2019 FIVB VNL Preview: Turkey Women's National Team

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It was an up and down 2018 for Turkey. 

After a silver medal at last year’s FIVB Volleyball Nations League, the team crashed all the way down to 10th place at the World Championship. 

Watch the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League LIVE on FloVolleyball

There is no question that the team will want to use the 2019 VNL as an opportunity to prove that their 2018 showing wasn't a one-off and that they can consistently compete with the best in the world.

2018 FIVB VNL record & stats

Win/loss: 11/ 4 

Points: 35 

Sets win/loss/ratio: 40 / 19/ 2.105 

Points win/loss/ratio: 1351 / 1244 / 1.086 

Final position: 2nd

What’s new for Turkey in FIVB VNL 2019?

Turkey has a bunch of relatively new young players worth keeping an eye on, but Ebrar Karakurt should probably be at the top of your list. 

The 19-year-old opposite moved up to the senior women’s team in 2018, debuting at the inaugural FIVB VNL where she helped the team win a silver. She’s not exactly breaking news at this point but it would be interesting to see how much she’s developed in the last year and check in on the kind of player she’s steadily becoming. 

Turkey world ranking: 12 (October 2018)

Turkey FIVB VNL 2019 match schedule

Week 1

May 21 at 10 AM CT – Korea v Turkey 

May 22 at 1 PM CT – Netherlands v Turkey 

May 23 at 1 PM CT – Turkey v Serbia

Week 2

May 28 at 9:30 AM CT – Turkey v Japan 

May 29 at 9:30 AM CT – Germany v Turkey 

May 30 at 9:30 AM CT – Turkey v Russia

Week 3

June 4 at 3:05 AM CT – Dominican Republic v Turkey 

June 5 at 3:05 AM CT – Bulgaria v Turkey 

June 6 at 6:05 AM CT – Thailand v Turkey

Week 4

June 11 at 3 AM CT – USA v Turkey 

June 12 at 7 AM CT – China v Turkey 

June 13 at 3 AM CT – Turkey v Poland

Week 5

June 18 at 11 AM CT – Turkey v Belgium 

June 19 at 11 AM CT – Italy v Turkey 

June 20 at 8 AM CT – Turkey v Brazil

Turkey games to watch out for in FIVB VNL 2019

In 2018 Turkey proved that it can consistently deliver against mid-tier teams. However, given its mixed fortunes last year it will be interesting to watch how it fares against sterner opponents. 

Mark your diaries with the fixture against USA, who took a closely fought win against Turkey in the 2018 FIVB VNL final before defeating them again, in straight sets, in the World Championships. 

Also keep an eye on Turkey's final match in the preliminary round against Brazil. It is a rematch of the 2018 VNL semifinal, which Turkey won 3-0.

Turkey provisional roster

Head coach: Giovanni Guidetti 

Setters: Cansu Ozbay, Buse Unal, Ezgi Dilik, Elif Sahin, Naz Aydemir Akyol 

Liberos: Gizem Orge Guner, Simge Sebnem Akoz, Aylin Sarioglu 

Middle Blockers: Eda Erdem Dunbar, Beyza Arici, Kubra Caliskan, Aycin Akyol, Yasemin Guveli, Zehra Gunes, Asli Kalac 

Wing Spikers (Outside & Opposite Hitters): Seyma Ercan, Hande Baladin, Meliha Ismailoglu, Melis Durul, Gozde Yilmaz, Meyrem Boz, Fatma Yildirim, Humay Topaloglu, Neriman Ozsoy, Cansu Cetin, Ebrar Karakurt 

Average age: 24.7 (7th oldest)

Average height: 185.7cm (5th tallest)

Turkey player to watch in FIVB VNL 2019: Meryem Çalık

Outside hitter Meryem Çalık (née Boz), 31, is still very much is the leader of this team. 

Çalık is a steady force on the squad that’s alway a joy to watch. She’s had lengthy club championship experiences so the team has been relying on her. 

Thankfully, the new generation after her is beginning to step up to the plate. 

Some of the other young Turkish players worth mentioning include spiker Meliha İsmailoğlu, middle blocker Zehra Güne, setter Cansu Özbay, and libero Hatice Gizem Örge.

The bottom line: Can Turkey bounce back from World Championship disappointment?

Turkey’s crash from silver medalist at FIVB VNL to 10th place at the World Championship could either be a chain around its neck or a much-needed spark. 

Central to charting the direction of this team is legendary coach Giovanni Guidetti. The 46-year-old has had plenty of success with various international teams and he’s been handling the Turkish squad since 2017. Guidetti is known for his animated persona on the sidelines but he’s also mindful of shaping the next generation of Turkish players. 

We’ll see how Guidetti plays out of this tournament and whether young players really do manage to pull all the stops at this year's VNL. More than anything, it will be a fresh canvas for Turkey as it tries to recover from the stinging World Championship setback. 

Can they avoid disappointment this time?

What is a realistic FIVB VNL projection for the Turkey women’s team?

Anything can happen for Turkey in 2019. A repeat of last year's success may be unrealistic but the hope is that it can recover from the World Championship and regain its confidence. 

Qualification for the Final Six would be considered a big win.

How to watch Turkey in FIVB VNL 2019

Watch the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League in its entirety LIVE on FloVolleyball.

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