2019 FIVB VNL Preview: Poland Women's National Team

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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. 

Watch the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League LIVE on FloVolleyball

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 

Points: 22 

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

Week 1

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

Week 2

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

Week 3

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

Week 4

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

Week 5

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

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