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11 Tallest Women’s Volleyball Players

Volleyball is a fast-paced and physically demanding sport that requires a combination of athleticism, skill, and strategy. One key aspect that can provide players with a significant advantage is height.

Taller players often have an edge in various aspects of the game, such as attacking, blocking, and serving.

The height allows players to reach higher above the net, making it easier to spike the ball, block opponents’ attacks, and generate more powerful serves.

While height is not the sole determinant of success in volleyball, it is undeniably an important factor that contributes to a player’s overall performance.

Tallest Women’s Volleyball Players
Tallest Women’s Volleyball Players

In this article, we will explore the careers and achievements of the 11 tallest women’s volleyball players who have made their mark on the sport.

These towering athletes have used their height to their advantage, demonstrating exceptional skill and prowess on the court.

From Olympic gold medalists to World Championship winners, these players have reached the pinnacle of their sport and serve as inspiration to aspiring athletes everywhere.

Join us as we delve into the world of these phenomenal volleyball players and learn more about their journey to the top.

Tallest Women’s Volleyball Players

Player NameHeight (cm)Height (ft/in)Country
Ekaterina Gamova2026’7″Russia
Thaisa Menezes1966’5″Brazil
Zhu Ting1966’5″China
Tatiana Kosheleva1966’5″Russia
Christa Harmotto Dietzen1956’4″United States
Sarah Pavan1956’4″Canada
Maret Grothues-Balkestein1946’4″Netherlands
Irina Zaryazhko1946’4″Russia
Haleigh Washington1936’4″United States
Milena Rasic1936’4″Serbia
Foluke Akinradewo1916’3″United States

1# Nelly Alisheva (2.08 m)

Nelly Alisheva, born on December 20, 1983, in Lipetsk, Lipetsk Oblast, Russia, is a renowned and affluent former volleyball player.

  • Date of Birth: December 20, 1983
  • Place of Birth: Lipetsk, Russia
  • Height: 2.08 m
  • Nationality: Russian

Widely celebrated for her exceptional skills and towering stature, standing at an impressive 2.08 meters (6 feet 10 inches), Nelly Alisheva made a significant impact in the world of volleyball.

Formerly known as Nelly Fonova, she concluded her illustrious career playing as a center for VK Proton.

Throughout her tenure, Nelly earned both popularity and wealth, establishing herself as one of the most distinguished figures in the sport.

Her contributions to volleyball have left a lasting legacy, solidifying her status as a prominent athlete.

Nelly Alisheva has a daughter named Vasilisa, born in June 2002. Vasilisa is also a volleyball player.

She started her career at MGFSO. Afterwards, she played for Dinamo-Yantar from 2003 to 2011, then Omitchka Omsk from 2011 to 2013, before settling in at VK Proton.

Despite her retirement, Nelly Alisheva’s influence on the volleyball landscape continues to be remembered and celebrated by fans and enthusiasts alike.

2# Ekaterina Gamova (Russia)

Ekaterina Gamova

Ekaterina Gamova, a legendary Russian volleyball player, stands at an impressive height of 202 cm (6’7″), making her one of the tallest female athletes in the sport’s history.

Career highlights

Born on October 17, 1980, in Chelyabinsk, Russia, Ekaterina Gamova began her professional career in 1997, playing for the Russian club Uralochka-NTMK.

Over the years, she played for various renowned clubs, including Dinamo Moscow, Fenerbahçe, and Dinamo Kazan.

Her powerful attacking style, combined with her exceptional height, made her a formidable opponent on the court.

Gamova was a dominant force in international volleyball throughout her career, representing Russia in numerous competitions.

She played in four Olympic Games (2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012), two FIVB Volleyball World Championships (2006 and 2010), and multiple European Championships.

