15/16 Oct: 32-30, 5 setters all over & career high for Lizzie Reid

It was a busy weekend for the British girls….

Grace Carter’s newly promoted TFOC are hoping to be the surprise package and take the French Pro A league by storm this season. This week’s pick of the week is Grace Carter’s season opener against Beziers Volley. It was a huge event for the home team, with a large and very excited crowd for the match pre-empted by a serious photo shoot beforehand… standard.

The game kicked off with none other than the most exciting of first sets, a 32-30 set win to the home team!!  What a start….unfortunately, TFOC could not keep that momentum in their favour and Beziers got the upper hand in the match.  TFOC lost it in the second, lost set point in the third and then finished the match with a disappointing fourth set (32-30, 15-25, 24-26, 14-25). Carter said..

“We put on a good show in parts and just goes to show that we have the ability to compete with the top teams (they are thought to be a top 4 finisher).  I am excited for the next game, which is a big one against Mulhouse (always finish 2nd) on Wednesday.  They had an unexpected loss at the weekend.”

We will be following with great interest…For further insight into Carter we will have an interview with her later in the week. Also see and the ‘highs and lows of a newly promoted team’, see her latest Sky Sports blog.

Belgium: Gea Happel Amigos Zoersel lose 3-0 to VDK Gent
Amigos started this important weekend without their Captain, who was out with the flu. Away to VDK Gent, it was the home team who started well and went immediately into a 7-2 lead. Amigos responded with some aggression and brought the score back to 7-5. However, strong attacks from the opposition meant Amigos had no answer and suddenly the score board was showing 16-6. Final score of the first set, 25-9. The second set started much better for Vicky Palmer’s Amigos and with far fewer mistakes they led 20-24. They could not find the last point and with Gent battling for points it was unfortunately lost at 28-26. The third set, VDK were more focussed and were 8-2 up at the first imposed time out. VDK kept the upper hand despite Amigos playing patches of catch up, they could not even the score. The third set ended 25-13 and the match 3-0.

Finland: Pieksamaki Volley lost 1-3 to OrPo
It was another tough, competitive match this week for GB’s #15, Stacey O’Connor but unfortunately not the outcome. She tells us:

“We lost in 4 to a good team. The match didn’t start off well for us, losing the first 2 sets. Passing was good but our defense lacked strength. OrPo is a good team, they finished 2nd last year, they played like that the whole match. We came back in the 3rd, being down 15-22 to win 27-25. Our game started to come together but we couldn’t push through it in the 4th. We struggled to put the ball away offensively and didn’t serve aggressive enough. We lost momentum at the end of the 4th, after some poor calls against us. I think we’ll learn from this and gain strength as a team to pull together. We’ve two weeks til our next match, which gives us a good amount of time to go hard in training, working on getting better & stronger for our next league match.”

France: Quimper beat Concaraneau 3-0 in French Cup
This weekend saw Rachel Newton’s team play Concarneau, a team in a regional league, in the first round of the french cup. The result was a straightforward 3-0 win for Newton with the sets scores 12 - 25, 14-25, 10-25. Rachel told us:

“It was an easier match for us this weekend against a team a few divisions below us. They struggled to cope with our service and although they put up a good block at times, they weren’t strong in offense and they didn’t get into the game much and we ran away with it.”

Germany: Alemannia Aachen lost to Vilsbiburg 3-2
Alemannia Aachen started their Bundesliga with an away game to Rote Raben Vilsbiburg. Wicks & Michel knew it would be a tough season opener against one of the top teams in the league.

Aachen started off a little nervous but soon got into the game leading 16-11 at the second technical time out, but after 4 consecutive service errors Vilsbiburg were back in the set and it was point for point. Aachen managed to edge ahead of their opponents at the critical time with some strong attacking to take the first set 26-24.

Ciara blocks

Vilsbiburg upped their game in the second set and Aachen struggled in all aspects losing 25-13. The third set started very similar but Aachen got their block together and closed the gap to within 2 points but it was too little too late losing 25-21. Aachen showed the spirit they have in their team, responding in the 4th set with some great block defence which enabled them to take the set 25-22 and take the game to a tie break.

