Saturday, January 15, 2011

First Match in Budapest: BRSE v. UTE

Our travels started 26 minutes behind schedule, as Barbi had a final exam that started at 10:00am. As we loaded the bus waiting for her to finish, I whipped out my English-Hungarian phrase book and introduced the team to my terrible American pronunciations of their language. After a few laughs, Barbi ran by the gym towards the hostel to get her game day gear. I would sit in the front of the bus, next to Toncsi for the ride into Budapest. Zsoka informed me that, as this is my first match, afterwards I have to buy her a drink. When I asked if it was just a round for her, or if the whole team would need one, the girls all instantly perked up, only to get knocked down by Tibi saying "no, they want an American cake". Guess I'll have to import funfetti cake mix. As the drive began, Attila put in what appeared to be the South Africa World Cup CD, playing it on the loudspeaker; we all put in our headphones. The drive would take about 3.5 hours. Due to traffic we arrived around 3:00pm. Everyone began to get antsy aboard the bus, eager to start the match. Attila told us that, if we win tonight, he will buy some beer for on the ride home. How's that for incentive?

Pregame in the locker room consisted of Red Bull, grape sugar, and some crunk mix playlist, as per team request. When I was offered the chance to pick our jersey color for the match, I opted out by asking around which one those present in the locker room preferred. The white jersey + black spandex combo won in a unanimous decision. We were all getting focused for the match. Attila gave us a pep talk, and we headed out to play.
The first set, we fell short due to inconsistent passing and high amount of errors, losing 18-25. The second set was much tighter, with both teams serving aggressively; we would clench the victory 27-25 on my ace in the deep corner of zone one. Thanks, Jeffy :) We took control of set 3 early on, allowing the other team to score only 11 points total. We were on a high going into the 4th set, shaking off the few errors we made. With a 22-14 lead, we began to be overly confident, shown in our many hitting errors. The other team was making a comeback and we could not manage to side out, getting blocked at every attack. The game would eventually be lost 24-26. The 5th and final set, we had the advantage 8-6 at the switch. Back and forth, we chipped at the score, finding ourselves in the lead at 13-12. Unfortunately our youth would fail us against this much more experienced team, as they claimed the victory 14-16.
Overall, our team showed moments of greatness, however the lack of consistent mental toughness was highly evident across the players. Hopefully Sunday we will be able to come out on top, proving ourselves at our first home match of the year.

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