Poland, Smarzek face giant task against United States
Poland and the United States meet in Jiangmen at the 2019 VNL. Malwina Smarzek (right) will lead the European team's attack.
Both squads are coming off from respective losses on Tuesday and are eager to get their sides back on the winning track.
In Pool 16, Poland are seeking one victory that could match the total number of wins they had at last year’s VNL. The European squad finished with eight wins and seven losses in the 2018 VNL and their performances this year have been positive, as they have already recorded seven wins in 10 outings.
Team USA, on the other hand, are currently in fifth place with the same 7-3 win-loss card as sixth-placer Poland – separated only by a point in the overall rankings.
These two squads have previously met 11 times at world level competitions, with the USA team holding a 10-1 win-loss advantage.
In this matchup, Poland will try to avoid losing successive matches at the 2019 VNL for the second time. The team will still be relying on their best scoring source – Smarzek – when they meet the United States at 16:00 local time.
Smarzek’s performance is key to her team’s performance as she has the ability to step up at key junctures against big squads. She currently has 264 points and has been the most consistent player, scoring in double figures in each of their 10 matches.
In another key matchup at Jiangmen, China will face current ranking leader Turkey at 20:00, featuring the intense head-to-head encounter of Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallist Zhu Ting and Turkish prodigy Ebrar Karakurt.
Meanwhile, Pool 13 matches start with the clash between two European squads – Bulgaria and Russia – in Perugia at 17:00 local time, followed by the encounter between hosts Italy and Korea at 20:00.
Young player Elena Pietrini was a great revelation for the Italian team this year. Pietrini is the team’s second best scorer and has contributed a total of 136 points. She has made some brilliant performances that helped Italy earn eight victories.
In Pool 14, the Dominican Republic and the Netherlands will play the first match in Stuttgart at 17:30 local time. Brayelin Elizabeth Martinez is the Dominican Republic’s leading scorer with 204 points and is expected to take charge when they meet the Netherlands, who are looking to end their losing slump at the 2019 VNL. Then, the host team will play European neighbours Germany at 20:30.
Yesterday’s match winners Brazil and Thailand will start the order of play in Tokyo at 15:40 local time. Brazil have the third best scorer and best receiver Gabi Guimaraes leading the squad, while Thailand have best setter Nootsara Tomkom calling the plays for her team.
Japan will face reigning world champions Serbia, looking for their first win in the Pool 15 at 19:10.
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