Aachen seemed to run out of steam and were nowhere in the 5th set. Numerous passing errors resulted in Aachen trailing 8-0 at end change. They fought back but only managed a few points, losing the set 15-4 and the match 3-2. Setter Lucy Wicks comments…

“It was a tough game lost on errors. There were some really positive moments, especially in block and our middle offence but we need to reduce our unforced errors if we want to win games at this level”.

Germany: Hamburg lost to Munster 2-3
Rachel Bragg’s Hamburg were in action for the first time this weekend in the German Bundesliga against Munster. After a great pre season the team was feeling confident going into the game, with no real expectations or pressure. It turned out to also be a tough 5 setter. Unfortunately the result was a loss (21:25, 25:17, 25:23, 23:25, 13:15). Bragg reports…

We got off to a shakey start with a few unforced errors, we settled quickly but we couldn’t get the lead back. We finished the first set with great momentum which we took into the 2nd and 3rd sets. Everything we had scouted about them we put into play taking out their main threats with great serves backed up with some fantastic blocking - we turned it around to lead 1-2. The 4th set started with a lot of errors that we haven’t seen in any of the games so far and frustration set in - it was close but we lost 25-23 to take it to a 5th. The 5th set was filled with great defence from both teams and great rallies. After a horrible ref call we lost concentration and the last 2 points were given away far to easy to lose the set 15-13 and the match 3-2. 

This was my first game in Germany and going into it was feeling really confident!! The crowd were amazing!! Am looking forward to our first home game on Wednesday and more importantly our first WIN!” 

Hamburg are hoping to be able to correct this false start immediately with a home game on Wednesday against VC Wiesbaden.

Holland: Taylor and Morgan’s Dwingeloo Lost 2-3

Poland: Silesia Volley beat Sosnowiec 3-0
After a really disappointing cup loss earlier in the week, Laybourne’s Silesia Volley were looking for a change in form this weekend in order to secure their first victory of the season. Sosnowiec were only recently promoted to the league due to the fall of TPS Rumia. Sosnowiec is a national volleyball school for talented junior players and fields the majority of the Junior National Polish Team.

Silesia started extremely well. Strong service pressure and varied attacking allowed Silesia to take a comfortable lead in the first set. The gap was never closed and Silesia took the first set 25-18. A similar picture was played out in the second set as Sosnowiec struggled to deliver on serve receive and made numerous unforced errors which ultimately cost them the set 19-25. A closer battle was had at the beginning of the third set as Silesia traded point for point until the early teens, however Silesia drew on their experience and pulled away in the latter half and went onto win 25-18. Laybourne said..

“It is the first victory of the season and to win 3-0 shows that we can dominate teams within this league. Hopefully this turn in form will continue when we play at home next weekend against Murowana Goslina.”

Switzerland: VBC Cossonay beat Greenwatt Val-de-Travers 3-0
Jenn Thom was in action this weekend, at home. She reports…

“The match started well for us, the game plan was clear and we knew exactly what we needed to do. They had some big players that stood out but we quickly adjusted to them and we were able to play our game. The first two sets were won comfortably 25:16 and 25:17. The third set was all about us staying focused and everyone doing their job. We won third set 25:21. Was a good team performance from everyone.” 

VC Kanti Schaffhausen beat Engelholm 3-1 and lost to Neuchatel 0-3
It was another big weekend for Goulet and Osborne with yet another double header - the return game of the European Challenge Cup first round on Saturday and their third league match against Neuchatel on Sunday.

Having beaten Swedish Engelholm 3-1 last weekend, VC Kanti were well prepared for the home replay. With the comfort of their own court and the local fans behind them, Kanti got off to a flying start, being in control for the first two sets (25-18, 25-10). The locals were comfortable, with some good offence and service aggression. Despite the 2-0 lead and momentum in their favour, something switched in the third set and all areas of play began to break down. With some passionate defence from the visitors, Kanti struggled to put the ball away and lost the third set (20-25). It was all that was needed to give the home side the re-focus that was necessary and the fourth set once again was more comfortable in Kanti’s favour and the game was over 25-13 and 3-1. So, round 1 complete, Kanti now face Azores of Portugal in late November at home, and early December for the away leg. Round 2 also see’s Bertelli’s Koeniz enter the tournament.

