22/23 Oct: mixed bag of results, some wins, controversy and anger! Grr!

A mixed bag this week for the GB Women, with double headers all over the place, a bye for a number of players and the Spanish league yet to kick off. A few wins at homes in front of some committed British fans in the Swiss League…

Belgium: Palmer’s Gea Happel Amigos Zoersel had a free weekend.
Finland: O’Connors Pieksamaki had a free weekend but play Wednesday.

France: Newton’s Quimper lost 3-1 to St Chamond (25-16, 25-17, 17-25, 25-17)
Following a great start to the season, Newton’s Quimper had a disappointing loss this weekend. Rach comments…

“We were dissapointed with our overall performance, especially in the first 2 sets, not  finishing the point off & too many mistakes. In the third, we came back with more fight with some good blocking and better finishing. At the end of the fourth we didn’t take our chances and some errors near the end of the set let St. Chamond take the game. St.Chamond had a good game, their block defense was strong and they made few errors.”

Germany: Alemannia Aachen lost to Suhl 3-1
Wicks & Michel knew they had a tough game on Saturday against Suhl, who had already beaten last year’s Champions Dresden. Suhl had a strong home crowd of over 1000 spectators and Alemannia Aachen seemed to take a while to settle, trailing 8-5 at the first technical. They managed to level the score again but Suhl had the upper hand and won the first set 25-23.

Aachen never seemed to get into to the game fully and despite leading at both technical timeouts in the second set they couldn’t keep the lead with unforced errors and lost it 25-22. In the third, they managed to hold on to the lead and won 25-22 taking the game into a fourth set. Aachen’s game slowly started to come together and they had numerous chances to win the fourth set to take it to 5, but Suhl proved too strong at crucial moments and edged ahead to take the set 29-27 and win the game 3-1. A disappointing result for Aachen after such a strong performance midweek. They have a home game on Wednesday against Köpenicker SC, a team not to be underestimated and a must win match.

Hamburg lost to Vilsbiburg 3-0 (25: 23, 25-6, 25: 22) and the match only lasting 70 minutes. Bragg gave us her take on the game:

“In the first set it was a pretty balanced game, with neither us or Vilsbiburg getting a significant lead. Into the first technical time out, Vilsbiburg led 8-5 after some weak serving from us. We managed to pull back a little bit and got back to level pegging 22:22 but then they finished off the set with some quick sets to the middle and pipe and we had no answer. The second set was one of those that any volleyball player no matter what level dreads… nothing ANYWHERE was working. Nobody could pass the ball in for our setters. When the ball did come in we made them look like the best blocking team in the planet. First technical timeout was 8-1. A disappointing set and one that lessons have to be learnt from. 

Third set: now this could quite easily have gone the same way as the second but thankfully a few players stepped up their game and started playing with a bit of heart and desire. The setter ran the play really well and was creating holes that hadn’t been there before in the game. But there was still something missing the aggression we had showed in our first two matches just wasn’t there in our serving, blocking and attack. When it came to the time you should kill off a team or at least pull them to the wire 21-19 we crumbled and lost 6 point in a row. For me personally this was an extremely frustrating game as I got no court time and feel that I could of had a positive impact. I’m not saying I would of come on and won us the game (although that would be nice!!) but there was just no fight and no power out there at times and at the minute I feel that is what I can bring to the table!!”

Holland: Dwingeloo lost 3-0 to Vershuys
A disappointing loss this week for Morgan and Taylor in the Dela League to a team ranked four places above them. GB’s #9 Morgan gave her thoughts on the game:

“We lost in three to the better team. Set 1 was very good for us, we served and passed well, and defended some really hard hit balls. The outside hitters were very aggressive and this paid off with some outstanding hits. When set 1 was over we were all feeling positive. Unfortunately we could not continue this good work. Throughout the game we lacked a solid stable block - everyone on the team blocked poorly. Our defence at the end went downhill. Something positive to finish on though - our side out play was very good during the match. The middles worked really hard and killed nearly everything set to them. Overall we are all disappointed with this performance. This is a game we can learn from - for most of us the poor play in sets 2 and 3 was a mental thing. We need to have more winning mentality. We have now discussed this and we are moving forward.”

