Our journey to Lindesberg began at 6am Saturday morning. Well, technically I woke up at 5:30, but we didn’t start traveling until 6. Jo and I headed straight for the back of the bus, since we all know you’ll have the most space. Unfortunately we were freezing the whole time, since apparently the back of this bus gets poor air circulation and therefore only the front was heated. Boo! Our first stop was just over 2 hours later. I woke up to frost all over the ground. It was only 8:15, so hopefully the temperature would heat up a little bit. Returning to the bus, the team started watching Bad Teacher while Jo and I resumed sleeping. It’s very rare that we are awake in a single digit morning hour, unless it’s continuing from the night before. A little after 11, we arrived just outside of Lindesberg to a shopping mall for a required 30-minute break for our bus driver (who happened to be our libero, Mia’s dad). We wandered around the mall, looking at father’s day gifts (the 2nd Sunday in November, aka today) and getting coffee to help warm us up. The trip from here to the gym was only about 30-45 minutes, and like I had hoped, there was no more frost on the ground by the time we arrived.
|View from back of the bus|
We had a team lunch of salad and pasta with meaty sauce before going on our pre-game walk around the gym. Going into this match, we didn’t know too much about this team. They have 2 middles that are currently playing in Olympic-qualifications for the Swedish National team, so they wouldn’t be at the match. Their coach is American, whom both Jo and I know from being recruited in high school. Taking one set would be a huge feat for our team, especially since we were playing Lindesberg at home. Like most gyms, this gym is a lot larger than ours, so it took us a while to get used to the high ceilings and regain our spatial awareness. Our Polish middle, Asia (pronounced “Asha”) traveled with us to Lindesberg, in hopes that she had been cleared to play. As we started match warmups, we learned that she would not be allowed to play still, so our assistant coach (who played middle on the team last season) would suit up “just in case”.
The match began with us trailing 3-8. Despite our errors, we were able to stay calm and unstressed, taking everything in stride, allowing us to rally back to a 13-16 deficit. Once they hit 20-points, they went cruising along to secure the first set 18-25; 8 of each team’s final points were from the other team’s hitting and serving errors; we out-blocked them 2-0, but were also out-aced 3-0. The second set went similarly, with us barely hitting positive (6 kills, 5 errors) while they swung freely with 13 kills and 1 error. Both teams served aggressively, us gaining 2 aces with 2 errors, while Lindesberg was 4 aces, 4 errors in the set. Again, we trailed throughout the set, and at 21-14, they were able to close out the set finishing 16-25. After a 10-minute break between sets 2 and 3, we came out ready to fight. We were able to take a 16-14 lead, forcing them to call a time-out. Everyone was pushing hard and playing aggressively; both sides missed many serves (we had 6 errors, they were 5 errors and 1 ace), but in the end, Lindesberg was able to close 20-25 for a quick 3-0 victory. They were able to remain in system and run a highly effective, quick-paced offense throughout the match; their play is very similar to college teams in the States. Our team struggled to make our own points, finishing with a team hitting percentage of .063 compared to their .317 – both teams had 15 attack errors; however we out-blocked them in the match 4-2. Our serve receive was aced 8 times while we aced them just twice; both teams had 12 service errors.
|My "MVP" prizes: backpack, gift card, and flowers|
I was voted best player for our team, receiving a backpack, a 300kr gift card to Team Sportia and flowers. We showered and were back on the bus by 4:02 beginning our 6-hour journey back to Ljungby.
Malin (O1) – 2 kills, 4 errors, 18 attempts (-.111); 0 ace, 1 error
Sofie (O2) – 1 kill, 0 errors, 11 attempts (.090); 0 ace, 2 errors
Jo (M1) – 7 kills, 1 error, 14 attempts (.428); 0 ace, 1 error; 1 block
Emma (M2) – 2 kills, 2 errors, 9 attempts (.000); 0 ace, 1 error; 1 block
Julle (RS) – 3 kills, 6 errors, 20 attempts (-.150); 0 ace, 3 errors; 2 blocks
Me (S) – 3 kills, 1 error, 6 attempts (.333); 2 aces, 2 errors
Lisa (sub for Malin) – 0 kills, 1 error (-.500), 2 attempts; 0 ace, 1 error