GBW Results 2/3 April: Thrilling 5 set win for Wicks, Carter wins Battle of the Brits

GBW Results 2nd/3rd April 2011

Every week is big at this stage of the season and this weekend there were medals, play offs and league positions at stake across Europe this week as well as a Battle of the Brits in France!

For Head Coach Audrey Cooper it was a busy weekend as well, checking in with players in preparation for the international season, spending time in Hamburg with Captain Lynne Beattie, Terville to see Carter vs Newton and then Aachen to see Wicks and Michel in action.

Historic win for Aachen against Vilsbiburg

Stealing the limelight was Lucy Wicks & Ciara Michel who’s Aachen team won a superb, entertaining 5 set match against 2nd in the league, Rote Raben Vilsbiburg, watched by 7 of their GB team mates.  In the Battle of the Brits, Carter’s TFOC had sweet revenge over Newton’s Quimper with a convincing 3-1 victory. For Maria Bertelli’s Koniz their play-offs are over after a 3-1 loss and they finish in 4th place.

For all details of results, scores, opinions & links to more info see below. A summary of results is included at the end of this report.

Bundesliga, Germany
This week Grace Carter was in Aachen watching Wicks & Michel take on Rote Raben Vilsbiburg, reigning German Champions and currently 2nd in the league. Grace gives us her view on the match….

“I was lucky to be able to go and watch Lucy and Ciara’s Aachen play against Vilsbiburg in a fantastic five setter on Sunday. Despite a nervous start from Aachen, the first set was close all the way with Aachen managing to contain the powerful Vilsbiburg offence and respond with a faster attack orchestrated by Lucy Wicks. Unfortunately the visitors were slightly stronger towards the end of the set, taking it 23-25.

2 red cards changed momentum

The second set saw some drama with both the Aachen captain and coach shown red cards supposedly for dissent. With these key figures out, the team responded magnificently but it was tough for Aachen to really challenge the consistent Vilsbiburg eventually losing the set 20-25. However, the momentum seemed to have changed.

Ciara blocking...thats a kill!

After a chance to regroup in the 10 minute break, back to full strength on the court, the 3rd set saw Aachen fighting hard, strong blocking & offence from Ciara Michel and aggressive serving allowed Aachen to cruise to a 25-19 victory. The 4th was close until the end, point for point but this time with the momentum & incredible crowd behind them, they forced the game to a 5th, with 2 consecutive aces to win 25-23.

Emotional win for Aachen

The start of the 5th set went Aachen’s way with them up and looking to take the set comfortably being 13-9 ahead, however the experience of Vilsbiburg showed as they managed to claw back to 14-14, two exciting rallies later and finishing with a 1 on 1 block the victory was Aachen’s causing a massive league upset and clearly an emotional win for the team. It was great to watch the girls in action, particularly in such a special game, the two Brits played great volleyball and seeing them has only made me more energised for the exciting international summer competition ahead!”

See statistics from the match. This win moves Aachen up to 6th in the league in what is turning into an outstanding season for the club.

After taking 2 points in a mid week clash with Kopenick, Lynne Beattie’s VT Aurubis Hamburg had a tough match against 8th placed team VFB Suhl on Sunday. Although Suhl have had a few poor performances recently, it was always going to be a tough match for Hamburg….Or was it?

Beattie attacks for Hamburg

Hamburg got off to a flying start, 8-2 up at the first technical time-out. They were patient and made Suhl play, forcing the error on several occassions. The big hitters of Suhl struggled to beat the on-form Hamburg block, again adding to the pressure of the Suhl offence. Despite changes from the Suhl coach, Hamburg proved too strong for Suhl in the opening set and won it 25-22.

Perhaps an unexpected result for Suhl, Hamburg continued to pile on the pressure in the second set, again with an 8-2 lead at the technical time-out. It was all downhill from here for Suhl. The tension mounted not only for the players on court but the coaching staff too. A yellow card was issued to their Head Coach as Hamburg continued to stride ahead. A score of 18-8 was recorded before Suhl scored again, but by this time it was too late and Hamburg won the set 25-13. It was a similar story in the 3rd set, Suhl struggling to gain any momentum, which was made more difficult by the relentless Hamburg pressure who took the 3rd set and the match with a 25-15 win.

See statistics from the game. This win moves Hamburg into 9th place in the league.

Bundesliga Nord
After losing to Prenzlauer Berg twice already this season Taylor and Thom’s SCU knew they would have a tough game ahead against the team currently 2nd in the league. Some changes for SCU this weekend with the addition of a second team player and a new libero in the squad.

GB's Thom in action for SCU

After losing the first two sets 25-23 and 25-20, SCU came back strong in the 3rd set with aggressive hitting throughout and strong serving. Jen Thom scored consistently on the outside and the serve receive was strong allowing the middle attackers to be effective. The result was a 22-25 win for SCU.

In the 4th set Prenzlauer came back strong and errors crept in for SCU. Changes were made and Jenn Taylor brought stability to the pass and scored in her offence but it was too late and SCU lost the 4th set 25:14.

