Russia ended up defeating the host USA in 4 sets (25–23,20–25,25–21 and 25–20) behind a very strong performance by Dmitry Volkov who scored 17 points. This whole VNL tournament allowed us to take a look into the upcoming talent the world of volleyball has to offer and a lot of it looks really promising. We also got to see “old” faces who seem to still be getting better. That being said, we decided to share 3 of our takeaways from this tournament.
RUSSIA’S YOUNG CORE COULD MEAN TROUBLE
Russia has accomplished yet another VNL title, becoming back to back champions after defeating team USA. When looking at their roster you can see that certain names like Maxim Mikhailov, Alexander Butko and Dmitriy Muserskiy weremissing. These are guys who have been essential to Russia’s success in recent years but did it really matter that they weren’t included? Rising Stars Dmitry Volkov,Victor Poletaev and Ivan Iakovlev seemed to have handle the load just fine. After all, they did end up winning the tournament. The scary part isn’t that they won, the scary part is that all three of these players were born in 1995 meaning that they are still 24 years old. Surrounding Maxim Mikhailov, Alexander Butko and Dmitriy Muserskiy with all of them will make Russia one of the deepest rosters in upcoming tournaments.
TOO MANY PINS FOR POLAND?
Just like with Russia we saw a very interesting mix of players playing for Poland in this year’s Final Stage. Bartorz Bednorz really stands out when looking at that group of players as he really balled out during the final stage of the VNL, which makes you think…will bringing Leon be really necessary? The answer can seem pretty obvious as we are talking about arguably the best player in the world, but will it hurt Bartorz development to send him to the bench on his arrival? It will definitely be a good headache for Heynel Vital to have moving on as he will count with three world class talent players down the left lane in Leon, Kubiak and Bednorz.
MATT ANDERSON HASN’T SLOWED DOWN
One of the biggest question marks in our opinion here in The SpikeNet when looking at USA’s young core is the lack of a substitute for Matt Anderson. Ben Patch hasn’t really showed he could be that guy, while Kyle Ensing shows promise but is yet to prove his worth at the international stage. Luckily for USA, Matt Anderson doesn’t seem to be slowing down just yet. The 32 year old opposite is sitting on the prime of his career proving it by winning the VNL Most Valuable Player despite losing in the finals. Moving forward USA will have the tough task of competing with world class rosters like Poland, Russia and Brazil with Matt Anderson being a key component to their possible success.