ARLINGTON, Texas — China took all Brazil could give in a battle of women’s heavyweights before coming away with a 25-21, 20-25, 25-20, 25-23 victory Thursday in the Volleyball Nations League quarterfinals.
China now gets top-seeded Poland in Saturday’s semifinals, while the USA awaits the winner of Thursday’s later match between Türkiye and Italy.
China was the more aggressive team from the start at College Park Center on the campus of Texas-Arlington in a match in which it had 15 blocks to Brazil’s six. Even in defeat Brazil had a huge 60-49 advantage in kills and had eight aces to China’s one.
Brazil had few answers for Yingying Li, China’s left-handed outside who had 16 kills with three errors in 40 attacks. Xiangyu had 14 kills and Xinyue Yaun had six kills and seven blocks, two at the end of the match. At 22-22 she stuffed Julia Bergmann and then did the same to Tainara Santos. Gabi Guimaraes made it 24-23 with a kill, but then Santos served into the net to end it.
Thaisa led Brazil with 17 kills and an ace. Guimaraes had 14 kills, a block, 12 digs and an ace. Santos had 10 kills, a block and and two aces. Julia Bergmann, the former Georgia Tech star, didn’t play the first set before playing the final three and had four kills and nine digs.
In the first set, China coach Cai Bin called time at 17-17 and his team responded with a 4-0 run. Then in the fourth set, he called time at 18-18 after back-to-back Brazil points. It worked again as China settled down. He said through a translator that he wouldn’t say what strategies he might have employed, but in both cases said he told him to simply calm down and play it point by point.
China, which beat Brazil in five in Japan on May 31 to open VNL, got swept by Poland in Hong Kong on June 17.