Women’s VNL teams test readiness in pre-season encounters
Turkish players celebrate their victory in the 2018 Montreux Volley Masters bronze medal match
Lausanne, Switzerland, May 13, 2019 – With just over a week to go until the second edition of the women’s FIVB Volleyball Nations League gets underway, the participating teams are entering the final stages of their preparation for the competition and many of them will test their squads at the Montreux Volley Masters tournament or in friendly matches.
In fact, seven of the 2019 VNL teams will join hosts Switzerland at the 34th edition of the traditional annual Montreux Volley Masters invitational from May 13 through 18 on the shores of Lake Geneva.
The eight teams are split into two round-robin pools of four. China, Germany, Japan and Poland will compete in Pool A, while Italy, Switzerland, Thailand and Turkey will face each other in Pool B, with the pool winners and the pool runners-up advancing to the semifinals. The third-ranked teams in the pools will play for the fifth place in the final standings and the fourth-ranked ones – for the seventh place.
The tournament will get underway on Monday at 16:30 local time with the game between Switzerland and last year’s VNL silver medallists Turkey. Also on the first day of competition, Asian super powers Japan and China will meet at 18:45 and Thailand will challenge 2018 Montreux winners Italy at 21:15.
Two VNL teams not playing at Montreux will lock horns with each other for a friendly two-game series. Southern European neighbours Serbia and Bulgaria will meet in Belgrade on Tuesday, May 14, at 17:00, and on Wednesday, May 15, at 10:00 local time.
The Belgian squad will also prepare for their VNL campaign with two pre-season matches, entertaining Hungary in Beveren on Wednesday and Thursday.
Some teams participating in the 2019 VNL have already played their first friendly matches. Last week a young Italian selection achieved two victories against the U23 national team of China at home in Cavalese - 3-2 (17-25, 25-20, 25-19, 22-25, 15-7) on May 7 and 3-1 (25-20, 20-25, 25-22, 25-19) on May 8.
However, the teams of Thailand and Korea were the most impatient to test their skills in a pre-season series. Back on April 5, in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand managed a 3-2 (25-23, 29-27, 23-25, 23-25, 15-11) win over their visitors, but two days later, in Bangkok, the Koreans took revenge with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-23) victory.