It was the 13th this weekend and it was ‘unlucky for some’ of the GB players with some hard defeats for our teams across Europe. It was a big night for Lizzie Reid and her Georgia Bulldogs in the USA whilst Thom & Bertelli were winners in Switzerland, and sit 1st and 2nd in their respective leagues at the half way stage. See results, scores and thoughts of the players themselves below..
Finland: Pieksamaki Volley lost to Pisplaploki 0-3
A tough weekend for Stacey O’Connor’s Pieksamaki who were looking for a good performance on Saturday. O’Connor reported: “This was a team similar to us. We started out in the first two sets making too many unforced errors. By the time we started playing to win it was the 3rd set. We never got in a steady rhythm but we did make some great plays. We are a team that fights hard to come back but then we struggle with earning the last few points in the sets. It’s something we’re working on and will hopefully show this weekend against HPK and OrPo.”
France: Quimper lost to Vannes 1-3 (21-25, 18-25, 25-18, 19-25)
It was a hugely disappointing weekend for Quimper this weekend, losing an important match against our local rivals. It was a frustrating weekend for GB middle blocker Rachel Newton as the match was lost in service reception. Quimper made far too many service errors themselves and Vannes had a very strong service game, which Quimper could not handle. Newton comments….
“We were prepared and ready for the game so this is a big loss for us. We had runs of great attacks and were blocking ok, but just made too many errors. We have three tough games ahead now and want to put in a good team performance next weekend.”
Holland: DOK lost to Alterno 3-0
Having met a few times in pre-season, Taylor and Morgan’s DOK knew it was going to be a tough game. It was a good start, with both sides trading points. DOK’s game plan was to initiate pressure from the service line to elimate their middle attack. With a good few rotations of serve, the game plan was working and confidence was beginning to build as DOK still searched for their first win. Alterno cranked up their service pressure and DOK had no response, losing the set 15-25. The 2nd and 3rd sets were very disappointing, confidence drained from DOK and despite substitutions very little change was brought about.
The remainder of the match saw small glimpses of what could or should have worked to help give DOK a fighting chance to take points but it was not enough. The game was over pretty quickly 13-25, 11-25. The next 2 weeks are the biggest challenges yet, facing Pollux and Weert (currently sitting 1st and 2nd in the league) so it is vital DOK use these matches to work on their game and take some confidence from the performances.
The first set started slowly for Silesia as numerous serve receive errors made it difficult for the offence to get into any sort of rhythm. However, after a strong service run the set became much more competitive and Silesia were looking to take it set. Unfortunately the referee made sure that this was not the case as the decision was made not to call a block touch when the ball clearly changed direction at 23-24 down. After much deliberation the referee did not change his mind and the team changed ends clearly upset after losing 23-25.
The referee’s decision caused a strong stir within the Silesian camp as they started the second set extremely well. The team maintained aggression and determination throughout the second set and went on to win it 25-16.
The third set saw a strong response from AZS KSZO Ostrowiec Św, with solid blocking making it difficult for Silesia to gain any kind of momentum and even after a double sub attempt the team went down 17-25. The fourth set was similar to the first, a slow start from Silesia Volley, however after some excellent hitting from the left handed passer hitter the team found themselves back in contention. with 3 serving aces, from different players the momentum shifted in favour of the home team and with a little bit of luck on their side they took the set 27-25.
To the tie-breaker and two very different halves. Silesia started strongly and were 8-5 up at the change over. An incredible service run by the oppositions’ setter caused mayhem for Silesia, despite numerous subs and timeouts the team found themselves 8-12 down before any more points were put on the board. The gap was too large for Silesia to close and the team lost 10-15. See league table. GB’s own #4 Laybourne had a solid game this week, but despite building on her own performance, was clearly frustrated with the loss. She commented:
“Tonight was really disappointing. We have the making to beat this team as we demonstrated on numerous occasions tonight. However we have to become much more consistent if we are to ride out some of the troughs in our performance. On the flip side we played much better this week and it is important that we keep on building as next weekend’s match is a must win game. “
Switzerland: VBC Cossonay beat Ecublens 3-0 (25:12, 25:15, 25:18)
VBC Cossonay played Ecublens at the weekend. Having already beaten them 3-1 away, playing them at home was a chance to build further. Contributing in all areas of the court, especially with some runs of pressure serves. See the league table. Jen Thom said:
“This was one of our best performances and was a win that felt good to play and good to watch. With some tough serving from us, Ecublens struggled to pass and that made it very easy for us. Our block defence was disciplined and there was a good focus from us throughout the match. We can now build from this and take it into the next game. This was definitely one of our best performances so far.”
