China’s Li Yingying attacks against Poland/Volleyball World photo @shotbygomez

Li Yingying, a high-flying, super-savvy left-handed outside, and her China teammates stunned Poland on Saturday in the Volleyball Nations League semifinals.

Yingying had 13 kills with one error in 24 attacks, including the match-winner, as fourth-seeded China won 25-18, 25-23, 25-23.

Top-seeded Poland (11-3) had 13 service errors in a match in which China proved from the start it was scrappier on defense and proved relentless on offense.

The victory moved China (10-4) in Sunday’s VNL 5:30 p.m. Central gold-medal match in College Park Center at the University of Texas-Arlington.

In the second match Saturday, second-seeded USA played third-seeded Türkiye. The bronze-medal match is at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Poland’s Agnieszka Korneluk hits over China’s Xinyue Yuan/Volleyball World photo @shotbygomez

China, which was swept by Poland in Hong Kong on June 17, had the upper hand throughout before a boisterous, sold-out crowd of 6,300, punctuated by energetic supporters of both teams.

Yingying added a block and four digs. Yuan Xinyue had 10 kills, two blocks and her team’s only ace. China had three serving errors. Yunlu Wang had 11 kills and two blocks and Xiangyu Gong had nine kills and seven digs.

Libero Mengjie Wang had 10 digs.

Magdalena Stysiak led Poland with 15 kills and she had four digs. Agnieszka Korneluk had nine kills and two blocks, Martyna Lukasik had eight kills and an ace, and Magdalena Jurczyk had seven kills and a block. Maria Stenzel had eight digs.

Poland, which totaled four aces, had nine of its service errors in the first two sets. In the second set, it was 23-23 when Yingying got a kill and Poland’s Martyna Czyrnianska hit long to make it 2-0 China.

China led 22-20 when Korneluk aced Wang, but China responded with a quick to the 6-foot-8 middle Xinyue.

Korneluk had a kill to pull Poland to 23-22, but she went back and blasted her serve way, way long.

Korneluk kept Poland alive with a back-row attack, but then Yingying hit the hands of Jurczyk, the ball went ricocheting past the end line, and the celebration was on.

China dealt the USA one of its two losses, in five sets on July 2 in Korea. China and Türkiye did not play each other.

China celebrates beating Poland/Volleyball World photo @shotbygomez


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