No rest though, it was another quick turn around, some more video and a three hour drive to Neuchatel on Sunday for the league match. A spatious gym, a big crowd and a dark green floor all took some getting used to in the warm up. Unfortunately, accommodating the environment took a little longer for VC Kanti and they struggled in the first set with gauging serve reception and the length of the court for serves. The first set was over at 16:25. However, with this first twenty minutes done and dusted, Kanti picked up their pace and in the second set went neck and neck with NUC, trading for points until the 20’s. Some costly errors at the end of the set meant it was lost 23:25. The third set followed in a similar fashion, with Kanti taking the upperhand in the early twenties. However, the composure and consistency of Neuchatel helped them to continue to apply the pressure in the tightness of the game. A few key blocks at the end of the third set for NUC saw them take the third set at 25:23 and the match 3-0. Osborne commented,

“Another full on weekend! A great result on Saturday and excited to be through to the second round of the European Challenge Cup. It’s tough with a short turn around to be firing again from the off the following day. We had some great play on Sunday, in a tight game with different players stepping up at different times. We couldn’t finish the sets off and a few wrongly placed errors cost us. NUC were second in the league last year and a good side but this is definitely a team we want to be challenging again for the home match. A great surprise seeing GB’s #1 Jen Thom in the crowd after the match. Enough to put a smile on anyone’s face….!”

Volley Koeniz beat VBC Biel 3-0
Libero Maria Bertelli’s Volley Koeniz were up against VBC Biel Bienne on Sunday. With Biel having lost their opening matches and Koeniz looking strong, a convincing win was expected. A 0-3 away win it was for Bertelli’s Bern outfit (19-25, 23-25, 19-25) but Biel were determined to put up a fight in front of their home crowd. Bertelli comments

Happy with the win???

“We knew Biel would not roll over easily, last year they caused a shock upset against us at the end of the season that cost us dearly in terms of play-off position. We were determined not to let anything like that again. We are happy with the win, we have 3 games in the next 12 days against tough teams so its an important to set us on our way. We now need to recover quickly and start preparing for the next weekends double header.”

USA: University of Georgia Bulldogs beat Arkansas Razorbacks 3-2

Lizzie Reid career high of 10 kill blocks

The Bulldogs outlasted Arkansas Razorbacks on Sunday afternoon in 5 sets. Georgia went to a fifth set for just the second time this season and earned the victory by taking the decisive set 15-11. Lizzie Reid’s Bulldogs had won the first and third sets and then went on to tie the fifth. With the win, Bulldogs have improved to 9-11 overall and 5-5 in Southeastern Conference action at the half way point in league play. Georgia head coach Lizzy Sternke said, “we came out very aggressive from the beginning. It was a competitive match on both sides and a great road win for us.” Great Britain’s Lizzie Reid contributed with a career high of 10 blocks.

Meanwhile…in Spain, the pre-season is now well underway for both Beattie and Sandell.

Beattie’s CV JAV Olimpico Las Palmas got their pre-season off to a good start yesterday with a friendly match against CV Firgas, a men’s Division 1 Team. The result was the only thing missing from the match from a Las Palmas perspective, losing 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 26-24) but the girls showed that they are more than capable of competing against the power and profile of the men’s game. For a first appearance together, the Las Palmas Serve Receive unit remained stable throughout, allowing the middle to function. The girls fought for every point with good team spirit, and Beattie summarises ‘the only thing lacking was the experience of playing as a team and that will come’. She gave us her thoughts:

“It was a great opportunity to play together after 3 weeks of tough training. I am settling in well to this new environment and am really enjoying the volleyball out here. We have the potential to be a really strong team once we have got to know each other a bit better. I enjoyed the match and look forward to the next opportunity to play competitively with this team.”

 

 

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