USA defeat hosts China to reach VNL final

Team USA will play Brazil in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League Final after they defeated hosts China 3-1.

Karch Kiraly’s side, who are the defending champions, will meet Brazil for the second time in three days as they battle it out for $1million in prize money.

USA began the game in dominating fashion with Annie Drews and Michelle Bartsch-Hackley combining well to silence the 4,550-strong crowd and take the opening set 25-11.

However, China displayed defiance in the second set and got their home supporters on their feet as they levelled the match at 1-1.

Ahead of the third set, Kiraly made a couple changes with TeTori Dixon and Jordyn Poulter replacing Haleigh Washington and Lauren Carlini respectively.

It appeared to do the trick as USA found their groove once more with the ever-reliable Kelsey Robinson impressing.

They wrapped up the final two sets 25-17 and 25-20 and will vie once more for the VNL title on Sunday (July 7).

Lewie’s view

Coach, commentator and Freeball podcast host Lewie Lett gives us his match analysis:

USA had a few shaky moments but they got the job done in front of a passionate Chinese crowd. For the first time this week, Kiraly’s hand was forced after the second set to make changes and did so to great effect with Poulter and Dixon coming in.

China gave it a good go but without their some of their star players and head coach, they couldn’t hand the Americans on this occasion.

Even though USA and Brazil have come up against each other once already this week, it will be two radically different line-ups to those that played on Friday. Expect fireworks!

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