Posts by fireworks

    Chiming in about the USA opposite situation...

    To be fair, while the NCAA does produce excellent opposite hitters, they seldom play back court. Because of the college system's ridiculous 14 substitutions (or however many) per set rule, opposites are usually subbed out as soon as they rotate to serve. So, generally when these young, talented opposites hit the pro/national team market, they really don't have the skills to hop into the national team -- no defense, no serve, no major experience playing 6 rotations, etc. Furthermore, coaches on NCAA teams are less inclined to put their most talented players in the opposite position. Typically, the stars are 6 rotation outside hitters. I actually think this one of the most defining aspects of the US's game. With exception to Hooker, I can't remember a single tremendous opposite out of the US. Sure, Haneef-Park, Murphy, Lowe, Fawcett, and others all had their moments (IMO Fawcett more than the former names), but not the defining, exterminating threats you see arming Brazil, Serbia, China -- hell, even at points in the DR and Italy! The US just seems to use their opposite differently than these other top teams do.
    Enjoying these matches so far! I have been a delinquent fan this year and didn't follow the club season, so I feel extra pumped about seeing my favorite players again. It was especially thrilling to watch S. Korea against China. I haven't seen them play like that in years! They looked so well organized, competent, and happy! China is extraordinarily talented, but prone to bad days. I'm sure we'll see them back in top form in the coming weeks.

    I'm able to watch it on Youtube in the US, but I'm not sure if posting the link here will result in it getting taken down.

    I'm only halfway through the match (two sets in), but it's a good game. Brayelin is much more consistent and creative than I ever remember her being. I love watching her! And Binet, whom I've never followed all that closely, is an outstanding libero. No Castillo, but remarkable all the same. Annerys is playing well, too. She's so outstanding, and I hope she has another 5 years on her.

    Brazil is playing well, but as expected, they have a long way to go. So far, from what I've seen, Carol's attack is basically ineffective, but her block is slowly warming up.

    Drussyla is good, but not a game-changer. I still have lots of hope for her.

    Tandara is playing OK, and even though I just watched her in the Superliga and thought she looked fine, she seems a little tired/out of shape in this game. IDK. Maybe the travel has gotten to her.

    Suelen plays very well, but I have a feeling she's a place-holder for Ze, and that he's not actually committed to developing her. Sad, because I bet she's fielded a lot of crap over the years, and she's pretty good.

    Roberta's having a decent game, with a few flubs. It's no secret that Brazil's setter has a difficult job, particularly with a team that's still working itself out.

    Natalia and Adenizia (mid game it's mostly Natalia) are well above the caliber of the other players. It's weird--almost like watching the S. Korean NT with KYK and any of their other hitters having a particularly good day. All the players on the team are good, but they just seem young and novice compared to Natalia. (At this point. Again, I'm only 2 sets in.)

    ^^Thanks for posting!

    I'm not anti-Bosetti, but are either Lucia or Caterina playing extraordinarily well these days? Serious question. I haven't watched either in a while, but my sense was that they (particularly Lucia post-injury) just weren't as promising as everyone thought. Is that unfair?

    Shame about Sylla. Do we know why she's not there? She's such a passionate young player.

    ^ I couldn't agree more, especially in regards to what you said about Drussyla. She should have the same road ahead of her in the NT as Lucarelli did in the men's team back in 2013, and we all know how that ended. There's a lot of offensive potential with the outside hitters this time around (Natália, Drussyla, Rosamaria) and they should get as much playing time as possible.

    I do wish Zé will be able to further develop Mara and Valquíria too, but I wouldn't stop at these two. I think Bia is by far Brazil's biggest talent in the MB position these days; if she is willing to, she could be just as good as Fabiana and Thaísa, not to mention she's still young. I do wish Milka gets the chance to improve within the group too, even though she wasn't called this year. She has the height and the power, but is still too green.

    Roberta and Naiane should play all tournaments this year. I think it's time Zé uses Dani Lins more as a back-up and support for the team eyeing the WCH in 2018. With Dani's level dropping and both newcomers being completely new to the adult NT as possible starter setters, it is time to do it, otherwise things will not change that much.

