The United States women's team emerge victorious in the VNL
With the Olympics on the horizon, the FIVB’s Volleyball Nations League was a good barometer. The United States won the event after beating Brazil in the final. The US squad won the final three sets to one to earn their third VNL title.
As the world’s number one team, the US team made sure they hold on to their ranking. While Brazil is a good team too, they were favoured to win the entire tournament before it even started. They lived up to their favourite status with their big win over Brazil.
Michelle Bartsch-Hackley was the star of the show yet again. She was the 2018 VNL MVP and with her performance this time around, she earned the award again. On the other side, Gabriela Braga Guimaraes was the star for Brazil since she scored 18 points. Ana Carolina da Silva deserves some praise too because she had a game-high eight blocks.
Why the USA is a strong volleyball country
When the FIVB launched the VNL in 2018, they wanted to ensure there’s an event that can decide the best team in the world outside of the Olympics which only comes every four years. The World Grand Prix was the biggest event for women back then.
In the first three editions of the event, the US team has won every single one. This proved they’re a strong volleyball country. They beat Turkey in 2018 and in the past two editions, they’ve beaten Brazil in the final.
Before the match, Jordyn Poulter addressed why Brazil is always a tough matchup for the squad.
‘It's Brazil so it's going to be a good match’, she said. ‘They are a very good volleyball team. We are hoping to show up and do our best. They will bring their strongest and it will be a good volleyball game’.
Brazil remains committed to the potential success
They lost in the past two editions of the VNL but the Olympics is the priority for Brazil. A short while after their loss to the US, they announced their roster for the Tokyo Games. Jose ‘Ze Roberto’ Guimaraes wants to lead this team back to the top of the volleyball world after a disappointing run back in 2016 when they finished fifth.
Opposite hitter Tandara Caixeta knows her team has improved over the years especially in the VNL.
‘We improved a lot during the VNL’, Tandara said. ‘We ended the VNL much stronger than we started it and that shows we’re headed in the right direction on our preparation for Tokyo. We’ll keep working hard in these few weeks we have left to get even better’.
It will be exciting to see how Brazil can perform in the Games since they’re so motivated to prove their doubters wrong.
Words: Cholo Martin