The best ones always perform well in the biggest of stages. They deal with pressure by giving their best in hopes of leading their squad to victory. No wonder volleyball players like these endear themselves to fans.
But while we watch games for the stars, we also look for diamonds in the rough. They are not the marquee names of their squads for now. However, their undeniable talent will propel them to international fame.
Thus, here are the young players who could make a splash in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League 2019.
Julia Isabelle Bergmann – Brazil
This year’s VNL will be the first time the 18-year-old outside hitter will join the Brazilian senior women’s volleyball team. The 6′ 5″ sensation is part of the squad that won the 2018 Under-20 South American Championship over Argentina.
Bergmann also played in last year’s FIVB Girls Under-18 Championship wherein she finished 15th overall in scoring with 100 points. The former Abel Brusque player was also fourth in aces with 0.58 per set. She is now playing collegiate volleyball for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Tatiana Kadochkina – Russia
This 16-year-old opposite spiker started her journey to greatness by attending the Yekaterina Gamova School. She eventually became part of the Dinamo Kazan starting rotation in 2018. The sport runs in her veins because her father, Alexey Kadochkin, was a volleyball player as well.
Kadochkina was named Most Valuable Player of the 2017 Under-16 European Girls Volleyball Championship. In the same year, she also won the U-18 European Championship. It would be interesting to see how she will fare in Coach Vadim Pankov’s system.
Sarah Luisa Fahr – Italy
The 17-year-old was part of the Italian team that lost to Serbia in the 2018 FIVB World Championship. But while she saw limited minutes there, Fahr is showcasing her talent in the Montreux Masters 2019. The 6′ 4″ middle blocker is the tournament’s best blocker with 17 stuffs and a 1.42 average per set.
Her dominance at the net also made her the Montreux’s 13th best scorer with 32 points. She was also part of the Italian team that took home the gold at the 2017 Under-18 World Championship. It will only be a matter of time before she plays alongside Anna Danesi and Cristina Chirichella.
Mikaela Foecke – USA
Someone who is not afraid of the spotlight. The 22-year-old Foecke has led the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers to US NCAA titles in 2015 and 2017. She was also included in the 2018 AVCA All-America First Team. The West Point, Iowa native was part of the USA team that finished second in the FIVB U18 World Championship.
The 6′ 3″ open hitter would be a big boost to Coach Karch Kiraly’s squad. She will join a terrifying spiker rotation with Kelsey Robinson, Jordan Larson, and reigning VNL MVP Michelle Bartsch-Hackley.
Indy Baijens – Netherlands
Netherlands coach Jamie Morrison is injecting youth into his squad and Baijens is one of those he promoted. This 6′ 2″ middle blocker has played in the 2018 U-20 European Championship and the 2017 European Youth Olympic Festival.
Though only 18 years old, she has played professionally for TT Papendal Arnhem from 2017 to 2019. She then transferred to ASPTT Mulhouse in France starting the 2019-2020 season. Baijens could learn much from Nicole Koolhaas and Yvon Belien to continue his growth.
Li Yingying – China
At 19 years old, Li has already won a bronze medal with China during the 2018 Women’s World Championship. She provided steady support for Zhu Ting and Zhang Changning during that tournament. But it was in the Montreux Masters that her game has put the volleyball world on notice.
She is the fourth best scorer in the Montreux with 66 points, 59 of which from attacks. Li is also the second best spiker with a 43.7% success rate, just behind Malwina Smarzek’s 44.71%. China will be a tougher team to beat once she reaches her full potential.