USA Comes Back vs. Turkey Again to Win #VNL in 5; China Downs Brazil for Bronze

  0 Derek Johnson | July 01st, 2018 | African Volleyball, Asian Volleyball, Brazilian Volleyball, European volleyball, FIVB Nations League - Women, International Volleyball, News, NORCECA volleyball, South American Volleyball, U.S. Women's Volleyball


  • June 30th, 2018
    • Championship/3rd-Place Match on July 1st
  • Nanjing, China | Nanjing Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium (Capacity: 13,000)
  • Time Zone: China Standard Time (UTC +08:00)
  • World Rankings: #1 China, #2 USA, #4 Brazil, #12 Turkey
  • Schedule/Results

First-Place Match:


  • USA def. Turkey 3-2 (17-25, 25-22, 26-28, 25-15, 15-7)
  • USA wins Gold at 17-2 overall; Turkey finishes with Silver at 13-6 overall

Many story-lines surrounded this match: the rubber match with the two sides splitting their first pair of meetings including a comeback from 0-2 for the Americans in the Final Six; an established power (USA) against the tournament’s Cinderella story (Turkey) who has proved they can hang with the top teams. No story stands above what was on the line though, as the United States would overcome a 2-1 set deficit to take down Turkey in five sets and win the inaugural FIVB Women’s Volleyball Nations League.

All in all, USA logged more kills (63-54), blocks (11-10) and digs (39-37). Turkey also had one more team error and each nation had 10 aces. It’s just a representation of what makes the Americans so good – they are strong in really every facet of the game. It was also a huge boon that the United States kept pace and actually out-scored Turkey on the block – arguably their top strength.

Early on it was all about Turkey, who dominated the opening set with eight points from Meryem Boz (20 points), lost the second and squeaked by in a tight third, 28-26 behind seven more Boz points. They would hold the same starting lineup throughout the match, with the continuity seemingly paying off as they were led by Boz, Eda Erdem Dundar (20 points) and Hande Baladin (12 points). Zehra Gunes (11 points) also tacked on four blocks.

In what was a bit of deja vu to their last meeting, where the United States overcame an 0-2 hole to win in five, the Americans weren’t fazed by a 2-1 deficit. The lineup did a bit of shifting in this one, but not nearly what had gone on in that one or other matches for the United States – and key was Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (18 points) playing in all five games unlike the Final Six meeting. Leading the way in both the match and the comeback was Kimberly Hill (20 points), who notched four points in each of the final two games. Specifically in just the fourth though, she had plenty of help from Foluke Akinradewo (12 points), who scored almost half of her points (five) in the set alone. In the fifth, Hill was accompanied by Bartsch-Hackley’s final five points to secure the victory.

Jordan Larson (15 points) and Tetori Dixon (10 points) also added double-digit nights for the United States with Carli Lloyd both strong in her setting duties throughout the match and being aggressive to the tune of seven points.

The top three for Turkey had 41 kills on 97 tries, good for a .423 execution mark (obviously not counting errors). The others went for 13 kills on 54 attempts, or a .241 clip (again not counting errors) as the Americans defended Meliha Ismailoglu (five kills on 25 tries) well. Flip that to the United States, where the top three had 43 kills on 107 tries (.402), but got more from their depth – as expected – with 20 knock-downs on 50 attempts (.400).

It’s now an inaugural tournament victory for the United States, who went 17-2, avenged both of their losses, took out the World’s #1 on their home court twice, and escaped Turkey for Gold. It was an incredible run, as it was for Turkey, who came in ranked 12th in the World and showed that they will be a force to be reckoned with in the future as they collect Silver following an impressive semifinal victory over Brazil.

USA coach Karch Kiraly: “I am so proud of this team. All 14 of them, and many others back home, have put their heart and soul into this, and that makes us better every day. It is a great win for the USA women’s program. We look at this VNL as our main challenge and our main preparation going into the World Championship.”  
Turkey coach Giovanni Guidetti: “This silver medal means the highest result in Turkish volleyball and we are really proud to make this little step of history with a very young team. It is also one small step, not to make us think we are too good, because we are not too good. We are here to learn a lot. But this gives us the confidence that we can be in the league of great teams. It is far ahead, but we are getting closer. Congratulations to USA. In my opinion, together with Brazil, they play the best volleyball. Karch Kiraly found a lot of solutions today, and, for sure, in every match. They have a lot of good players and it is absolutely acceptable for me to lose a final against a team like this.”

Third-Place Match:


  • China def. Brazil 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-22)
  • China wins Bronze at 9-10 overall; Brazil finishes 4th at 14-5 overall

Although it wasn’t quite going for Gold, China did end the tournament on a high note by taking out consistent power Brazil for a medal in the inaugural Volleyball Nations League. It may have been a disappointment for the Brazilians to be here, while China had the home crowd supporting them, but the end result was the World’s top team collecting another top three finish at a world tournament.

If it was indeed a lack of motivation for Brazil that hurt them after an upset loss to Turkey, it may have showed in the team being a bit sloppy. China had slight advantages in kills (48-44), blocks (5-4) and digs (25-23), while the South Americans had more aces (4-3), but the largest difference was 19 team errors for the Brazilians compared to just 10 from the Asian side.

Behind the home crowd, China immediately jumped out with a strong opening game that led to their other set wins, as Zhu Ting (20 points) was established early and often en route to her match-best 18 kills (on 33 swings). After coming on late in the semifinal loss to the United States and performing well, Li Yingying (14 points) started in every set and made her coach’s decision pay off. Hu Mingyuan (9 points) was an efficient third option as well, with nine kills on 16 strikes.

The Brazilians did keep things tighter in the second and third, as Tandara Caixeta (15 points) finished off her strong campaign. Gabriela Braga Guimaraes (11 points) faded at times during the match, but was still powerful as her emergence continued in the tournament the further it went. Adenizia Da Silva (9 points) also had a strong outing, but many of the others struggled for Brazil as outside of those top three they went 13 for 39 on kill attempts with just one block from the ‘others’.

China coach Lang Ping: “We hope that we improved a lot compared to our last match. We did some research with the videos of the last game. We also pointed out some tactics and I think the players did pretty well today.” 
China captain Zhu Ting: “We played with confidence today. We did well in attack, defense and block. Thank you to all of you who supported us.” 
Brazil coach Jose Roberto Guimaraes: “Congratulations to the Chinese team for this match. They played really well today. We learned from this match in block and defense. The player number 25 (Mingyuan Hu), she came to the match and she performed really well.” 
Brazil captain Roberta Ratzke: “I am very sad for this match. We knew that we came today to do better than this. It is not a good day for us with this result. But now, we have to go back home and learn from this competition so we can start to prepare ourselves for the World Championship.”



Date Time Score Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Total Report
30 Jun 15:00 Brazil  0–3  Turkey 23–25 23–25 22–25 68–75
30 Jun 19:45 China  1–3  United States 23–25 20–25 25–18 18–25 86–93

3rd place match

Date Time Score Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Total Report
1 Jul 15:00 China  3–0  Brazil 25–18 25–22 25–22 75–62


Date Time Score Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Total Report
1 Jul 19:00 Turkey  2–3  United States 25–17 22–25 28–26 15–25 7–15 97–108

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