SCU are now 6th in the league, with a game in hand and the team hope to finish higher up the table. SCU now have two away games left, both of which will be tough but they have the potential to win both.

DEF, France
GB Setter Lucy Wicks was watching TFOC vs Quimper at the weekend and gives us her thoughts…

“On Saturday I travelled to France to watch Grace vs Newton in another “Battle of the Brits”!! With Graces TFOC being top of the league and Quimper fighting for a chance to be promoted to Pro A I knew it would be a good game.

Carter dominated the net in block and attack

Quimper had suffered some illness during the week resulting in them travelling without one of their starting middles and their setter was still out with injury. TFOC took advantage of this and Grace was dominant at the net with some quick attacks early on in the game. Newton responded with some impressive slide attacks causing problems for the TFOC defence but it wasnt enough and TFOC managed to pull ahead and take the first set 25-22. They took this momentum into the second set and looked in control winning it 25-17.

After the 10 minute break, Quimper came out fighting. They increased the pressure from the service line making it difficult for TFOC to run their offence. It was another close set with Quimper managing to come out on top, helped by a run of serves and an ace from Newton, to win 25-22. The 4th set saw TFOC regroup and they were leading 8-1 at the first technical. Grace was again dominant at the net. Quimper struggled to get back into the set and errors started to creep in. TFOC continued to play aggressive and they won the set 25-15 and the match 3-1.

Rachel Newton was unhappy after the match, she comments…

‘It was a big disappointment this weekend, not only with the result but the team performance. We were poor in our serve receive and in our attack in particular, an area we can ususally rely on. We know we can play better and that’s why its so disappointing.”

Rachel Bragg’s Toulon narrowly lost out last weekend and were hoping to continue their good form away from home against Entente St-Chamond Volley. Toulon were still bottom of the league but a win against 7th position St-Chamond could move them one place up.

The team went into the game in good spirits after a good week of training, working hard to find their next win. In the first, Toulon started a bit uncertain but settled into a good rhythm using the middle offence as much as possible, the plan was to hold their middle blocker to give the wings a lot of one-on-one situations. They narrowly lost the set 25-22.

Offence wise, the plan worked but the Toulon block through zone 2 did not do enough and  St Chamond took full advantage in the second set. Finding themselves behind, there was panic from some of the Toulon players particularly in the key positions and a lack of communication lead to a very easy set for St Chamond (25-10). In the third, Toulon raisd their service game and backed it up with solid serve receive in side-out. They came out fighting and were close until the 2nd technical timeout. The home team then stepped up their play, using the Toulon block to swiftly move away in the set and Toulon had no response losing the set 25-14 and the match 3-0.

The league table in the DEF has Carter’s TFOC 5 points clear at the top, Newton’s Quimper in 4th place and Bragg’s Toulon in 12th.

NF3C, France
At home to DTH Saint-Die, currently 11th in the table without a win all season, this was clearly a mis-match for Laura Beardsmore’s TFOC, reflected in a emphatic 3-0 victory. In the first meeting between these two teams, TFOC won the first set 25-3! A similar result was not expected today but the home team were confident that they could come out of the game with the three points that needed to keep any hope of finishing in the top two.

The first set was an annihilation by TFOC with 2 huge service runs they did one better than the last match and won the set 25-2! There was never any doubt about this result but TFOC lost a bit of concentration at the start of the second set and went into the first technical time-out only 8-7 up. They were soon back on track and it was just a really simple game taking the set 25-12. Lots of changes were made to the team in the third set and the result was the same winning 25-15 and the match 3-0.

With just 3 games left, this puts TFOC level in second place fighting for promotion.

Eredivisie, Belgium
After narrowly losing out to Oostende last weekend Jo & Vicky’s Geo Happel Amigos finished on a high with a 3-0 win over DV Hasselt. After losing in a tight 5 set match in the first half of the season, Amigos got one back over Hasselt to finish their season in 7th place.

Solid in serve receive

Still missing their star middle attacker, the Amigos girls held strong and their outside hitters offset a weaker middle attack with strong hitting and smart tip play throughout the match.

Jo Healy and Vicky palmer were solid in SR and enabled their setter to split the offence, keeping the Hasselt block defence guessing. The defence of Amigos also proved too good against the Hasselt attack, enabling Amigos to take the third set. All three sets were won 25-21.

Jo Healy comments….

“It’s a great way to finish the season. We took a while to get used to each other on the court, and as a result we lost a lot of tight 5 set matches in the first half of the season. Since Christmas it has been a different story all together and our team cohesion has been great, we have won some great games and to win tonight just caps it off for us. One more to go in the Cup Final, so fingers crossed we can bring it home for the club”.

Vicky and Jo will stay in Belgium to prepare for the Antwerp Cup Final, where they will take on Mortsel on the 23rd April before returning to the GB program in May.

