The FIVB Women's Club World Championships get underway tomorrow, Wednesday May 6th. Streaming live from Zurich, Switzerland, the best clubs from the highest level of professional indoor volleyball have come together to crown a single champion.
The event will feature the champions of 6 different professional leagues. The club Volero Zurich will represent the host Switzerland, and they'll take on teams from Japan, Turkey, Brazil, Russia and the Dominican Republic. The tournament has a brief round robin faollowed by the single elimination stage, leading to a Gold Medal Match.
While this tournament is packed with storyline on the court, one of the most significant things to watch will be the role of technology. The major innovation comes in how coaches and referees communicate. Instead of hand signals, coaches will flag the officials through tablets. Not only will they be able to call for substitutions and time-outs, but they'll be able to challenge calls. Everything from in and out calls to net touches are reviewable.
On the court, the Turkish squad Eczacibasi Istanbul are making their first appearance at the Championships. However, the previous Turkish representative at the tournament, Fenerbahce, won Gold in both 2010 and 2013. Adding to that legacy, Eczacibasi's middle blocker Christiane Fuerst played for Fenerbahce for both of those wins.
Representing Brazil will be Rexona Ades, from Rio de Janeiro. Brazil have produced the most tournament champions of any nation, and this specific Brazilian squad won the silver medal just two years ago (though at that time they were known as Unilever Volei and featured Sarah Pavan).
As usual, the Russian squad, Dinamo Krasnodar, provides a huge challenge for any team. The teams from Switzerland, Japan and the Dominican Republic will be out to prove themselves against the typical giants of the club world.
The action gets started at 11:30 a.m. EST Wednesday (15:30 GMT), with a second game at 2:00 p.m. EST (18:00 GMT), and the Gold Medal Match will be played on Sunday May 10th. Perfect for Mothers' Day.