It’s not often that we are blessed with a weekend that is packed wall-to-wall with the best men’s volleyball that the world has to offer. But on January 27th and 28th, I urge you to bust out your computer, cancel your lunch plans, kick back and settle in for an action-packed couple of days. There are four big competitions going on this weekend: the Italian Cup, the Polish Cup, the Brazilian Cup, and the first NVA regional ever. Let me guide you through the ideal viewing sequence for maximum volleyball enjoyment.
All times EST – Eastern Standard Time.
8:00 am – EST
Grab a bite to eat and a cup of coffee, and set up your laptop with whatever streaming device or HDMI cable you need to put it on the big screen. Apologize to the girlfriend/boyfriend about what is about to transpire for the next 36 hours.
8:45 am EST – Trefl Gdansk vs. Zaksa Kedzierzyn-Kozle
We’re going to give preference to the Polish cup because they have the foresight to start 45 minutes before their Italian counterparts. Zaksa has been the darling of the Polish league this season, winning their first seventeen games in a row before dropping one last weekend. Not many are picking Trefl Gdnask to win, but we will be watching it for the upset potential. Head over to ipla.tv to watch this game live.
12:30am EST – Diatec Trentino vs. Sir Safety Conad Perugia
We hop over to RaiSport at this point to see league-leading Perugia defeat Trentino. Perugia has never won an Italian Cup before, despite fielding very talented and expensive teams. One thing to keep an eye on in the Italian games is the atmosphere. These fans will not stop to breathe for the entire game. Bonus points for spotting drums, giant banners, and megaphones instructing fan sections on what chants to yell.
3:30pm EST – Break
Stretch. Take a walk. Grab a glass of water (or beer, it is Saturday after all).
4:30 pm EST – Academy United vs. Arizona Sizzle
The National Volleyball Association is a brand new league that hopes to bring professional volleyball to North America. They put on a showcase in Las Vegas back in early December, but this is the first official regular season event. While the level is not quite as high as the rest of the games we’ll be watching, the atmosphere at these events is great and at this point in the day, hearing an English commentary will be music to many people’s ears. Streams can be found on facebook and youtube under NVA USA.
6:30 pm EST – Sesi Sao Paulo vs. Sada Cruzeiro Volei
Our first finals match! This match between Brazilian titans in Sao Paulo features a wealth of national team members from the reigning Olympic champions, including Lucas Saatkamp, William Arjona, Douglas Souza, Felipe Fonteles, Isac Santos, and Evandro Guerra. An oddity about the Brazillian league is that they have not yet adopted the ball-watching technology that is used in basically every other league in the world. This results in much more frequent arguments with the refs, and the likelihood of a red card to appear at some point in this game is high. The game will be streamed online through SporTV.
8:45am EST – Polish Cup Finals
For 90 minutes we get to watch Zaksa beat up on whatever team makes it out of the other side of the bracket. Hats off to their management and players for dominating a league that most consider one of the most competitive so thoroughly.
11:30 am EST – Italy Cup Finals
This is where we say przepraszam to our Polish friends and head back to RaiSport to check out the finals of the Italian Cup. My prediction for this match is that we will be seeing Modena vs. Perugia, but these teams are so evenly matched that anything could happen. Not many better ways to spend a Sunday morning.
2:30 pm EST – Arizona Sizzle vs. Blizzard Volleyball
Blizzard volleyball has never lost a tournament in the NVA. There has only been one, but it’s still impressive nonetheless. Russell Holmes, American national team veteran, headlines this team but they have lost David Lee to Argentina. This is a relaxing conclusion to an energetic weekend.
That is the ideal schedule to watch volleyball this weekend. You may come across a stream that is geo-locked to certain countries. If you reside in one of these countries and you get a message that the stream is not available in your country, you can use a VPN service like TunnelBear to set your country. I’ll see you all on Instagram where I will be watching volleyball highlights obsessively in anticipation of all the action this weekend.