    I totally forgot about Rosamaria and Bia when I wrote my initial post. I agree about both, though. Bia would be fabulous, if she'd agree to join the NT. Didn't she have conflict with Ze regarding her (former?) partner Suellen? Is that resolved now that Suellen's been called to join? And of course there's still Adenizia, too. I've always admired her spirit on court, though she's never been as clean as other players. (I've only seen Milka play a few times, but I like her a lot. She's another name I forgot about.) Brazil almost has a surplus of talented middles, so again, I think it's really on Ze to pick 2 young, talented starters and train them like Fabiana/Thaisa all over again.

    I love watching Rosamaria play. IMO, quite similar to Drussyla, and a true outside hitter. Great blocker, too.

    I remember when I first saw Dani Lins play -- years ago when YouTube was ubiquitously grainy and poor quality. I thought there was no way Ze expected her to succeed Fofao, as she seemed so slow and predictable. But she quickly overtook Carol Albuquerque and Fabiola and, by 2012, was just stunning on court. IDK if her level is permanently dropping or she's just suffering from totally understandable on-court sluggishness after Rio, but either way it's time for her to step back. Roberta is talented and experience setting some of the most important players on the NT -- Natalia, Drussyla, Carol, Juciely, Gabi, etc. -- and Naiane is fast and daring, which is exactly what this team needs.

    I really look forward to watching Brazil this season. For whatever flaws we may invoke about Ze, he understands one very key thing about players: to be great, they need to play in competition as much as possible. So, this season, without Sheilla, Fabiana, Jaque, and maybe even Thaisa, he'll have the opportunity to start developing younger players in a really intense way. I remember c. 2012 many fans didn't see Natalia as a player of the same caliber as her starting teammates. Only after the Olympics, when the OH/OP starters took time off, did she become a mainstay, and subsequently a star (of sorts).

    This season, I hope Ze develops Mara or Valquiria, and gives Carol a lot of play time, challenging her to get her hitting up to par. (Even though I love Juciely and think she's the strongest middle blocker in Brazil, aside from Thaisa, I think she should step back and play a bit of a Valeskina/Walewska role and be around more for morale/bailouts.) I also want him to give Naiane (or Juma, or any young setter) a chance, and maybe most importantly, put Drussyla in the starting lineup and leave her there through thick and thin.

    As far as developing a world class opposite goes, I don't have a solution. Joycinha isn't the best option for the Brazilian national team, and even if she were, it's not like she's a young/new player that they can hang onto for a decade. Interestingly, though, this deficit of opposite hitters isn't only in Brazil. Whereas 10 years ago it seemed like almost every country had a "pure" opposite player who could dominate a game, many teams now have less impactful players in the position. IDK what it means, really, other than that some federations are trying to make their most talented young players well rounded and good defenders but I guess I'm not going to get too worried about Brazil, then. With great passers/defensive OHs, a smart setter, and awesome offensive middles, you really don't need an opposite like Sheilla or Destinee.

    Johnson and Bedhart-Ghani are so far from that level, especially in terms of blocking an int'l caliber offense... I can't take you seriously

    imo the whole idea of an "int'l caliber offense," as you say, is moot. Just 'cause someone is on a national team - on the "int'l level" - doesn't guarantee they're any good. International teams, no less the players, span spectra of skill.

    I think you mean that Johnson and B-G can't compete with, 'high level players at the national team level' -- and that's totally fine! No need to be dismissively rude.

    I was simply showing enthusiasm for these two players. Neither were incredible last year, but they're improving a lot with every game this year. I have no idea if they could or will compete for starting positions on the US national team-- I was just sharing my opinion. But hey, the USNT gave Rachael Adams a starting position in some tournaments before she even knew how to run the slide. Kiraly sometimes gave Dietzen a starting position even after her radically reduced vertical leap. Akinradewo is a mainstay even though she overruns 90% of her blocks. Sue me, but I think Bedart Ghani (who scored on 13/14 spikes today, btw) and Morgan Johnson would be just fine. (And, it's obvious you haven't been watching them play this season, but commentators - including Kiraly, Sunderland, and Fortner - don't disagree with my impression.)

