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Stars to collide in VNL championship match for Russia and USA

 

Russia is one win away from winning its second consecutive FIVB Volleyball Nations League title, but will have to go through 2019 host in the gold-medal match to accomplish the feat

Chicago, USA, July 14, 2019 – Reigning FIVB Volleyball Nations League champions Russia have reached their second consecutive championship match and will face 2019 host USA on Sunday in Chicago for the opportunity to earn their second straight gold medal.

Russia, which finished 1-1 in VNL Finals Pool A with a 3-0 win over France and a 3-0 loss to USA, reached the championship match by defeating Pool B winner Poland in four sets in the semifinals. Victor Poletaev has been the big point contributor with 34 points in the two matches he has played in the Finals Round. He scored 24 points in Russia’s semifinal victory over Poland. Egor Kliuka has contributed 29 total points in two matches played, including seven blocks. Ivan Iakovlev has played in all three of Russia’s Finals Round matches, scoring 33 total points with 10 blocks. He has also converted 20 of 26 attacks for points. Dmitry Volkov has added 24 points in Russia’s two victories.


The USA won the Finals Round Pool A with a four-set win over France followed by a sweep of Russia. The Americans rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the semifinals against Brazil to win a thrilling five-setter in front of the home crowd in Chicago.

American star opposite Matt Anderson has scored 38 points during his three VNL Finals Round matches, including 22 against Brazil in the semifinals. Max Holt has contributed 30 points in USA’s three wins, including 14 blocks of which eight were against France. Taylor Sander has charted 35 points in the Americans’ three wins, including 17 against Brazil in the semifinal.


USA is very familiar with Russia, including a three-set win over the European power in the VNL Finals pool play. Even though Russia played reserves in their loss to the Americans, USA head coach John Speraw said they scouted Russia as if they were going to play their top players this past Friday in the pool play head-to-head match.

“We know that team very well," Speraw said. "We prepared for them in pool play. I think for us as a staff, our work load is a little less (now). I am still processing this win, enjoying it. It has taken us a while to get through a semifinal. We have had a little semifinal bump for a few tournaments. It is a good to get through to the finals and have the opportunity to play for gold at home.”

Anderson, who plays his pro season in Russia, feels the Americans are up to the challenge against Russia. He said Russia brings “power" to the court.

"They are big boys," Anderson said. "They jump high and hit hard and serve tough. But I think our system that we play with USA is better than theirs. As long as we stay in our own heads and stay together as a team, we have a great chance tomorrow.”

Immediately after USA's hard-fought win over Brazil in the semifinals on Saturday, USA setter Micah Christenson was soaking up the big win before facing the tough challenge that Russia presents.

“It is hard to think about (the championship match) right now," Christenson said. "We know it will be tough. They are reigning (VNL) champions. We know how physical they are and how good they can be. We will need to do our home work and get physically prepared to play another beast of a match. I wouldn’t be surprised it goes five again. We will need all the help we can get (from the crowd).”

As with Christenson, Russia head coach Tuomas Sammelvuo felt it was too early to look ahead to the championship match right after the win over Pool B winner Poland in the semifinals.

“First of all, we need to recover," Sammelvuo said. "(Friday) we had to rest our players (against USA in Finals pool play) because we had four days in a row and yesterday was a late match. We had to rest a few of our players. We didn’t have that many practices before this Finals because they were on holiday for two weeks. In this moment, just think about tomorrow as it is a great opportunity for everybody. The Olympic qualifiers comes after that.” 

