Volleyball | US, China ready for today’s games

From left: China team captain Zhu Ting, coach An Jiajie, U.S. coach Karch Kirali and US team captain Carli Lloyd

Sitting on top of their group, following three wins in the 2017 Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Volleyball World Grand Prix, team USA is set to play against Turkey this afternoon kicking off three days of action in Macau. The US team currently sits in first place in Pool B1 after playing against China, Italy and Russia last week in Kunshan, China.

Kiraly, who was speaking to the press at yesterday’s FIVB Grand Prix 2017 press conference, said that the team is looking forward to playing against Turkey for the first time this season.

Asked about which opponents he finds the most challenging, Kiraly noted that the team is only focusing on scoring a win against Turkey.

“It’s a little different because we played China and Italy previously but we didn’t play Turkey. So both teams will be new to each other. We have to learn and adjust very quickly,” the coach told the press.

“For last weekend, scores were not so important; it’s important that we’re learning and improving everyday, and our players are working hard at that,” he added.

The US team is much younger this season, with an average age of 24.6.

According to Kiraly, the team is prepared to play any player at any time in an effort to improve itself for international competitions.

He also noted that there are “good teams” this season, citing Russia, which he believed was a challenge for his team.

Meanwhile the champion of the 2016 Volleyball World Grand Prix Macau, China, is confident for the games this weekend.

China, which currently has two wins and one loss, will play tonight against Italy.

The team’s head coach An Jiajie reiterated that the team’s young players have their own technical skills, adding that they aim to have new players in the team to prepare for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

“We will focus on the selection of players and analysis of the opponents,” he said.

“When compared with players in 2014, we had more young players who have never played in this kind of world match before,” An said.

Further, with its win at the 2016 Rio Olympics, An said the group does not need to feel overly stressed about the results this year but instead pledged to focus on working well as a team each and every game.

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