Zielona Góra's CRS Hall in volleyball outfit - ready for the first whistle
Zielona Góra, Poland, June 1, 2016 - The western Polish city of Zielona Góra, which means Green Mountain, is set to host World Grand Prix Group 2 Pool B tournament, which features Canada, the Czech Republic, hosts Poland and Puerto Rico.
World No. 16 Puerto Rico are fresh from their Olympic qualification endeavours - won only 11 days ago - for the first time in the country's history. Playing on their home soil, Puerto Rico defeated Algeria, Colombia and Kenya without dropping a single set. Coach Juan Carlos Nunez’s players had little time to rest and cherish the victory, as three days later they were back to hard work, preparing for the upcoming World Grand Prix campaign.
Hosts Poland had their own share of preparations at their usual training facilities in COS Szczyrk. There they also played a series of sparring matches against Germany and the Czech Republic.
“We worked hard during the preparation period,” said Tereza Rossi (nee Matuszkova) one of the most experienced players on the Czech team. "Before the World Grand Prix in Poland we only had to work on some details. Our goal is to build a strong team and at this stage we are fine-tuning. I really appreciate working with coach Alexander Waibl, who is a high-class professional,” said the Czech spiker, who is also known to speak five languages, including Polish. Last season she won the CEV Champions League with Pomi Casalmaggiore and in the past she had also taken Poland’s top prizes: the National Championship and National Cup, while playing for Winiary Kalisz.
Poland coach Jacek Nawrocki has appointed many young players for the national team with many making their World Grand Prix debuts.
Joanna Wołosz - a setter playing for Poland’s champion Chemik Police - is among the most experienced in the squad. “There are many young players at the training camp. Playing for the national team is a new and different experience for them. Since I’m part of the older guard, I’m just trying to help and be my normal self. I’m not trying to be a know-it-all and I don’t feel that anyone needs that. I remember that the change of generations in the team used to be more drastic in the past - it doesn’t feel like that this time,” said the Polish setter.
Poland’s training camp in Szczyrk ended on Saturday. ”We did a great deal of work at the local Olympic Preparations Centre and I hope that it brings good results in the World Grand Prix tournaments. We played a lot with the Czech Republic and German teams and I think that was what we needed” coach Nawrocki said.
Zielona Góra’s Group 2 Pool B tournament is the first of two played in Poland. The following weekend will have the local favourites move to Włocławek, to compete against Argentina, Kenya and Puerto Rico in Group 2 Pool D.