With both VNL preliminary phases over, 10 teams were sent home, and with them, some very good players we wish we could have the chance to see more of
Graham Vigrass turned in a match-high 18 points and the Canadians strong-armed Japan in blocks and aces in a sweep to round out their VNL campaign. Top scorer Drazen Luburic poured in 28 points and Serbia owned the net in a four-set win over host China on Sunday.
Serbia put up 10 blocks and had help from four double-digit scoring efforts in a four-set win over Japan to secure its spot in the VNL Final Six. Stephen Maar was back on his game for Canada with 16 points to lift his team to a sweep of China.
A sweep at the hands of Serbia eliminated Canada from its outside shot at Final Six contention. Japan also was knocked out of the race as Chuan Jiang carried China to a four-set win over Japan with a 26-point effort.
In what was Italy’s 500th world level victory, the team rode a balanced scoring effort and strong net play to a four-set win over China to kick off VNL Week 4. Twelve blocks and 32 Korean miscues gifted Australia a four-set win on Friday.
Thirteen blocks were not enough to lift Iran past a Brazilian side, which leaned on Douglas Souza and Wallace DeSouza in a five-set affair on Saturday. Meanwhile, Anton Karpukhov did it all for Russia, posting a match-high 21 points with 15 kills, four blocks and two aces, in a sweep of China.
Germany led Poland in all facets of the game and overcame a 21 point effort by Michal Kubiak for a four-set victory on Sunday, handing Poland its first VNL loss. Chuan Jiang’s efforts were finally rewarded as he poured in 30 points for No. 20 China in a five-set win over No. 10 France.
China had the top scorer in the match, but Poland owned nearly every other statistical category, rolling to an easy sweep and a 5-0 record atop the Volleyball Nations League standings. Thibault Rossard and Barthelemy Chinenyeze took their turn in the spotlight as the top scorers for France as the team swept past Germany in all phases of the game.
Nine blocks and 24 French errors as well as a key substitutionary effort by Dawid Konarski lifted Poland to a sweep of France and a perfect 4-0 VNL mark. Chuan Jiang turned in a match-high 24 points for China, but it was not enough to lift the team to an upset of No. 10 Germany.
The United States staved off the Chinese attack throughout the match, including a set-point attempt in Set 2, en route to its third win of Volleyball Nations League play.