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Roman Iakovlev

Roman Iakovlev has been at the heart of Russian volleyball for more than five years now becoming one of Russia's most proficient scorers ever since being voted as the Best Server at the 1998 World Championship. The 26-year-old in the No 10 jersey has been particularly prolific in recent years, finishing third - tied with teammate Pavel Abramov - on the top-scoring rankings during the 2002 World League final round and in the top 10 in each of the best blockers, spikers and servers rankings as Russia stormed to victory.

Despite a relatively quiet 2002 World Championship tournament, Iakovlev, who plays for the Daytona club in Italy, has been an integral part in this Russian outfit ever since he cracked the big time and is definitely one to watch with his powerful attacks, superb on-court vision and lethal serves. At 201cm he's not hard to miss, unless, that is, he is standing next to his 217cm teammate Alexei Kazakov. 

But it's this height coupled with a 92kg frame, which sees Iakovlev have a huge presence on court. Physically strong Russia use him to great effect to thrash down spike after spike, a role the universal Iakovlev thrives on.

To have a Russian team minus Iakovlev is unthinkable these days as he is consistently one of the most efficient performers for the World League defending champions, especially when putting away power slams. And there's no doubt with Poland, Spain and Venezuela in the same World League pool, Iakovlev will be just as proficient as always.