While volleyball is a team sport, impressive individual performances can get much praise. Here are the players who have turned a lot of heads in Week 2 of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League 2019.
Malwina Smarzek – May 28 vs Bulgaria
This performance made her the tournament’s best player for the second straight week. Poland’s opposite spiker tallied a VNL single-game record 41 points in four sets against lowly Bulgaria including 13 apiece in sets two and three. Smarzek also had four kill blocks and a service ace. She completed 36 attacks out of 68 tries.
More importantly, the Poles kept the Bulgarians winless in VNL 2019. Jacek Nawrocki’s crew swept the next three sets after Bulgaria snatched the opener, 25-23. Poland ended the second and third frames with identical 25-21 score lines. They finished the contest to the tune of 25-17.
Prior to this game, Smarzek scored 31 in a five-set triumph over Brazil. She tallied 11 markers in the third set that Brazil won, 28-26. The 22-year-old redeemed herself by tallying six points in the tiebreaker that ended in 15-9 to their favor. Smarzek also had three aces in the match.
Paola Egonu – May 30 vs Serbia
The leading scorer and top opposite hitter of last year’s World Championship reintroduced herself against the team that defeated them. The 20-year-old made 32 points against a Serbian squad without Tijana Boskovic and Brankica Mihajlovic. Egonu scored 11 markers in set two alone.
What’s more impressive is her seven service aces. Compare that to the Serbians who had nine as a team. She was also a menace at the net with three kill blocks. However, the Serbians claimed the first set, 27-25. The Italians owned the next three, 25-17, 27-25, 25-23.
Marrit Jasper – May 29 vs Bulgaria
Seems like some players are performing well against the Bulgarians. After Smarzek’s 41-point performance, Jasper led the Netherlands with 26 points in a four-set triumph. The Dutch wing spiker made nine points in set two which they won, 25-22. Jamie Morrison’s team completed the conquest in the fourth set wherein Jasper tallied six.
The 22-year-old hitter had five kill blocks and an ace in her total output. However, this is just the second win for the Netherlands despite Jasper’s performance. They lost to Brazil and Poland which increases their loss count to four after two VNL weeks.
Brayelin Martinez – May 30 vs United States
First, they defeated Russia. Then, they won against Brazil after a long while. But the Dominican Republic’s biggest shock is their five-set victory over the previously undefeated United States. What’s more startling is that the Dominicans limited the Americans to just ten points in set one. Martinez had a slow start with two points.
It was a see-saw battle since as the Americans won sets two and four. The Domincans salvaged set three. In the end, the Dominican Republic had the last laugh by taking the tiebreak, 15-11. As for Martinez? She bucked the slow start to finish with 26 points. Her scoring per set reads six, five, seven, and six markers from sets two to five.
Meryem Boz – May 30 vs Russia
Turkey’s team captain went scoreless in three of their six games. But she had a breakthrough when the finished with 17 points against Germany. However, it’s her performance against the Russians that is worth the notice. Boz collected 25 points in three sets, including ten in the decider.
Three of her scores are blocks while another one is an ace. The wing spiker only needed 39 tries to get 21 attack points. Turkey is on top of the Volleyball Nations League 2019 standings at 5-1. Boz peaking at this moment will help them remain on top and possibly enter the Final Six.