Montreux, Switzerland, June 8, 2017- The Montreux Volley Masters is a competition which yields so many contrasting emotions; the ecstasy of victory and the despair of defeat. Three players from the winning camps over the action of Day 2 discussed their own feelings in post-match interviews after their matches, whilst providing an insight into their personal and team aspirations at this year’s tournament.
Poland’s Malwina Smarzek was visibly pleased as her side responded to their opening defeat to Brazil in perfect fashion by taking the scalp of 2016 silver medallists Thailand.
“I’m proud of my team and the win”, she said. “This Polish team is a new team, we’ve only been with some of the current players for two years, so this victory is a big one for us”.
Despite the inevitable hype over their prospects following such a victory, Smarzek was determined to keep her own feet on the ground regarding their hopes at this year’s tournament, as well as those of her teammates.
“We have put ourselves back in contention but we are not getting ahead of ourselves. I am focused only on the next game, not the semi-finals or the final. For me, I’m content just to be here playing.”
Another side looking to enjoy the tournament are Germany, who come into this year’s competition on the back of their remarkable qualification for the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championships in Japan. They toasted that achievement with a surprise opening victory against Brazil, but Wing Spiker Louisa Lippmann insisted that the Germans won’t be getting ahead of themselves and will simply look to enjoy the occasion.
“It’s good knowing we’re one of the teams here who have qualified for Japan”, Lippmann said. “Last week there was a lot of pressure, and it’s good that we can play here not necessarily in a relaxed way, but without that intense pressure”.
Despite the comparatively calmer approach to Montreux, Lippmann was also eager to take it as an opportunity to truly test themselves on court against strong teams and improve their own game for future competitions.
“It was hard playing five sets against Brazil. They are a huge volleyball country and strong physically and tactically”, she said. But it’s a perfect start for us and we can be proud of our efforts”.
“Montreux is a super hard competition with many strong teams, and we can definitely improve our game here.”
Olympic gold medallists and 2016 Montreux Masters champions China have enjoyed a near perfect start, dispatching Switzerland in three sets before a thrilling tie-break win over the Netherlands to sit top of Pool A, but Setter Yao Di believes she and her team still have room for improvement.
“Looking back at these last two matches, our defence was not good enough”, she said. “They won a lot of points with their offense, and I need to cooperate better with my teammates.”
Despite China’s blocking game looking impressive for the mere spectator, Yao explained that there are still aspects of their defence that require improvement if they are to excel in Montreux again.
“The Netherlands played very well but we didn’t do too brilliantly in controlling the net”, she explained. “I am just glad to have won the game”.
China as champions are renown as a team who take every game as it comes, and their focus is now firmly on sharpening their game ahead of their final Pool A test against Argentina on Thursday night, according to Yao.
“Argentina are strong in defence”, she said. “But we will try to play our own game and correct our weaknesses against them”.