2018 VNL (W) Pool 5 Preview; Japan, Belgium, Netherlands, USA

2018 FIVB WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL NATIONS LEAGUE – WEEK 2/POOL 5

  • May 22nd-24th, 2018
  • Sky Hall Toyota | Toyota, Japan
  • Time Zone: UTC +09:00
  • World Rankings: #2 USA, #6 Japan, #8 Netherlands, #13 Belgium

SCHEDULE

Date Time Score Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Total Report
22 May 15:40 Netherlands 0–0
22 May 19:10 United States 0–0
23 May 15:40 United States 0–0
23 May 19:10 Belgium 0–0
24 May 15:40 United States 0–0
24 May 19:10 Netherlands 0–0

STANDINGS

Netherlands and the United States are currently in the top three overall and all four teams in this pool have at least won one match. In fact, three of the four have garnered a pair of victories, with the second highest ranked team in the pool the lone exception.

A likely projection for teams to advance to the Final 6 could be around 25 or 26 points. If a team can win two of their three matches every week that would set them up well.

In terms of points, a 3-0 or a 3-1 win earns the maximum of 3 for the winner and 0 for the loser. A 3-2 win earns 2 points for the winner and 1 point for the loser. Wins proceed points in terms of standings though.

Note: China is highlighted because they have secured a spot in the Final 6 as the event’s host. Teams with asterisks are in this pool.

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1 Netherlands* 3 0 9 9 1 9.000 250 194 1.289
2 Turkey 3 0 8 9 2 4.500 263 233 1.129
3 United States* 2 1 7 8 4 2.000 285 261 1.092
4 Serbia 2 1 6 7 3 2.333 232 209 1.110
5 China 2 1 6 6 3 2.000 193 165 1.170
6 Brazil 2 1 6 7 5 1.400 280 249 1.124
7 Russia 2 1 6 6 5 1.200 255 244 1.045
8 South Korea 2 1 5 6 5 1.200 248 220 1.127
9 Belgium* 2 1 5 6 5 1.200 224 227 0.987
10 Thailand 1 2 3 4 6 0.667 226 219 1.032
11 Germany 1 2 3 4 7 0.571 230 256 0.898
12 Japan* 1 2 3 4 7 0.571 230 258 0.891
13 Poland 1 2 2 4 8 0.500 254 268 0.948
14 Dominican Republic 0 3 2 4 9 0.444 236 289 0.817
15 Italy 0 3 1 2 9 0.222 215 255 0.843
16 Argentina 0 3 0 2 9 0.222 193 267 0.723

POOL PREVIEW

This looks to be one of the more difficult pools with all four teams ranking in the top 13 and three in the top eight. It also has one of the two unbeaten teams left (Netherlands) with the United States also currently in the top three. It should serve as great preparation for top competition, but it will also create some separation and interesting results in the standings. If the Dutch and Americans continue their strong play, it could also put Japan and Belgium in tough spots.

Surprisingly, Japan is off to a rough start, but still sits in an okay position at 1-2. If they can take down Belgium and then snipe USA or Netherlands, it would be quite the week to push back to .500 at 3-3.

The other three teams are all 2-1 or better though and in serious contention after one week of play. Belgium had the lowest point total of a 2-1 team, showing some weakness to their record. They could be in serious jeopardy of losing all three this week to verify any questions of a week one fluke if they fall to Japan – making it their biggest match of the week.

At the top of the table sits Netherlands following a 3-0 week that saw nine set wins in 10 tries. They’ve got Team USA sitting right on their heels looking to reach up in the standings and make it one less undefeated nation. That should represent the match of the week in the pool, as the winner will likely claim Pool 5 and have a strong position heading into week three in the overall standings.

ROSTER UPDATES

  • USA Declares Robinson as 2nd Libero, Adds Wilhite at Outside

STAR PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • Belgium – The challenger squad had a great first week in going 2-1 with the pair of Britt Herbots (48 points) and Kaja Grobelna (46 points) stepping up. Celine Van Gestel (23 points) also can rack up the scoring as a third option and was the team’s top server in terms of aces in the first week of action.
  • Japan – Japan is coming off of a difficult first group, but shouldn’t be taken lightly here in week two despite their 1-2 record. A big reason for that is Sarina Koga, who dominates the scoring for the Japanese side. In fact, she logged 56 points, which almost doubled second-place on the team in Yuki Ishii (30 points). Ishii serves as the second option before another drop off to third, as the duo will look to step up in week two.
  • Netherlands – If Lonneke Slöetjes plays, she will be yet another talented athlete added to the fold for the Dutch. She sat out week one and still Netherlands went 3-0. That’s because of the balance throughout the lineup that includes plenty of size and power with players like Celeste Plak (48 points in week 1) and Anne Buijs (42 points in week 1) The one facilitating it all to the wealth of skill is setter Laura Dijkema, one of the top players at her position in the world.
  • United States – Outside hitter and captain Jordan Larson (team-high 36 points in week 1) has all the experience that the red, white and blue could want with over 200 CAPs. Speaking of experience, setter Carli Lloyd has plenty and was fantastic on offense (344 assists) and defense, leading Team USA in blocks last week (25 total blocks, 0.57 per set). They steady a roster with some youth. They should make for a great clash with the depth and power of Netherlands.

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