Poland: Silesia beat Murowana Goslina 3-2
After a good week of training Silesia Volley were ready to take on the league leaders- Murowana Goslina.

Laybourne’s home team started extremely well and were surprised to be ahead with a 6 point lead. Unfortunately injury struck and a loss of momentum saw the team lose concentration and ultimately the set 22-25. The second set started much the same but Silesia were determined not to let their opponents back into the set this time. An impressive team performance saw the home team take the second set 25-15. A change in momentum from the start of the third set saw Silesia behind by a small margin. Despite a come back effort in the late teens Silesia could not regain the lead and went onto to lose the set 20-25. Although Silesia came out fighting in the fourth set they were behind going into the twentys. After a solid service run and disciplined blocking the home team went onto challenge for the set and after some great defence they won the set 25-22.

Silesia definately had the upper hand going into the fifth set. At 6-3 injury struck again with a second twisted ankle. This time Silesia maintained focused and went onto win 15-11. Laybourne commented: “It is a fantastic feeling to come out of this game with a 3-2 win. It was a team performance and it has given us even more confidence that we can play with and beat the top teams in our league.”

Switzerland: VBC Cossonay beat Geneva Volley 3:0 (25:14, 25:22, 25:19)
Thom gave us her thoughts..

“This was a relatively easy match for us and we were able to try different line ups and still have control of the match. Although at times we struggled to side out and sometimes the level was scrappy we managed to close each set. We lost our focus at times and we maybe went into to match thinking it was going to be easy. End of the day it was a 3:0 win but we need to refocus as a team and work on better preparation for the matches ahead. Next week we expect the game to be tougher against VBC Fribourg.”

VC Kanti Schaffhausen beat Volero 3-0 and VBC Biel 3-0
An intense week for Osborne and Goulet’s VC Kanti Schaffhausen. Following last weekend’s double header, it was another two-game week, one on Wednesday and one Saturday. Wednesday saw Kanti up against Volero, the Swiss Champions League team, last year’s league winners and a force to be reckoned with, with multiple Serbian, Romanian and Swiss national team players. With Kanti’s first setter injured, the young second setter stepped up to the game and the defensive strategy of the team was adjusted to take on the mid-week challenge.

With high intensity and team spirit from the very beginning, the home team underdogs had nothing to lose and came out all guns blazing. Volero, with a couple of starting players missing and out on national team duty in preparation for the World Cup, struggled to find their normal rhythm. Kanti wasted no time in taking full advantage of this and with a few shots and attacks going their way, started to gain in confidence, exerting pressure at key points in the match and took the first set 25:22 with some aggression from the service line and big blocks. Re-grouping after the first set, Kanti expected Volero to come back in full force in the second set. Despite some dominant offence from the Volero passer hitters, Kanti maintained composure and continued to chip away, point by point. With the second set won by Kanti, tension was rising in the home gym and fans were on their feet creating a vibrant atmosphere. Taking this energy into the third, it was a battle for every point. Solid in all areas of the game, the pressure got the better of Volero. Game over and a big cheer from Guernsey’s Mrs Goulet, visiting from Ottawa. A great victory and another 3 points for Kanti. (25:22, 25:22, 25:22)

Having the high feeling of a win against Volero, Saturday had the potential to be a dangerous game – a must win match against the 9th ranked team. Again, the young setter stepped up to the mark and Kanti played with composure throughout the match. Biel came out stronger than expected, with a slightly altered line up, and Kanti had to ensure focus was maintained throughout the match for the result they needed. After a quiet start to the match, the team picked up the energy and delivered. Not the intensity of Wednesday’s game but another win for the scoreboard and a happy Mr and Mrs Osborne, who were out for the weekend, cheering on the Brits…. Final scores: 25:22, 25:19, 25:20

Volley Koeniz lost 0-3 to VFM and won 3-0 against Aesch Pfeffingen
It was a double header for Maria Bertelli’s Volley Koniz this weekend. Up against teams that will be fighting for top 5 positions, 2 tough matches were expected but playing at home 2 wins were hoped for!

