Lausanne, Switzerland, December 14, 2019 - One hundred and twenty matches, 443 sets, 19,486 rallies for a net total of 204 hours and 27 minutes of play marked the build up to the 2019 FIVB Women's Volleyball Nations League Finals, which set off the FIVB volleyball season this year, starting in late May.
The competition was all the more remarkable for the high scoring registered all around with some remarkable appearances - not least from Poland's Malwina Smarzek who became the VNL's top scorer for the second year running.
Over the course of the 120 preliminary round matches, 14 entries were registered in the list of players to have scored 30 points or more in a single VNL game. Of these 14 entries, six belonged to Smarzek alone, including an all-time record of 42 in her team's four-set win over Bulgaria.
The race to make the finals was almost all over after the opening day of Week 5, with Brazil, Turkey, Italy and USA all confirmed to join hosts China in the Final Six.
That left only one spot still in dispute, with Japan, Belgium and the Dominican Republic scrambling to catch up with Poland for that coveted last ticket to the finals.
But later that weekend Poland put an end to the Dominican Republic's aspirations with a five-set win and Japan's hopes were dashed when they fell in straight sets to Korea.
That left only Belgium in the running - but they had a mountain to climb, including beating powerhouse Brazil for full points and although the Yellow Tigers played a plucky game that win simply never materialised as they crumbled in three sets.
That done, all six finalists were eventually confirmed, ready to begin their preparing for the final countdown on the road to China where they were to fight for the VNL medals.
At the bottom of the table, rookies Bulgaria managed just two wins in their 15 matches and were relegated, to be replaced for the 2020 season by Canada.
Standings after completion of pool play in the 2019 FIVB Women's Volleyball Nations League.
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