Serbia, Netherlands, Italy Look to Jockey for Position in #VNL Pool 13

2018 FIVB Women’s Volleyball Nations League Week 4/Pool 13

  • June 5-7, 2018
  • Topsportcentrum Rotterdam; Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Time Zone: UTC +2 (ET +6)
  • World Rankings: #3 Serbia, #7 Italy, #8 Netherlands, #9 Dominican Republic

Serbia is the hottest team coming into this group, with wins in last six matches, including a five-setter over Turkey in its last outing. Italy has won its last two matches, including a four-set upset over top ranked China last Thursday. The Netherlands is looking to rebound from a loss to Brazil, while the Dominican Republic is hoping to break through after just two wins in nine matches.

 

Schedule

Date Local Time U.S. Eastern Time Home  Visitor
June 5. 4:30 p.m. 10:30 a.m. Italy Serbia
June 5. 7:30 p.m. 1:30 p.m. Netherlands Dominican Republic
June 6. 4:30 p.m. 10:30 a.m. Serbia Dominican Republic
June 6. 7:30 p.m. 1:30 p.m. Netherlands Italy
June 7. 4:30 p.m. 10:30 a.m. Dominican Republic Italy
June 7. 7:30 p.m. 1:30 p.m. Netherlands Serbia

Standings

Will Brazil, Russia and the United States facing off in Jiangmen, China, this week, can Serbia or the Netherlands seize an opening to solidify their spots in the Final Six?

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1 United States 8 1 25 26 4 6.500 735 593 1.239
2 Brazil 8 1 24 25 8 3.125 798 653 1.222
3 Serbia 8 1 23 25 8 3.125 775 684 1.133
4 Netherlands 7 2 20 22 9 2.444 749 632 1.185
5 Turkey 6 3 19 23 12 1.917 797 739 1.078
6 Russia 6 3 17 18 15 1.200 740 725 1.021
7 China 5 4 16 19 13 1.462 699 653 1.070
8 Italy 4 5 14 16 16 1.000 697 679 1.027
9 South Korea 4 5 11 13 18 0.722 641 682 0.940
10 Japan 4 5 11 13 18 0.722 658 706 0.932
11 Poland 3 6 8 13 22 0.591 764 765 0.999
12 Germany 3 6 8 12 22 0.545 716 782 0.916
13 Dominican Republic 2 7 8 12 21 0.571 653 757 0.863
14 Thailand 2 7 6 11 23 0.478 728 783 0.930
15 Belgium 2 7 6 9 23 0.391 631 741 0.852
16 Argentina 0 9 0 2 27 0.074 512 719 0.712

 

Pool Preview

While much of the focus is on Pool 14 this week with World No. 1 China, No. 2 USA, No. 4 Brazil and No. 5 facing off, the results of this pool could be just as important as teams look to block each other out of the race for the Final Six.

Serbia, Italy and the Netherlands are certainly in the mix and posting big point values this week could help them vault ahead of the losers from Pool 14. With just 10 points separating seventh place Italy and the first place Americans and just six between the Italians and the fourth place Dutch, anything could happen.

It will be a battle of the stars in some cases as Serbia, the Dominican Republic and Italy have been one or two woman shows to this point. The balance of the Dutch attack could be key in deciding these matches as well as the support of the home crowd.

Despite all of the that, on paper, Serbia looks to be the toughest foe and has momentum on its side. The Serbs also have faced some of the top teams in the tournament in Brazil, China, Russia and Turkey and still stand at 8-1.

 

Players/Stories To Watch

  • The Dominican Republic’s Brayelin Martinez has racked up the third most points in VNL play (154), leading her team in six matches and posting double-figure tallies in all nine contests.
  • Serbia boasts two scorers among the VNL top 10 in Tijana Boskovic (152 points, 4th) and Brankica Mihajlovic (130, 8th). The duo provided a 1-2 punch in the team’s five-set win over Turkey and have done so throughout the competition thus far.
  • The Netherlands has utilized a balanced attack with four players tallying between 64 and 75 kills over the opening nine matches. The team will have to maintain that balance in order to keep other teams’ blockers from keying on anyone in particular. Anne Buijs (75) and Lonneke Sloetjes (74)  likely will lead the way, but look for Maret Balkestein-Grothues (68) or Celeste Plak (64) to be an X-factor.
  • Italy struggled out of the gates without its young star Paola Egonu, but the opposite has made an impact in her three matches with the team, piling up 53 kills, 10 blocks and seven aces. Miryam Fatime Sylla had carried the bulk of the load to that point, but the addition of Egonu has lightened that burden, scoring a team-best 27 points in the win over China and 32 in a loss to Japan. Will she continue to take the spotlight on Week 4?

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