VNL: Kelsey Robinson leads USA’s sweep of Bulgaria

Kelsey Robinson leads Team USA in VNL Week 2. –FIVB PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Kelsey Robinson brought back the winning ways of Team USA with a convincing 25-20, 25-22, 25-20 victory over Bulgaria to kick off the second week of Volleyball Nations League (VNL) on a high note on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Robinson led the balanced attack of the defending champions with 14 points, including the match-clinching spike that completed their bounce back win from a three-set loss to unbeaten leader Japan in Week 1 in Shreveport-Bossier City.

“I’m just so happy to be wearing the USA jersey and back with my amazing teammates and fun to play some new faces,” said Robinson, who was part of Team USA’s gold medal run in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“We have some young players that are gonna get some experience. So  it’s all about binding back our rhythm,” she added.

Danielle Cuttino was also instrumental with 12 points built on 10 attacks and two blocks. Middle blocker Hannah Tapp chipped in 11 points off nine attacks, one block and an ace, while Haleigh Washington fired four service aces to add 10 markers.

Team captain Hancock Micha orchestrated Team USA’s offense to improve to a 4-1 record with 12 points for the solo second seed.

“We talked about not having expectations, just play the hardest and hopefully the outcome will be Ws (wins). We’re just gonna go out and play hard every night,”said the American setter.

USA coach Karch Kiraly won’t have veteran spikers Jordan Larson and Annie Drews in VNL’s Quezon City leg as they continue their campaign against Poland on Friday.

Bulgaria leaned on Miroslava Paskova’s 14-point effort as it absorbed its fourth loss in five matches. Silvana Chausheva and Maria Yordonava had nine and eight points, respectively.

Bulgaria battles league leader Japan on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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