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Five players on the rise - Women’s VNL

Lausanne, Switzerland, March 12, 2019 – The inaugural edition of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League in 2018 was a key milestone for the sport, highlighting the best of volleyball around the world. It was also the chance for some of the competition's young guns to showcase their talent on the global stage.

Here are five athletes to look out for as we continue to build towards the 2019 VNL women’s tournament.

Andrea Drews’ first stint with Team USA was in May 2017 when they won the title at the Pan American Cup. She joined the team again three weeks later at the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix Finals, giving her side a huge scoring spark, before becoming USA’s second best scorer at the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup in Japan, where they finished in third place. The Indiana native earned her stripes with her promising performances, making her a player to look out for.

Turkey’s 19-year-old opposite Ebrar Karakurt brings great energy to the court. Her performances at the age-group and senior-level competitions, and at a club level have confirmed her status as a rising star. In 2018, the young player helped Turkey reach second place at the VNL and her club VakifBank Istanbul defend their title at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship.

China’s 19-year-old wing spiker Li Yingying is one of the most promising players in her team. The left-handed hitter showed her playing depth at the Volleyball Nations League and at the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship, as she helped superstar Zhu Ting on offence and the rest of her teammates on defence. She holds the record in the Chinese women’s volleyball league with the most number of points scored in a match, scoring 45 markers from 41 spikes, two blocks and two aces. On top of that, she had 13 excellent digs.

Brazilian outside hitter Drussyla Costa made an impressive start with her national team. She had won several team and individual honours in the age-group tournaments before becoming an important player for Brazil during their title win at the World Grand Prix in 2017. At the VNL, after helping her squad during the preliminary round, she suffered a fracture to her right hand, which saw her miss the rest of the team’s journey in the competition. However, the young prospect is expected to bounce back in 2019.

Celeste Plak started playing volleyball at the age of six, when her mother took her to a volleyball school. At first she did not have the confidence to play until her coach convinced her to give it another try. She eventually stayed and fell in love with the sport. Now, she is not just your average 23-year-old as she has competed at the World Championship and the Olympic Games, and is one of her team’s top scorers and go-to hitters.

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