Notable achievements

Ekaterina Gamova’s list of accomplishments is extensive and includes multiple awards and titles. Some of her most notable achievements are:

  • Two-time Olympic silver medalist (2000 and 2004)
  • Two-time FIVB Volleyball World Championship gold medalist (2006 and 2010)
  • European Championship gold medalist (1999, 2001, and 2013)
  • Best Scorer at the 2004, 2008, and 2010 World Championships
  • Best Spiker at the 2006 World Championship
  • MVP at the 2010 World Championship
  • CEV Champions League gold medalist (2013–2014)
  • Three-time Russian Championship gold medalist (2000, 2005, and 2006)

Gamova retired from professional volleyball in 2015, leaving behind a remarkable legacy in the sport.

Her extraordinary height, combined with her impressive skills and achievements, have made her one of the most memorable and respected players in volleyball history.

2# Thaisa Menezes (Brazil)

Thaisa Menezes, an outstanding Brazilian volleyball player, stands tall at 6’5″ (196 cm), making her one of the tallest female athletes in the sport.

Career highlights

Born on May 15, 1987, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thaisa Menezes started her professional career in 2005, playing for the Brazilian club Osasco.

Throughout her career, she has played for other esteemed clubs, including Eczacıbaşı VitrA, Barueri, and Minas Tênis Clube.

Menezes has been a key player for the Brazilian national team, participating in numerous international competitions, including three Olympic Games (2008, 2012, and 2016) and multiple FIVB Volleyball World Championships and World Cups.

Notable achievements

Thaisa Menezes has earned an impressive array of awards and titles throughout her career, including:

  • Two-time Olympic gold medalist (2008 and 2012)
  • Two-time FIVB Volleyball World Championship silver medalist (2010 and 2014)
  • FIVB World Cup gold medalist (2011)
  • Two-time FIVB World Grand Prix gold medalist (2008 and 2016)
  • Pan American Games gold medalist (2011)
  • South American Championship gold medalist (2009, 2011, and 2013)
  • Best Middle Blocker at the 2012 Olympic Games, 2011 World Cup, and 2013 World Grand Prix
  • Best Blocker at the 2010 World Championship
  • FIVB Club World Championship gold medalist with Eczacıbaşı VitrA (2015)

With her remarkable height, agility, and outstanding skills, Thaisa Menezes has secured her place among the most accomplished female volleyball players in history.

Her unwavering dedication to the sport has made her an inspiration to aspiring volleyball athletes worldwide.

3# Zhu Ting (China)

Zhu Ting

Zhu Ting boasts an impressive height of 6’5″ (196 cm), which provides her with a considerable advantage on the court.

Career highlights

Born on November 29, 1994, in Henan, China, Zhu Ting began her professional career with the Chinese club Henan in 2011.

She later joined VakıfBank Istanbul, one of the top clubs in Europe, in 2016, playing a crucial role in their success.

Zhu has also been a key player for the Chinese national team, participating in multiple international competitions, including the Olympic Games, FIVB Volleyball World Championships, and World Cups.

Notable achievements

Zhu Ting’s impressive list of awards and titles includes:

  • Olympic gold medalist (2016)
  • FIVB Volleyball World Championship gold medalist (2019)
  • FIVB World Cup gold medalist (2015)
  • FIVB World Grand Champions Cup gold medalist (2017)
  • Asian Championship gold medalist (2015)
  • MVP at the 2016 Olympic Games, 2019 World Championship, and 2017 World Grand Champions Cup
  • Best Outside Spiker at the 2019 World Championship, 2016 Olympic Games, and 2015 World Cup
  • FIVB Club World Championship gold medalist with VakıfBank Istanbul (2017 and 2018)
  • Turkish League gold medalist with VakıfBank Istanbul (2016-17 and 2017-18)

Zhu Ting’s extraordinary height, exceptional skills, and numerous achievements have firmly established her as one of the most formidable female volleyball players in the world.

4# Tatiana Kosheleva (Russia)

Tatiana Kosheleva, a talented Russian volleyball player, stands tall at 6’5″ (196 cm), making her a formidable presence on the court.

Career highlights

Born on December 23, 1988, in Minsk, Belarus, Tatiana Kosheleva began her professional career with the Russian club Uralochka-NTMK in 2006.

She has since played for several prominent clubs, including Dinamo Krasnodar, Galatasaray, and Eczacıbaşı VitrA.

