Poland’s women’s national team surprised many when it wound up in ninth place at last year’s FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
It was still a fair way from the podium but it was a decent enough result for quite a young team that’s still finding its bearings.
Will the 2019 FIVB VNL be the start of better days for Poland’s women’s team?
2018 FIVB VNL record & stats
Win/loss: 8 / 7
Sets win/loss/ratio: 29 / 29 / 1.000
Points win/loss/ratio: 1298 / 1211 / 1.072
Final position: 9th
What’s new for Poland in FIVB VNL 2019?
Setter Joanna Wolosz will be suiting up for Poland at this year’s VNL. She will be the focal point and leader of this team as it steadily ploughs on towards a future of, hopefully, greater success.
Poland world ranking: 26 (October 2018)
Poland FIVB VNL 2019 match schedule
May 21 at 1:30 PM CT – Poland v Italy
May 22 at 1:30 PM CT – Poland v Germany
May 23 at 1:30 PM CT – Thailand v Poland
May 28 at 9:30 AM CT – Bulgaria v Poland
May 29 at 9:30 AM CT – Poland v Brazil
May 30 at 9:30 AM CT – Poland v Netherlands
June 4 at 10:15 AM CT – Serbia v Poland
June 5 at 1:15 PM CT – Belgium v Poland
June 6 at 10:15 AM CT – Poland v Russia
June 11 at 7 AM CT – China v Poland
June 12 at 3 AM CT – Poland v USA
June 13 at 3 AM CT – Turkey v Poland
June 17 at 11:30 PM CT – Japan v Poland
June 18 at 11:30 PM CT – Poland v Dominican Republic
June 20 at 3 AM CT – Korea v Poland
Poland games to watch out for in FIVB VNL 2019
Poland’s matches against Russia are always exciting and heated no matter the sport – the rivalry is very much alive. Clear your calendar on Wednesday, June 5 to watch these two teams clash.
Aside from that match, it would be great to see how Poland responds to some of the other mid-tier teams in this tournament, like Japan, Germany and Italy.
Poland provisional roster
Head coach: Jacek Nawrocki
Setters: Julia Nowicka, Marta Joanna Wojcik, Joanna Wolosz, Marlena Plesnierowicz, Alicja Grabka
Liberos: Maria Stenzel, Paulina Maj-Erwardt, Julia Mazur
Middle Blockers: Agnieszka Kakolewska, Klaudia Alagierska, Kamila Witkowska, Zuzanna Efimienko-Mlotkowska, Malgorzata Jasek, Weronika Centka, Anna Stencel, Gabriela Polanska
Wing Spikers (Outside & Opposite Hitters): Martyna Lukasik, Julia Twardowska, Monika Bociek, Martyna Grajber, Natalia Medrzyk, Malwina Smarzek, Emilia Mucha, Olivia Rozanski, Natalia Murek, Zuzanna Gorecka, Monika Jagla, Aleksandra Wojcik, Paulina Damaske
Universal: Magdalena Stysiak
Average age: 23.9 (8th oldest)
Average height: 184.1cm (10th tallest)
Poland players to watch in FIVB VNL 2019: Joanna Wolosz
Wolosz is easily Poland’s biggest star and its best player. The 29-year-old plays for one of Europe’s top clubs Imoco Volley in Italy and is playing at the very top level for Poland.
She was named Most Valuable Player during the 2017-18 season of the Italian league and was also Best Setter during the 2017-18 CEV Champions League.
Keep an eye out for her and how she takes on the challenge of leading her younger teammates at FIVB VNL 2019.
The bottom line: Is Poland headed for better days?
There was a time in 2003 and 2005 when Poland’s women’s team reigned supreme over Europe after winning back-to-back gold medals at the European Championship. But other than that, it’s been over 50 years of subpar performance for Poland.
Poland managed to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics and wound up in ninth place. But before that, its last Olympic appearance was in 1968 – a 48-year drought. The team also did not qualify for the World Championship for its previous two editions in 2014 and 2018.
Clearly, this team has struggled for far too long. It’s worth pointing out that Poland’s men’s team is the polar opposite of the women’s squad. The men’s team is currently considered best in the world, fresh off a gold-medal triumph at the 2018 World Championship.
It has consistently contended among the world’s best over the years. The chasm between the two national team programs is glaring, but it seems as though Poland is working to close that gap. There’s a strong program in place now with an emphasis on long-term development and goals.
The team is young but racking up the experience with every competition. Poland’s performance at last year’s FIVB VNL felt like the start of something new. A solid showing at this year’s tournament would be a significant step forward and could lead to better and brighter days soon enough.
What is a realistic FIVB VNL projection for the Poland women’s team?
A good result for this team would be to maintain its position and stay within the top 12 of FIVB VNL.
As Poland’s women’s team continues to grow, it would do well to maximize the experience of playing in a dynamic league like the FIVB VNL. But if it can improve on their ninth-place finish from last year, then that’s definitely already a significant success.
How to watch Poland in FIVB VNL 2019
Watch the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League in its entirety LIVE on FloVolleyball.