The Chinese Volleyball Association has announced its 14-player roster for the 2018 FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Championships that begin on September 29th in Japan.
There are no real surprises on the roster, but there is a positive sign in the presence of outside hitter Zhang Changning, who was sent home at the last minute from the Asian Games to continue rehabbing a knee injury.
All 14 players who were on the Asian Games roster will also be present for the World Championships, with the exception of the 3rd setter Diao Linyu. In addition, the team is taking an additional middle blocker (Yang Hanyu) to fill her spot. Middle blocker is the team’s thinnest position, to the extent that 3-time Olympian Xu Yunli was brought back to National Team training in hopes of shoring up the position – though the 31-year old was ultimately not chosen.
China was dominant at the Asian Games in August, and didn’t lose a single set en route to the title, but that doesn’t mean they were without problems. Head coach Lang Ping still hasn’t settled on which combination of hitters she’ll use and where, and with Zhang now back (and presumably healthy), and 18-year old Li Yingying improving at every turn, it makes those decisions even harder. Those problems were highlighted at the Nations League, where China took bronze and looked dominant in doing so over Brazil, but fell 3-1 to the United States in the semi-finals with Li on the bench.
The one spot where China has no doubts is at the role of 1st outside hitter, 1st option, and star player Zhu Ting. The 23-year old is the reigning Olympic MVP, and while she was a little banged up after the club season, showed no lingering signs at the Asian Games. That included 26 points in just 3 sets in the Asian Games gold medal match on 23/41 hitting (56.1%).
- Setters: Yao Di, Ding Xia
- Opposites: Gong Xiangyu, Zeng Chunlei
- Middle Blockers: Yuan Xinyi, Yang Hanyu, Hu Mingyuan, Yan Ni
- Outside Hitters: Zhu Ting, Zhang Changning, Liu Xiaotong, Li Yingying
- Liberos: Lin Li, Wang Mengjie
China lost to the US 3-1 in the 2014 championship game. This year, they play in Pool B in Sapporo, Japan, where they’ll face Cuba, Turkey, Canada, Bulgaria, and Italy.