Kosheleva has been an essential player for the Russian national team, participating in various international competitions such as the Olympic Games, FIVB Volleyball World Championships, and European Championships.

Notable achievements Some of Tatiana Kosheleva’s significant awards and titles include:

  • FIVB Volleyball World Championship bronze medalist (2010)
  • European Championship gold medalist (2013 and 2015)
  • European Championship silver medalist (2009)
  • FIVB World Cup silver medalist (2011)
  • FIVB World Grand Prix gold medalist (2010)
  • Best Spiker at the 2014 World Championship and 2015 European Championship
  • Best Outside Spiker at the 2010 World Championship
  • CEV Champions League gold medalist with Dinamo Krasnodar (2014–2015)

5# Christa Harmotto Dietzen (USA)

Christa Harmotto Dietzen, an accomplished American volleyball player, stands at an impressive height of 6’4″ (195 cm).

Career highlights

Born on October 12, 1986, in Hopewell Township, Pennsylvania, Christa Harmotto Dietzen began her professional career with the USA national team in 2008.

She played for top clubs such as Foppapedretti Bergamo and Guangdong Evergrande before retiring in 2016.

As a key player for Team USA, she participated in various international competitions, including the Olympic Games, FIVB Volleyball World Championships, and World Cups.

Notable achievements Christa Harmotto Dietzen’s list of awards and titles includes:

  • Olympic silver medalist (2012)
  • FIVB Volleyball World Championship gold medalist (2014)
  • FIVB World Cup gold medalist (2011)
  • FIVB World Grand Prix gold medalist (2010, 2011, and 2012)
  • Pan American Cup gold medalist (2009 and 2010)
  • Best Blocker at the 2011 World Cup
  • NORCECA Championship gold medalist (2009 and 2013)

6# Sarah Pavan (Canada)

Sarah Pavan

Sarah Pavan, a talented Canadian volleyball player, stands tall at 6’4″ (195 cm), making her one of the tallest female athletes in the sport.

Career highlights

Born on August 16, 1986, in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, Sarah Pavan began her professional indoor volleyball career in 2008, playing for top clubs such as Villa Cortese, Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio, and Fujian Xi Meng Bao.

In 2013, Pavan transitioned to beach volleyball, partnering with Heather Bansley and later with Melissa Humana-Paredes, establishing herself as a force on the sand.

Notable achievements

Sarah Pavan has earned several awards and titles throughout her career, both in indoor and beach volleyball:

Indoor volleyball:

  • NCAA Division I First Team All-American (2006, 2007)
  • Big 12 Conference Player of the Year (2006)
  • Pan American Cup gold medalist (2009, 2010)

Beach volleyball:

  • FIVB World Championship gold medalist (2019, with Melissa Humana-Paredes)
  • Commonwealth Games gold medalist (2018, with Melissa Humana-Paredes)
  • FIVB World Tour Finals gold medalist (2019, with Melissa Humana-Paredes)
  • Multiple FIVB World Tour gold medalist

7# Maret Grothues-Balkestein (Netherlands)

Maret Grothues-Balkestein
Maret Grothues-Balkestein

Maret Grothues-Balkestein, a skilled Dutch volleyball player, stands at an impressive 6’4″ (194 cm), making her one of the tallest female athletes in the sport.

Career highlights

Born on September 16, 1988, in Almelo, Netherlands, Maret Grothues-Balkestein started her professional career with Dutch club AMVJ Amstelveen in 2004.

She later played for clubs such as TVC Amstelveen, Chieri Torino, and Aydın Büyükşehir Belediyespor.

Throughout her career, she has been an essential part of the Dutch national team, representing her country in various international competitions.

Notable achievements

Maret Grothues-Balkestein has earned multiple awards and titles throughout her career, including:

  • European Championship silver medalist (2009)
  • FIVB World Grand Prix gold medalist (2007)
  • Montreux Volley Masters gold medalist (2007)
  • Turkish Cup winner (2017, with Bursa Büyükşehir Belediyespor)
  • Turkish Super Cup winner (2017, with Bursa Büyükşehir Belediyespor)
  • Best Receiver at the 2015 FIVB World Grand Prix

Maret Grothues-Balkestein’s impressive height, combined with her talent and dedication, has made her a valuable asset to her teams and a respected player in the world of women’s volleyball.

