Almost exactly one month after winning the bronze medal of the League of Nations, Polish volleyball players will start another road, at the end of which there should be a tournament podium. There are at least a few arguments in favor of this. Biało-Czerwone are on the rise, and we cite five arguments “for” the team’s success at the European Championships.
Since the beginning of 2022, coach Stefano Lavarini has been the coach of the Polish women’s volleyball team. The Italian, after a promising performance at the 2022 World Cup, where the Polish women were among the eight best teams in the world, followed the blow. Biało-Czerwone then lost to the Serbians (2:3), later world champions. But regardless of that result, the Polish team went their own way.
The victory in the intercontinental phase of the League of Nations, followed by the bronze medals of the VNL, only confirmed the observers’ belief that Polish women can achieve great results. We have selected five arguments “for” the belief that Biało-Czerwone will reach the tournament podium during EURO 2023. In the sphere of dreams, adding, so far in pencil, that with a good arrangement of stars in the sky (read above the grid), it may end up playing for gold.
1. Philosophy of the Polish national team according to Stefano Lavarini
It seems obvious, but after a few unnecessary years of stagnation, the volleyball team started for good. It turned out that, just like the men’s team, the women’s team can also achieve results that allow you to collect more and more arguments for fighting with the best. This is largely due to coach Lavarini, who made our team members believe that nothing is impossible.
“I’m not worried about the championship, I see it as a challenge. All in all, it’s hard to talk about fears in the context of volleyball. These can be had in ordinary life. I come to everything in volleyball as a challenge. Currently, it is the best preparation of the team for the beginning of the struggle in Belgium. I haven’t thought about the lineup yet. The time for that will come next week – said the Italian coach of Biało-Czerwony after sparring matches with the Turks for “Wprost”.
A challenge, step by step, but always in the right direction. This seems to be a direction that gives extra motivation. To achieve better and better results, as in the case of VNL 2023, with places on the podium. And we played with the Turks, as in a clash of two class teams, aware of their arguments. Polish women once again showed that they face the favorites without respect.
2. Agnieszka Korneluk, or “return” in a big way
In mid-May this year, in “Wprost”, we asked one of the most experienced volleyball players in Lavarini’s team what to expect from the 2023 season. Now it is known that Agnieszka Korneluk – because we are talking about her – knew what she was talking about. Convincingly believing in the work that the staff members have done and are doing. Keeping in mind that humility should still be one of the essential characteristics of the team.
“We need to focus on the here and now. You have to use each day properly so that you don’t have anything to complain about later. That’s my approach. The Olympics and participation in this most important event for every athlete have been on my dream list practically forever. It used to seem unattainable for our team. Now this road is still difficult, but more real. The mere perspective of the goal that can be achieved is the greatest motivation in the context of the entire season and the fight for tickets to the Olympic Games – said Korneluk.
The volleyball player herself became a real fear of rivals during VNL 2023. Her performances in the block, but also an effective game in attack – allowed, among others, to sort out Katarzyna Wenerska, the quarterback, but also to believe Korneluk herself, how much she can do. And this also in a clash with the giants of the national volleyball team.
3. For trouble Magdalena Stysiak
Changed by all cases, the offensive leader of the White and Reds. It’s hard to believe that in December 2023 he will be only 23 years old. Stysiak, like Korneluk among the blockers, dominated the Nations League rankings, only in terms of points scored. It is valuable, however, that the attacker not only maintains a great level in the offensive, but also adds a lot, e.g. in the team’s defensive actions.
“I think we’ve finally matured into success. We have gathered a lot of experience over the last years. We have a different mentality than before. This was evident in the match balls for the Americans during the tie-break for bronze. We didn’t hold our hands, we weren’t scared that we were at the climax of such an important meeting. The medal is a lesson for the future that we are able to win even more – admitted Stysiak for “Wprost” in an interview with Michał Winiarczyk.
Having a leader to whom you can entrust the most difficult balls – as years ago, e.g. Małgorzata Glinka-Mogentale or Katarzyna Skowrońska – the Polish team can compete with the best. Although it will not be anything revealing, Stysiak is needed by her teammates as much as our attacker’s friends. Acting as one organism.
4. Significant return to the staff of Joanna Wołosz
Step by step, the above-mentioned Katarzyna Wenerska has earned a place in the national team, as one of the two behind the “steering wheel” of the team. The full-length VNL 2023 allowed, however it sounds, to forget about Joanna Wołosz for a moment. Although an experienced volleyball player is a sports class in itself, Wenerska maintained the burden of responsibility and fulfilled the tasks entrusted to her by Lavarini.
“They are two different quarterbacks. Wołosz is a virtuoso, the one who can create the way the national team will play. This is due to the greater experience of playing for high goals, in a better league. Of course, I do not include Wenerska here. She’s a different quarterback. Calm, implementing the pre-match assumptions set by the coach. In addition, she is also very accurate and calmer – this is how Dorota Świeniewicz described the representative quarterbacks for “Wprost”.
After Wołosz’s return, the Polish team will again be a mystery. Mainly for rivals who can watch how Polish women played during VNL, but then Wenerska was in charge. Wołosz returned for a three-match sparring match with Turkey. It was obvious that it took some time to fully understand with some of my friends. But Wołosz is an experience that, supported by the entry of Wenerska (including solid double shifts to the company with Monika Gałkowska), can give very good results for Biało-Czerwoni.
5. Hunger for another medal – this time after a 14-year break
The counter regarding the lack of medals for Polish volleyball players has been ticking for years. In the case of bronze, the VNL Polish women erased the medal gap that had been going on for 55 years. It was then that the last time was the opportunity to see the Polish team on the podium of a global event. It was the Olympic Games in… 1968. Then the Polish women reached the third place.
In the case of ME 2023, there is another opportunity, this time to erase the result that has been accumulating for 14 years. Because it was in 2009 that Polish women stood on the podium for the last time in the fight for the title of the best team of the Old Continent.
Moreover, remember that there is still work to be done. Let’s vote once again Świeniewicz.
“We are aware that we still need ranking points. We have to win every event from start to finish. And that’s valuable too. I really liked that our representatives don’t look too far into the future. Day after day, adding more positive results to the final success – admitted the MVP of the golden European Championships 2005.
Adding another medal, gaining ranking points and … further fight for dreams. And these will be able to be fulfilled next year, which we wish our team. As much as the admission tickets to IO 2024, for which Polish women will fight in September in Łódź. Let’s be full of optimism after the recent events with ME.