Reigning champions Russia defeated in four sets world champions Poland 3-1 (25:19, 24:26, 25:22, 25:21) in the first of two semifinal matches in the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League Finals in Chicago. Their victory takes Russia into the final of this year’s VNL where coach Tuomas Sammelvuo’s team will attempt to do as well as in 2018 when they defeated hosts France in Lille to win gold in the competition’s inaugural edition.
Russia claimed a three-set victory against France in their first match of the Finals Six, before losing to USA on Friday and finishing second in Pool A, while Poland were victorious in their two pool stage matches, first defeating Olympic champions Brazil in five sets, then beating Iran in four.
In this match, Victor Poletaev played a great match, scoring 24 points for the winning side, including 2 kill blocks and 1 ace. His teammate Egor Kliuka also contributed with 19, including 5 aces. Bartosz Bednorz scored 15 for Poland, while Norbert Huber made 5 winning-blocks.
Russia Head Coach Tuomas Sammelvuo on Russia advancing to the championship match: “It is reat. I am just very happy for our whole team. We have many players who have not played much with the national team. I like the atmosphere we have on the team. We are a really compact group. To be in the finals is great. I just hope we can enjoy the moment and enjoy the game. Of course we will do everything we can to win. But the less and less we think about winning, the better it is to just focus on our skills.”
Russia Head Coach Tuomas Sammelvuo on preparing for Sunday’s title match: “First of all, we need to recover. Yesterday we had to rest our players because we had four days in a row and yesterday was a late match. We had to rest a few of our players. We didn’t have that many practices before this Finals because they were on holiday for two weeks. In this moment, just think about tomorrow as it is a great opportunity for everybody. The Olympic qualifiers comes after that.”
Poland Head Coach Vital Heynen: “Russia was totally better than us. We need good passing and spiking to have a chance against Russia, and we were not good in those to aspect to play with them. I think we were fighting okay. I have a very young and inexperienced team, it is not abnormal that some days they are less good like today. Russia deserved the win. I can live with it that we had an amazing tournament.”
Poland Captain player Marcin Komenda: “This tournament is a very good experience for us because we have a young team here. We are to fight for every ball. We try to play our best volleyball. I think against Brazil and Iran it was very good. Today was worse. But we fought for every ball.”
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)
Source and Photos: volleyball.world