8# Irina Zaryazhko (Russia)

Irina Zaryazhko

Irina Zaryazhko, an accomplished Russian volleyball player, stands at an impressive height of 6’4″ (194 cm), making her one of the tallest female athletes in the sport.

Career highlights

Born on July 17, 1991, in Nizhny Tagil, Russia, Irina Zaryazhko began her professional career with Russian club Uralochka-NTMK in 2009.

She later played for clubs like Dinamo Kazan and Zarechie Odintsovo. As a key player for the Russian national team, she has represented her country in numerous international competitions.

Notable achievements

Irina Zaryazhko has earned several awards and titles throughout her career, including:

  • European Championship gold medalist (2013, 2015)
  • FIVB World Grand Prix gold medalist (2015)
  • Russian Championship gold medalist (2014, with Dinamo Kazan)
  • Russian Super League silver medalist (2015, with Dinamo Kazan)
  • CEV Champions League gold medalist (2013-2014, with Dinamo Kazan)
  • Best Middle Blocker at the 2015 FIVB World Grand Prix

9# Haleigh Washington (USA)

Haleigh Washington

Haleigh Washington, a talented American volleyball player, stands tall at 6’4″ (193 cm), making her one of the tallest female athletes in the sport.

Career highlights

Born on September 22, 1995, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Haleigh Washington started her volleyball career at Penn State University, where she played from 2014 to 2017.

After college, she began her professional career, playing for clubs such as Pallavolo Scandicci, Igor Gorgonzola Novara, and Imoco Volley Conegliano.

As a key player for the United States national team, she has participated in various international competitions.

Notable achievements

Haleigh Washington has earned numerous awards and titles throughout her career, including:

  • NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship (2014, with Penn State)
  • Three-time AVCA First Team All-American (2015, 2016, 2017)
  • Big Ten Conference Player of the Year (2017)
  • FIVB Volleyball Nations League gold medalist (2019)
  • Pan American Cup gold medalist (2019)
  • NORCECA Championship gold medalist (2019)
  • Best Middle Blocker at the 2019 NORCECA Championship
  • Italian Championship gold medalist (2020-2021, with Imoco Volley Conegliano)
  • Italian Cup winner (2020-2021, with Imoco Volley Conegliano)

Haleigh Washington’s impressive height, combined with her remarkable skills and achievements, has made her an essential player for both her club and national teams, securing her position among the top female volleyball players in the world.

Her dedication and passion for the sport have made her an inspiration to aspiring athletes and fans alike.

10# Milena Rasic (Serbia)

Milena Rasic

Milena Rasic, a prominent Serbian volleyball player, stands at an impressive height of 6’4″ (193 cm), making her one of the tallest female athletes in the sport.

Career highlights

Born on October 25, 1990, in Uzice, Serbia, Milena Rasic began her professional career with Serbian club Jedinstvo Uzice in 2008.

She later played for top clubs such as VakıfBank Istanbul, where she spent nearly a decade, and Imoco Volley Conegliano.

Rasic has been a crucial player for the Serbian national team, representing her country in various international competitions.

Notable achievements

Milena Rasic has earned numerous awards and titles throughout her career, including:

  • European Championship gold medalist (2011, 2017, 2019)
  • FIVB Volleyball World Championship silver medalist (2018)
  • Olympic silver medalist (2016)
  • FIVB World Grand Prix gold medalist (2013)
  • CEV Champions League gold medalist (2017, 2018, with VakıfBank Istanbul)
  • FIVB Club World Championship gold medalist (2017, 2018, with VakıfBank Istanbul)
  • Turkish Championship gold medalist (multiple seasons, with VakıfBank Istanbul)
  • Best Middle Blocker at the 2013 and 2017 European Championships

11# Foluke Akinradewo (USA)

Foluke Akinradewo

Foluke Akinradewo, a highly skilled American volleyball player, stands at an impressive height of 6’3″ (191 cm), making her one of the tallest female athletes in the sport.

