Silver lining: United States loses to Poland in VNL championship match

Photo courtesy of the FIVB

The gold-medal run for the United States once again turned into silver.

The United States for the second consecutive year came up short in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League gold-medal match as it lost to Poland 25-23, 24-26, 25-18, 25-18 on Sunday in Poland.

Poland playing in front of a home crowd of 10,621 people out-hit the United States .434 to .314. In addition, Poland had at least a .500 attack percentage in each of the final two games to secure its first Volleyball Nations League championship.


Former Long Beach State outside attacker TJ DeFalco in the loss led the United States with 13 kills on a .438 attack percentage. DeFalco, though, was the only U.S. player with double-digit kills.

Outside attacker Aaron Russell and opposite Matt Anderson each also had nine kills against Poland.

Poland limited Anderson to his lowest offensive numbers of the finals. Anderson had at least 15 kills and at least a .400 attack percentage in both the quarterfinals and semifinals.

Opposite Lukasz Kaczmarek finished with a match-high 23 kills on a .543 attack percentage and had at least five kills in every game. Outside attacker Aleksander Sliwka also contributed 13 kills, including having five kills in the final game to help secure the victory.

Poland libero Pawel Zatorski led all players defensively with eight digs en route to being named the tournament’s most valuable player.

This is the third time since the Volleyball Nations League started in the 2018 that the United States has lost in the gold-medal match. The United States lost to Russia in 2019 and then to France last year.