We had our first mid-week match this week at Hylte/Halmstad, a team about an hour west of Ljungby. Daniel and I drove to Holmgrens (the car dealership) to pick up a car for us to use to help transport our team over. This was my first experience driving something larger than a sedan in Sweden—I didn’t even know they made manual mid-sized SUV’s. After doing a car-swap, Daniel went home for about 40 minutes before coming to get Jo and I to go over to Sunnerbohallen to meet the rest of the team. Daniel drove, with Jo at shotgun, while Emma and I sat in the back. It was a pretty quick trip, with me DJ’ing the whole way. Finally we arrived, and did our typical team walk before heading into the locker room. Everyone seemed really relaxed during warmups, including myself. This gym was a lot larger than our’s (our ceiling is the lowest in the league), which threw off our depth perception just a bit. Despite having some fans there, the gym seemed really quiet, even during warmups with the music playing. After a rough round of in-spike (hitting lines), the match was finally on its way.
We trailed the whole first set, struggling to find the court and stay in-system. Jo hit the nail on the head when she stated that we were playing as individuals and not coming together to play. We managed to find a little momentum towards the end, recovering from a 15-21 deficit to force the match over 25; although we lost 26-28, we helped propel ourselves into the next two sets. The 2nd set, we were able to force Hylte into many more errors, and ourselves to maintain composure maintaining the lead throughout the whole set; thus winning confidently 25-21. In the locker room for a 10-minute break between sets, we tried to stay focused and calm, reiterating a previous locker room talk about staying steady and patient throughout the match. This boded in our favor. The 3rd was a back-and-forth battle, with neither team jumping to any lead until the end—we finished this set 25-22. Hylte would not go down without a fight, leading the whole 4th set. Both teams were highly efficient in hitting – only making 1 unforced error each. Hylte’s 4 aces to our 2 may have been the tipping point, allowing them the advantage in a close 23-25 win. The 5th seemed like it would easily go to Hylte, as they led 2-6 and Daniel had already called both his time-outs. On the switch, we came together more ready and focused, going on a run with Jo leading the way. Despite Hylte’s triple block attempts, she could not be stopped. We had multiple match-point opportunities, however we were unable to close out the match, finally losing this close battle 17-19.
At the end of the match our right side, Julle, was awarded “best player” for our team. We had made a great fight, but were just unable to seal the deal at the end. I did learn after the match, that when a team wins in 3 or 4 sets, that the winning team is awarded 3-points, while the losers get none; however, if you win in 5 sets, the winning team is awarded 2-points and the losing team gets 1 point. This allows us to remain tied with Katrineholms at 2nd in the league (we have 7 points, "poäng", each), behind Lindesberg who has 9 points, "poäng".
Malin (Outside) - 13 kills, 3 blocks*
Sofie (Outside) - 5 kills
Julle (Rightside) - 10 kills, 2 blocks*, 5 aces
Jo (Middle) - 20 kills, 3 blocks*, 1 ace
Jazzi (Middle) - 6 kills, 1 block*, 3 aces
Me (setter) - 1 kill**, 3 blocks*, 1 ace
*Note: All blocks are listed as "solo blocks", if it is a double block, the statistician just picks the player they think actually got the block and awards that point to them
**Note: Jo and I aren't sure how they keep track of setter dumps, because I had at least 3, but only was awarded 1 kill...who knows
On Saturday, we make a 5-6 hour bus ride to play against 1st-ranked Lindesberg. There will be more on that later…