Single Match Individual Statistical Leaders

Total Points
24 – Bartosz Bednorz, Poland vs. Iran (4 sets), July 11
24 - Victor Poletaev, Russia vs. Poland (4 sets), July 13
22 - Matt Anderson, USA vs. Brazil (5 sets), July 13
22 – Amir Ghafour, Iran vs. Poland (4 sets), July 11
22 – Milad Ebadipour, Iran vs Brazil (5 sets), July 12
21 – Wallace De Souza, Brazil vs. Poland (5 sets), July 10
19 - Egor Kliuka, Russia vs. Poland (4 sets), July 13
19 – Amir Ghafour, Iran vs. Brazil (5 sets), July 12
18 – Ricardo Lucarelli Souza, Brazil vs. Poland (5 sets), July 10
18 – Bartosz Bednorz, Poland vs. Brazil (5 sets), July 10
18 – Seyed Mohammad Mousavi, Iran vs. Brazil (5 sets), July 12
17 – Jean Patry, France vs. USA (4 sets), July 10
17 - Wallace De Souza, Brazil vs. USA (5 sets), July 13
16 – Aaron Russell, USA vs. France (4 sets), July 10
16 – Maxwell Holt, USA vs. France (4 sets), July 10
15 – Karol Klos, Poland vs. Brazil (5 sets), July 10
15 - Bartosz Bednorz, Poland vs. Russia (4 sets), July 13
15 - Ivan Iakovlev, Russia vs. Poland (4 sets), July 13

Attack Points
21 - Victor Poletaev, Russia vs. Poland (4 sets), July 13
20 – Bartosz Bednorz, Poland vs. Iran (4 sets), July 11
20 - Matt Anderson, USA vs. Brazil (5 sets), July 13
19 – Wallace De Souza, Brazil vs. Poland (5 sets), July 10
19 – Amir Ghafour, Iran vs. Poland (4 sets), July 11
18 – Milad Ebadipour, Iran vs. Brazil (5 sets), July 12
17 – Bartosz Bednorz, Poland vs. Brazil (5 sets), July 10
17 – Jean Patry, France vs. USA (4 sets), July 10
17 - Wallace De Souza, Brazil vs. USA (5 sets), July 13
16 – Ricardo Lucarelli Souza, Brazil vs. Poland (5 sets), July 10
15 - Taylor Sander, USA vs. Brazil (5 sets), July 13
14 – Amir Ghafour, Iran vs. Brazil (5 sets), July 12

Block Points
8 – Maxwell Holt, USA vs. France (4 sets), July 10
6 – Ilyas Kurkaev, Russia vs. France (3 sets), July 11
6 – Lucas Saatkamp, Brazil vs. Iran (5 sets), July 12
5 – Karol Klos, Poland vs. Brazil (5 sets), July 10
5 – Norbert Huber, Poland vs. Brazil (4 sets), July 11
5 – Egor Kliuka, Russia vs. France (3 sets), July 11
5 - Norbert Huber, Poland vs. Russia (4 sets), July 13
4 – Seyed Mohammed Mousavi, Iran vs. Poland (4 sets), July 11
4 – David Smith, USA vs. France (4 sets), July 10
4 – Ivan Iakovlev, Russia vs. France (3 sets), July 11
4 – Amir Ghafour, Iran vs Brazil (5 sets), July 12
4 – Seyed Mohammed Mousavi, Iran vs. Brazil (5 sets), July 12
4 - Karol Klos, Poland vs. Russia (4 sets), July 13

Service Points
5 - Egor Kliuka, Russia vs. Poland (4 sets), July 13
3 – Karol Klos, Poland vs. Iran (4 sets), July 11
3 – Bartosz Kwolek, Poland vs Iran (4 sets), July 11
3 – Thibault Rossard, France vs. Russia (3 sets), July 11
3 – Sayed Mohammed Mousavi, Iran vs Brazil (5 sets), July 12
3 - Yoandy Leal Hidalgo, Brazil vs. USA (5 sets), July 13
3 - Ivan Iakovlev, Russia vs. Poland (5 sets), July 13
2 – Ricardo Lucarelli Souza, Brazil vs. Poland (5 sets), July 10
2 – Maxwell Holt, USA vs. France (4 sets), July 10
2 – Matt Anderson, USA vs. France (4 sets), July 10
2 – Micah Christenson, USA vs. France (4 sets), July 10
2 – Julien Lyneel, France vs. USA (4 sets), July 10
2 – Bartosz Bednorz, Poland vs. Iran (4 sets), July 11

