Hosts China will take on USA, Serbia, Brazil, the Netherlands and Turkey in Nanjing from June 27 to July 1.
Nanjing, China, June 26, 2018 - Volleyball fans in China will have the opportunity to witness the world’s very best women’s national teams when the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League (VNL) Women’s Finals start on Wednesday. After an exhilarating five weeks of preliminary rounds, the stage is set for the finale which will see six teams battle it out to become inaugural VNL champions.
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From June 27 to July 1, the USA, Serbia, Brazil, the Netherlands and Turkey will join hosts China in the Finals, showcasing their skills in front of a passionate and knowledgeable crowd. As reigning Olympic champions, China will hope to deliver a title to their home fans. However, there have been several upsets already throughout the competition and not one of these final nations will go down without a fight.
China lead Pool A as hosts, alongside the Netherlands and Brazil. Reigning world champions USA head Pool B, as the top-ranked side after the preliminary round. They will face Serbia and Turkey - the only two teams that they have lost to this year.
Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games volleyball MVP Zhu Ting is back in the squad to lead China, after the superstar missed several of the pool play matches after a busy club season.
Brazil's Adenizia da Silva in action
Jaqueline Carvalho returns for Brazil to replace Drussyla Costa in the outside position. The latter is out because of injury, but Brazil will have the second and third best blockers of the preliminary round at its disposal, with Adenizia 'Ade' Da Silva having totalled 48 stuffs and Ana Beatriz 'Bia' Correa on 46.
The Netherlands, meanwhile, have all the key players who competed in the preliminary round at hand, including their top scorer Lonneke Sloetjes (202 points) and captain Maret Balkestein-Grothues, the VNL’s best digger so far.
Lonneke Sloetjes of the Netherlands
Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, the second most efficient spiker of the preliminary phase on 47.97% (165/344), will be in Nanjing to spearhead the USA attack, with the tournament's best receiver Kim Hill ready to take care of back-court duties.
Serbia’s Tijana Boskovic has established herself as the most efficient attacker in the preliminary round (49.28%) and could inspire the Rio 2016 silver medallists to victory. The pressure is on after Brankica Mihaijlovic was injured during the preliminary rounds.
And captain Eda Erdem Dundar, who served 22 aces in pool play to become the second most prolific server in absolute numbers, as well as emerging as the tournament's fourth best blocker, will surely put the pressure on Turkey's opponents both from the end line and on the net.
Eda Erdem of Turkey
Ticket sales have continued to be popular with local fans, where volleyball is considered one of the country’s most popular sports. To launch the Finals on June 27, world superstar DJs NERVO will also be performing, ensuring a lively party atmosphere for the thousands of fans in the stadium. In a partnership with the VNL, NERVO released their latest single “Worlds Collide” at a VNL preliminary round match in Ottawa earlier this month.
“This is the moment volleyball fans all around the world have been waiting for” said FIVB President Ary Graça. “We have six very strong teams and it is too close to call who will end up as champions.
“The VNL has been a revolutionary competition for the FIVB. We have put great effort into creating an unrivalled fan experience, for both spectators in the stadium and those watching around the world. We have had the privilege of watching some fantastic action on the court over the last few weeks and I have no doubt the Final will raise the bar even higher.”
The VNL has proved immensely popular with volleyball’s global fan base, posting phenomenal numbers of views and impressions on social media.
As well as NERVO performing, the FIVB is pushing the boundaries of engagement and technological innovation, with fans at the heart of the action. Live statistics and advanced instant replay angles help fans to better understand the game, whilst the volleyball app has helped to create a worldwide network of volleyball fans that can interact with one another.
Tickets for the VNL Women’s Finals in Nanjing, as well as the men’s final from July 4-8 in Lille, France, can be found at: http://www.volleyball.world/en/vnl/tickets