Participating teams of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League will enjoy four days rest before clashing with new opponents. But we cannot rest on the fact that some players excelled and some did not perform as expected. Thus, we give you the Hot or Not List for Week 1 of VNL 2019.
Poland’s opposite hitter emerged as the tournament’s leading scorer after Week 1. The VNL Player of the Week made 27 points during their five-set loss to Italy and followed it with 30 against Germany. Smarzek scored 19 in their win over Thailand. Out of her 76 points, 67 are from attacks while seven are blocks.
At 19 years old, Karakurt is already leading the Turkish national team in scoring. She had 20 points against reigning world champions Serbia to maintain their undefeated record in the Volleyball Nations League. The Vakifbank outside hitter tallied 19 points against South Korea and followed it with 17 versus the Netherlands. She is also the tournament’s most efficient attacker with a 52.9% success rate.
The Italians have remained undefeated even without Paola Egonu and Miriam Sylla. Sorokaite is one of the reasons why. The 29-year-old spiker burned Poland with 29 points and had 13 versus Thailand. She finished Week 1 with 15 points in their straight-sets win over Germany. Sorokaite is doing these while converting about 45% of her attacks.
4) Brayelin Martinez
Winning over Brazil after a long while is the highlight of their week. But Martinez proved to be a vital cog for the Dominicans by contributing 18 points in the cause. That’s not even her best offensive output. She tallied 22 points in the loss to China and 24 versus Russia. She is third in attack efficiency at 48.7%.
5) Yuki Ishii
Japan lost two straight after winning their opener against Bulgaria. Ishii remained consistent despite the roller coaster journey. She has scored 20 or more points in all three games, her highest is 23 during their four-set loss to the United States.
Who’s not performing well in the Volleyball Nations League?
1) Brankica Mihajlovic
Her 11 points against the Netherlands are below her capability. Hoping to bounce back, she only had nine points in Serbia’s loss to Turkey. We’ve seen what she’s capable of, especially in the Japanese V.League. These numbers are nowhere near her typical production.
2) Mai Okumura
She and Ishii are the only players that have started every set for Coach Kumi Nakada. However, her production went down after an 11-point outing against Bulgaria. The middle blocker only tallied five markers against USA and seven versus Belgium. Japan lost both games that she didn’t score in double figures.
The teenager tallied 13 in their straight-sets victory over Germany. Meanwhile, she is on a slide as of late by scoring just five against the Italians. Moksri followed it with a two-point outing in their loss to Poland. She must find a way to deal with taller blockers.
4) Nele Barber
The German made 11 against Poland and ten against Thailand. Unfortunately, she managed only two points in their straight-sets defeat against Italy despite starting two of three sets. Barber hopes to cut through the net defense of Japan, Russia, and Turkey in Week 2.
The Bulgarian middle blocker connected on 14 points against Japan and 13 during their encounter with Belgium. However, she only came up with five markers against the Americans despite starting all three sets. No wonder USA dominated them in blocks, 14-3, and attacks, 40-35, in that match.