2018 VNL Pool 2 Preview: USA, Argentina, Bulgaria, China

2018 FIVB MEN’S VOLLEYBALL NATIONS LEAGUE – WEEK 1/POOL 2

  • May 25-27, 2018
  • Beilun Gymnasium; Ningbo, China
  • Time Zone: UTC +  (US Eastern Time +12)
  • World Rankings: #2 United States, #7 Argentina, #14 Bulgaria, #20 China

Schedule

Date Local Time U.S. Eastern Time Home Visitor
5-25. 4 p.m. 4 a.m. Argentina USA
5-25. 7 p.m. 7 a.m. China Bulgaria
5-26. 4 p.m. 4 a.m. Bulgaria USA
5-26. 7 p.m. 7 a.m. China Argentina
5-27. 4 p.m. 4 a.m. Bulgaria Argentina
5-27. 7 p.m. 7 a.m. China USA

 

STANDINGS

Entering the first week of the Volleyball Nations League, all 16 teams are on equal footing. This year, our team predicts it will take 25 or 26 points, which translates to 2 wins per week, to advance out of pool play to the Final 6.

A 3-0 or a 3-1 win earns the maximum 3 points for the winner and 0 points for the losers. A 3-2 win earns 2 points for the winner and 1 point for the loser.

MATCHES PTS SETS POINTS
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1 Argentina* 0 0 0 0 0 MAX 0 0 MAX
1  Australia 0 0 0 0 0 MAX 0 0 MAX
1 Brazil 0 0 0 0 0 MAX 0 0 MAX
1  Bulgaria* 0 0 0 0 0 MAX 0 0 MAX
1  Canada 0 0 0 0 0 MAX 0 0 MAX
1 China* 0 0 0 0 0 MAX 0 0 MAX
1  France 0 0 0 0 0 MAX 0 0 MAX
1  Germany 0 0 0 0 0 MAX 0 0 MAX
1  Iran 0 0 0 0 0 MAX 0 0 MAX
1  Italy 0 0 0 0 0 MAX 0 0 MAX
1  Japan 0 0 0 0 0 MAX 0 0 MAX
1 South Korea 0 0 0 0 0 MAX 0 0 MAX
1  Poland 0 0 0 0 0 MAX 0 0 MAX
1  Russia 0 0 0 0 0 MAX 0 0 MAX
1  Serbia 0 0 0 0 0 MAX 0 0 MAX
1 United States* 0 0 0 0 0 MAX 0 0 MAX

* – teams in this pool

Pool Preview

On paper, the Americans are the odds on favorite to win this pool, with Argentina offering the biggest challenge. However, the roster will be a bit young without the services of Micah Christenson, Matt Anderson and Aaron Russell, who just finished Champions League play.

Bulgaria will be missing a few stars in Viktor Yosifov, Tsvetan Sokolov and Nikolay Nikolov but has enough size at the net and balance that it could be a contender.

Argentina has several up and comers including Bruno Lima, Jan Martinez Franchi and Agustin Loser, who could make the team a breakout threat.

China is a bit of an unknown with a relatively young roster, very different from the country’s 2017 World League cast of characters.

 

Star Players to Watch:

  • Argentina: 22-year old opposite Bruno Lima has dominated the domestic league, but it getting his first crack at the international spotlight. Two other players, Franchi and Loser, are making their senior national team debuts. Setter Maximiliano Cavanna returns from the 2016 Olympic team to drive the ship.
  • Bulgaria: Look for opposite Nikolay Uchikov and outside hitters Rozalin Penchev and Todor Skrimov to step into the limelight, although with enough size to go around, blocking could just as easily be what gives the team the edge.
  • China: Not enough is known about this Chinese squad to pick a star player. China missed out on the 2016 Olympics and finished 17th at the 2017 World League competition.
  • United States: Outside hitter Taylor Sander and Max Holt are the veterans of the group. The pair will be surrounded by a wealth of high level collegiate talent, including T.J. DeFalco and Kyle Ensing from the NCAA champion Long Beach State squad, as well as Jeff Jendryk (Loyola) and 2017 BYU standout Ben Patch.

 

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