FIVB VNL 2019 preview – Russia charts way back to glory days

Russia is historically a powerhouse team in the world of women’s volleyball. It is often mentioned among the world’s best teams what with several gold medals in the World Championship and a couple of silvers at the Olympics.

It is still ranked fifth in the world but Russia is not as dominant as it used to be.

2018 FIVB VNL record & stats

Win/loss: 8 / 7

Points: 23

Sets win/loss/ratio: 26 / 29 / 0.897

Points win/loss/ratio: 1194 / 1198 / 0.997

Final position: 8th

What’s new for Russia in FIVB VNL 2019?

Russia appointed a new coach to lead its team into this year’s FIVB VNL. Tuomas Sammelvuo, 43, will be taking over following a significant stint at head coach of Finland from 2013. This move could either make or break Russia’s FIVB VNL, as it could either spark the team or the players may struggle to adjust to change of style. We’ll see how the Russians rise to the challenge at the tournament.

Russia world ranking: 5 (October 2018)

Russia provisional roster

Full provisional squad listed with subsequently cut players in red.

Head coach: Tuomas Sammelvuo

Setters: Evgeniya Startseva, Tatiana Romanova, Daria Ryseva, Polina Matveeva

Liberos: Anna Podkopaeva, Daria Chikrizova, Alla Galkina, Kristina Kurnosova, Varvara Shepeleva

Middle Blockers: Angelina Lazarenko, Ekaterina Efimova, Ekaterina Orlova, Irina Koroleva, Ekaterina Evdokimova, Irina Fetisova, Valeriya Zaytseva, Olga Zubareva

Wing Spikers (Outside & Opposite Hitters): Nataliya Goncharova, Margarita Kurilo, Tatiana Kosheleva, Irina Voronkova, Kseniia Parubets, Mariia Khaletskaia, Maria Vorobyeva, Anna Kotikova, Tatiana Iurinskaia, Sofya Kuznetsova, Tatiana Kadochkina, Victoriia Russu, Valeriia Gorbunova

Average age: 23.8 (9th oldest)

Average height: 186.6cm (1st tallest)

Russia player to watch in FIVB VNL 2019: Nataliya Goncharova

If you want to talk about Russia’s top player, many will swiftly namedrop Nataliya Goncharova. The 29-year-old opposite is very talented and imposing. She currently plays for Dynamo Moscow in the Russlan league. She’s won multiple individual international awards such as the Most Valuable Player honor at the 2016 Women’s European qualification. Keep an eye out for her and how leads Russia through the maze.

There’s also a chance outside hitter Tatiana Kosheleva, 30, will feature heavily at FIVB VNL following an ACL injury last year. The 2010 World Championship Best Spiker recovered from the injury in August 2018, although was still unable to suit up for the World Championship in September. She’s currently playing in Italy and has been named to Russia’s provisional roster.

Nataliya Goncharova in full flight for Russia

Russia FIVB VNL 2019 match schedule

All fixtures listed as GMT.

Week 1

May 21 at 20:00 – Dominican Republic v Russia

May 22 at 20:00 – China v Russia

May 23 at 23:00 – Brazil v Russia

Week 2

May 28 at 11:30 – Russia v Germany

May 29 at 11:30 – Japan v Russia

May 30 at 14:30 – Turkey v Russia

Week 3

June 4 at 18:15 – Belgium v Russia

June 5 at 15:15 – Russia v Serbia

June 6 at 15:15 – Poland v Russia

Week 4

June 11 at 15:00 – Russia v Korea

June 12 at 15:00 – Bulgaria v Russia

June 13 at 18:00 – Italy v Russia

Week 5

June 18 at 14:00 – Russia v USA

June 19 at 14:00 – Russia v Thailand

June 20 at 14:00 – Russia v Netherlands

Russia games to watch out for in FIVB VNL 2019

It will be interesting to watch how Russia has improved in the last few months and see whether it will fare any better against the top-tier teams. The Russians will be looking to repeat their victory over Italy and replicate that result against the likes of USA, Netherlands, China & Serbia.

Meanwhile, it would be impossible not to mention the match up against regional rivals, Poland. In 2018 Russia dominated their rivals, taking the game 3-0 and it can be guaranteed that the Poles will want to reverse that result.

The bottom line: Russia charts way back to glory days

While Russia hasn’t quite reached its goal of reestablishing itself as a world powerhouse just yet, it isn’t too far off. Russia has managed to cling onto the ranking of fifth best team in the world despite back-to-back subpar showings that yielded eighth-places finishes at last year’s FIVB VNL and the World Championship.

Russia has struggled with the transition from several retiring star players to their younger heirs, and the team has followed a similar narrative when it comes to coaching. In this new coach’s era, the hope is Russia finds its footing and begins to build momentum towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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

There’s a real chance Russia will remain outside of the top six at this year’s tournament, but there’s always room for surprise for this powerhouse of a team if it can find its grove. You can’t ever count Russia out.

How to watch Russia 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 Russia were able to watch the 2018 tournament on Match TV.

1 thought on “FIVB VNL 2019 preview – Russia charts way back to glory days”

Comments are closed.

Become a volleyball star!

In 2020 we are focusing on telling amazing stories about volleyball teams, players and fans through video. That means we need your help! If you have an amazing volleyball story to tell or awesome videos to share then send them to us at or message us on Facebook.