Aug. 8 - USA vs. Netherlands, 2 p.m. EST
By Jim Stone
In the second of his scouting reports on the pool opponents the U.S. women will face at the Olympics, Jim Stone looks at Netherlands, the world’s 11th-ranked team. USA, the world’s top-ranked team, is one of the favorites in Rio to win the gold along with second-ranked Brazil and third-ranked China.
14 Laura Dijkema – setter (height: 6-0; age: 26)
10 Lonneke Sloetjes – opposite (6-4; 25)
6 Maret Balkestein-Grothues – left-side hitter (5-11; 27)
11 Anne Buijs – left-side hitter (6-3; 24)
5 Robin de Kruijf – middle blocker (6-4; 25)
7 Quinta Steenbergen – middle blocker (6-2; 31)
1 Kirsten Knip – libero (5-9; 23)
- Runs a 5-1 offense with setter Laura Dijkema (#4). She rarely attacks.
- Good serving team. Lots of low, flat serves with good velocity. Netherlands kept China out of system with their serves when the teams met earlier this year at the FIVB Grand Prix.
- Left-side attackers hit at antennae. Middles mostly hit 31s and slides, high backsets and pipes to opposite Lonneke Sloetjes (#10).
- Sloetjes (#10) and Anne Buijs (#11) are the primary attackers.
- Mostly block line vs. the left-side attack, dig cross-court and seam. As a team, they defend well and give good effort.
- Good blocking team, with the exception of the setter. Tall blockers who penetrate the net well. Middle blockers are especially good when they can get to the outside.
- Dijkema (#14) and Balkestein-Grothues (#6) are small blockers who may be exploited.
- Sloetjes (#10) is their best attacker. She hits at both antennae and out of the back-row (pipes and Ds) and can effectively hit to all parts of the court.
- Left-side attacker Buijs (#11) likes to hit mostly cross court.
- MB Quinta Steenbergen (#7) hits a high percentage as blockers focus on Sloetjes (#10)
- Balkestein-Grothues (#6) is weak offensively and will be a liability when Netherlands is out of system.
How they will win
- Serve well, get the opponent out of system and allow their middle blockers to get to the outside to set up a good block.
- Sloetjes (#10) scores a lot of points.
- One of their strengths is that they are solid in all aspects with no significant weakness. Netherlands is capable of matching up physically with most teams. On a given night, they can defeat any team.
How they will lose
- Depend too much on Sloetjes (#10). They need one more consistent point-scorer.
- Pass poorly and offense gravitates to the left-side attackers.
- Serve doesn’t force opponents out of system.
How to defeat Netherlands
- Mentally prepare for a challenging match. This team is capable of playing with the top teams.
- Defend Sloetjes (#10) as a priority. For Netherlands to win, she has to score about 50% of their points.
- Pass well to hold middle blockers, and make sure all attackers are involved in the offense.
1 Alisha Glass – setter (height: 6-0; age 28) – Leland, Michigan; Penn State
2 Kayla Banwarth – libero (5-10; 27) - Dubuque, Iowa; University of Nebraska
3 Courtney Thompson – setter (5-8; 31) – Kent, Washington; University of Washington
5 Rachael Adams – middle blocker (6-2; 26) - Cincinnati, Ohio; University of Texas
6 Carli Lloyd – setter (5-11; 27) – Bonsall, California; University of California-Berkeley
10 Jordan Larson – outside hitter (6-2; 29); Hooper, Nebraska; University of Nebraska
12 Kelly Murphy – opposite (6-2; 26) Wilmington, Illinois; University of Florida
13 Christa Dietzen – middle blocker (6-2; 29) Hopewell Township, Pennsylvania; Penn State
15 Kim Hill – outside hitter (6-4; 26) Portland, Oregon; Pepperdine
16 Foluke Akinradewo – middle blocker (6-3; 29) Plantation, Florida; Stanford
23 Kelsey Robinson – outside hitter (6-2; 24) Bartlett, Illinois; University of Nebraska
25 Karsta Lowe – opposite (6-4; 23) Rancho Santa Fe, California; UCLA