FIVB Challenger Cup kicks off today at Ninoy Aquino Stadium

The 2024 FIVB Women’s Volleyball Challenger Cup will kick off on Thursday with two exciting matches at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium inside the historic Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

European Golden League champion Sweden, bannered by opposite Isabelle Haak, will face Belgium at 5 p.m. after the clash between Puerto Rico and Kenya at 3 p.m.

The 6-foot-4 Haak, who plays for Italian club Imoco Volley Conegliano, was named Most Valuable Player after leading her team to a 25-22, 21-25, 18-25, 25-20, 15-11 victory over host Czech Republic in the final of the European Golden League last June 16 in Ostrava.

Belgium, the European Golden League bronze medalist, will be led by outside hitter Britt Herbots and middle blocker Silke Van Avermaet.

Meanwhile, Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Challenge Cup bronze medalist Alas Pilipinas will meet Southeast Asia powerhouse Vietnam at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.

Czech Republic will rely on outside hitter Michaela Mlejnkova when it takes on South American Volleyball Confederation’s Argentina, the 2019 Challenger Cup bronze medalist, at 3 p.m.

The FIVB Women’s Volleyball Challenger Cup is a knockout tournament participated by eight teams from five continental confederations vying for a spot in the elite FIVB Volleyball Nations League next year.

Winners will advance to Saturday’s semifinals, with the battle for third place and the gold medal match set Sunday.

Puerto Rico was among the first to qualify for the Women’s VCC, topping the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) International League Final Four last year.

Kenya, bannered by seasoned middle blocker Trizah Atuka, is the top-ranked African team in the FIVB world rankings. It has qualified for Paris 2024 Olympics. (PNA)

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