Volleyball World - News

From January 10 to 16 we are counting down the 12 best players per gender in 2021, looking back at some of the highlights of the year including the FIVB Volleyball Nations League and the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Today we start the women’s countdown with the players ranked 9th to 12th.

Who were your top players of the year?


In both big national team competitions American playmaker Jordyn Poulter took part in during 2021, she and her teammates triumphed on top of the podium and the 1.88m-tall setter made the Dream Team. Poulter, who turned 24 during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, was instrumental to USA’s historic success, their first Olympic gold in history, and earned the Best Setter award. During the tournament in the Japanese capital, she had to overcome an ankle injury and sit out the quarterfinal match before returning to the court to conduct her team to the Olympic title. Earlier in the season, Poulter led Team USA to their third consecutive FIVB Volleyball Nations League title, when she was also named the Best Setter of that tournament. As a player of Italy’s Unet e-work Busto Arsizio, the American playmaker reached the semifinals of the CEV Champions League Volley 2021. In the last days of the year, they also qualified for the Coppa Italia semis.


Brazil did not make it all the way to the top of a world-level podium in 2021, but they made it to the finals of both the VNL and the Tokyo Olympics and took the continental gold at the South American Championship. In all three competitions, the South American squad was masterfully conducted by their experienced 32-year-old setter Macris Carneiro, who helped them wrap up the season with three prestigious medals. Statistically, Macris was also the best setter of the VNL finals. In 2021, the 1.78m-tall Brazilian playmaker also had abundant success with her club team, Minas Tenis Clube Belo Horizonte. They won the national title, with Macris earning the Best Setter award in the Brazilian Superliga, and the national cup. They also finished runners-up at the South American Club Championship and reached the semifinals of the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Club World Championship to become the best-placed South American team in the tournament.


Eda Erdem Dundar picked up three bronze medals and two Dream Team nominations from major international competitions in 2021. The well-seasoned Turkish national team captain, who turned 34 just three days before they claimed the bronze medals at the 2021 edition of the VNL, was named Best Middle Blocker of the tournament. Statistically, she was also the best blocker piling up as many as 50 stuffs in the competition. After making it “only” to the quarterfinals at Tokyo 2020, Eda led Turkey to another bronze at the CEV European Championship, where she was honoured on the All Star Team by the fan votes. In December, this time captaining her Turkish club side, Fenerbahce Opet Istanbul, the 1.88m-tall middle claimed another bronze, at the Club World Championship in Ankara. Earlier in the year, Fenerbahce took the national league silver, with Eda earning yet another individual award as the Best Middle Blocker on the ideal seven of the championship.


Isabelle Haak crowned what was already a very successful 2021 for her with a gold medal, the Most Valuable Player title and the Best Opposite award at December’s Club World Championship. The 22-year-old opposite became the first Swedish player to earn the MVP award in the history of the competition. By contributing 78 points to VakifBank Istanbul’s fourth club world title, she became the third best scorer of the tournament. Earlier in the year, Haak and her Turkish club team claimed Champions League silver with the 1.95m-tall Swede topping both the best scorers’ and the best spikers’ charts of the season, the Turkish championship title with Haak winning the MVP nomination, and the Turkish cup and super cup trophies. Haak also helped her national team achieve a major breakthrough. Sweden not only qualified for the European Championship finals for the first time in 38 years, but also advanced all the way to the quarterfinals. The Swedish star was EuroVolley’s most efficient scorer with an average of 7.29 points per set.