Posts by TheDiplomat

    I find it amazing what Antiga has done with Canada, he deserves a ton of praise. On paper, player for player, they are a very average side, arguably in the bottom 5 of the 16 teams, yet they find themselves tied for 4th thus far! They were impressive at the Olympics, but remember they relied heavily on Schmitt and Perrin. So far in the VNL, they are beating very strong teams like Italy, Iran, and Argentina (in Argentina). They are doing this with a good setter in Sanders, a good OH in Maar, a solid MB in Vigrass, a solid Libero in Bann and then a bunch of very very average players like DeRocco, Sclater, Hoag, van Berkel, etc. They play as a team, consistently execute the quick attack through the middle, and play well defensively. Again, on paper, this is a bottom 5 team in the VNL, but on the court so far they have been very impressive and a pleasant surprise. Big credit to Antiga!!! The future also looks bright as they have high-players like Vernon-Evans at OPP and UCLA MB Gyimah, who in my opinion has the potential to be world class, and will definitely join the national team program in the next year or so.

    I think you are overreacting. It was their 3rd game in 3 days. Boskovic and Mihajlovic were probably starting to fatigue. They won the first 2 games with no issues. Solid 2-1 record first week in Brazil.

    With a full team, I am confident they would beat Brazil.

    Have to say that I am very impressed with Turkey so far in these 2 games. Great team play, defensively sound and minimal mistakes.

    USA has a GLARING HOLE at opposite. Kelly Murphy and Drews are simply not good enough. Id perhaps give Krystal Rivers a chance or Madison Kingdon? If there was a way for Larson, Hill and Robinson to play at the same time, that would be ideal. Moving forward, this is definitely a position of concern.

    How I see things shaping out in the Women's VNL:

    1. China: defending Olympic champions; best team in the world until proven otherwise. Loaded at every position. With Zhu Ting, I think they'll win comfortably; without Zhu, I still think they have a good chance of winning. Look for a breakout performance from the next big star in Women's volleyball- Li Ying-ying.

    2. Serbia: Olympic silver medalists; best team in Europe in my opinion. The loss of Ognjenovic hurts as she is still, for me, the best setter in the world. Big shoes to fill for Antonijevic, but she has experience. Brilliant dynamic duo of Boskovic & Mihajlovic; Rasic a question mark but plenty of depth at that position- Stevanovic, Veljkovic & Mina Popovic. Look for Bojana Milenkovic to have a good campaign and earn a transfer to Europe following this summer.

    3. Brazil: Very balanced at every position; led by Tandara who had a dominant season at Osasco. Natalia a bit of a question mark, but Gabi, Rosamaria & Drussyla are all quality OH's. Interested to see how Thaisa has recovered and if she can return to her old dominant form.

    4. USA: Good balance of new players and 2016 olympians; solid at every position except opposite..not sure if/where Kelly Murphy played this past season and Drews was quite weak @ Pomi.

    5.Netherlands: Basically same team and starters for the past few years. Led by Sloetjes, look for Plak to take a step forward this campaign. Dijkema had a very up and down season last year, her level of play may determine how far this team can go. Not having De Kruijf will hurt, hope to have her back for World Championships. Lots of interesting young players, namely Daalderop.

    6.Russia: team that is the biggest question mark of 2018 VNL. If Startseva, Goncharova and Kosheleva don't play it will leave a large void for new young players to step in. Excited to watch OPP Kotikova, one of best players from u20 championships last season. Still lots of familiar and world class players: Zaryazhko, Fetisova, Parubets, etc.

    7.Italy: I like this squad and I think Mazzanti is a terrific coach. Overall very young team, could be a real medal contender at Tokyo 2020. Led by Egonu;quality young setters in Cambi Malinov & Orro; L.Bosetti, Chirichella and Danesi quality players. Hope young OH Pietrini gets chance, think she is a future star.

    8.South Korea: This of course, is assuming that KYK plays the majority of the campaign. The same way she single-handedly led Shanghai to the finals of the Chinese league, I think she can do the same with her country. I like Park Jeong-Ah a lot and think she has improved quite a bit over the last year or so.

    9.Japan: Assuming Miyu Nagaoka is healthy and recovered, Japan should have a solid campaign. Great team play, fight for every point. Very awkward team to play against.

    10.Turkey: Really not sure what to expect from Turkey. Think its time to move on from Naz,Neslihan, Gozde and Eda and build around a new nucleus. Good young setters and blockers, but lack quality at OH and especially OPP.

    11.Germany: Decent team; nothing special. Led by Lippman.

    12.Thailand: Very unique playing style, young team that will probably reach their peak in a few years. Whether or not Nootsara plays is obviously a big question mark. Think its time for Ajcharaporn to move to Europe and take the next step in her professional career.

    13. Belgium: Lots of new faces and a bit of a transition period for Women's volleyball in Belgium. I love Brittney Herbots and think she is a star in the making. Led by Grobelna & Heyrman.

    14.Poland: Not having Wolosz or Skorupa really hurts as they lack a competent setter. Smarzek is very up and down, Medrzyk had a good campaign and Kakolewska is their best player overall.

    15. Dominican Republic: Powerful team but prone to a lot of mistakes. Not sure if Pena/Brayelin/De la Cruz will all play. If they do, DR could cause a few upsets.

    16. Argentina: Definitely weakest team of the group. Led by Nizetich & Acosta. Would have preferred if this spot was given to Azerbaijan or Bulgaria.