2018 FIVB Men’s Volleyball Nations League – Week 5
- May 25 – July 8, 2018
Coming into Friday’s action, the United States needed one point to secure its spot in the VNL Final Six and the Americans got just that with a five-set loss to top seeded France.
Russia also earned the right to plan its trip to Lille, France, with a sweep of Italy. The victory moved the Russians to 10-3 on the tournament, meaning that the Italians, which are currently in seventh place in the standings at 7-6, cannot match their win tally.
Despite the loss, the Italians are not out of the race, but must win both of its remaining matches, versus France and the United States, and have help to reach the Final Six.
Brazil, Poland and Serbia, all 9-4, will have something to say about that, as the three need just one win apiece over the final two matches to secure their own spots in the finals.
Friday’s results knocked several teams out of the contention as nine wins became the minimum for reaching the Final Six, leaving just the current Top 6 and Italy.
A Canadian loss to Serbia and a Japanese loss to China left the teams at 6-7. Despite being out of the race, Germany still fought tooth and nail to rally for a five-set win over Bulgaria.
Four of the day’s eight matches were over in sweeps, with Poland and Brazil snapping three-match losing skids, and Serbia and Russia also keeping pace with 3-0 wins.
China’s Chuan Jiang was the top scorer of the day, notching 26 points in the team’s four-set win over Japan. Three players surpassed the 20-point plateau in the five-setter between France and the USA: Matt Anderson (23) and Aaron Russell (21) for the Americans and Stephen Boyer (21) for the French.