China Turkiye Volleyball Nations League 2024-min

Chinese players celebrate their huge win over reigning VNL champions Türkiye

Eleven months after getting to first place in the FIVB World Rankings following a victory over China in the Volleyball Nations League gold medal match, Türkiye were taken down from the top spot by the same opponents on Saturday in Hong Kong. With that, Brazil are now the top team in the Rankings.

  • Watch Volleyball Nations League 2024 live on VBTV

Playing in front of over 10,000 of their home fans in the third week of the Preliminary Phase of the VNL 2024, the Chinese fed from the incredible atmosphere at the Hong Kong Coliseum and staged an unlikely comeback, beating the defending champions in one of the most exciting matches of the tournament so far.

The result cost the Turkish 8.24 World Ranking points, bringing their total down to 383.93 and making Brazil pass them for the top spot, with 389.93. The Europeans will have a chance to immediately return to first place as they’re set to face the undefeated South Americans on Sunday in Hong Kong at 17:00 local time (9:00 GMT), with the winners entering the Paris Olympics as the top-seeded women's national team.

Besides serving as revenge for last year’s defeat in the VNL gold medal match, Sunday’s victory also confirmed China’s presence in the 2024 VNL Finals as the Asians got to 23 points (eight wins) in the VNL standings and are guaranteed among the top seven national teams at the end of the Preliminary Phase. The triumph also adds to what was an already special week for the Chinse, who won all three matches they played in Hong Kong so far and also booked their tickets to the Paris Games.

Keeping superstar Zhu Ting on the bench during the entire match, China relied on fellow outside hitter Li Yingying and she delivered, scoring a team-high 25 points, with 20 kills, three aces and two blocks. The Chinese also got 28 points from their middle blocker duo, with Wang Yuanyuan registering 17 (14 kills, three blocks) and Yuan Xinyue adding another 11, with seven kills and four blocks.

“Being able to beat a strong team like Türkiye is amazing,” team captain Yuan commented. “We had to fight them very hard to come back and the victory is the result of our work to take advantage of the environment and to keep everyone in system. Hopefully, we can build from it and continue improving. We’re excited with what we did over the last few days here, but we’ll keep focused on the VNL Finals and the Olympics.”

Türkiye, who are also guaranteed in the VNL Finals and the Olympics, had the match’s top scorer in opposite Melissa Vargas, who fired 31 points, with 27 kills, two blocks and two aces. Outside hitter Ebrar Karakurt tallied 17 and middle blockers Eda Erdem and Asli Kalaç added 12 apiece.

“I think serving was the main difference today,” Erdem said. “We served really well in the first two sets and they couldn’t play their game. We couldn’t push as hard from the third set on and allowed them to play with a lot of variation and it got very difficult for us to stop them. We know what we have to do better and hopefully we can do it against Brazil.”

Melissa Vargas turkiye China Volleyball Nations League 2024-min

Vargas had her second-most productive match in the VNL 2024, with 31 points

Tapia scores 37, but Dominicans fall

Also on Saturday, young Dominican Republic's opposite Alondra Tapia became one of just four players to score 37 points or more in a VNL match, but saw her team go down to Bulgaria in Hong Kong.

The 20-year-old Dominican had a stellar performance, leaving the court with 35 kills, one block and one ace to her name. The second-best scorer in her team was outside hitter Yonkaira Peña, who tallied 14 points.

Bulgaria had several players contributing to their second victory in the VNL 2024, with outside hitters Miroslava Paskova and Maria Yordanova scoring 21 and 20 points respectively, opposite Merelin Nikolova adding 16 and middle blocker Mariya Krivoshiyska contributing another 14.

Poland got their tenth victory in 11 matches by downing Thailand . Polish outside hitter Martyna Czyrniańska led all scorers with 18 points, while Thailand’s Chatchu-On Moksri added 12 for the Asians.

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

Besides the match between Turkish and Brazilians, the last day of the Preliminary Phase of the VNL 2024 will have two other encounters in Hong Kong, with Germany facing Thailand at 13:30 local time (5:30 GMT) and China meeting Poland at 20:30 local time (12:30 GMT).

  • Get your VNL merchandise now by clicking here
  • Sync the VNL 2024 with your calendar here
  • Download the VNL Fantasy app here