FIVB VNL 2019 preview – can coach Jamie Morrison lead the Dutch to the top?

Expect the Netherlands to come swinging when they take the court at FIVB VNL 2019, as the team vies to break onto the podium against the world’s best volleyball teams.

Led by young and brilliant American coach Jamie Morrison, the Netherlands is talented with plenty of energy to spare. It would be foolish to take them lightly.

2018 FIVB VNL record & stats

Win/loss: 12 / 3

Points: 34

Sets win/loss/ratio: 39 / 18 / 2.167

Points win/loss/ratio: 1327 / 1176 / 1.128

Final position: 5th

What’s new for Netherlands in FIVB VNL 2019?

One key development to keep an eye on is the potential return of star middle blocker Robin de Kruijf. The 27-year-old suffered a meniscus injury last year and was unable to recover in time for the World Championship. But she has since been back to top form playing in Italy.

Observers have noted that having de Kruijf at the World Championship would’ve made a world of difference for the Netherlands. So we’ll see how she impacts the team at FIVB VNL 2019, should she play.

Netherlands world ranking: 7 (October 2018)

Netherlands provisional roster

Full provisional squad listed with subsequently cut players in red.

Head coach: Jamie Morrison

Setters: Femke Stoltenborg, Britt Bongaerts, Laura Dijkema, Sarah Van Aalen, Fleur Meinders

Liberos: Kirsten Knip, Myrthe Schoot, Florien Reesink

Middle Blockers: Robin De Kruijf, Juliet Lohuis, Demi Korevaar,  Indy Baijens, Tessa Polder, Nicole Koolhaas, Lynn Blenckers, Laura De Zwart,  Eline Timmerman

Wing Spikers (Outside & Opposite Hitters): Maret Balkestein-Grothues, Yvon Belien, Celeste Plak, Lonneke Sloetjes, Anne Buijs, Hestor Jasper, Nicole Oude Luttikhuis, Marrit Jasper, Nika Daalderop, Annick Meijers, Rianne Vos, Dagmar Boom, Anniek Siebring

Average age: 23.2 (13th oldest)

Average height: 186cm (4th tallest)

Netherlands players to watch in FIVB VNL 2019: Lonneke Sloetjes, Robin de Kruijf

Lonneke Slöetjes, 28, is the Dutch team’s star opposite spiker worth paying attention to at FIVB VNL 2019. She was critical to the team’s silver medal performance at the 2017 European Championship, where she was also given the Best Opposite Spiker award.

She currently plays for Turkish heavyweight club team VakifBank. If the Dutch are to break through to the podium, Slöetjes will be key to their success. She’s one of the world’s few players you can bank on to score 35 to 40 points a game.

De Kruijf, now recovered from injury, is definitely worth watching too. It would be good to see her back playing for the national team and making an impact.

Lonneke Sloetjes & Robin De Kruijf will be crucial for the Netherlands

Netherlands FIVB VNL 2019 match schedule

All fixture times listed in GMT.

Week 1

May 21 at 18:00 – Serbia v Netherlands

May 22 at 18:00 – Netherlands v Turkey

May 23 at 15:00 – Netherlands v Korea

Week 2

May 28 at 17:30 – Netherlands v Brazil

May 29 at 17:30 – Netherlands v Bulgaria

May 30 at 14:30 – Poland v Netherlands

Week 3

June 4 at 09:30 – Netherlands v Italy

June 5 at 12:30 – Netherlands v China

June 6 at 09:30 – Japan v Netherlands

Week 4

June 11 at 15:30 – Belgium v Netherlands

June 12 at 15:30 – Dominican Republic v Netherlands

June 13 at 18:30 – Germany v Netherlands

Week 5

June 18 at 11:00 – Netherlands v Thailand

June 19 at 11:00 – Netherlands v USA

June 20 at 14:00 – Russia v Netherlands

Netherlands games to watch out for in FIVB VNL 2019

The Netherlands finished strong in the preliminary round of last year’s FIVB VNL but ultimately bowed out in the pool stage, losing to Brazil and China. Rematches against those two teams will be interesting for the Netherlands.

Likewise, it should be exciting to see how it stacks up against the likes of USA, Serbia and Italy and the ‘local derby’ against Belgium should be exciting!

The bottom line: Can American coach Jamie Morrison lead the Dutch to the top?

The rise of this Dutch team can be traced back to the time of former coach Giovanni Giudetti, when he steered them to a silver medal in the 2015 European Championship and a fourth-place finish in the 2016 Rio Olympics. He laid down the groundwork and when he left, put in a good word for current coach Jamie Morrison, who served as Giudetti’s assistant at VakifBank.

The 38-year-old American, who took over in 2017, is an amalgam of his big-time mentors, drawing from the wisdom and knowledge of not just one legendary coach in Giudetti, but also in two others when he served as their assistants. The first is Karch Kiraly, the current coach of the USA women’s team, and the second is Hugh McCutcheon, the former head coach of both USA men’s and women’s teams.

Between all three of those world-class coaches, Morrison learned first-hand what it takes to win everything from the World Grand Prix to the Olympics.

Morrison’s leadership has buoyed this Dutch team after the era of Giudetti, steering them to fifth place in last year’s FIVB VNL and another fourth-place finish in the 2018 World Championship. Clearly he is more than capable of ensuring this team stays a contender. But his real test will be whether he can take the Netherlands to the next level. This FIVB VNL 2019 is another chapter to see how far they can go next.

What is a realistic FIVB VNL projection for the Netherlands women’s team?

It’s hard to determine where the Netherlands might end up once the dust settles on FIVB VNL 2019.

Having just missed out on the Final Four in 2018 this talented team will have another years worth of experience. That can be said of all the teams but the Netherlands have a significant number of their roster playing across the top club leagues across Europe.

With Robin De Kruijf back in action and Lonneke Sloetjes firing there is no reason the Netherlands shouldn’t be targeting a medal.

How to watch Netherlands in FIVB VNL 2019

FIVB haven’t as yet released the broadcast details for the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League. Once it is updated we will update this section.

For now we are able to say that fans in the Netherlands were able to watch the 2018 tournament on and Ziggo Sports.