Kanti Schaffhausen lost to Franches Montagnes 3-1 (25-12,25-18,21-25,28-26)
Goulet and Osborne’s VC Kanti were back on the road up the scenic mountains of Switzerland, and over to the French speaking part of the country. VFM were top of the leader board and so it was clear it was going to be a tough match for 3rd placed Schaffhausen.
With a new USA middle for the opposition, VFM were sure to be solid in all areas of the court and they showed this from the start of the game, commencing in full swing and brimming with confidence. Some perhaps tentative serving and offence from Schaffhausen in set one made VFM’s passing and defence look incredibly impressive, allowing them to run their play and finding holes all over the Kanti defence. The first set was lost to a pretty disappointing 12 points. The second set looked to be a little stronger, but VFM maintained composure in all areas and again took the second 25:18.
The ten minute time out then ensued and as is frequently the case, allowed the trailing team to pick themselves up and face the third set like a new start. Kanti came out guns blazing, upped the anti on their serves and found the connection between setter and hitters. They led for most of the third and with some great net play finished off the set 21-25 after a huge block in the middle.
They carried the same momentum into the fourth and were leading into the twenties. VFM continued to fight and stay play by play, with some smart hitting from an American outside and a high opposite player, hitting over the Kanti block. However, with Kanti’s young outside stepping up from a float to a spin serve, two more aces were gained. As the set drew to a close, both teams had match point twice but despite some great blocking, the set eventually fell to VFM. Osborne commented:
“After a very slow start on our side, we raised our level and showed the competitiveness and aggression that we have in our team. For once the ten minute break went in our favour as it seemed a fresh beginning in the third set. Despite some excellent fight in the fourth set, we couldn’t close it off and it’s really disappointing to walk away without breaking into the fifth set and at least a point from this match. This means VFM remain in first and us in third (with Bertelli’s Koeniz in between). Having played the first round of games now, we are within the top 5, but with Volero still some games in hand. That means there’s no relaxing going into the second half of games. Top 5 is an essential goal and with three points split between teams if the game goes to five, every game is vital.”
Volley Koeniz beat Toggenburg 3-0
A very comfortable 3-0 home victory (25-15, 25-16, 25-15) for GB Libero Maria Bertelli’s Koniz this weekend. Up against bottom of the league (and newly promoted) Toggenburg, with a couple of injuries in the team, there were a number of changes to the starting line-up.
A few early errors saw the underdogs take a surprising 1-5, and 5-8 lead but from then on Koniz took control, scoring the next 16 points in a row to lead 21-8 the energy and ideas from the visitors was gone! The second and third sets were a similar story with the home fans seeing solid sideout and strong serve and block play. Bertelli comments…
“This was our 4th win in a row, 2 against top teams so we are happy. We are training hard physically and on the court at the moment so to still deliver a strong performance was really pleasing. After the first round, we are second in the league so we have to be happy with that.”
USA: University of Georgia Bulldogs beat Mississippi State 3-1
Big weekend for Lizzie Reid in Georgia. As the team closed out their home game schedule, Lizzie and three team mates were honoured for the contributions to the team on Senior’s Night.
Georgia jumped out to a two set lead by taking the first two, 25-14 and 25-18 but MSU came back fighting to take the third set 25-23. In the fourth, the Georgia Bulldogs left the final mark and took the game, taking the last set 25-22. With the win, Georgia are now at 11 wins in 15 games overall and 7-10 in the SouthEastern Conference. See video summary of the match.
Head coach commented: “These seniors have given so much to this programme and their effort tonight showed a great consistency in what this programme means to them. They played with passion tonight. They played with a true heart to leave out on the court.”
Senior Reid commented: “It was a great night. My team played well and it was a great win for us on senior night. It was a chance for us to work on our discipline and execution.”
As if to leave her final mark on the home court, she finished off the match point for the team. “I did not think I was going to get an ace. It was the icing on the cake.” See how happy she was about it with the celebration at the end of the video!
Meanwhile…In Spain…only one week left before the start of the season. Hopefully we will be reporting winning starts this time next week for Beattie and Sandell!