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2019 Review: USA amaze with incredible VNL gold

 

USA players hold the trophy aloft as they celebrate their second gold in as many editions of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

Lausanne, Switzerland, December 15, 2019 - USA wrapped up the second edition of the women's FIVB Volleyball Nations League in early July with their second gold in as many attempts with an astounding comeback win over Brazil in the final - a thrilling finale to an amazing season that had begun almost a month and a half earlier.

The top six teams in the world gathered in Nanjing to contest for the medals with USA and Turkey dominating the three-team pools and poised for a rematch of the 2018 final.



Brazil and hosts China followed through to the semifinals, leaving Italy and Poland to make an early exit.

But Turkey were not up to the challenge of making a second straight VNL final, as Natalia Pereira powered Brazil to a very convincing 3-0 win in the first of the semifinals.

USA, meanwhile were led by Michelle Bartsch and Annie Drews as the pair led the Americans past hosts China in the second semifinal.



USA and Brazil had already met twice previously earlier in the VNL season, the South Americans prevailing in four sets in the Preliminary Round and the North Americans dominating with the same score in their Final Six pool.

But with a stunning performance by Gabi Guimaraes, Brazil commanded a two-set lead in the final and set themselves up for what looked like a sweep. It was then that Drews stepped up to lead a majestic USA comeback for an incredible triumph in five sets that earned the 25-year-old opposite a well-deserved MVP award.



Previously, China had given some form of consolation to their home fans with Liu Yanhan and Gong Xiangyu guiding the Asian powerhouse to a 3-1 win over Turkey for bronze.

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