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VNL 2019: hosts USA overhelm Brazil at tie break to take on Russia in Final!

Hosts USA defeated Brazil in five sets 3-2 (25:21, 17:25, 21:25, 25:20, 15:9) in the second semifinal of the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League on Saturday in Chicago.
So USA will play the final on Sunday, when last year’s bronze medallists will play against reigning champions Russia, which defeated Poland in four sets.

USA first defeated France before winning against Russia in their second match of the Finals pool phase to qualify for the semifinals as the top ranked team in Pool A. Brazil on the other hand first was defeated by Poland in Pool B and then defeated Iran. They finished second to Poland in Pool B. In this match, Matthew Anderson was top-scorer with 22 points (including 2 winning-blocks), followed by Taylor Sander with 19, like Wallace de Souza on the other side.


USA Head Coach John Speraw on decision to put Garrett Muagututia and Jeff Jendryck in the lineup in the fourth set: “There were two reasons. First of all, Garrett has been for us all the way through VNL. He has played a lot. Obviously with giving rest to Aaron Russell and at times Taylor Sander, we have needed him. He has been there for us. He can really come in and pass the ball. We knew we needed it at that point. I thought our offensive numbers on first-ball sideout were pretty good. At one point they were better than Brazil. We just were not beating them in transition. There were times we were not passing the ball well enough to get ourselves in system. When we were system we were good. I went with Jeff because of his serve. David (Smith) wasn’t serving the ball well tonight. Jeff gives us a little more experience in terms of how to block those guys. Obviously you saw how big that serve came up in the end.”

USA Head Coach John Speraw on Russia: “We know that team very well. We prepared for them in pool play. I think for us as a staff, our work load is a little less. I am still processing this win, enjoying it. It has taken us a while to get through a semifinal. We have had a little semifinal bump for a few tournaments. It is a good to get through to the finals and have the opportunity to play for gold at home.”


USA Player Jeff Jendryck on his service run in the fifth set: “It is really hard to describe. I feel really amazing. I have been working hard in practice. Just those last 4-5 I hit I was just being aggressive. The guys in the front row were putting up a big screen. I was just hitting my serve, and made it dance so it was hard for them to pass it. I am really excited for tomorrow.

USA Player Micah Christenson: “It is a huge win. It is a pretty emotional feeling right now for me. We willed that through, we willed that win. I want to give a huge thank you to the crowd. They really pushed us to the victory when we needed them tonight. We will need them again tomorrow. I just want to express gratitude to the fans for showing up. We really needed them tonight.

USA Player Micah Christenson on teammates Jeff Jendryck and Garrett Muagututia: “Jeff Jendryck came in. Garrett Muagututia came in. Garrett really steadying out our passing and did his job. He did a wonderful job passing and blocking. What can I say of Jeff. He killed every ball he got set. He made a huge run in the fifth to really propel us to victory. I am so proud of him for coming in to do that in front of his home crowd in Chicago.”

USA Player Micah Christenson on playing Russia in the championship match on Sunday: “It is hard to think about that right now. We know it will be tough. They are reigning champions. We know how physical they are and how good they can be. We will need to do our home work and get physically prepared to play another beast of a match. I wouldn’t be surprised it goes five again. We will need all the help we can get (from the crowd).”


USA Player Matt Anderson on Jeff Jendryck’s serving run in the fifth: “It is crazy. We talked about it. They weren’t siding out well. It so happens that Jeff has a great float serve. He turned some balls, made some digs, made some really big spikes on the left and touching some balls on the right. In the first we just rolled. But it was more important to win that fourth set. We were down a couple points and came back, keeping trusting with the way would play and know that our system would prevail in the end.

USA Player Matt Anderson on the changes to the lineup in the fourth set: “I think Garrett really came in and settled down our passing. I don’t think we really pass bad, but we were a little on edge. When we get on edge with our passing, it makes it a little tougher for our setter and spikers to get points. I think he came in and did a really great job at that. I think Jeff came, and even though we didn’t get many stuffs, it gave (Brazil) some different looks. We just picked up our serve too.”

USA Player Matt Anderson on what Russia brings to championship match: “Power. They are big boys. They jump high and hit hard and serve tough. But I think our system that we play with USA is better than theirs. As long as we stay in our own heads and stay together as a team, we have a great chance tomorrow.”


Brazil Player Ricardo Lucarelli Souza: “They played good. They started to serve well and the reception line of USA worked pretty well. Congratulations to them. Now we need to rest and go to the third-place match tomorrow.


2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League – Semifinals:
Poland-Russia 1-3 (25:19, 24:26, 25:22, 25:21)
USA-Brazil 3-2 (25:21, 17:25, 21:25, 25:20, 15:9)

2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League, Final Six – Day 3:
Brazil – Iran 3-2 (25:20, 25:23, 24:26, 20:25, 15:10)
USA – Russia 3-0 (25:21, 25:17, 25:20)

Day 2:
Poland – Iran 3-1 (21:25, 25:18, 25:20, 25:22)
Russia – France 3-0 (25:16, 25:23, 25:17)

Day 1:
Brazil – Poland 2-3 (23:25, 25:23, 21:25, 25:21, 9:15)
USA – France 3-1 (25:16, 25:22, 23:25, 25:21)

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