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Serbia edges USA to seal ticket to Finals

SANTA FE, Argentina, June 12, 2018 - Bojana Milenkovic was on fire for Serbia to help seal a place in the VNL finals and end table-topping USA’s 10 match winning streak with a thumping 3-1 victory (30-28, 23-25, 25-20, 25-18). 

The Serbs arrived in South America knowing bagging maximum points would be enough for them to reach the finals in China. 

And following a stellar display with a mainly second string team minus the powerful Tijana Boskovic and head coach Branko Kovacevic who didn’t travel to Santa Fe, the Europeans brilliantly put an end to the Americans amazing run and served notice of their quality with a super win. 

Wing spiker Milenkovic, 21, was the star - ending with 17 spikes and six blocks while the similarly excellent Ana Bjelica weighed in with a healthy 20 spikes. Jelena Blagojevic finished with 15 points to cap an excellent all round display. 

Perhaps Karch Kiraly’s side already have one eye on the finals having already sealed their ticket last week but their passing game was left wanting here - they also gave up 27 errors compared to 23 from the Serbs - in what was a repeat of the Olympic semifinals in Rio two years ago which saw Serbia bag a 3-2 win. 

Michelle Bartsch-Hackley was the top scorer with 22 spikes, three blocks and an ace while Andrea Drews scored 10 and Foluke Akinradewo notched 11 but it wasn’t enough to stop the US sliding to what is just their second defeat of an otherwise highly successful campaign so far.