    Like I said, I haven't been paying too much attention to the Pac 12 or Big 10, so my list is just a reflection of being a Texan who goes to most home games in Austin, and watches what else he can on television. I'm sure Ajanaku is great, just haven't seen her play. Alhassan was an oversight on my part. Haven't watched caught more than one Florida game this season, unfortunately, but I can't wait to see more, based on your enthusiasm.

    As for Johnson and Bedart-Ghani go, I think you should look at their statistics and watch the last few games they've played. No question they could stand on the same team as Akinradewo, Dixon, and Adams.(And Gibbemeyer or Paolini no problem.) Yaazzie has one of the strongest arms in collegiate volleyball, and Johnson is a point machine.

    I like Madison Rigdon, and think you're exaggerating, but I concede that she's not as strong as the others I listed. Still, she's one of the best servers in the NCAA, she defends well, passes consistently, and is a smart hitter who loves a fast set-- sounds like a USNT woman to me! (By the way, I'm loving Kansas this year! Their setter, Ainise Havili, is really creative. I saw them play Texas a few weeks ago and was surprised by how little they are. Rigdon definitely isn't 6'0 :rolll: )

    Quite a few players on that list are very, very, very far from competing for a national team starting position. At this point, Johnson, Bedart-Ghani, and Rigdon would not even be in the gym for more than a week. How can you list all those names and not Inky Ajanaku or Rhamat Alhassan?!?!?!?!

    Nwanebu has the potential but will need better footwork to play in the USA system.
    Carlini is a superhero, as is Wong-Orantes.

    Didn't realize there was a thread for this. Thanks for your time, Brahmin.

    There is tremendous talent in the US right now. I haven't been paying too much attention to the Pac12, or even the Big 10, but Lauren Carlini, Justine Wong-Orantes, Kelsie Payne, Cassie Wait, Micaya White, Ebony Nwanebu, Yaazzie Bedart-Ghani, Morgan Johnson, Amber Rolfzen, and Madison Rigden could all walk onto the US national team tomorrow and compete for starting positions. I heard Kelsie Payne may return to being a middle after college, but she and Ebony could answer the US national team's opposite deficit-- granted they're decent in the back row. I've seen Ebony play back row a few times, and she's a great, diehard defender, even though she's so tall.

    Aww, I'm happy for China! They have tremendously talented players, and while I wouldn't say things "came together" for them tonight, it was enough to win. Both they and the Serbian team will be threats for years to come.

    The women's game is changing a lot right now. Either you're a team with a lot of all-round players, or you're a team with a single star and a supporting cast. I'll admit, I prefer the former, but I love watching KYK, Zhu Ting, and Goncharova fire off ruthlessly against a well-prepared team. :-)

    The Serbian players know China probably didn't scout Malesevic as an offensive threat, so they're using her and she's having a good hitting game! Zhou Ting is playing very well, as usual, but her teammates are performing mediocre at best. Not that it makes a difference, because either way it's just Zhu getting set, but I wonder why Lang took Wei out?

    OY ... neither team is playing like they belong in an Olympic gold medal match. If Lang Ping is such a brilliant coach, could she maybe coach her players on passing? blocking? on doing something other than setting a high ball to zhu ting and then celebrating like they just won the whole Olympics every time?

    I actually like both of these teams, just not tonight. I guess I prefer Serbia, as they actually seem to have 7 players, not just a setter, a hitter, and 10 place holders with piercing shrieks.

    What a bizarre turn of events. This Olympics will definitely be remembered as a changing of the guard, in beach and the men's tournament, as well. I was so sad to see Brazil's reaction to losing. I wish China and Brazil could have made it through! I bet Thaisa will try to come back, as she's only 29. This wasn't her best year. Natalia, Gabi, Carol, Leia, and maybe Dani will have to lead a new generation and bounce back fast. Still, what worked with the Brazilian system was how familiar they were with each other-- they had unparalleled chemistry. That will be impossible to recreate.

