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. Unlike many other team sports, such as basketball, volleyball is a game where a single superstar does not have that much influence on the outcome of play, specially in long round robin tournaments. In other words, if you are Argentina, it doesn’t matter if you have in your roster one of the best setters in the world in Luciano De Cecco, it just won’t be enough to get you through your competition. Below, VolleyMob ranks its VNL Dream Team composed solely of players who were sent home early. Note that we prioritized players that played extensively in the tournament, so don’t expect to see the likes of Ivan Zaytsev and Osmany Juantorena in our list.
Opposite Hitter: China’s Chuan Jiang
The west doesn’t know much about Chuan. What we saw in the VNL though, was surprising. He finished his participation’s as the tournament’s highest scorer and 2nd most efficienty attacker at 54.8% hitting. He also finished in the Top-20 in serving and blocking. An outstanding all-around effort. He currently plays in his home-country for Beijing Golden Age
Outside hitters: Iran’s Milad Ebadipour and Japan’s Tatsuya Fukuzawa
Skra Belchatow’s Ebadipour had a superb tournament. He was Iran’s best weapon, finishing third in scoring in the league, while also featuring himself in the Top-20 in hitting efficieny, serving, and digging. However, he really shone at the receiving end, closing out his appearance as the tournament’s 5th best passer. Meanwhile, Panasonic Panthers’ Fukuzawa also really turned his head with his pin point passing, good enough for 3rd place in the receiving statistics, while also holding his own offensively with Top-25 finishes in scoring and hitting efficiency.
Setter: Canada’s Tyler Sanders
Tyler Sander led all playerss in setter rating with a 10.81 running sets/set average. He was also the 10th best digger in the tournament, with a 0.79 digs per set average. More importantly, he led a Canadian offense that only slightly missed out in qualifying for VNL’s Final 6. He currently plays in Turkey for Halkbank Ankara.
Middle Blockers: Bulgaria’s Svetoslav Gotsev and China’s Shuhan Rao
Argos Sora’s Gotsev and Shanghai Golden Age’s Rao finished 1st and 2nd on blocker’s rating with 0.6 and 0.54 stuffs per set, respectively. Both players also hit north of 50% from the field.
Libero: Australia’s Luke Perry
Luke Perry was perfectly balanced between his receiving and digging efforts, finishing 12th in passing with 15% efficiency and 4th in digging with a 1.05 digs per set average. He currently plays in Poland’s Asseco Resovia.