Career highlights

Born on October 5, 1987, in London, Ontario, Canada, Foluke Akinradewo started her volleyball career at Stanford University, where she played from 2005 to 2008.

After college, she began her professional career, playing for clubs such as Rabita Baku, Dinamo Krasnodar, and Imoco Volley Conegliano.

Akinradewo has been a vital player for the United States national team, participating in various international competitions, including three Olympic Games (2008, 2012, and 2016).

Notable achievements

Foluke Akinradewo has earned numerous awards and titles throughout her career, including:

  • Olympic silver medalist (2012)
  • Olympic bronze medalist (2016)
  • FIVB Volleyball World Championship gold medalist (2014)
  • FIVB Volleyball Nations League gold medalist (2018)
  • FIVB World Grand Prix gold medalist (2010, 2011, 2012, 2015)
  • Pan American Cup gold medalist (2012)
  • AVCA First Team All-American (2007, 2008)

The Impact of Height on Volleyball Performance

Advantages of height in volleyball

  1. Attacking: Height is a significant advantage when it comes to attacking in volleyball. Taller players have a better angle of attack, allowing them to hit the ball at a steeper downward trajectory. This makes it more difficult for the opposing team to block or defend against the attack.
  2. Blocking: Taller players have an advantage in blocking because of their increased reach and ability to cover more of the net. This allows them to block or redirect more shots, making it difficult for the opposing team to score points.
  3. Serving: Height can also be an advantage when serving in volleyball. Taller players can generate more power and speed on their serves, making them harder to receive. Additionally, their height allows them to serve at a steeper angle, making it more challenging for the opposing team to return the ball.

Challenges faced by taller players

  1. Mobility: One challenge faced by taller players is reduced mobility compared to shorter players. Taller athletes may have a larger frame and longer limbs, which can make it more difficult for them to move quickly on the court. This can be a disadvantage, especially in defense and during long rallies.
  2. Injury risks: Taller players may also be more susceptible to certain injuries, such as knee and ankle issues, due to the increased stress on their joints. Proper conditioning, strength training, and flexibility exercises are crucial for these athletes to reduce the risk of injury.
  3. Endurance: Endurance can be another challenge for taller volleyball players. Due to their larger body size, they may require more energy to perform at a high level during matches. This can lead to quicker fatigue, making it essential for taller players to focus on their cardiovascular conditioning and overall fitness to maintain their performance throughout a game.

Despite the challenges faced by taller volleyball players, their height can provide significant advantages in various aspects of the game, such as attacking, blocking, and serving.

However, it is crucial for these athletes to work on their mobility, injury prevention, and endurance to maximize their potential and excel in the sport.

By addressing these challenges, taller players can capitalize on their natural advantages and become dominant forces on the volleyball court.

Conclusion

This article has highlighted the 11 tallest women’s volleyball players, who have made a significant impact in the sport with their remarkable height, skill, and talent.

These exceptional athletes include Ekaterina Gamova, Thaisa Menezes, Zhu Ting, Tatiana Kosheleva, Christa Harmotto Dietzen, Sarah Pavan, Maret Grothues-Balkestein, Irina Zaryazhko, Haleigh Washington, Milena Rasic, and Foluke Akinradewo.

In conclusion, the 11 tallest women’s volleyball players exemplify the impact of height in the sport, while also showcasing the importance of a well-rounded skillset and dedication to overcoming any challenges.

Their accomplishments serve as inspiration to aspiring athletes and demonstrate that success in volleyball is a combination of natural advantages, hard work, and determination.

About Narine Jyani

Narine Jyani, a passionate volleyball enthusiast, and experienced player founded Volleyball Advisor to share their love for the sport and help others improve their game.

With over a decade of competitive playing and coaching experience, He has acquired a wealth of knowledge and expertise in volleyball techniques, strategies, and fitness.

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