No team has remained undefeated after two weeks of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League. Turkey and the Netherlands had an unblemished record after Week 1 of last year’s tournament. However, the Turks lost to Brazil in the next round. The Dutch suffered the same fate against the United States.
This year, the last remaining undefeated team will enter Week 3 with a mark on the loss column. That result, as well as the outcomes of the other matches, shuffled the Power Rankings after the second week of competition. The classification is based on the team’s performance in Week 2 alone.
Struggling at the bottom
16) Russia (1-5)
Vadim Pankov’s squad were winless in three games. Sadly, the only set they’ve won ended with a 25-23 tally against Japan. They scored only 19 points in a set against Turkey and 14 versus struggling Germany.
15) Bulgaria (0-6)
The Bulgarians remain winless through six matches. However, they won one set more than the Russian in Week 2. Ivan Pankov’s crew won both opening sets against Poland (25-23) and the Netherlands (25-22). They tallied 20 points or more in seven of 11 sets.
14) Germany (1-5)
The Germans finally owned a victory in VNL 2019 when they outclassed the Russians in straight sets. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there as they went down in three sets to both Turkey and Japan. Germany came up with just 15 markers in the deciding set against the Turks.
13) South Korea (1-5)
Stefano Lavarini’s team earned their initial win in the competition against Belgium. They could not replicate the success against Thailand and China. The Koreans came up with only 23 combined points in sets two and three after tallying 21 in the opener against the Chinese.
12) Thailand (2-4)
Their triumph over the Koreans were sandwiched by losses the Chinese and the Belgians. Their Asian rivals allowed them only nine points in the third and deciding chapter. The Southeast Asian powerhouse were right there against Belgium because they scored 21, 22, and 23 markers in each stage.
11) Belgium (3-3)
Their week would have been disastrous if not for their victory over the Thais. Coach Gert Vande Broek’s wards scored an average of around 18 points per set opposite South Korea. That number drops to 16.66 per frame against China.
Middle of the pack
10) Netherlands (2-4)
The Dutch added one win in Week 2. That could have been two if they won the fifth set against Brazil. They had the momentum coming into the tiebreaker. Sadly, the Brazilians pulled away in the end, 15-11. Their other loss came against Poland.
9) Serbia (3-3)
Zoran Terzic is lucky to have an even record after the absence of Tijana Boskovic and Brankica Mihajlovic in the second round robin. They allowed the Dominicans to score only 12 points in set three of the contest. Unfortunately, they dropped a four-setter against the defending VNL champions. The Serbians also lost to Italy despite claiming set one.
8) Dominican Republic (3-3)
The Dominicans have the penchant for the dramatic. They defeated Brazil in opening week and edged the United States in the second round. Save for that five-set victory, it has been a down week after losing to last year’s World Championship finalists.
7) Brazil (4-2)
The South American competitors would have swept the pool if not for a five-set defeat against Poland. However, they might have lost two as well if the Dutch did not falter in the tiebreaker. Brazil finished a successful week with a three-set victory over Bulgaria.
6) Turkey (5-1)
It’s shocking to see an undefeated Turkish squad drop a three-setter to Japan. Worst, they only came up with 14 points in the deciding set of that match. They did win two games in the pool. But those were against teams with a combined two victories in VNL 2019 so far.
Top of the charts
The top guns finally came out for the Italians. The result? Two easy victories against the Dominican Republic and Serbia. Davide Mazzanti’s unit fought to the end against the Americans. Too bad they came up short in the end. Their 36 unforced errors came to bite them in that match.
Most volleyball spectators thought that the reigning Volleyball Nations Leagues will remain unbeaten after Week 2. After all, they have slayed powerhouse teams Italy and Serbia. But the Dominicans had other answers. The American bowed down in five despite taking the fourth set.
The Poles are only one of three undefeated teams in Week 2. After losing sets three and four, Jacek Nawrocki’s troops outclassed the Brazilians in the decider, 15-9. Poland swept the next three chapters after dropping the opener to Bulgaria. They limited the Netherlands to 15 points in the fourth frame of their clash. Malwina Smarzek remains to be the hottest player in the VNL.
The Japanese dropped just one set the entire week and they only lost by two points. What a way to bounce back after a 1-2 record in the opening pool. That dominating performance against Turkey is the feather on their cap this week.
Talk about impressive, the Chinese let their best players compete and they did not drop a set. Aside from their 25-9 demolition of Thailand, they only allowed 16 and 14 points for Belgium in sets one and three. They closed their fantastic week by limiting the South Koreans to an average of around 14 points per set.