Volleyball Source
Volleyball Source


The 3 Biggest Volleyball Attacks of All-Time

Jelte Mann of The Netherlands during last year's FIVB World League.  Photo: FIVB

Jelte Mann of The Netherlands during last year's FIVB World League.  Photo: FIVB

A volleyball attack is an umbrella term for a range of things, including rolls, tips, and anything else that works to win a point. It might not be in a rule book, but an "attack bump" is a real thing in some games. But when we're talking huge volleyball attacks, we're really talking about powerful hits that would be casually referred to as "spikes" by folks that don't play much volleyball, or "kills" for people who play a ton.

Hits are also not isolated actions like a home run in baseball. They are a product of a series of events that generally include a pass, a set, and a space to hit without being blocked. Some of the most incredible attacks are ones that involve amazing individual efforts to save a tough set from an incredible dig. But those are rarely the ones that look the prettiest. The most effective kill is one that works, regardless of it being a powerful swing. A point off the block is worth the same as the cleanest hit of all time. And those points should be celebrated. But for now, we celebrate feats of excessive power. In the following kills, you'll see some of the greatest offensive Volleyball players of all-time in a perfect situation to display their skills.

Plenty of people have counted down "Best of" and "Top 10" lists of volleyball attacks. Two in particular provide a great basis for discussion. First, a CEV Top 10 List from a Greek YouTube channel posted in December of 2012: 

The list is as follows:

10) Osmany Juantorena

9) Lukasz Zygadlo

8) Cristian Savani

7) Jelte Maan

6) Antonin Rouzier

5) Osmany Juantorena

4) Yosleyder Cala

3) Cristian Savani

2) Marko Podrascanin

1) Cristian Savani

Obviously there is some bias toward Cristian Savani, who appears 3 times in the top 10. Osmany Juantorena occupies 2 of the remaining spots with a couple of heavy hits, meaning half of the list is filled by two athletes. There are some incredible smashes in here, but overall there are a lot of iconic attacks missing.

Next, we get to a Top 20 list posted on March 7, 2014 by VTNKLMDC Movies. That's just a couple weeks ago. And make sure you don't blink, as some of these go by quickly:

This list is a little more complete. It includes Juantorena, but none of Savani's hits make the cut. Instead, we have massive attacks from Swiderski at #10, a well-known kill from Canadian Gavin Schmitt at #4, and a tough to argue top 3. In my personal opinion, that shot from Murilo Endres at #2 may be slightly more intense than Bartosz Kurek's, but that's a minor and difficult argument to make.

However, I believe there are 3 attacks that are easily in the conversation for the best attacks ever that have been left off both list. Of course I wanted to pick Gavin Schmitt's hit as one of my top 3, but I had to distance myself from personal bias. Instead, here are three incredible kills that I would be happy to defend against the craziest smashes you can find.

The list is as follows:

20) Clayton Stanley

19) Matey Kaziyski

18) Dante Amaral

17) Osmany Juantorena

16) Rodrigao Santana

15) Wout Wijsmans

14) Piotr Nowakowski

13) Dmitrij Muserki

12) Federico Pereyra

11) Riad Ribeiro


10) Sebastian Swiderski

9) Dmitriy Ilinykh

8) Michal Kubiak

7) Riad Ribeiro

6) Robertlandy Simon

5) Bartosz Kurek

4) Gavin Schmitt

3) Alexander Volkov

2) Murilo Endres

1) Bartosz Kurek

The Top 3

3.  Giba Packs Clay Staynley with a Pipe

Ok, this isn't THE hardest hit of all time. But it sure isn't soft. Giba catches this backcourt set with everything, and drives it right into the big ol' head of Clayton Stanley. As much as seeing people getting packed is conflicting, it's also kind of awesome. Neither of the previous lists acknowledge the greatness that is a volleyball pack. The best part is that Giba knows he caught Stanley, and immediately goes over to check if he's alright. They give a little five, and get back to the game. It's professional, respectful, and still aggressive. Gotta love it.

2.  Sean Rosenthal's "Manhattan Line"

Both of the previous lists came from folks who clearly love the indoor game. Clearly, we need a full Top 10 or 20 of just beach hits, but here's one to add to the conversation. Sean Rosenthal and his partner both go for the serve receive, meaning his partner will have to hustle to get to the set. An incredible lunging pass gives Rosenthal the perfect set and he smashes it through the block. At first, I thought for sure the blocker must have peeled after seeing both of his opponents go for the serve receive. But upon watching it again, he stuck in there the entire time and just got beaten down the line. The commentary definitely helps the excitement, as does having a nickname for the hit like "Manhattan Line", and it all comes together for one of the best attacks of all time.

1.  Leonel Marshall backcourt off an Overpass

To me, it's insane that Leonel Marshall wasn't included on either of the above lists. The man has a massive vertical, huge swing, and has some of the baddest attacks I've ever seen. Plus, he has fans that put together highlight videos of his attacks alone. How did not ONE of them make the cut? This one specifically blows the mind. What looks like a free ball is smacked over the net at the last minute, catching the opponents' defence sleeping. They scramble to recover, and send a free ball back, with a looping, over the head pass that floats toward the middle of the court. Marshall was NOT sleeping, and you can see him lurking in the replays. He uses the free ball like most people would use a front court overpass, and smashes a pipe for the kill. Are you kidding me? Sure the block is sleeping, but isn't that the point? If I ever had an attack like this, I could retire and be happy never playing the game again. Best hit ever.

Think you've got a better one? Let's see the link! If we get enough beach attacks, we'll put together an all beach list. And since you can never see enough amazing volleyball attacks, here are a couple extras.


That Gavin Schmitt hit, one more time.

A 2008 compilation of mediocre video quality, featuring a great Leonel Marshall hit, among others.

A video from June, 2012 featuring the same Gavin Schmitt attack, plus hits from Kurek, Juantorena and more.

Lastly, enjoy a single attack that packs 3 faces.