2018 FIVB Women’s Volleyball Nations League Week 4/Pool 13
- June 5-7, 2018
- Topsportcentrum Rotterdam; Rotterdam, Netherlands
- Time Zone: UTC +2 (ET +6)
- World Rankings: #3 Serbia, #7 Italy, #8 Netherlands, #9 Dominican Republic
Serbia is the hottest team coming into this group, with wins in last six matches, including a five-setter over Turkey in its last outing. Italy has won its last two matches, including a four-set upset over top ranked China last Thursday. The Netherlands is looking to rebound from a loss to Brazil, while the Dominican Republic is hoping to break through after just two wins in nine matches.
|Date||Local Time||U.S. Eastern Time||Home||Visitor|
|June 5.||4:30 p.m.||10:30 a.m.||Italy||Serbia|
|June 5.||7:30 p.m.||1:30 p.m.||Netherlands||Dominican Republic|
|June 6.||4:30 p.m.||10:30 a.m.||Serbia||Dominican Republic|
|June 6.||7:30 p.m.||1:30 p.m.||Netherlands||Italy|
|June 7.||4:30 p.m.||10:30 a.m.||Dominican Republic||Italy|
|June 7.||7:30 p.m.||1:30 p.m.||Netherlands||Serbia|
This group features two of the top five teams in the VNL standings in Serbia (3rd, 8-1, 23 points) and the Netherlands (4th, 7-2, 20 points). Italy is on the climb, winning its last two after changing its lineup on Week 3, but needs some big results to move up the points ladder. The Dominican Republic are among the bottom of the pack at 2-7.
Will Brazil, Russia and the United States facing off in Jiangmen, China, this week, can Serbia or the Netherlands seize an opening to solidify their spots in the Final Six?
While much of the focus is on Pool 14 this week with World No. 1 China, No. 2 USA, No. 4 Brazil and No. 5 facing off, the results of this pool could be just as important as teams look to block each other out of the race for the Final Six.
Serbia, Italy and the Netherlands are certainly in the mix and posting big point values this week could help them vault ahead of the losers from Pool 14. With just 10 points separating seventh place Italy and the first place Americans and just six between the Italians and the fourth place Dutch, anything could happen.
It will be a battle of the stars in some cases as Serbia, the Dominican Republic and Italy have been one or two woman shows to this point. The balance of the Dutch attack could be key in deciding these matches as well as the support of the home crowd.
Despite all of the that, on paper, Serbia looks to be the toughest foe and has momentum on its side. The Serbs also have faced some of the top teams in the tournament in Brazil, China, Russia and Turkey and still stand at 8-1.
Players/Stories To Watch
- The Dominican Republic’s Brayelin Martinez has racked up the third most points in VNL play (154), leading her team in six matches and posting double-figure tallies in all nine contests.
- Serbia boasts two scorers among the VNL top 10 in Tijana Boskovic (152 points, 4th) and Brankica Mihajlovic (130, 8th). The duo provided a 1-2 punch in the team’s five-set win over Turkey and have done so throughout the competition thus far.
- The Netherlands has utilized a balanced attack with four players tallying between 64 and 75 kills over the opening nine matches. The team will have to maintain that balance in order to keep other teams’ blockers from keying on anyone in particular. Anne Buijs (75) and Lonneke Sloetjes (74) likely will lead the way, but look for Maret Balkestein-Grothues (68) or Celeste Plak (64) to be an X-factor.
- Italy struggled out of the gates without its young star Paola Egonu, but the opposite has made an impact in her three matches with the team, piling up 53 kills, 10 blocks and seven aces. Miryam Fatime Sylla had carried the bulk of the load to that point, but the addition of Egonu has lightened that burden, scoring a team-best 27 points in the win over China and 32 in a loss to Japan. Will she continue to take the spotlight on Week 4?