International volleyball is returning to Lincoln as the U.S. Women’s National Team is set to host a segment of the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) at Pinnacle Bank Arena June 4-6.
Former Huskers Jordan Larson and Kelsey Robinson will get another chance to play in front of Nebraska fans during the four-team, round robin event. The U.S. went 2-1 at the Devaney Center last year (beating Poland and Italy but falling to Turkey) before going on the win the inaugural 16-team event and the $1 million top prize with a 17-2 record overall.
The United States, currently ranked third in the world, will take on No. 9 Korea on June 4, No. 13 Germany on June 5 and No. 4 Brazil on June 6. Tournament all-session tickets can be purchased here, while single-day tickets will go on sale Feb. 25.
Tuesday, June 4
- Brazil vs. Germany, 4:30 p.m. CT
- USA vs. Korea, 7:30 p.m. CT
Wednesday, June 5
- Korea vs. Brazil, 4:30 p.m. CT
- USA vs. Germany, 7:30 p.m. CT
Thursday, June 6
- Germany vs. Korea, 4:30 p.m. CT
- USA vs. Brazil, 7:30 p.m. CT
The VNL is a 16-country event (including 12 core teams and four challengers) for both genders that replaced the FIVB World Grand Prix last year. The teams will play 15 round-robin matches with each core team hosting at least one pod. China will host the VNL Final Six July 3-7 and will take on the top five teams after the conclusion of the preliminary round.
During last year’s VNL and in the Lincoln segment in particular, Robinson began her transition from outside hitter to libero and has had great success at that new role over the past year.
Last year’s Lincoln pod was held in mid-May, but Coach Karch Kiraly said he is hoping the later date will help draw even more fans.
“We had a fabulous time beginning our first-ever preliminary week of FIVB Volleyball Nations League in Lincoln last year, so we couldn’t be happier to do it all over again in 2019,” Kiraly said in a release. “The community and fan support were great for our first experience. Since this year’s version will be held after the school year has ended for most students, we look forward to having even more families and young’uns cheering our women on as we battle for another world title.”
The match against Brazil is the headliner of the event as the two nations have had a long-standing rivalry in volleyball. They faced each other in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games gold-medal matches and have squared off 50 times since 2008 with the U.S. winning 22 of those matches.
Team USA is also offering a meet-and-great opportunity for fans on June 2 that also includes a chalk talk with Kiraly, a greeting from Larson, an autograph session with the whole team, a chance to watch practice, a mini volleyball and an event program. The package costs $250 plus taxes and fees.
2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League Schedule
(country listed first in each pool is the host)
Week 1: May 21-23
- Pool 1: Poland, Italy, Thailand, Germany
- Pool 2: Bulgaria, Japan, Belgium, USA
- Pool 3: Brazil, Dominican Republic, Russia, China
- Pool 4: Serbia, Netherlands, Turkey, Korea
Week 2: May 28-30
- Pool 5: Italy, USA, Dominican Republic, Serbia
- Pool 6: Turkey, Germany, Russia, Japan
- Pool 7: China, Belgium, Thailand, Korea
- Pool 8: Netherlands, Brazil, Poland, Bulgaria
Week 3: June 4-6
- Pool 9: China, Italy, Japan, Netherlands
- Pool 10: USA, Korea, Germany, Brazil
- Pool 11: Thailand, Bulgaria, Dominican Republic, Turkey
- Pool 12: Belgium, Serbia, Russia, Poland
Week 4: June 11-13
- Pool 13: Italy, Korea, Bulgaria, Russia
- Pool 14: Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Dominican Republic
- Pool 15: Japan, Serbia, Thailand, Brazil
- Pool 16: China, USA, Poland, Turkey
Week 5: June 18-20
- Pool 17: Turkey, Belgium, Italy, Brazil
- Pool 18: China, Germany, Bulgaria, Serbia
- Pool 19: Russia, Thailand, Netherlands, USA
- Pool 20: Korea, Japan, Poland, Dominican Republic
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.