Hitting Percent (minimum 5 attack points)
100% (8-8) – Norbert Huber, Poland vs. Iran, July 11
100% (6-6) – Ivan Iakovlev, Russia vs. France, July 11
87.5% (7-8) - Karol Klos, Poland vs. Russia, July 13
85.7% (6-7) - Flavio Gualberto, Brazil vs. USA, July 13
83.3% (5-6) – Ivan Iakovlev, Russia vs. USA, July 12
80.0% (12-15) - Lucas Saatkamp, Brazil vs. USA, July 13
77.8% (7-9) - Lukasc Kaczmarek, Poland vs. Russia, July 13
75.0% (9-12) – Karol Klos, Poland vs. Brazil, July 10
75.0% (6-8) - Max Holt, USA vs. Brazil, July 13
71.4% (5-7) – David Smith, USA vs. Russia, July 12
71.4% (5-7) - David Smith, USA vs. Brazil, July 13
67.7% (21-31) - Victor Poletaev, Russia vs. Poland, July 13
66.7% (6-9) – Anton Semyshev, Russia vs. USA, July 12
64.3% (9-14) - Ivan Iakovlev, Russia vs. Poland, July 13
62.5% (15-24) - Taylor Sander, USA vs. Russia, July 13
62.5% (5-8) – David Smith, USA vs. France, July 10
61.1% (11-18) – Marciej Muzaj, Poland vs. Iran, July 11
58.8% (20-34) - Matt Anderson vs. Brazil, July 13
57.1% (20-35) – Bartosz Bednorz, Poland vs. Iran, July 11
55.5% (11-20) – Thomas Jaeschke, USA vs. Russia, July 12
54.2% (13-24) – Aaron Russell, USA vs. France, July 10

Single Match Team Statistical Leaders

Attack Points
69 – Brazil vs. Poland (5 sets), July 10
68 – Poland vs. Brazil (5 sets), July 10
63 – Iran vs. Brazil (5 sets), July 12
61 - Russia vs. Poland (4 sets), July 13
59 - Brazil vs. USA (5 sets), July 13
56 – Poland vs. Iran (4 sets), July 11
55 - USA vs. Brazil 95 sets), July 13
54 – Brazil vs. Iran (5 sets), July 12

Blocks
21 – Russia vs. France (3 sets), July 11
16 – USA vs. France (4 sets), July 10
14 – Brazil vs. Iran (5 sets), July 12
14 – Iran vs. Brazil (5 sets), July 12
12 – Poland vs. Brazil (5 sets), July 10
12 – Iran vs. Poland (4 sets), July 11
12 – USA vs. Russia, (3 sets), July 12
11 – Poland vs. Iran (4 sets), July 11
11 - USA vs. Brazil (5 sets), July 13
11 - Russia vs. Poland (4 sets), July 13
11 - Poland vs. Russia (4 sets), July 13

Aces
11 - Russia vs. Poland (4 sets), July 13
9 – USA vs. France (4 sets), July 10
9 – Poland vs Iran (4 sets), July 11
8 - Poland vs. Russia (4 sets), July 13
8 – Brazil vs. Iran (5 sets), July 12
7 – Iran vs. Brazil (5 sets), July 12
6 - Brazil vs USA (5 sets), July 13
5 – Brazil vs. Poland (5 sets), July 10
5 – USA def. Russia, July 12
5 – USA def. Iran, July 10

Match Total Points
213 – Brazil def. Iran 25-20, 25-23, 24-26, 20-25, 15-10 on July 11
212 – Poland def. Brazil 25-23, 23-25, 25-21, 21-25, 15-9 on July 10
203 - USA def. Brazil 25-21, 17-25, 21-25, 25-20, 15-9 on July 13
187 - Russia def. Poland 25-19, 24-26, 25-22, 25-21 on July 13
182 – USA def. France 25-16, 25-22, 23-25, 25-21 on July 10
181 – Poland def. Iran 21-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-22 on July 11
133 – USA def. Russia 25-21, 25-17, 25-20 on July 12
131 – Russia def. France 25-16, 25-23, 25-17 on July 11

Highest Set Score
50 – Iran vs. Brazil (Set 3 26-24), July 12
50 - Poland vs. Russia (Set 2 26-24), July 13
48 – Poland vs. Brazil (Set 1 25-23), July 10
48 – Brazil vs. Poland (Set 2 25-23), July 10
48 – France vs. USA (Set 3, 25-23), July 10
48 – Russia vs. France (Set 2, 25-23), July 11
48 – Brazil vs. Iran (Set 2, 25-23), July 11

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