Nations League Play Opens For Men’s Volleyball Team
Members of the men's volleyball team prepare for a game.
The men’s Volleyball Nations League opens Friday with the second-ranked U.S. team taking on No. 1 Brazil in Katowice, Poland.
A strong opening weekend also includes a match against 2018 world champion Poland on Saturday and Australia on Sunday. The three matches this weekend are the first of 15 in the preliminary round. The U.S. defeated Brazil to win the bronze medal in last year’s final round.
The U.S. has already clinched one of six spots in the final round because it will be the host team, with matches being held July 10-14 at Credit Union 1 Arena on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, a northwest Chicago suburb, will host three preliminary round games on June 21-23.
“For us to be able to host and play in front of a home crowd is a big advantage,” said team captain Taylor Sander, a 2016 Olympic bronze medalist. “I know the energy that the guys get from the crowd (in Chicago) is really good.”
Other 2016 Olympians on the U.S. preliminary round roster include David Smith, and brothers Erik and Kawika and Shoji.
TV: 9 p.m. ET Saturday, 8 p.m. ET Sunday, Olympic Channel
Will Men’s Rugby Cap Historic Season With The Title?(C) Martin Iosefo runs the ball in the Men's Cup Final played between New Zealand and USA at the 2019 Sydney HSBC Sevens on Feb. 03, 2019 in Sydney, Australia.
The mission is clear this week in Paris for the USA Men’s Eagles Sevens. If the Americans win the tournament, they’ll capture their first HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series season championship in history.
The U.S. locked down a berth in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 leading into third-place finish in the London Sevens last week. The Eagles trail Fiji by just two points, 164 to 162, entering the season-ending Paris Sevens. A tournament title would land the Eagles at least one point ahead of Fiji.
“It’s the first time we’ve been in a position to win the World Series, so it’s extremely exciting for us,” said Stephen Tomasin, who helped the U.S. win a bronze medal at the 2015 Pan American Games.
The 2016 Olympians on the team include Perry Baker, Danny Barrett, Madison Hughes, Martin Iosefo, Folau Niua and Ben Pinkelman.
The U.S. will face No. 12 Spain, No. 7 Samoa and No. 11 Canada in Saturday’s pool play. The playoff round is Sunday.
Lexi Thompson, who made her Olympic Games debut in 2016 in Rio, is swinging toward a second consecutive U.S. Olympic Team nomination.
A strong finish in this weekend’s U.S. Women’s Open Championship in South Carolina will certainly help her along that path. Thompson is the highest-ranked American at No. 8 in the Olympic Golf Rankings. The Olympic qualifying period goes through June 2020, and as many as four Americans would qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 if they were ranked among the top 15.
Entering the U.S. Open, Thompson and sisters Nelly (No. 11) and Jessica Korda (No. 12) are ranked among the top 15.
Friday, Thompson, who made her U.S. Open debut in 2007 at the age of 12, is grouped with U.S. Open champions Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand and Sung Hyun Park of South Korea in the second round of the four-day tournament at the Country Club of Charleston. The U.S. Open consists of four rounds of individual stroke play, ending Sunday, and is one of five major tournaments on the women’s professional tour.
Nelly Korda began the season on a hot streak, finishing in the top 10 in five consecutive tournaments. She tied for 10th in last year’s U.S. Open.
Beach Volleyball – FIVB 4-Star Ostrava
Coming off their first win together last week in China, five-time Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings and 2016 Olympian Brooke Sweat are among 10 U.S. teams competing this week in an FIVB 4-star tournament in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Also in the women’s tournament are April Ross and Alix Klineman, who won a 4-star tournament in Brazil two weeks ago. Walsh Jennings and Sweat, and Klineman and Ross are second and third, respectively, in the Olympic qualification rankings. Also in the women’s tournament this week are the teams of Sara Hughes and Summer Ross, Kelley Larsen and Emily Stockman, Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil, and Betsi Flint and Emily Day. Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb, one of four U.S. men’s teams in this week’s tournament, are the top-ranked U.S. men’s team in the Olympic rankings, at No. 6. Joining them in Ostrava are the team of Reid Priddy and Theo Brunner, Stafford Slick and Billy Allen, and Olympian Casey Patterson and NBA player Chase Budinger.
Swimming – FINA Champions Series
Seven-time Olympic medalist Dana Vollmer, six-time Olympic medalist Matt Grevers and Olympic women’s breaststroke world-record holder Lilly King are among a stacked field in this week’s FINA Champions Series season finale in Indianapolis. The meet, set for Friday and Saturday, is the last of three stops in the inaugural season of the FINA Champions Series, an invitation-only competition featuring Olympic and world medalists, and some of the top-ranked swimmers in the world. The meet in Indianapolis features 13 U.S. Olympic gold medalists. Twenty-three members of the USA Swimming national team are competing, including Michael Andrew, a five-time medalist in relay events at the 2018 short course world championships and a four-time individual winner at the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships.
TV: 7 p.m. ET Friday, NBCSN; 7 p.m. ET Saturday, Olympic Channel
Synchronized Swimming – Barcelona World Series
Anita Alvarez, a 2016 Olympian, is competing in both duet and solo in a FINA Artistic Swimming World Series meet being held Friday through Sunday in Barcelona, Spain. It is the eighth stop on the FINA World Series schedule. Joining Alvarez in Barcelona are Ruby Remati in the duet freestyle and Lindi Schroeder in the duet technical. Alvarez won bronze medals in both duet competitions with Remati and Schroeder in last week’s Synchro America Open meet in Greensboro, North Carolina. Natalia Vega and Bill May are competing together in mixed duet tech. They won last week’s competition. The U.S., which won a pair of silver medals last week in the team competition, is competing again in Barcelona in team tech and team freestyle.
