RIMINI, Italy, June 25, 2021 - Amazing USA came
back from a set down to beat Brazil 3-1 (26-28,
25-23, 25-23, 25-21) and claim their third title
in as many editions of the competition, as the
2021 FIVB Women's Volleyball Nations League
wrapped up Friday night in Italy's Adriatic
resort of Rimini with a final worthy of the
class of the two rivals.
Brazil blew a four-point lead at 19-15 in the
first set as USA closed in to draw level at
21-21, but the South Americans were first to
reach set point. USA cancelled that with a
sideout by Michelle Bartsch-Hackley and took the
lead after an attack on the net by Tandara
There was drama at the end, when Brazil coach Ze
Roberto challenged the last point originally
awarded to USA after a hit on the net by Fe
Garay, but deemed on the replay to have involved
a net touch by Foluke Akinradewo.
USA came from two points behind at the second
technical timeout to overtake Brazil and reach
set point with two to spare in the second set. A
huge block by Carol Gattaz on Bartsch-Hackley
cancelled the first, but then Haleigh Washington
made the kill on USA's first shot at a sideout.
It was a tight third set, but Brazil were ahead
by a point at 22-21 before a kill by
Bartsch-Hackley and a block by Jordyn Poulter on
Gabi Guimaraes brought USA ahead and Washington
attacked to reach set point. Brazil pulled one
back on the sideout but Poulter again blocked
Gabi for the last point.
Natalia, who had come on off the bench to
replace Fe Garay in the third set, started in
the fourth and Brazil made their intentions
known that they weren't going down without a
fight and quickly built a four-point lead.
Annie Drews came to the rescue again and scored
ten points in the fourth set alone as Brazil's
lead evaporated and USA shot ahead to reach
match point with four to spare before
Bartsch-Hackley pushed the ball off the hand of
Fe Garay and out of bounds to seal the game.
Bartsch-Hackley, the MVP of the inaugural VNL in
2018, was again awarded the prestigious award.
She was top scorer of the game on 22 points and
there was nothing Brazil's best scorer, Gabi on
18, could do.