The USA women capped a fantastic four weeks in Rimini, Italy, on Friday when they beat Brazil to win the Volleyball Nations League.
Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, named the MVP of the tournament, had 18 kills as the Americans came away with a 26-28, 25-23, 25-23, 25-21 victory to win their third VNL gold medal in row. The USA also won in 2018 and 2019 and there was no tournament last year.
Bartsch-Hackley, also the tourney MVP in 2018, added 11 digs, three blocks and an ace. The Americans finished the regular schedule 14-1, losing only their last match to China, before beating Turkey in the semifinals and then Brazil, which it beat earlier in four in the tournament.
Jordan Thompson — who had two aces, eight digs, and two blocks — and Annie Drews had 12 kills each. Jordan Larson had 10 kills, 10 digs, and a block. Middles Haleigh Washington had seven kills, three digs, and a block; and Foluke Akinradewo had five kills, four digs, and two blocks.
Jordyn Poulter had not only 33 assists, but four blocks and 10 digs. Justine Wong-Orantes had 14 digs.
From the FIVB report:
There was drama at the end, when Brazil coach Ze Roberto challenged the last point originally awarded to USA after a hit on the net by Fe Garay, but deemed on the replay to have involved a net touch by Foluke Akinradewo.
Gabriela Braga Guimaraes had 16 kills, Tandara Caixeta had 15, and Carolina de Silva – who had eight blocks — and Caroline De Oliveira Saad Gattaz — who had three blocks — had nine kills each. Camila Brait had 17 digs.
Turkey swept Japan to win the bronze medal in the last FIVB major competition before the Tokyo Olympics start next month.
The men’s semifinals are Saturday when when Brazil faces France and Poland plays Slovenia.
Click here for USA-Brazil highlights.