Montreux Volley Masters 2019 team previews

Eight teams will head to Switzerland for the Montreux Volley Masters 2019. However, its timing might bring out two scenarios.

First, they let their top players skip this six-day tournament to give them rest before the Volleyball Nations League. This could be the case as seven of the eight teams in Montreux will also participate in the VNL. On the other hand, they can use this competition to see how their rotations will work in a real game.

Here’s who might suit up for each country.

Switzerland: defending home court

They won this tournament in 1987 and placed second one time, and third place twice. However, they have been on a winning drought since 2013. Then, Coach Timo Lippuner resigned.

It is now Laura Kunzler’s responsibility to pull the squad together. She will be joined by Elisa Suriano and Sarina Brunner at outside hitter. Julie Lengweiler and Maja Storck are the opposite hitters. Gabi Schotroff and Madlaina Matter play middle blocker.

Meline Pierret and Sarah Trosch will take turns at setter while Thays Deprati and Mathilde Engel share playing time at libero. Samira Sulser and Chiara Petitat could also join the roster.

Germany: regaining the title

The Germans return after skipping last year and they would want to win it all again. They did just that when they defeated the United States in four sets to win the 2014 edition. Germany could have won their second Montreux in 2017. Sadly, they went down to Brazil in straight sets.

Leading the way in that loss was Louisa Lippmann with 15 points. Sadly, they have to proceed without Maren Fromm who retired from international play after the 2018 FIVB World Championship.

Joining Lippmann are Kimberly Drewniok and Jennifer Geerties. Jana Franziska-Poll and Lena Stigrot could also suit up. Leonie Schwertmann and Marie Scholzel are their bets at middle blocker.

Denise Hanke will be their setter while Lenka Durr will anchor their floor defense.

Japan: banking on the best

They can send their Under-23 squad here in preparation for the AVC Women’s Championship. But they take every competition seriously. Therefore, there’s a chance that they could bring in the big guns. This is also a good tune-up after their first domestic training camp.

Sarina Koga and Ai Kurogo will be their main options from the wings. Their net defense will rest upon middle blockers Erika Araki and Haruyo Shimamura. Koyomi Tominaga and Miya Sato are their best options at setter. Mako Kobata and Kotoe Inoue are their liberos.

There’s a chance that Yuka Imamura and Yuri Yoshino could play. Aya Watanabe and Mai Irisawa could fill in at middle blocker while Nanami Seki might play setter.

Turkey: returning on top

Turkey had a painful exit in last year’s Montreux Volley Masters after losing to Russia in the semifinals. With the Russians not participating this year, they are hoping to at least play in the gold medal match.

Neriman Ozsoy is part of the National Team once more. There’s a chance that she will join Meryem Boz, Seyma Ercan, and Meliha Ismailoglu as spikers. Eda Erdem Dundar and Zehra Gunes will man the middle.

Cansu Ozbay and Naz Aydemir Akyol will play setter. Finally, Hatice Gizem Orge and Aylin Sarioglu will play libero. Also joining the team is Ebrar Karakurt. Aycin Akyol could fill in as middle blocker. Ezgi Dilik might play setter.

The Turks are hoping to repeat their 2015 championship run. They finished third in both the 2016 and 2018 versions.

Poland: fighting for relevance

While the Polish men’s volleyball team are world champions, the women’s squad is hoping for recognition. Winning the Montreux might change that. However, they haven’t won any medal in the competition and finished sixth last year.

Team captain Agneiszka Kakowleska will be their main option at middle blocker together with Weronika Centka. Martyna Grabjer and Zuzanna Gorecka are their options at open hitter. Meanwhile, Malwina Smarzek and Monika Bociek could be their opposite spikers.

Julia Nowicka and Marlena Pleśnierowicz could play for the second straight year at Montreux as setters. Defensive duties will fall into the hands of liberos Aleksandra Krzos and Monica Jagla.

China: relying on youth?

There was a possibility that the Chinese will send their Under-23 squad to Switzerland. But it seems like they are swinging for the fences in the competition that they have won six times.

Their Montreux roster could be a rough mirror image of their World Championship 2018 team. Zhu Ting will lead the open hitter rotation with Zhang Changning and Li Yingying. Gong Xiangyu and Du Qingqing supports at opposite spiker.

Yan Ni will be their ace middle blocker. Joining her in that spot are Yuan Xinyue and Hu Mingyuan. Ding Xia and Yao Di are in consideration as setters. Wang Mengjie and Lin Li are their unshakeable forces at libero.

China finished fifth last year after winning just one game in their pool. There’s nothing they want more than a medal finish. Russia’s absence could be the opening that they need.

Thailand: main players suiting up

Pleumjit Thinkaow and Nootsara Tomkom have been the rock of Thai volleyball for more than a decade. They will enter yet another battle before the VNL.

But their team is not just about those two legends. Tichakorn Boonlert and Chitaporn Kamlangmak are joining Pleumjit at middle blocker. Gullapa Piampongsan will be the back-up setter. Ajcharaporn Kongyot and Chatchu-on Moksri will punish the opposition at open spiker.

Malika Kanthong and Wanitchaya Luangtonglang are their opposite hitters. Piyanut Pannoy and Tikamporn Changkeaw will play libero. Pornpun Guedpard and Pimpichaya Kokram will both miss the competition due to injury.

The Thais haven’t won a medal in the last two Montreux Masters. They are hoping to break the trend by fielding in their best.

Italy: playing for back-to-back

Paola Egonu helped Italy win against Russia in straight sets last year. However, there might be a chance that she will not play this year.

Elena Pietrini and Sylvia Nwakalor might start as open hitters with Indre Sorokaite and Francesca Villani as back-ups. Meanwhile, Terry Enweonwu and Josephine Obossa could play the opposite. Sara Alberti and Sara Fahr could take over as middle blockers.

Francesca Bosio and Alessia Orro take turns at setter. Meanwhile, Chiara De Bortoli and Beatrice Parrocchiale are the bets at libero.

They are hoping to defend their title without their best players. That would be a challenge given that some teams are sending in their best.