Poland celebrate a point against the Dominican Republic on Wednesday
Lausanne, Switzerland, June 19, 2019 – Poland defeated the Dominican Republic 3-2 (25-18, 25-20, 23-25, 22-25, 17-15) in the first match on Wednesday but dropped a point to leave the race open for the final berth at the 2019 FIVB Women's Volleyball Nations League Finals in Nanjing, China from July 3-7.
On Tuesday, Poland managed a 3-1 (25-23, 25-23, 19-25, 25-22) victory over Japan, one of their main rivals on the road to Nanjing. VNL’s best scorer so far, Malwina Smarzek, was once again on fire, putting away 31 points for the win, which gave Poland a one-victory edge in the race to make the cut. Smarzek was again in top form on Wednesday in her team's defeat of the Dominican Republic scoring a total of 34 points towards a grand total of 364 points since the start of the tournament. The Poles are now on a 9-5 win-loss record and 26 points, followed by Japan on 7-6 and 21 points and Belgium on 7-6 and 20 points. The Dominicans no longer have a shot at making the finals.
A second match takes place in Boryeong later today, at 17:00 local time. It will feature pool hosts Korea and Japan, another key encounter in the race to Nanjing.
Belgium delivered the big surprise of Tuesday, upsetting hosts Turkey in a Pool 17 encounter at the Baskent Volleyball Hall in Ankara. With 22 points from Britt Herbots, the Belgians achieved a 3-1 (25-27, 26-24, 25-21, 25-23) turnaround to stay in the race for a place among the finalists. Meliha Ismailoglu with 15 points was the best scorer for Turkey, which dropped to 10-3.
“Turkey played great in front of their crowd. It was a fight and both teams deserved to win, but we won and I am very happy. We didn’t expect this. We weren’t supposed to win any matches this week, but tonight my team surprised me,” Belgian coach Gert Vande Broek pointed out.
Earlier in Ankara, Brazil shut out Italy to overtake them for the top of the standings on set ratio, as each of the two sides boasts a 10-3 win-loss record and 31 points. Italy’s Elena Pietrini with 14 points and Brazil’s Gabriela Braga Guimaraes with 13 were the most prolific players of the match.
On the second competition day at the Baskent, Belgium meet Brazil at 16:00 local time and Turkey entertain Italy at 19:00.
At the Beilun Sports and Arts Center in Ningbo, Bulgaria surprised the squad of reigning world champions Serbia, winning their Pool 18 encounter in four sets and gaining their second victory since the start of the VNL. Miroslava Paskova scored 16 points for the Lionesses, as many as Katarina Lazovic and Milica Kubura each did for the Serbian side. Bulgaria stand 15th in the table, while Serbia are 11th on 5-8.
Hosts China mastered a straight-set victory over Germany with a 12-point match high from Zhang Changning to improve to 10-3 and 29 points beating Turkey to the fourth place on set ratio. The reigning Olympic champions will face Bulgaria next, at 19:30 local time on Wednesday. Before that, Serbia and Germany will lock horns at 16:00.
USA are third in the current standings as one of the five teams on a 10-3 record after they shut out hosts Russia at the Palace of Sports in Ekaterinburg. Last year’s VNL MVP Michelle Bartsch-Hackley topped the scorers’ charts with 16 points. On 3-10, the Russians are 14th in the table.
With Lonneke Sloetjes leading the way with 15 points, the Netherlands hammered out a three-set victory over Thailand in the day’s first match in Pool 19. The Dutch have now won five of their 13 matches played and rank 10th in the table. The Thais are 13th on 4-9.
Wednesdays programme in Ekaterinburg will start at 16:00 local time with the Netherlands vs USA clash. At 19:00, Russia will try to please the home fans with a win over Thailand.
All VNL matches are available live and on-demand on Volleyball TV
June 18 – all results:
June 19 – full schedule: