With both VNL preliminary phases over, 10 teams were sent home, and with them, some very good players we wish we could have the chance to see more of
After 120 matches, 15 per team and several standout performances in women’s VNL play, there was no question about who was the standout performer of the preliminary round: Poland’s Malwina Smarzek
Britt Herbots scored a team-best 23 points as Belgium wrapped up VNL play with a victory over Thailand. Although the Final Six was mathematically out of reach, Italy did not hold back in its final match of the VNL, besting Brazil in five sets to end the tournament on an eight-match win streak.
Tandara Caixeta scored 15 points in just three sets of action, many coming in a decisive fourth set in Brazil’s win over Belgium, which officially punched the team’s ticket to the VNL Final Six. Italy dominated the net in a quick sweep of Thailand, put-blocking its foes 13-0, to stay in the race for the VNL Final Six.
Nineteen-year old Hanna Orthmann took the spotlight after entering the match as a substitute in Set 1 of Germany’s blanking of winless Argentina. Malwina Smarzek dropped a match-high 23 points as Poland edged Serbia in four sets.
Kaja Grobelna put on a show, scoring 24 points on 17 kills, four blocks and three aces, to pace Belgium in a sweep of winless Argentina. Poland blocked Germany off the court with 20 stuffs in a four-set win on Wednesday.
Germany’s Louisa Lippman poured in 28 points to overcome double-digit efforts by four Belgian players in a four-set win, while Poland capped off Day 10 of VNL play with a quick sweep of winless Argentina as Malwina Smarzek notched 20 points. .
Irina Voronkova was too hot to handle for Belgium as the Russian star put up 23 points in a four-set win Thursday. Serbia picked up two key points in the VNL standings, rallying for a five-set win over Turkey thanks to a 28-point effort by Tijana Boskovic after trailing 2-1 in the match.
Russia boasted a 22-13 lead in blocks to rally for a 5-set victory over Turkey after falling behind 2-1 in the match. Serbia rode double-digit scoring efforts by Brankica Mihajlovic, Bojana Milenkovic and Stefana Veljkovic to an easy sweep of Belgium to keep pace atop the VNL leaderboard.
Turkey owned the net, both offensively and defensively, in a sweep of Belgium, while Tijana Boskovic delivered 25 points as Serbia topped Russia in every statistical category in another Pool 10 sweep.