Volley Franche Montagne were first up on Saturday and Koniz came out of the blocks firing, there was a determination about the team, leading at both technical timeouts and into the 20’s. Then a couple of errors occurred, followed by a lot of tension and the set was gone 22-25. The second began as the first finished with tension and direct errors and the home team found themselves 0-6 behind. With no rhythm and Franche growing in confidence there was no way back and the set was lost to a disappointing 16-25.

The 10 minute break was had and some questions were asked…the answer was not found with Koniz being 2-7 behind, however the fight was there and with some strong blocking and defence there was a belief coming back in the team and they came back to within 2 points (9-11) when there was a delay from the second referee. She reported that there was a rotational mistake with the wrong player being on the court since the beginning of the set. After lengthy discussions, checking of the rule book and some disgruntled personnel the home team lost all points gained and found themselves 0-12 behind..the 3rd set finished 9-25 and the match 0-3. GB Libero Maria Bertelli was awarded best player but took no satisfaction with the award. “This was a disappointing performance from us all today, we started the game very well and then something happened and we fell apart. We need to turn something around for the game tomorrow against Pfeffingen.”

Back in the gym Sunday afternoon and the opposition was Sm’Aesch Pfeffingen who have had a good start to the season. Again the team started well, with all areas of the game functioning. Always leading by 2/3 points Koniz stayed focussed and closed out the first set 25-19 much to the delight (and relief) of the home team and supporters! The second was a similar story, dominating from the service line and siding out well. The result a similar 25-20 and a 2-0 leading going into the 10 minute break. Coming back, it was point for point with Pfeffingen showing their strengths in offence and exploiting the Koniz block. Leading 20-22, the away team looked dominant but some determined, aggressive play was enough and the home team fought back to win the set 25-23 and to the satisfaction of Mr and Mrs Bertelli in the stands, the game was taken 3-0. The young Bertelli was much happier today… “after yesterday’s game there was a lot of discussion and I think this got rid of some frustrations, with it some tension and allowed everyone to just focus on the job in hand. We were much calmer on the court today, individually stronger and collectively more relaxed. Once yesterday was over, the key thing was that we responded positively today and we did that. The 3-0 win is great for everyone and we now start preparing for our game on Friday against NUC, which will be another tough one.”

USA: University of Georgia Bulldogs lost to Tennessee 3-1
The 20th ranked Tennessee came away with a 3-1 win over Reid’s Bulldogs this weekend in a close contest Southeastern Conference match on Sunday afternoon. Tennessee won the first and second sets 25-15 and 25-23 before Georgia bounced back to take the third set in extra points at 28-26. Tennessee then earned the victory by taking the fourth set 25-21. Georgia head coach said: “We made much quicker adjustments tonight. We went in with a game plan and were able to adjust as Tennessee adjusted. That is something we didn’t see on Friday night (against Kentucky), so to have that mental energy today really impressed me.”

Meanwhile…In Spain…
Saturday saw another chance for Captain Beattie’s CV Las Palmas to play together in another pre-season friendly on the run up to their season opener in mid-November. They were to play the CV Las Palmas second team, currently playing in Division 1, one level down from the Spanish Super-Liga. Although on paper, this should be an easy win for the Super-Liga team, CV Las Palmas 2, had a few strong players to look out for. CV Las Palmas were also looking for the opportunity to play everyone, to see what the best line-ups will be come the start of the season. In the end, it was a comfortable 5-0 win for the Super-Liga team, who showed their superiority in all areas, especially in the power of their offence. Beattie summarises: “It was a good all round performance, and for me a very enjoyable game to play in, with opportunities to run some combinations in offence and play alongside difference personnel. We are proving to be a team with strength and depth in all positions and a team to look out for when we get to know each other even better. This performance is promising, with still 4 weeks to go before the start of the season. There is still a lot of hard work to be done on court and in the gym, but players and staff remain relaxed and confident at the progress we are making so far.”

Janine Sandell is excited to be back in Menorca, following a period of rehabilitation for her knee. She is “really looking forward to working with the team coaches, including a Brazilian strength and conditioning coach this year”. With a reputation as a force to be reckoned with in Spain, after few more weeks of pre-season Sandell will hopefully be springing back into action in the Super Liga!


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