Nanjing, China, July 6, 2019 – Reigning champions United States rallied past China 3-1 (25-11, 15-25, 25-17, 25-20) on Saturday to reach the FIVB Volleyball Nations League final for the second time.
Annie Drews and Michelle Bartsch-Hackley each recorded 21 points to lift the North American side, outscoring China’s top point-maker Liu Yanhan who produced 17 markers. Kelsey Robinson added 15 more points to bolster USA’s productive night on offence.
USA ended the match succeeding on all fronts as they led their rivals in attacks 52-39, blocks 12-7 and service aces 10-4.
These two squads also met in last year’s semifinal match with the same 3-1 scoreline that went in favour of the United States, before taking the inaugural title of the VNL.United States-China Match CentrePre-match stats:
United States - China (July 6, 2019)
• China have a W39-L32 record against United States in major world level competitions.
• United States have won all their previous three FIVB Volleyball Nations League matches against China: 3-0 in the 2018 preliminary round, 3-1 in the 2018 semi-finals and 3-0 in this year's preliminary round.
• Kelsey Robinson won a match-high 20 points in their 2019 VNL meeting on 13 June, seven more than China's top scorer Ting Zhu (13).
• In last year's semi-final, Ting Zhu (18) was also China's leading scorer. USA's Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (24) earned top scorer honours in that match.
• United States can become the first team to defeat China four times in the VNL.
• Since the 2018 VNL semi-finals, China defeated United States twice at world level, both at the 2018 World Championships: 3-0 in the second round and 3-2 in the third round.United States
• United States have reached the FIVB Volleyball Nations League semi-finals for the second successive season. They defeated Poland (3-1) and Brazil (3-1) in this year's final round.
• United States won the inaugural edition of the VNL in 2018, defeating Turkey in five sets in the final in Nanjing on 1 July 2018. En route to that final, team USA defeated China 3-1 in the semi-finals.
• United States also won the World Championships (2014) and the World Grand Prix (6 times).
• United States recorded 14 wins in the 2019 VNL, equal to their amount of victories in the 2012 and 1995 World Grand Prix. They only won more world level matches in the 2018 VNL (17).
• Andrea Drews is USA's leading points scorer on 181 points and is one of the best attackers in the 2019 VNL with 157 spikes from 335 attempts (46.87%).
• Jordan Thompson scored 33 points in the 3-1 win against Brazil on 5 July, at least 20 more than any of her teammates.China
• China are in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League semi-finals for the second year in a row. They lost 3-1 against Turkey and won 3-1 versus Italy in this year's final round.
• China finished third in the 2018 VNL after a 3-0 victory against Brazil in the third-place decider. They had lost 3-1 versus United States in the semi-finals.
• China have already won the other five major world level competitions: Olympic Games (3 wins), World Championships (2), World Cup (4), World Grand Prix (1) and Grand Champions Cup (2).
• China (W13-L4) could win 14 matches at a single world level tournament for the first time. They also won 13 matches in the 2013 World Grand Prix.
• Xiangyu Gong (128) has collected the most points for China in the 2019 VNL.
• Xiaotong Liu and Yanhan Liu (both 18) scored the most points for China in their 3-1 win against Italy on 5 July.