#VNL Final 6: USA Sweeps Serbia to Punch Semis Bid; Brazil Wins Pool A Over China

  0 Derek Johnson | June 29th, 2018 | Asian Volleyball, Brazilian Volleyball, European volleyball, FIVB Nations League - Women, International Volleyball, News, NORCECA volleyball, South American Volleyball, U.S. Women's Volleyball



Pool A:

Date Time Score Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Total Report
27 Jun 19:15 China  3–1  Netherlands 20–25 25–21 25–22 25–18 95–86
28 Jun 19:15 Brazil  3–0  Netherlands 25–16 25–17 25–23 75–56
29 Jun 20:30 China  0–3  Brazil 20–25 22–25 22–25 64–75

Pool B:

Date Time Score Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Total Report
27 Jun 15:00 United States  3–2  Turkey 17–25 21–25 25–21 25–15 15–11 103–97
28 Jun 15:00 Serbia  2–3  Turkey 25–20 21–25 18–25 25–19 14–16 103–105
29 Jun 15:00 United States  3–0  Serbia 29–27 25–22 25–19 79–68


Pool A

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1  Brazil 2 0 6 6 0 MAX 150 120 1.250
2  China 1 1 3 3 4 0.750 159 161 0.988
3  Netherlands 0 2 0 1 6 0.167 142 170 0.835

Pool B

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1  United States 2 0 5 6 2 3.000 182 165 1.103
2  Turkey 1 1 3 5 5 1.000 202 206 0.981
3  Serbia 0 2 1 2 6 0.333 171 184 0.929


  • USA def. Serbia 3-0 (29-27, 25-22, 25-19)
  • USA moves to 2-0 (5 points) in Final 6 (15-2 overall); Serbia falls to 0-2 (1 point) in Final 6 (12-5 overall)

The United States punched its bid to the semifinal round with a sweep of Serbia. They also win Pool B to move on, where they will get Pool A runner-up China. For Serbia, they fall out of the running for a medal as their road ends here.

After coming on as a sub in the comeback against Turkey, the United States had no plans of not beginning the match with Michelle Bartsch-Hackley. They were rewarded for their loyalty to the tune of a team-best 16 points with 14 on spikes (32 tries) and the team was able to push through a tight first before slowly chipping away at the Serbian side. Beyond her, Team USA found a spread-out-attack work into their favor, with Kelly Murphy (9 points), Foluke Akinradewo (9 points) and Jordan Larson (8 points) all nearing double-figures.

Despite the loss, Tijana Boskovic (27 points) did everything in her power to put the team on top, notching 25 kills on 45 attempts. The others combined on Serbia though posted just 32 points, even with a strong but slightly inefficient outing from Jelena Blagojevic (9 points) included.

Still, Serbia wound up with more kills (44-42) and blocks (13-9) with the edge in aces for the U.S. ever so slight (3-2). The biggest difference was a lack of efficiency for Serbia – who posted 25 team errors – compared to a remarkable nine from the United States who kept their composure throughout. After winning a crucial first set in extra points, it seemed like the errors just continued to pile on with Serbia knowing they had to turn things around. It was almost like quick sand though; the more they pushed and fought to get out of the hole, the more they sank into it.

Beyond strictly keeping the United States alive and eliminating Serbia, the result allows the group to avoid a tricky tiebreaker. Had Serbia won in five sets over USA, it would have caused a three-way tie that went down to set and potentially point ratio. Instead, things are now more simple with the Americans and Turkey moving on.

USA coach Karch Kiraly: “ We love playing against the great teams in the world. Serbia is, certainly, one of those great teams that we have a great deal of respect for, for the players, their coaches and their programme. Whether we win or lose, we learn a lot because the two teams push each other and make things difficult. This was a good learning moment, and we are very happy to advance to tomorrow’s semifinals.” 

Serbia coach Zoran Terzic: “I would like to congratulate the USA team for going to the semifinals. Today, they deserved to win, no doubt about it. Definitely, we did not play our best games yesterday and today. But if I compare yesterday’s game with today, I think we played a little bit better. However for both games, I feel that we played with quite a low level of energy and motivation. I do not exactly know why. Maybe I can say my team is tired after five weeks, but it is the same conditions for USA and Turkey. It is not an excuse. Now, we need to rest and start to think about the World Championship in Japan.” 


  • Brazil def. China 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-22)
  • Brazil moves to 2-0 (6 pts.) in Final 6 (14-3 overall); China falls to 1-1 (3 pts.) in Final 6 (8-9 overall)

This match was a familiar place for China – a bid wrapped up to the next round already and not much to play for. Sure enough, they fell when it didn’t matter as much, with Brazil earning a quick sweep to claim Pool A. Both teams still move on to the semifinals, but now the only difference is who will play who in the final four.

Of course, the world’s top ranked, Chinese side had a free pass to the Final Six as hosts, so didn’t put too much effort in racking up wins in the pool stage. After Brazil and China each downed Netherlands, they had a bid locked up to move on again. Key cogs like Yuan Xinyue, Gong Xiangyu, Liu Xiaotong and Yan Ni were all limited at points in either playing time or opportunities, and after combining for 37 points against Netherlands they notched just 15 against Brazil. Star Zhu Ting (9 points) led the team in points, but took 44 less swings than she did against the Dutch.

While China was resting a bit, Brazil continued to push through with the likes of Tandara Caixeta (10 points), Adenizia Da Silva (8 points, 2 blocks) and Ana Beatriz Correa (6 points, 3 blocks) doing their thing. Another name emerged too in Gabriela Braga Guimares (11 points), who led the team in points.

In total, Brazil recorded more kills (50-41), the same amount of blocks (9-9) and more aces (4-1) on just one more team error. They also logged nine more digs in keeping the ball alive defensively.

Brazil’s efforts are rewarded for going for the victory and the pool win. Now, instead of playing the United States, they get Turkey – a team not to be taken lightly, but without the luster of the Americans. For China, they do get Team USA, but have it on their home court in a battle of World’s #1 vs. #2.

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