TEXT Courtesy of Volleyball Nationals League (FIVB)
The Serbia women’s national volleyball team won the Macao pool of the first Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Volleyball Nations League (VNL) after beating China, Poland, and Thailand during the tournament that was held in Macao in May.
Serbia beat Thailand (3–1), Poland (3–1) and China (3–1), commanding wins that netted the team a maximum nine points – three per match – toward their pool ranking.
Having dominated in Macao, Serbia moved to third within the overall standings in week two of the competition. Tijana Boskovic gave the top performance for Serbia with 25 spikes, 5 blocks – a team record – and 2 aces. Overall, scoring an impressive 32 points.
China placed eighth, a win over Thailand and narrow loss to Poland, earning them four points toward their pool ranking. Gong Xiangyu led China with 11 spikes, a block, and an ace.
The VNL is a new competition launched by the FIVB in 2018 for the top men’s and women’s national teams in the world. It comprises a total of 16 teams for each gender, 12 core teams and 4 challenger teams.
For the women’s competition, Brazil, Italy, China, Serbia, Thailand, Turkey, South Korea, Germany, Japan, Russia, the Netherlands, and the US form the 12 core countries.
Argentina, Poland, Belgium, and the Dominican Republic have been selected as challenger teams.
The Preliminary Round of the inaugural 2018 VNL ran from 15 May until 14 June for the women. Each team plays against the other 15 teams once for a total of 120 matches, before entering the Finals, where 10 matches will determine which of the 6 competing teams take home a medal.
Each core nation hosts at least one pool, and the host country for the Finals will be guaranteed a chance to compete for gold. This year, China hosted the Finals in Nanjing, 27 June–1 July.
Macao has held 21 editions of the FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Grand Prix from 1994 to 2017.