USA land back-to-back FIVB Volleyball Women’s Nations League titles
USA secured successive FIVB Volleyball Women’s Nations League titles after a five-set comeback win against Brazil in the final on Sunday in Nanjing, China.
Andrea Drews delivered a powerful performance from the attack line for the Americans by recording 32 spikes and contributed a block to her team’s total 10 blocks. Kelsey Robinson and Haleigh Washington contributed 15 and 10 points respectively.
Brazil also had three players scoring in double-figures – Gabi Guimaraes, Lorenne Geraldo Teixeira and Mara Ferreira Leao, the former adding most of the scoring with 20 points apiece, with Leao adding 15.
USA got off to a good start as Brazilian hitters encountered some problems in converting on their attack attempts. The North American side held a 10-6 lead from playing great defence and finding the open court for their attacks. However, Brazil refused to give in to the pressure and locked up the first set 25-20.
USA started the second set with the lead but Brazil displayed great intensity on offence and defence to claim a 2-0 lead thanks to a 25-22 win.
The third set saw USA mount a big lead and protect it to extend the match with a 25-15 win.
Brazil reloaded on offence and rolled on defence to gain an early advantage in the fourth set, but Drews kept USA within striking distance as she drilled strong spikes. They extended the match to a tiebreaker after a 25-21 set win.
Brazil scored the first point the final set, but USA continued to respond to every point the South Americans made. At the score of 5-all, USA suddenly gained a three-point advantage. Brazil had an answer for the USA run and cut down the lead to just one point at 14-13. However, an antenna touch on the Brazilian attack sealed USA’s fate of winning their second title at the VNL 15-13.
“I’m proud of us and how we made a lot of nice changes throughout the match and come up with a win,” Drews said.
“Being down 0-2 is really constricting but also it’s now or never. If you’re not swinging and you’re not going out after it like a house on fire, then what have do you have to lose at that point. We all kind of just buckled up and kind of made big swing and it paid off.”
In the Bronze medal match Liu Yanhan and Gong Xiangyu guided China to a 3-1 (25-23, 25-21, 20-25, 25-21) win over Turkey to finish their 2019 FIVB Womens Volleyball Nations League campaign.
Liu Yanhan and Gong scored 23 and 20 points respectively to lead China to the four-set win, while Ebrar Karakurt had a strong scoring performance by finishing with 31 points.
China had lost their semi-final against United States (3-1) but with the bronze medals have equalled their result from 2018 when they won the bronze medal match 3-0 against Brazil.
Turkey lost their semi-final against Brazil in straight sets 3-0, meaning that three of their five total defeats in the 2019 Volleyball Nations League all came in straight sets.