Tennis – French Open
Four-time Olympic gold medalist Serena Williams, and three-time Olympians Bob and Mike Bryan are among the American tennis players cruising into the second weekend of play in the French Open. The tournament is one of four Grand Slams in professional tennis. Williams is seeking her fourth French Open championship and she is one of three American Olympians ranked among the top 15, joining No. 7 Sloane Stephens and No. 14 Madison Keys. The women’s tournament moves into the round of 32 on Friday. The Bryan brothers are seeded No. 7 and looking to win their third French Open title. The title matches are set for June 8 and 9 at Roland Garros in Paris.
TV: 11 a.m. ET Saturday and Sunday, NBC
Field Hockey – FIH Pro League
The U.S. women’s national team goes after its second consecutive win in the FIH Pro League on Saturday night, when it plays host to New Zealand at 7 p.m. ET at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Anna Dessoye, Lauren Moyer and Linnea Gonzales each scored a goal in a 3-1 victory over China two weeks ago, which marked the first victory in regulation for the U.S. in the inaugural season of the Pro League. The U.S. lost 3-1 to New Zealand earlier this season in a game played in Auckland.
Surfing – Margaret River Pro
Caroline Marks, Courtney Conlogue and Carissa Moore, who are ranked two-three-four behind 2018 World Surf League women’s champion Stephanie Gilmore of Australia, are among the Americans who have reached the round of 16 in the Margaret River Pro competition in western Australia. The Margaret River Pro is the fourth stop on the World Surf League tour. Lakey Peterson, the 2018 runner-up and currently ranked No. 8, is also in the round of 16. Hawaii’s John John Florence, who is in first place in the men’s season standings following first- and third-place finishes, advanced to the round of 32, along with Conner Coffin and Kolohe Andino.
Cycling – BMX Freestyle World Cup
The U.S. BMX freestyle team, which had eight top-10 finishes in the season-opening world cup stop in Hiroshima, Japan, moves on to Montpellier, France, for the second world cup this weekend. U.S. riders top the world rankings: Justin Dowell, the 2018 world champion, is atop the men’s rankings and Hannah Roberts, a 17-year-old who won the world title in 2017 and also the women’s competition in Hiroshima, is No. 1 in the women’s rankings. Five of the top nine finishers in Hiroshima were U.S. women; three U.S. men were in the top 10, including Kevin Peraza Garcia at No. 4 and Dowell at No. 7. This week’s world cup stop offers Olympic qualifying points; BMX freestyle park will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo in 2020.
Canoe/Kayak – Duisburg World Cup
Lia Gaetano will compete in five canoe events and Ann Marie Armstrong will compete in four, leading the U.S. in this week’s ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup in Duisburg, Germany. They combined to make the B finals in the two-person canoe 500-meter race last week in Poland. Armstrong had a top-10 finish in the 5,000-meter race. Joining them in Duisburg are canoeist Ian Ross, who will race with Gaetano in the mixed-gender 500, and Stanton Collins, who is entering two kayak sprints.
Cycling – Giro d’Italia
Joe Dombrowski of the U.S., who is riding for the Education First team, was in 14th place after 17 stages of the Giro d’Italia race. The 21-stage race, one of the major world tour races prior to Tour de France, finishes up Sunday. Dombrowski, who is competing in his third Giro d’Italia, is seeking his first top-20 finish. Other U.S. cyclists include Sepp Kuss, Lawrence Warbasse, Nathan Brown, Chad Haga and Sean Bennett. Saturday’s 20th stage is 194 kilometers and features a number of challenging climbs, followed by Sunday’s 15-kilometer finishing time trial that concludes in the historic and nearly 2,000-year-old Verona Arena in Italy.
Archery – World Archery Para Championships
Paralympic champion Andre Shelby, three-time Paralympian Eric Bennett, and defending world team silver medalists Michael Lukow and Timothy Palumbo lead the U.S. into this week’s World Archery Para Championships in the Netherlands. Bennett won a world title in men’s recurve in 2015. Kukow and Palumbo got their world podium in 2017. Emma Rose Ravish will make her women’s open international debut, competing alongside Lori Dupree. Janice Walth and Mark Schrand are competing in the visually impaired category. Lia Coryell, a 2016 Paralympian, is making her third consecutive world championship appearance on the W1 squad. She’ll be joined in W1 by Jason Tabansky. Shelby, who won a gold medal in men’s compound at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016, and also two medals at the 2017 World Archery Para Championships, will be joined by two-time Paralympian Matt Stutzman and Ben Thompson, a 2017 world team bronze medalist, in compound. Martha Chavez, a four-time world team member, is shooting in women’s compound along with Tink Wallace and Erev Richards.
Judo – Senior National Championships
National team members Alaine Abuan, Amelia Fulgentes, Alisha Galles, Nate Keeve, Arthur Wright and Liam Wright are among the athletes competing in this week’s USA Judo Senior National Championships in Las Vegas. Competition is Saturday and Sunday at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, and includes senior level, veterans and visually impaired divisions. Among those competing in the visually impaired divisions are USA Judo Para national team members Anthony Ferraro, Ben Goodrich, Robert Tanaka and Adnan Gutic.