Nanjing, China, July 4, 2019 – Brazil redeemed their five-set loss in the preliminary round to Poland with a 3-2 (22-25, 25-21, 22-25, 25-19, 15-10) triumph in the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League Finals on Thursday.
In their second encounter with Poland at the VNL, Ana Beatriz Correa and Gabi Guimaraes improved on their scoring to lead Brazil with 22 and 17 points, respectively, to secure the spot in the semifinals. Ana Beatriz had a field day at the net, deflecting eight attacks by Poland.
Poland, meanwhile, still relied on their top scorer Malwina Smarzek to run their offence with 32 points, but the missing link was Magadalena Stysiak, who produced only 12 markers this time.
Brazil concluded the preliminary round with 11 victories, including eight matches that were decided in straight sets. Brazil qualified for the Finals in third place, sharing the same win-loss record but with a slight advantage in points with Italy and Turkey. Poland, meanwhile, lost two matches in a row in the final round.Brazil-Poland Match CentrePre-match stats:
Brazil - Poland (July 4, 2019)
• Brazil have won 15 of their previous 19 matches against Poland in world level major competitions (W15-L4).
• These teams most recently met on 29 May, when Poland beat Brazil 3-2 in the VNL preliminary round. Poland's five-set victory ended a 15-match winless run against Brazil at world level.
• Brazil and Poland also faced each other in last year's FIVB Volleyball Nations League. On 30 May 2018, Brazil beat Poland in straight sets in Apeldoorn (25-20, 25-20, 25-23).Brazil
• Brazil finished in fourth place in the inaugural edition of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League in 2018. They missed out on a place in the final after a 3-0 loss against Turkey in the semi-finals and then lost in straight sets against China in the third-place decider.
• Brazil won 11 of their 15 preliminary round matches in the 2019 VNL. They entered last year's VNL final round with 12 wins and three defeats.
• Last year, Brazil started the final six with a straight-set victory over Netherlands on 28 June 2018. Tandara Caixeta scored 17 points in that match, more than any other player on the field.
• Only China (10) won more matches in straight sets in the 2019 VNL preliminary round than Brazil (8).
• With 234 points, Gabriela Braga Guimaraes finished in fourth place in the 2019 VNL preliminary round top scorers list. Last year, Tandara Caixeta (231) won the most points for Brazil in the preliminary round.
• Gabriela Braga Guimaraes (202) was one of only four players to score more than 200 spikes in the 2019 VNL preliminary round. Poland's Malwina Smarzek scored the most, with 324.
• Only Serbia's Maja Aleksic (47) scored more points from stuff blocks than Ana Beatriz Correa (37) in this year's VNL preliminary round.Poland
• On Wednesday, Poland lost their first match in the Volleyball Nations League Finals 3-1 to USA.
• Poland have now lost five of their last seven VNL matches, with the only exceptions in this run their 3-1 victory over Japan and their 3-2 victory over Dominican Republic in the final week of the preliminary round.
• Poland could suffer three successive defeats for the second time this VNL season. They also lost three in a row from 11 to 13 June, against China, USA and Turkey.
• Malwina Smarzek scored a team-high 22 points for Poland in their defeat against USA, lifting her total tally to 387 points this VNL campaign. She is the competition's top scorer this season.
• Smarzek (387) could become the first player to score 400+ points in a single VNL campaign. Smarzek herself was also the competition's top scorer last season on 361 points.
• Agnieszka Kakolewska added five stuff blocks to her total and now has 38 points fom blocks in this season's VNL, for an average of 0.58.