A great week for the GB Women across Europe, with a very near clean sweep of wins across the board and some great individual performances from our girls… There was also the small matter of the FOURTH Swiss Battle of the Brits, lets see what happened…
Gea Happel Amigos won 3-0 v M-Siks Baasveld in league action on Saturday and won 3-2 v VC Mortsel in the Antwerp Cup on Sunday…
With M-Siks Baasveld on the same points as the Amigos in the league this was an important match for both teams. During the first set, Amigos looked good but it was Blaasveld that seemed to have the upper hand at 22-23 ahead. However, a composed Amigos side dug deep and took the first set 25-23. Amigos started set two with the same composure and took the second set 25-19. Set three looked to go the same way with Amigos always having the upper hand and reaching a cushion of 23-19. But M-Siks didn’t give up easily with some strong attacking plays caused problems for Amigos, but they held out to take the set 25-22. A 3-0 victory and 3 points in the league is a great result for the team and hopefully the winning performance will carry on in our last three league matches.
On Sunday Gea Happel Amigos met VC Mortsel in the semi final of the Antwerp cup. The Amigos had a superb start to the match and took control with a 25-18 win in the first set. VC Mortsel made two key substitutes and took the second set 25-19. With the momentum and their support cheering them on, Mortsel continued on and took the third set 25-22. Amigos found themselves down 2-1 and really had to step up. Amigos started to play better and with tough serving they took the fourth set 20-25. The last set was the toughest set and with the change of ends happening at 8-7, there was everything to play for. The captivating battle was finally won by Amigos 14-16. After a long weekend and a really testing game on Sunday, Amigos came out with two wins and made it through to the Antwerp cup finals.
Check out this link to see footage from the Amigos’ winning weekend:
Carter’s TFOC won 3-0 v Nancy
Saturday saw Carter’s TFOC play away against local rivals Vandoeuvre Nancy. After some poor results recently, TFOC were very happy to finally take home a clinical 3-0 win. The first set started a little shaky with both teams making errors and Vandoeuvre taking an early lead, but TFOC didn’t give up and with the help of some great serves they took the set 23-25. TFOC took the momentum into the second, and began to find their rhythm especially in attack. Despite a fight back at the end of the set, TFOC held on to take a 21-25 win. With high confidence in the team, TFOC were able to close the third and final set comfortably, taking it 19-25.
Grace commented: ”It was a great team effort to take the win and we are confident that if we can put in another performance like that in our last 3 league games we will be able to keep our place in PRO A.”
Newton’s Quimper lost 3-0 v Albi (25-14, 27-25, 25-16)
Quimper Volley’s unbeaten run came to an end last weekend against the new leaders of the division, Albi. Albi started the match with great service, winning the first set 25-14. Quimper’s reception unit were unable to handle the pressure and were unable to get into any rhythm in attack. In the second set, Quimper came onto the court with more fight and tougher serves. Quimper took the lead throughout the second set but were unable to finish it off in attack at the end of the set because of some great defence from Albi. They lost the second set 27-25. In the third set, Albi’s confidence had grown and again they were firing from the service line. Albi won the last set 25-16.
Rachel comments: “We were disappointed with our performance this weekend, but want to learn from it and prepare for this weekends match against local rivals Vannes. We are now joint top with Albi and Stade Francais but feeling confident for a win this weekend.”
Rachel Bragg’s Hamburg travelled to Sinsheim and despite losing the first set, won the next 3 very comfortably, taking all three points and now in a strong 6th position in the Bundesliga.
Poland: Silesia Volley won 3-1 v Warszawa
Silesia Volley were determined to finish on a high on Saturday and clinch the 5th spot in the league. The team started quite slow by their standards and got caught up in a battle early on in the first set. Service errors and poor sideout play meant the team found it hard to put points on the board. They narrowly won the first set 25-23.
An aggressive and firing Warszawa took the court in the second set and demolished the Silesian serve receive. Numerous changes from the bench were made by Silesia Volley but to no avail. The team that won in the first set were no where to be found as they were heavily defeated 8-25.
The third set started in a similar fashion to the first with errors occurring from both teams. The teams traded late into the teens but luckily it was Silesia Volley who pulled away to open up the point margin at the end of the set. They won the third set 25-21.
In the fourth set, Silesia showcased some great volleyball but Warszawa were not going down without a fight and found sizable holes in the Silesian defense. It went down to the wire but the set and the game was taken on a great stuff block out at the aerial – a true team effort. 26-24.
Laybourne comments: “Today was not a clinical affair, we made it a lot harder for ourselves than it needed to be, however, we wanted to finish on a high and we managed to grind out the win and take all three points.
