Time flies so fast that three weeks of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League are already over. But this round of competition will be marked as the time that the top players finally shone. With the Final Six just around the corner, teams are making their push to play beyond the preliminaries. But while some players excelled this week, some will need to bounce back in Week 4.
Hot players in VNL 2019 Week 3
She scored 40 points in their five-set loss to China. Her attack error gave the winning point to the Chinese who had to come back from two sets down. But the Italians won’t have that cushion if not for her domination in the first two sets. Egonu also had 20 points in their match against Japan.
The team captain is a vital cog in China’s sweep of its Week 3 opponents. She led the squad with 20 points opposite the Japanese. Zhu followed that up with 19 against the Netherlands. But she was at her best versus the Italians by tallying 22 attacks, three blocks, and an ace.
The Polish opposite spiker came back to form by ending with 33 points in their five-set triumph over Russia. Prior to that, she made 21 versus Belgium and 19 in a loss to Serbia. The VNL’s leading scorer now has 247 points, 51 more than the next player. Smarzek is also the league’s fourth-best attacker with a 49.44% success rate.
The Dominican Republic leading scorer started the week slow by tallying just 15 points in their loss to Turkey. But she did bounce back with 36 points in their five-set victory over Thailand. The Dominicans earned their second win in Week 3 against winless Bulgaria. Martinez had 26 markers in the match.
The Brazilian skipper had 14 points apiece in their games against Korea and Germany. In fact, Ana Guedes had more points in their match against the Germans. But her star shone when she tore the United States net defense to collect 26 points in a win. Twenty-four of her points came off attacks.
Save for her six-point outing over Turkey, it was an impressive week for the Thai hitter. She finished with 19 points against the Dominican Republic. But her 30-point explosion against Bulgaria was the highlight of her week. Her eight kill blocks against the taller Bulgarians is worth the commendation.
Who needs to bounce back?
Last week, the Japanese won all of their games. It’s a tough turnaround as they only won one game in Week 3. Sub-par performances from two of their top hitter could have contributed to their demise. Nabeya had a solid start with 13 points against China. But she only had nine against the Italians and zero in the game opposite the Netherlands. On the other hand, Kurogo did not breach double figures this week. Her highest output was eight points.
The Dutch wing spiker had scoring totals of 16, 25, and five last week. Her output in Week 3 was nothing close to those. She only had seven points against Italy and another seven against Japan. Jasper’s highest production was 13 points in their straight-sets defeat to the Chinese.