    Serbia v USA is, in my mind, a final in itself. Both have some of the most well developed players I've ever seen. I think it's mostly a question of strategy and 'having a good day.' Serbia has unstoppable hitters, whereas USA favors more well-rounded players. Serbia can overtake the USA offensively, but if the USA serves tough, defends well, and Alicia makes good choices, then the gold medal match is theirs to lose.

    Ned v China will be exciting too. China's biggest issue is focus. Either the young players will still be pissed that they placed 4th in the group, and want revenge over the Netherlands, or they'll be overcome with the excitement of beating Brazil, and become complacent. The Netherlands, conversely, have shown tremendous focus and maturity through the tournament.

    Some other thoughts: Italy reminds me of what Serbia was 8 years ago-- young, sloppy, underdeveloped, and super talented. I think it's actually critical that the team doesn't swap coaches, unless it's totally necessary. They need a consistent training environment where they can all grow together, learn each others tendencies, develop as a team, etc. Chirichella, Danesi, Orro, Malinov, Sylla, Gennari, Egonu, and Diouf (if she continues) can be an extremely formidable team in 2020 and 2024 (and even 2028).

    If China can find a really good young setter, I think the same goes for them-- though they're much further along.

    Wow!!! My favorite kind of Olympics are filled with surprises. I am shocked by the China x Netherlands result. (I hope they air it in the USA so I can watch it in hi-def!) China is still one to watch for the gold, but this means they probably won't win the group and could lose in the quarters to Russia or Brazil.

    And S Korea - not just KYK - is looking great.They're one of my favorite teams, so I would love to see them pull an upset and make it past the quarter finals. I'm hoping their match against Russia will be super intense. I don't know if Korea can defeat them, but serving well and using their tricky off-speed middles will frustrate them, and Russia does often fall apart when frustrated. Either way, I just want to see a good match.

    Some great action on the beach, too. Gallay/Klug x Lili/Elsa. Fantastic rallies! I'm feeling the Olympic spirit!

    Actually everyone has been disrespectful to Greta Cicolari in the last 3 years. She has been banned from FIPAV when she found a new partner to play with. She won on court against FIPAV eventually, but still she is treated like a criminal. FIPAV deserves the worst from this OGs. For everything they have done.

    True that. What FIPAV did to her is truly heinous. She was a great, hard-working player and experienced competitor who served FIPAV extremely well for many years. Sure, maybe she was a little older than what they wanted for Menegatti, but they handled everything terribly-- and for what?? Orsi Toth wasn't any better of a player, in my opinion. The duo's ranking didn't rise dramatically. And look, she got banned from the Olympic games for doping. FIPAV should be ashamed of themselves.

    I'm not going to implicate Menegatti in any of this, because maybe she wanted a new partner, maybe she didn't, maybe she tried pushing back against FIPAV in private, etc. For that, I feel bad for her. She's one of the most talented young backcourt players in the world right now, so I'm sad to see her chances of progressing past pool play diminish so dramatically. I wonder if, after this, she'll continue with Orsi-Toth. This could obviously be read as a betrayal, but idk.

    Sorry if this is has already been iterated, but ... Did anything happen with this doping thing, or are we waiting until August 4th to see if any players are switched out? I know Startseva was left behind, but I'm curious if we have any additional information about Kosheleva, Ilchenko, etc.

    Are we waiting for tests? For any ruling? Or are they all definitely playing? If so, did the FIVB or IOC make any kind of statement?

    If no action is to be taken against the team, I do think someone should make a statement, if for no other purpose than to exonerate the team publicly. Silence is alarming, in my opinion.

    thanks :)

    Becky Perry will replace Viktoria Orsi Toth in Rio and play in couple with Menegatti.

    WOW! -- thanks for the update. I don't think I've ever seen Perry play... Is anyone more familiar with her? It looks like she hasn't played beach volleyball for too long, and thus doesn't really have much of a competitive record. Is that right?

