2019 Women's VNL: Young players to watch
China's Li Yingying celebrates with her teammates during the 2018 World Championship in Japan
Here is a selection of young up-and-coming players who could make their mark on the 2019 edition of the women's VNL:
Elena Pietrini of Italy celebrates
Netherlands coach Jamie Morrison is also introducing some new players this year, including 18-year-old Dutch powerhouse Indy Baijens who is a product of their national development programme. The 193cm-tall middle blocker has great physical qualities that could help her team on both offence and defence.
Russia’s rising star Tatiana Kadochkina is already making waves in her country's national league as an opposite hitter for club Dinamo Kazan. The 16-year-old got some of her talent from her father Alexey, a former volleyball player. She furthered her knowledge of the sport by moving to Kazan to attend Ekaterina Gamova’s volleyball school, and then at age 15, she moved into the big league playing for Dinamo Kazan and earned her way in the club's starting line-up in the Super League. She is a certified star in the international age-group competitions.
Tatiana Kadochkina in action during the Girls' U18 World Championships in 2017
Each year, USA’s legendary coach Karch Kiraly introduces new players from the collegiate league to his line-up. Among these new USA talents this year is Mikaela Foecke, who was a standout player from the University of Nebraska. She helped her team win collegiate titles in 2015 and 2017, along with a runner-up finish last year. She was also a member of the USA’s FIVB U18 World Championship squad that won silver in 2013 and the NORCECA U20 Championship team that won gold in 2014.
Gozde Yilmaz was captain of the Turkey women’s national team that won the gold medals at the 2014 Women’s European Volleyball League. At a club level, she won two titles in 2015 and 2016 and a bronze medal in 2018 at the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship. Her good performance for Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul landed her a spot on the national team this year.
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