NLA Play Offs, Switzerland
At home against Volley Franche Montagne, it was win or bust for Maria Bertelli’s VBC Koniz on Saturday. Playing for 3rd place, Koniz went into the match 1-0 behind in the best of 3 series.

It was clear from early in the first set that both teams were ready for a fight today with long spectacular rallies and high emotions. It was close until the late teens when Koniz made a couple of service errors and could not find the floor of the Franche court. 1-0 behind losing 20-25. Maybe some people thought that Koniz would roll over now, disappointed to be not playing in the Play Off final and physically & mentally tired…that was not going to happen. The home team upped their service pressure and backed it up wih strong defence and side-out. A comfortable 25-21 victory and one set each at the 10 minute break.

Franche came out the strongest in the 3rd, pinning the passer hitter and backing it up with a huge block that Koniz struggled to beat. 16-22 down, some great Koniz defence transitioned into attack gave the home team some momentum but at 20-24 down it seemed impossible. Suddenly Koniz had their own strong serving and block to thank, 5 focussed points later and they had a swing for the set, went safe and lost the point. Relief for Franche and they took full advantage to take the set 25-27. It was a real kick in the teeth for Koniz and despite effort they couldn’t find the quality again in the 4th set and it was a convincing 18-25 win for Franche, who claimed 3rd place in the league.

The season is now over, Bertelli give’s her thoughts on the match….

“I am gutted about todays result, today it was about getting the win we needed to take the series to the last match. I wanted a medal and after losing out in the semi finals it made me want the bronze one even more. Finishing 4th is hard to take, its been a tough season with lots of matches and lots of training and finishing 4th feels like it was all for nothing. Today’s match kind of summed up our team’s season..inconsistency at the most important times…doing it when it matters”.

Next week Maria will give us her reflections on the season for her personally and how she feels her preparation for the 2011 international season has gone over the last 9 months and what the next 4 months will hold.

Superliga, Spain
Janine’s Valeriano Alles Menorca Volei finished the regular league play in the top spot. This weekend they were in quarter final play off action in a best of 3 series. The first leg was at home against Palma Oxidoc who finished eighth in the league rounds.

Strong serving cause Palma problems

In the first set, Palma came ready to fight with Menorca taking first time-out 9-8 ahead. Through strong serving, backed up by strong offence from Janine Sandell the home team took a 16-10 lead. Palma responded causing problems in the Menorca serve receive narrowing the deficit to 21-19. It was not enough and Menorca pushed on to win the set 25-21.

The second set was point for point until after the first technical time-out when Menorca stepped 14-10 and 18-12 ahead. Again though, Palma came back into the game with strong serving to come within just 2 points 19-17. As with the first though, at the crucial time Menorca showed their power and took the second set 25-18. The third was to be the final set, with Palmas resistance not able to hold out and Menorca took the set easily 25-10 and the match 3-0. See statistics from the match.

Super 8′s Play Offs, England
After last week’s disappointing results against Polonia and Swiss Cottage, Brewer and Osborne’s Malory needed a win to restore their confidence. First up was the University of Birmingham

With a very positive start, Malory were ahead by 6 at the first technical time out. The team continued to increase their lead throughout the first set until Birmingham got a run of points which meant the end of the set was very tight, but Malory pulled though taking the first set 25-23. The next two sets went by in a similar fashion (25-21, 25-23), with lots of positives to take into the next game, but also lots of room for improvement. Malory won 3-0.

In the second match against Swiss Cottage, Malory were up for revenge and it seemed as though the win against Birmingham really did the Malory girls some good, as the first set was very strong with everyone playing well and winning the set easily 25-11. The second set however didn’t go to plan and with an injury towards the end of the set, the Malory girls were discouraged and lost 21-25. Set 3, the teams traded points until Swiss took a few points in a row which led them to be ahead by 5 towards the end of the set, however it looked as though Malory wasn’t ready to give up yet as a run of serves got the girls back to 23-23. Unfortunately they couldn’t finish it off and lost 23-25 and the Malory girls were now 2-1 down. Despite taking the momentum into the set, Malory couldn’t match up to Swiss Cottage’s play and lost the set 22-25 and the match 3-1.

See the league table with one round of play-offs to go, this weekend.

RESULTS SUMMARY:

Lucy Wicks & Ciara Michel - League, Germany: WON 3-2
Jo Healy & Vicky Palmer - League, Belgium: WON 3-0
Maria Bertelli - Play Offs, Switzerland: LOST 1-3
Janine Sandell - League, Spain: WON 3-0
Lynne Beattie - League, Germany: WON 3-0
Grace Carter - League, France: WON 3-1
Rachel Newton - League, France: LOST 3-1
Jo Morgan - Sweden: Season finished
Jenn Taylor & Jen Thom - League, Germany: LOST 3-1
Nic Osborne & Tash Brewer - Super 8 Play Offs, England: WON 3-0, LOST 1-3
Laura Beardsmore - League, France: WON 3-0
Rachel Bragg - League, France: LOST 3-0

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