    This seems kind of big-- I thought the duo would make it to the quarter finals. Now the door is much more open for the Canadians.

    Actually Centoni is doing very well in Galatasaray. Considering the high level championship and the fact Galatasaray never performed as a team like they did last season, it's a very good result. About Ortolani I couldn't disagree more: she won 2 italian championships in a row struggling with injuries and being very important for her team. Diouf's palmarés with club is still empty... Just and italian supercup with Bergamo, a club where even my granny can win everything... :whistle:

    And let me be clear once again. I'm not saying it's right or not Logan has been cut from NT. I'm just saying it's rude doing it with and sms. It's very unfair to Diouf who is an average player. But we are still talking of a 4 times olympic player! This sms trend for the cuts is rude.

    :D :D at the Bergamo/Granny comment-- very good, haha.

    Yes, I know Galatasaray and Imoco did very well-- they have fantastic teams, including Centoni and Ortolani. I'm talking about the national team, though, where neither has made a significant impact the way Diouf has. I like Centoni and Ortolani-- I always have. I especially love Centoni's enthusiasm and Ortolani's intelligence. Both will be fine in Rio, especially as the opposite is becoming less and less of a critical role in women's volleyball. All I meant to say is that Diouf has been good on the national team, and deserves some credit here.

    Anyhow, I'm more reacting to the really unfair translations with what people are saying Diouf said/did. Nowhere in that article does it even remotely suggest that Diouf is "blaming" Gennari. Nowhere in the earlier article does Diouf take on the hubris we're accusing her of.

    Kiraly said to Logan Tom she was out ot the USA NT with an sms. So it is the same thing. Diouf knew her faith with an sms from Bonitta.

    Anyway she has nothing to lose now: Bonitta will leave after the OGs.

    It's not the same thing, though. Logan Tom had returned to Stanford to do graduate school and hadn't been on the national roster in years. Her level as a hitter had dropped drastically and Karch had made a very public and obvious effort to usher in an entirely new generation of young players. (I agree that Karch shouldn't have SMS messaged her to deliver this news, but that's a totally different situation.)

    Okay, you guys... Did I miss something?? I read that article and nowhere does it mention that Diouf is blaming Gennari. Gennari just says Diouf hasn't gotten back to her yet, which is not remotely the same thing as what you all are saying she's doing.

    FURTHER, I already posted this, but it's really bothering me: Diouf did not exactly say she was considered to be "a god" after the 2014 worlds. She was talking about Bonitta (or maybe the coaching staff at large), and was saying he/they acted like she was a god, or acted like she was immortal. She was just saying that since that competition, where she performed very well, she's felt like she hasn't been able to live up to these same expectations.

    It seems like she's more commenting on how she felt like there were unfairly high standards for her, and she could never live up to them... And frankly, I don't disagree. I've never been her biggest fan as a player, but she DOES have more of an impact in games than Centoni or Ortolani have been having. I know it's a hard comparison to make, as neither of those players have played as much as her for the last 3 years, but THAT'S KINDA THE POINT! Diouf is a tremendous blocker, a consistent and tough server, and generally a good hitter. She gets blocked sometimes - yeah - but so do Jaque, Sheilla, Tandara, Centoni, Murphy, Ortolani, Kimura, Garay, etc. etc. etc. Orro and Malinov often set her way too low, as well, so it's not totally Diouf's fault.

    Some people here write about her like she's the worst thing to ever happen to Italy's national team, and like she's a limp slug on the court. She's actually pretty enthusiastic and works really hard, I think.

    And, for the record, I think Gennari is a better choice than Diouf. But I also see why Diouf is pissed. And, as Gennari says in this article, it wasn't between Gennari and Diouf, it was between Diouf and Centoni. I've always loved Centoni's game, but you're delusional if you think she's a better option than Diouf is for Italy. She can't get a ball down these days, and is a super inconsistent server.

    This is all to say, let's cut Diouf some slack here.