Many women in volleyball have developed impressive portfolios in the past few decades as the competitive environment gets better with time. The name most often associated with the sport is Misty May-Treanor. Her contribution to the sport transcends any top ten list that could be put together. Today we will explore the ten female volleyball players other than Misty May-Treanor who are making their mark on the sport.
1. Kerri Walsh Jennings
Kerri Walsh Jennings is an American volleyball player born on August 15, 1978, in Santa Clara, California. She attended Stanford on a sports scholarship and won three gold medals at the Olympics in 2004, 2008, and 2012. She is also an Olympic bronze medalist, and she and Misty May-Treanor won the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in 2003, 2005, and 2007. Jennings grew up in a sporting family with a volleyball-playing mother and got married to Casey Jennings, a professional beach volleyball player.
2. Paola Egonu
Paola Egonu is an Italian player born on December 18, 1998. She is an opposite hitter for VakifBank. Egonu has won numerous awards, including the 2015 U18 Championship MVP, the CEV Champion League 2018 MVP, the 2019 Italian Supercup MVP, the 2016 Europe Olympic Qualification Tournament MVP, and the 2018 FIVB World Championship MVP (Best Opposite Hitters). She was also the leading hitter in the Club World Championship in 2021/22.
3. Gabriela Braga Guimaraes
Guimaraes, also known as Gabi, is an indoor volleyball player born on May 19, 1994. She is a Brazilian outside hitter who has won numerous awards, including a silver medal in the Summer Olympics in 2020. She is currently a member of VakifBank Istanbul. She has received numerous awards throughout her career, including “Best Outside Hitter” at the Volleyball Nations League 2022, Turkiye Kadinlar Voleybol Ligi 2021/22, Turkish Cup 2021/22, and the Champions League 2021/22, where she was also named Most Valuable Player.
4. Isabelle Haak
Isabelle Haak is a Swedish opposite hitter. Her time is split as a member of the Italian club Imoco Volley Conegliano as well as the Swedish national team. At the European Silver League 2022, she won numerous individual awards including: Best Scorer, Best Server, and Best Spiker. She was also named Best Opposite at the Club World Championships in 2021-22.
5. Ana Carolina da Silva
Ana Carolina is a Brazilian indoor volleyball in the middle blocker position. She was born on April 8, 1991, and has been a member of Brazil’s national women’s volleyball team since 2014. Among her many honors are the Volleyball Nations League 2022 (Best Blocker and Best Middle-Blocker), the South American Club Championship 2021/22 (Best Middle-Blocker), and the Brazilian Superliga 2021/22 (Best Middle-Blocker).
6. April Ross
April Ross is another well-known American volleyball player born on June 20, 1982, in Costa Mesa, California. She and her teammate Jennifer Kessy won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics. Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings also shared a bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics. She currently has one of the longest volleyball careers among women.
7. Francesca Piccinini
Francesca Piccinini was a member of the first Italian women’s Olympic team in Sydney in 2000. Her professional debut came in 1993 when she faced Pallavolo Carrarese. She has won five gold medals to date, including the 2002 World Championships in Germany.
8. Winifer Fernandez
Winifer is a Dominican born in Santiago de los Caballeros on January 6, 1995. She took bronze in the Dominican Republic League in 2008. She also won the World Grand Prix Group 2 and a sgold medal in the 2017 Bolivarian Games. Fernandez earned a bronze medal with the Dominican Republic’s national girl’s team at the 2011 Youth Pan-American Cup. She also won gold at the U23 Pan-American Cup in 2012.
9. Zehra Gunes
Gunes is a Turkish volleyball player born in Kartal, Istanbul, on July 7, 1999. She is currently a member of Turkey’s women’s national team and plays for Vakifbank. She is a middle blocker who has won top-tier awards in the 2015 European Championship, the 2019 FIVB Club World Championship, and the 2017 U20 World Championship. She has also been named the Turkish League’s Most Valuable Player.
10. Samantha Bricio
Samantha Estephaniz Guadalupe Bricio Ramos is a former University of Southern California student and Mexican volleyball player. She is the youngest player to have ever represented Mexico. Bricio was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, on November 22, 1994. In 2009 and 2011, she competed in the FIVB Girls Youth World Championship.
Honorary Mention – Kongyot Ajcharaporn
After winning a silver medal at the 2016 Montreux Masters, Thailand’s women’s national volleyball team holds the record for the best finish among teams outside Europe, America, and East Asia. Thailand now has a new team that has already won a gold medal and stands undefeated in the 2021 SEA Games in Vietnam. Thailand’s top player is outside hitter Kongyot Ajcharaporn, who scored 21 points in the 2021 competition. She has received numerous individual honours, including MVP of the 2019/20 Thailand League, Best Opposite Spiker at the 2019 Asian Club Championship, and Best Outside Spiker at the Asian Cup.
These women have followed in the footsteps of their predecessors, raising the bar even higher for those who will follow. Their success will inspire a new generation of female volleyball players, who will likely add even more excitement to the sport by offering sharper skills.