Gabi will in the spotlights this week in Brasilia

The level of play during the opening week of the Volleyball Nations League 2023 for the women went through the roof, with some spectacular matches taking place in Nagoya, Japan, and Antalya, Türkiye, two weeks ago.

With some of the biggest stars of international volleyball set to join their teams ahead of Week 2, the competition should get even more intense during the next six days, when Pools 3 and 4 will be held in Hong Kong, China, and Brasilia, Brazil, respectively.

  • Watch Volleyball Nations League 2023 live on VBTV

One of just three teams to go undefeated in the opening week of the VNL 2023, the United States are expected to get even stronger in Week 2. The team will have two Olympic champions integrated into the squad in opposite Jordan Thompson and middle blocker Haleigh Washington.

Thompson was in excellent form during the Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile Finals, scoring 121 points across five matches with her team Vero Volley Milano. She will be needed to replace fellow Olympic champion Annie Drews, who will sit out of the matches in Brazil this week.

The Americans will also have some interesting additions at the outside hitter position, with Kathryn Plummer and Alexandra Frantti making the trip and joining Week 1 standouts Avery Skinner and Khalia Lanier as options for the position.

Tokyo Olympic silver medallists Brazil will likely live special moments in Brasilia with the return of legendary middle blocker Thaisa Menezes to the country’s national team after five years. The 36-year-old player is among the 16 players selected by head coach José ‘Zé Roberto’ Guimarães to be in Brasilia and has very good chances of making it to the 14-player matchday squad and getting on the court during the matches of the week.

The South Americans will also likely have international superstar and team captain Gabriela ‘Gabi’ Guimarães make her first appearance in the VNL 2023 this week in front of her home fans. Fresh from leading Türkiye’s VakifBank Istanbul to the title of the CEV Champions League while also taking home the Most Valuable Player award, the 29-year-old outside hitter won’t be the only Olympic medallist to strengthen the team this week as setter Roberta Ratzke and outside hitter/opposite Rosamaria Montibeller are also ready to play after missing the trip to Nagoya because of minor injuries.

**Volleyball Nations League 2023: full schedule and results**

Canada, who ended the first week on a high with back-to-back wins over Korea and Serbia, will also be stronger for their next four matches in Hong Kong. After sitting out of the trip to Antalya, star opposite Kiera Van Ryk is with the team in China and will be ready to share the scoring load with outside hitter Alexa Gray, one of the best players of Week 1.

After dropping all their four matches in Antalya, reigning world champions Serbia will bet on the return of veteran middle blocker Jovana Stevanovic to have better results this week in Brasilia. The Europeans are still looking for their first victory under new coach Giovanni Guidetti and have opposite Ana Bjelica, outside hitter Bianka Busa and libero Teodora Pusic as the other standouts of the team that will be on the court this week in Brazil.

The second week of the VNL 2023 begins on Tuesday with four matches. In Hong Kong, the Dominican Republic and and Poland will battle at 17:00 local time (09:00 UTC) and China and Canada will clash at 20:30 local time (12:30 UTC). In Brasilia, Croatia and the United States play first, at 17:30 local time (20:30 UTC) while Japan and Serbia collide later, at 21:00 local time (00:00 UTC, Wednesday).

Quick links:
Volleyball Nations League
Subscribe to Volleyball World's Newsletter