This was the last game of our season and we have finished 5th out of 12 teams. We have played 22 games over the course of the season. We have won and lost 11 matches and we have won 43 sets and lost 37. It has been nip and tuck throughout the entire season and the whole team is really happy to have finished in this position.
For me personally this season in Poland has been a great learning curve. I have had to face many different challenges and my volleyball has been tried and tested on many different occasions. I know for a fact that I will come back to GB a much stronger player and now I can’t wait for the summer GB programme to kick start into action!”
VC Kanti Schaffhaussen lost 3-0 v Volley Koeniz
To get the weekend rolling was a wee visit from Bertelli and clan in the form of Volley Koeniz to the Schaffhausen’s Schweizesbild for what was to be the fourth and potentially final Battle of the Brits in Switzerland. Kanti with the home court advantage and seeking revenge came out to the game with guns at the ready. Despite a good first few points from Kanti, Koeniz led at the first technical 8:6. They maintained the lead but Kanti kept them within a few points until towards the end of the set, which went to Koeniz at 25:21. Despite some hustling defence and varied attacks from Kanti, the block from Koeniz was able to line up well, taking points or channelling to the phenomenal Bertelli, who was enjoying getting in a number of outrageous ‘J digs’. Despite taking the lead in the third set and a 23:20 advantage, Koeniz maintained composure to close out the set and game 3-0.
We also heard the Koeniz side of the story from Bertelli: ”We went into the game knowing that it was a must-win if we want to get to the play-off final, we also knew that it was a huge game for Kanti if they wanted to get into the 3/4th place play off. We started strong and were fighting for every point. It was great to see us so determined and focussed on the win. In the process, we didnt play at our best but today was about getting 3 points which leaves it in our hands to get to the final. As always, it was great to see my fellow Brits and get that little bit of inspiration from them for the next 6 weeks before we head back to GB…”
VC Kanti Schaffhaussen also lost 3-0 v VFM
After a tough loss on Saturday, Sunday saw Kanti travel the terribly long (2 ½ hours!) drive to Volley Franches Montagnes. This was a must win game and after beating them 3-2 at home last weekend, Kanti knew they would be facing a team with a grudge. There were moments of great play from Kanti and hints of inspiration in all areas of the game but perhaps it was a lack of team unity on court that eventually broke Kanti with second balls from the VFM setter, dominating hitting from their big opposite and solid middle blocking. Although it looked like the third set might turn things around, being even at 23-23, it was not to be. The game ended 3-0 and with it, the last hope of making top 4 for play offs.
Osborne commented: “A disappointing weekend. These were must win games for us to progress and we didn’t really bring the emotion and fighting spirit that we know our team has. Koeniz is the one team in the league we haven’t beaten, which grates… not least because it’s the battle of the brits, but they and VFM showed to be the stronger teams this weekend. We now have a ten day break before our next game. We hope we can rally together and end the season with our biggest performance so far…and a massive win.”
Valeriano Alles Menorca won 3-1 v Universidade de Burgos
Janine’s performance this week resulted in her winning the MVP of the week award. Here’s what she had to say after her win this week: ”This was a great win for Valeriano this past weekend against Burgos who are ranked 3rd in league. It was a good win and gives the team a lot of confidence going into the epic Queens Cup this coming weekend! For me it was a great match and am happy with my 7 aces and 19 points. I am excited to continue to develop on my new serve in the coming weeks…”
CV Las Palmas lost 3-0 v Haro Rioja
CV Las Palmas travelled to the mainland to play only their 3rd away encounter of the season. It was always going to be a tough game, against an experienced team at a difficult venue, but having given them a run for their money in the first encounter at home, Las Palmas went into the game with confidence.
Unfortunately the travelling team went down too easily in the first set, struggling to get into any rhythm in all areas of their game. Haro won the first set 25-12.
Going into the second set, Las Palmas had a renewed confidence and spirit and began to play to their potential, causing Haro some problems with some combination plays and tougher serving than the previous set. It was Las Palmas who looked to take the set with a 24-21 lead, but some strong play by Haro when it mattered, resulted in a levelling of the scores at 24-24. Las Palmas didn’t give up, they knew how important it was to win this set, but it was Haro that produced the goods taking the set 29-27.
The disappointment of losing the second set lingered among the Las Palmas players and the third set was a repeat of the first, with Haro winning easily 25-15.
Beattie reports: ”It has been great to get back into competitive volleyball, but you could tell we lacked the rhythm of playing regular matches. Despite the result there was a lot of positives to take from the match which is crucial as we play Haro again in the Queens Cup this weekend. The team has refocussed well in training this week and we are looking forward to the challenge of turning things around against Haro with a chance to play Janine’s Valeriano Alles Menorca on Saturday if we win. It is my first experience of the Spanish Queens Cup so i am really looking forward to the occassion!”