Team USA ended a poor run of results in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League to comfortably defeat Poland 3-1 in Jiangmen, China, with Andrea Drews starring for the Americans.
After suffering three defeats in four games in the VNL, USA coach Karch Kiraly selected a strong line-up from the start. Unlike previous encounters in this year’s competition, Kiraly opted not to make any substitutions during the game.
Despite appearing the more dominant side, Team USA were guilty of multiple errors in the opening set, with Poland claiming it 25-21.
However, it did not take long for the Americans to find their tempo with opposite Drews, who was not involved in Tuesday’s defeat to Turkey, making her presence felt to clinch the second set 25-23.
Poland 🇵🇱 and USA 🇺🇸 exchange great spikes, but #4 Andrea Drews 🇺🇸 is the one to draw a line on that rally! USA 🇺🇸 keeps things on even terms, winning the 2nd set 23-25.
— Volleyball World (@FIVBVolleyball) June 12, 2019
This sparked a resurgence from USA who were in cruise control in the third and fourth – winning them 25-15 and 25-11 respectively – as Poland struggled to find their rhythm.
Purdue University graduate Drews top scored for the Americans, registering 21 points, while the multi-dimensional former Husker, Kelsey Robinson, put in another complete performance at the Jiangmen Sports Hall.
Michelle Bartsch-Hackley also impressed with 17 points including the match-winning shot and the USA will now prepare for their next game against Olympic champions and hosts China on Thursday.
Coach, commentator and Freeball podcast host Lewie Lett gives us his match analysis:
This victory will provide Kiraly’s side plenty of confidence going forward. The final two sets were excellent for the USA; Lauren Carlini set superbly and with Robinson providing versatility, they look well set for a great game against China.
The performance today will give Kiraly an idea of his strongest line-up and will hope his team have turned a corner after recent defeats. If Drews, Bartsch-Hackley and Robinson continue to play like that, USA will be eyeing a second successive VNL title.