vs. Korea; U.S. Brazil

Each team plays 15 matches in the 16-team round-robin, so the 2019 tournament will pass the halfway mark this weekend. The current leaders:

1. 15 points Turkey (5-1)
2. 15 points United States (5-1)
3. 15 points Italy (5-1)
4. 15 points Poland (5-1)
5. 12 points Brazil (4-2)
6. 12 points China (4-2)
7. 12 points Japan (4-2)
8. 9 points Serbia (3-3)

The U.S. will have three players back after long seasons abroad kept them out of play for the first two weeks of the Nations League: Outside Hitters Jordan Larson and Kelsey Robinson and Setter Carli Lloyd. Nevertheless, the American squad has lost only one, in a five-set thriller against the Dominican Republic.

The top five teams in the round-robin standings will join host China in the finals, to be held from 3-7 July. Look for scores here.

The men’s Nations League is beginning its second week of action, with only three of the 16 teams escaping the first week of play undefeated: Brazil, France and Iran.

The second week will see the U.S. in a group in Ufa (RUS):

7 June: U.S. (1-2) vs. Italy (2-1); Russia (2-1) vs. Portugal (1-2)
8 June: Italy vs. Portugal; Russia vs. U.S.
9 June: U.S. vs. Portugal; Russia vs. Italy

In its first week of action, the U.S. lost to Brazil (3-0) and Poland (3-2), but defeated Australia, 3-1. Because the U.S. is hosting the men’s Nations League finals this season – in Chicago – it is automatically qualified to the final round, along with the top-five finishers in the round robin.

The standings so far:

1. 9 points: Iran (3-0)
2. 9 points: France (3-0)
3. 8 points: Brazil (3-0)
4. 7 points: Argentina (2-1)
5. 7 points: Italy (2-1)
6. 7 points: Canada (2-1)
7. 7 points: Poland (2-1)
8. 7 points: Russia (2-1)

The U.S. sits ninth, with five points. Look for round 2 results here.