Three-time champ US topples Bulgaria in VNL

Three-time champion United States downed Bulgaria, 25-20, 25-22, 25-20, Wednesday to start their Week 2 campaign at the Volleyball Nations League Women’s Leg with a bang at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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The Americans, who were composed mostly of Tokyo Olympic champions, got back to work against the persistent Bulgarians to improve their win-loss tally to 4-1.

The win was a morale-boosting one for the US crew, which was coming off a straight-set defeat from Japan at the end of Week 1 last June 6.

“We talked about not having a lot of expectations and just playing our hearts and hopefully, the outcome is Ws,” said US skipper Micha Hancock.

“We’ll just gonna play hard every night.”

Kelsey Robinson steered the Americans with 14 points on 13 kills and one ace while Danielle Cuttino chipped in 12 points built on 10 attacks and two blocks.

Hannah Tapp and Haleigh Washington contributed 11 and 10 points while combining for 13 kills.

The Americans always trailed at the start of every set but managed to catch up and win the frame particularly in the third, where they rose from a 7-6 deficit to a 17-11 advantage.

Down 24-18, the Bulgarians saved two match points before Robinson sealed the win with a crosscourt kill.

Miroslava Paskova topscored for Bulgaria with 14 points while Silvana Chausheva and Maria Yordanova added nine and eight points, respectively.

The Bulgarians fell to 1-4.