Match week 4 – Poland’s Smarzek on pace to break personal best at VNL
Malwina Smarzek will lead Poland as they take on the United States, Turkey and China in Pool 16
The 23-year-old Smarzek currently has 247 points and is 115 points away from surpassing her own scoring record at the VNL. Not only is she making waves scoring points, but she has also led her team to fifth place in the overall rankings with seven wins and two losses. Last year, Poland finished in eighth place with eight victories in 15 outings.
Poland face last year’s finalists the United States and Turkey, and Olympic champions China in Pool 16 in Jiangmen in the fourth week. However, Smarzek seems unfazed with tough opponents as she has delivered high-scoring performances against other top teams like Italy, Brazil, Netherlands, Serbia and Russia in previous matches.
Poland will take on China in the second match in Jiangmen on Tuesday at 20:00 local time, following the encounter between USA and Turkey at 16:00.
Turkey are currently top of the standings with an 8-1 win-loss record, while USA are currently ranked third with a 7-2 card.
Young player Ebrar Karakurt, who is currently the best attacker of the tournament with a 51.6 success percentage, leads the Turkish team, while USA's Andrea Drews is the third best attacker with a 49.44 per cent success rate.
Meanwhile, second-ranked Italy host Korea and European sides Bulgaria and Russia in Perugia. The first match slated in Pool 13 is between Russia and Korea at 17:00 local time, followed by the match of the host team against Bulgaria at 20:00.
Italian opposite Paola Egonu, who has so far collected 101 points, including double-digit outputs from their matches against Serbia (32), Japan (20) and China (40), could suit up again for Italy to help them earn home wins in Perugia.
In Pool 14, Germany host Belgium, the Netherlands and the Dominican Republic in Stuttgart.
The all-European clash between Belgium and the Netherlands will open the matches in the group at 17:30 local time, then the host nation will go up against the Brayelin Elizabeth Martinez-led Dominican Republic at 20:30.
Martinez is in second place behind Smarzek in the best scorer category with a total of 196 points in nine matches. Belgium’s Marlies Janssens is the current best server with 19 service winners.
World champions Serbia, Thailand, Brazil and hosts Japan will play each other in Pool 15 in Tokyo.
The Serbians will open the matches in the fourth week against the Thais at 15:30 local time, followed by the matchup between the Japanese and the Brazilians at 19:10.
Defence could be the focus in the matchup between Serbia and Thailand, as best blocker Maja Aleksic tries to defend the net for Serbia, while best receiver Piyanut Pannoy guards the floor for Thailand.
In the other encounter, the offence of Brazil and Japan will rely on the contribution of their respective attackers Gabi Guimaraes and Yuki Ishii, respectively.
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