USA (USA) vs. France (FRA) men - Quarterfinals #5906463

A strong victory agaisnt Italy sent the USA to their third VNL final

The United States will have another shot at winning their first Volleyball Nations League title on Sunday, as the Americans will face hosts Poland in the final of the fifth edition of the tournament in Gdańsk.

The Americans were incredibly dominant in the semifinals at the Ergo Arena on Saturday, as they gave no chance to world champions Italy, producing a 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-19) win to return to the VNL’s gold medal match.

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The VNL 2023 gold medal match will be held on Sunday, at 20:00 local (18:00 UTC), involving Americans and Polish, who earlier on Saturday overcame Japan 3-1 (19-25, 28-26, 25-17, 25-21) in the first semifinal. Earlier, at 17:00 local time (15:00 UTC), Italy and Japan will play for bronze.

This will be the third American appearance in the event’s gold medal match – they lost to Russia in the second edition, in 2019, and fell to Olympic champions France last season. The USA also took bronze in the tournament’s inaugural edition, back in 2018.

Veteran opposite Matt Anderson was a big name in the American victory with 17 points scored against the Italians. The 36-year-old Olympic medalist got his entire production in kills, hitting at an incredible 64% efficiency rate.

Outside hitters Thomas Jaeschke and Torey Defalco also rose to the occasion, combining for 27 points. The 29-year-old Jaeschke tallied 16 points, with 12 kills, two blocks and two aces, while the 26-year-old Defalco added 11, with eight kills and three blocks.

“Several things worked well on our side tonight,” Jaeschke commented. “I felt that at the end of sets, the score got a little wider than it actually was. We did some things at the end of sets and that helped us get some space there. We played well within our system and didn’t worry too much when they made good plays, that was the biggest thing. They’re a great team and we’re just happy we were able to get away with a win. There will be about 10,000 people cheering for Poland in the final, so it should be a good match.”

The USA limited the Italian offense to the point that no European player got to reach double digits in scoring against them – outside hitters Alessandro Michieletto and Daniele Lavia were the most productive players for the world champions with nine and eight points, respectively.

Volleyball Nations League 2023: full schedule and results

The American dominance was also visible in the match stats as the winners dominated in kills (44 to 33) and blocks (ten to six), besides benefiting from more opponent errors (18 to 13). Italy got the most aces, prevailing in that category by four to three.

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