Poland finished top of the Women's Volleyball Nations League preliminary round table ©FIVB

Poland clinched first seed in the Women's Volleyball Nations League (VNL) following the preliminary round's third and final week.

The two-time European champions suffered a poor start at the Chilbo Gymnasium in South Korean city Suwon as they lost 3-2 to Tokyo 2020 gold medallists the United States.

The Americans prevailed in a 2 hour 08min epic 17-25, 25-15, 27-25, 28-30, 16-14, despite Magdalena Stysiak posting a leading 24 points.

Poland were forced to go the distance again in their next match against Germany, but this time they came out on top 15-25, 25-19, 25-19, 19-25, 17-15.

The 6ft 8in Stysiak dominated on attack once more as she registered 19 points while Agnieszka Korneluk's match-high of five blocks proved pivotal.

The result confirmed Poland's progression to the knockout rounds.

"Another tiebreak in less than 24 hours!" Korneluk said.

"It was a very tough game with a difficult team against us, but most importantly, we won!"

Stefano Lavarini's side then cruised past hosts South Korea 25-23, 25-18, 25-16 to deny the US from stealing pole position.

After their victory against Poland, the US downed Germany 3-1 but suffered a fifth-set defeat to China which subjected them to second place overall.

Outside hitter Li Yingying led China to success with a resounding 28 points, including two aces.

"I feel very happy today, because the US team are very strong and there were difficult moments," the 23-year-old said.

"But I just played relaxed and I hope to keep improving with every match.

"This was a great win for our team. It gives us great confidence ahead of the finals.

"We will work on our problems and keep improving."

Li Yingying's 28 points helped China to beat the US 3-2 and prevent their opponents from topping the preliminary round table ©FIVB
Li Yingying's 28 points helped China to beat the US 3-2 and prevent their opponents from topping the preliminary round table ©FIVB

China improved to an 8-4 win-loss record to take fifth place overall and move into the knockout rounds in Arlington in Texas.

They are due to meet Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic champions Brazil, who also finished as runners-up in the last edition of the Games in Japan. 

Brazil finished with the same record but had a marginally better set ratio which put them one position higher in fourth.

They beat reigning European champions Italy 3-2 at the Hua Mak Indoor Stadium in Thailand which also staged preliminary round fixtures in parallel to the matches in Suwon.

Despite the strong start, they then suffered disappointing defeats to Canada, which ended 3-2, and Turkey and Thailand who recorded straight-set results.

Their sensational form in previous weeks helped them to the fourth-place finish, however.

Italy enjoyed the opposite after the meeting with Brazil as they beat Canada 3-2, Croatia 3-0, and Japan 3-1 to seal sixth.

Japan were the last team in Thailand to move into the next round with a 3-2 win over Turkey, despite losses to Thailand and The Netherlands in addition to the Italians.

The teams are set to travel to the US for the quarter-finals which are scheduled to take place at the College Park Center in Arlington on July 12 and 13.