Next games weekend has just ended. How prsented every team? How looks overall table after 6 games? Which players where impressive and who disappointed? Check it out!
Standings after second weekend:
1. China (17 points, 6/0)
No matter, who plays there, Chinese team won everything, losing only 3 sets in 6 games. This weekend China won against Argentina, Czech Republic and Turkey. Lang Ping tried different players than week ago, we could see opposite Chunlei Zeng, outside hitters Ruoqi Hui and Na Yin, middle blockers Junjing Yang and Yunli Xu and libero Danna Shan.
2. Japan (17 points, 6/0)
Even though Japanese NT is host of Final Six tournament, they are among top teams. Three girls from olympic games: Kimura, Ebata and Shinnabe with new players like Miyashita are doing good job. They won in Płock with Germany, Poland and Kazakhstan.
3. Serbia (16 points, 5/1)
Team coached by Zoran Terzic had easy first weekend. in second they defeated Algeria and Netherlands, but lost with USA after tiebreak. Again main roles here have outside hitter Brankica Mihajlovic, opposite Jovana Brakocevic, middle blocker Milena Rasic and setter Maja Ognjenovic. After second weekend in team won’t appear outside hitter Jelena Nikolic who has knee meniscus injury.
4. Italy (15 points, 5/1)
“Azzure” had quite easy draw, having only Germany and Russia till now. In Yekaerinburg Italians lost with Russia and won with Cuba and Thailand. Good impression made opposite, born in Lithuania Indre Sorokaite, who is a bit underrated player. Next weekend due to ECH preparations we won’t see main links: outside hitter Carolina Costagrande, middles Martina Guiggi and Valentina Arrighetti and setter, Noemi Signorile, they’ll train in Italy.
5. United States (14 points, 5/1)
New coach and definitely changed line-up comparing with last year and USA again is among the best teams. In Belgrad they won with Serbia, Netherlands and Algeria. Best players were opposite Kelly Murphy and setter Alisha Glass.
6. Brazil (14 points, 5/1)
“Canarinhas” showe in Puerto Rico that they weren’t in best shape there. Proves are loss with Bulgaria and 4 sets torment with Dominican Republic. Only with Puerto Rico they had 3-0 walk. Ze Roberto adapted back to play middle blockers Fabiana and Thaisa and libero Fabi.
7. Turkey (13 points, 4/2)
Turkish NT is doing quite good. They lost only with China this weekend, beating low rated Czech Republic and Argentina. In fmatches against weaker opponents Massimo Barbolini checked also substitutions like opposite Polen Uslupehlivan. Good job is doing setter Naz Aydemir.
8. Bulgaria (13 points, 4/2)
Now I have to admit, that I understimated that team more than a bit, placing them in “background teams”. They beated Brazil, which was a big surprise, but these players deserved for it. In Puerto Rico Bulgarians won also with a host team and lost after tiebreak with Dominican Republic. Good team work and few years of coaching by Marcelo Abbondanza gave results. Important players are wing-spikers Dobriana Rabadzhieva, Elitsa Vasilieva and Emilya Nikolova, not less needed there is middle blocker Strashimira Filipova, Lora Kitipova is promising setter.
9. Russia (12 points, 4/2)
Team lost distance in Campinas. Fortunately, they didn’t lose more in home country, beating Italy, Thailand and Cuba. Again important was opposite Natalya Obmochaeva, good supported by outside hitter Tatiana Kosheleva in first two games. I like their new libero Anna Malova, this time also few chances to play had also second libero Svetlana Kryuchkova, who’s slowly coming back.
10. Dominican Republic (11 points, 4/2)
Unpredictable team could surprise us more like did it Bulgaria, but they didn’t. They lost with Brazil, beating Bulgaria and Puerto Rico. Coach Marco Kwiek again “juggled players in roster”. Only sure players are outside hitter, main offensive player Bethania De La Cruz and main defense specialist, libero Brenda Castillo.
11. Germany (11 points, 3/3)
Team definitely presented better in Poland than in Italy. They lost with Japan under dramatic circumstances. Next two games with Poland and Kazkhstan were for them much more easier. Opposite Margareta Kozuch again was ost important player, her experienced showed also middle blocker Christiane Fürst.
After Germany we have a “big hole” and lower teams have particularly no chances for Final Six.
12. Netherlands (6 points, 2/4)
“Oranje” with new roster in Serbia defeated only weak Algeria and lost with Serbia and USA. They have good outside hitter Anne Buijs, but other players didn’t have good days. There was lack of good opposite, Judith Pietersen was shadow of herself, Manon Flier and Lonneke Sloetjes are still with health problems and that’s the reason why both are underperforming.
13. Czech Republic (6 points, 2/4)
This team isn’t still ready yet for stronger teams, like Turkey and China in Hong Kong, but they beated Argentina. Main role has opposite Aneta Havlickova, impressive player is definitely 17-year-old outside hitter Michaela Mlejnkova.
14. Thailand (6 points, 2/4)
Team which was in WGP finals in last two editions this time is disappointing. Except ouside hitter Onuma Sittirak they have no strong spiker. Opposite Malika Kanthong last times played badly, better was her substitute converted from middle, Ajcharaporn Kongyot. Also libero Piyanut Pannoy is much weaker than last year, better was system with her as receiver and second libero Wanna Buakaew as defender.
15. Argentina (4 points, 2/4)
As was expected Argentina tore some points off, but that’s it. Impressive is their middle blocker Emilce Sosa. Wing spikers aren’t stable at all, good job in China did also setter Yael Castiglione who was given an individual award there.
16. Poland (4 points, 1/5)
After so-so weekend in Brazil, in Płock poland was terrible team. Germany and Japan gave Poles not many chances to fight with them, with eah team there was one set to take over, but it wasn’t used at all. Team won only with weak Kazakhstan. Only pluses here are opposite/outside hitter Katarzyna Skowrońska-Dolata, main spiker of team and perspective middle blocker, 19-year-old Agnieszka Kąkolewska.
17. Kazakhstan (1 points, 0/6)
Team was defeated by all oponents, this weekend by Japan, Poland and Germany. Main weapon is opposite Tatyana Mudritskaya, since that tournament main weakness and serve target for others became outside hitter Irina Shenberger.
18. Cuba (0 points, 0/6)
Team barely stole single sets from Thailand and Russia. These inexperienced girls made many mistkaes. Good impression made 13-year-old player Melissa Vargas Abreu as opposite with her spikes and serve she was best scorer from Cuban team. I miss good performance by middle blocker Rosana Giel, but with new setters it is for her impossible to get good set quick ball on the middle.
19. Puerto Rico (0 points, 0/6)
As host Puerto Rico didn’t get any single set. It’s another caraibbean team, who has difficulties. It’s hard to name single weakness, all elemnts leads to it. Main scorer is outside hitter Karina Ocasio.
20. Algeria (0 points, 0/6)
Our “cinderella” of tournament form Africa got only 206 points in 18 sets, which gives us average 11.4 scores per set and half of them probably comes from other teams’ mistakes. I hope that FIVB won’t let any African team play in Grand Prix in next year, we see how it looks. I guess that in next weekend we’ll se the same performance.
Best players after two weekends according to stats:
Best Scorer: Natalya Obmochaeva (Russia)
Best Spiker: Kelly Murphy (USA)
Best Blocker: Milena Rasic (Serbia)
Best Server: Heike Beier (Germany)
Best Digger: Paulina Maj (Poland)
Best Receiver: Monica De Gennaro (Italy)
Best Setter: Jingsi Shen (China)
Best team of the weekend:
Disappointing team from the weekend: