Sunday, December 21, 2014

Fall Season Concludes with Two 5-Set Home Matches

December 13, 2014


Coach Dick Runesson believes the "will to win" gave GVK the advantage

Final Score: Gislaved 3 - Örebro 2 (20-25, 25-17, 25-21, 22-25, 15-11)
Best Attacker: Lauren Rafdal, 18 kills
Best Blocker: Lisa Tannerfalk, 5 blocks
Best Server: Mikaela Larsson, 3 aces
Best Serve Receiver: Amanda Länkinen
MVP: Lauren Rafdal

It was a real battle between Gislaved and Örebro.

Örebro controlled the match in the first set and won by five points. But in the second set, Gislaved came back. With the help from nine blocks, they won the set 25-17. Their momentum continued after the intermission. GVK had a commanding lead at 11-2, but Örebro narrowed their lead to 14-13. Gislaved then made another run, and finished the set 25-21.

Again, Örebro fought back and the momentum from the previous games carried GVK in the fourth set, but they were unable to resume control, and dropped the set 22-25.

The deciding set was a back-and-forth battle, with Örebro leading until 6-7. Then came the pressure. Gislaved went up to 11-7 and never let up.

“We executed our game plan well, and controlled the net both blocking and attacking. It was a full team effort,” says best point-scorer in GVK, Lauren Rafdal. 

GVK's Sherman (6) and Tannerfalk (9) block against Örebro's Rottman (8)

December 15, 2014


Lauren Rafdal made her home debut when Gislaved met Örebro. She was crowned with a victory and prize as MVP. "I feel very strong and good," she says.

After a back-and-forth battle, GVK took the win over Örebro 3-2. The match started with a commanding lead from Örebro, but as the first set continued, Gislaved’s momentum grew. Unfortunate errors by GVK helped Örebro to take set one, 20-25. The home team would not go down without a fight, and as the set started, Gislaved's net-play soared. A season-high 9 blocks in the second set confirmed the 25-17 win for GVK.

"We've been in this situation before, that we must overcome a shaky start. There were times that Örebro fought to close our lead, but we were able to stay mentally strong and keep pushing forward through the pressure," said coach Dick Runesson.

After an 11-2 lead, Örebro came back to trail by just one point, but again Gislaved fought on to secure the third set 25-21. Despite the momentum, GVK dropped the fourth set to a resilient Örebro 22-25.

"But the start Örebro got in the fourth was not earned. We made mistakes at the wrong time, and helped them to that victory.”

The match went to a fifth set, whereby Örebro led by one or two balls until 6-7. Then came the pressure Gislaved went up to 11-7 and did not let up.

"I do not think we played our best volleyball but we fought well and we did not get stressed.” According to Runesson, the will to win was key in the victory.

Another factor was Lauren Rafdal. The American outside hitter took 21 points.

"She will [continue to] get into it more and more and was a big part in the win. It's a small adjustment for her, so we'll let it take some time. She will acclimate more and more but I am very pleased with her home debut,” said Runesson.

Rafdal herself was also satisfied. That said, 21 points and appointed match MVP in her home debut is nothing to joke about.

"I feel very strong and good. But the team is very helpful. I’m “the new girl” and all, but they have welcomed me well.”

Rafdal’s credits the team for the win: “We protected the net. Strong blocking and attacking from everyone really helped secure the victory,” she says.

And a city girl entering the small town life?
"I'm from a larger city so it is a bit different. I like the family feeling in the city. But it's a whole new experience and I like the difference!"

Lauren Rafdal (3) led the Gislaved attack with 18 kills

December 17, 2014

Compared to last season, GVK has had a heavier match schedule
Pictured: Meghan Sherman (6) and Sanna Schultz (11)
Soon players in Gislaved Volleyboll Klubb will get a much needed rest when the Swedish Elite Series takes a pause over the winter holidays. The team will have time to lick their wounds and find new courage to continue when the series restarts in January.

Gislaveds VK has not gone far in the series. Nine points have been awarded after twelve matches, placing GVK in eighth place. The team has one final home match this Saturday against Sollentuna, then kicks off the New Year on 10 January.

Last season, GVK was a contender for the gold, but this season the club brought in fewer players and focused on homegrown talents applicable with less experience. Talking gold and GVK in the same breath has therefore somewhat estranged. The coach Dick Runesson has a good feeling with the break is approaching.

“We are where we should be at this time, in a rather stable playoff spot.”

Dick Runesson is fairly satisfied with what the team has achieved thus far, but it is about "doing good things" a little more often and minimize the slumps, which is something that still occurs too often. He is clear on how the break in the series will be used.

“We will lick the wounds. There are many tired bodies. This break is for rest and recovery, no friendly competition. We will train in between holidays, since the series starts in early January.”

Are the players worn down? 
“They are, they must knock on wood because I thought they would be much more worn out at this time because there have been more matches [than in previous years].”

How is the competition in the team? 

“Competition is good where we are located. We have the players that we have, and I am satisfied. I think it gets better and better, we shall see how far we can go in the playoffs.”

December 20, 2014

The ball and the victory slipped away from Mikaela Larsson (on floor) and Gislaved VBK
Final Score: Gislaved 2, Sollentuna 3 (20-25, 25-19, 22-25, 25-22, 9-15)
Best Attacker: Lauren Rafdal, 12 kills
Best Blocker: Jollan Åkerlund, 3 blocks
Best Server: Mikaela Larsson and Sanna Schultz, 3 aces each
Best Serve Receiver: Meghan Sherman and Lauren Rafdal, 95% positive
MVP: Sanna Schultz 
Gislaved VBK and Mikaela Larsson have lost a number of times this season, but none like this.

Larsson was still sitting on the bench. Her teammates had gone further into the locker room. She had to let the events sink in. “I'm very disappointed. It is the most painful loss so far.”

Her synopsis: “We did not play as well as we could throughout the whole match. When we do that, we can beat all the top teams. Sure, Sollentuna is [ranked] above us in the table, but we showed too much unnecessary respect,” she said after the 2-3 loss to Sollentuna.

Gislaved had swept away Sollentuna with large Christmas broom in the second set. GVK was hard-serving, made good serve receptions and tough game at the net. But in the third set, it was Sollentuna who controlled the service game. Gislaved again made a great sets in the fourth.

“Then we followed the game plan again and serve hard. We controlled them. We dared to go-for-it tough at the front line. When we do that, we are the better team.”

She did not say it herself, but the loss did not feel like an earned point, but as two that were lost.
Note: Teams are awarded 3-points towards the series for 3-0 or 3-1 wins; in a 5-set match, the winning team is awarded 2-points and the losing team is awarded 1-point.

Friday, December 12, 2014

How-To Christmas Like a Swede

"Merry Christmas" in Swedish
It is Christmastime here in Sweden, officially greeted by the first advent: November 30th. The stores are filled with lights and decorations, many similar to those found in the States, but others fairly unique.

Tomten, aka Santa Claus, is absolutely adorable, resembling more of a gnome than the Coca-Cola drinking man to which Americans are more accustomed. These little guys are mostly round balls with full-length beards and giant hats. Julbocken or Yule Goat is a goat made from straw. Swedish legends claim that the Julbocken brings presents for children on Christmas Eve, as does Tomten. Swedish people often put Julbocken under their Christmas trees and even hang them on the walls for good luck.
Julbocken in Gävle
Varmljus (candles) are highly traditional, lit every Sunday during advent to countdown the days until Christmas. With the sun barely rising above the horizon during the winter months, Swedes illuminate their homes with candles to help keep the dark away. Similarly, many decorate with the julstärna, literally translated into English as "Christmas star". These origami-type lamps are arguably the most Swedish holiday decoration.

Advent candles in our home
The Lucia celebration represent one of the foremost cultural traditions in Sweden, with their clear reference to life in the peasant communities of old: darkness and light, cold and warmth. Tradition has it that Lucia is to wear ‘light in her hair’, which in practice means a crown of electric candles in a wreath on her head. Each of her handmaidens carries a candle. The star boys, who like the handmaidens are dressed in white gowns, carry stars on sticks and have tall paper cones on their heads. The gingerbread men and bakers bring up the rear, carrying small lanterns. The Lucia celebrations also include ginger snaps and sweet, saffron-flavoured buns (lussekatter) shaped like curled-up cats and with raisin eyes. You eat them with glögg or coffee.
Lucia program at Sörgårdskolan in Gislaved

Monday, December 8, 2014

Gislaved Topped by League Leaders

December 3, 2014

The newly signed American, Lauren Rafdal, and GVK had a terrible night in Ängelholm. Engelholm VS proved to be too difficult and handed a quick 0-3 loss to GVK. "Of the six players on [our] court, someone is always taking a mental time out. When you give EVS one play off, they can steal the match away," said assistant coach Daniel Magnusson. Pictured L to R: Lina Johansson (5), Lisa Tannerfalk, & Lauren Rafdal (3)


Lauren Rafdal made her debut with Gislaved Volleyboll Klubb at Wednesday’s away match in Ängelholm. Unfortunately, her performance was overshadowed, as GVK lost in straight sets.

Final Score: Engelholm 3 - Gislaved 0 (25-17, 25-15, 25-18)
Best Attacker: Meghan Sherman, 6 kills
Best Blocker: Lisa Tannerfalk and Joyce Åkerlund, 2 blocks each
Best Server: 4 players recorded 1 ace each
Best Serve Receiver: Amanda Länkinen
MVP: Amanda Länkinen

After two straight wins, GVK came to a halt. Series leader Engelholm was way too tough an opposition for Gislaveds elite league team. “They ran over us,” noted GVK's Amanda Länkinen.

Gislaved had a new player on the floor, outside hitter Lauren Rafdal, who accounted for three points. “It felt really good with Lauren, but it's hard to get into a new team,” says Länkinen.

“[Lauren] was okay today, but we know she can do much more. She has had only two practices with the team and there is a big difference between American and Swedish volleyball. It will get better,” says assistant coach Daniel Magnusson.

December 7, 2014


GVK was unable to overcome the atmosphere in Katrineholm.

Final Score: Katrineholm 3 - Gislaved 0 (25-9, 25-21, 25-10)
Meghan Sherman sets up Jollan Åkerlund

Best Attacker: Lauren Rafdal, 6 kills
Best Blocker: Sanna Schultz, 2 blocks
Best Server: Lisa Tannerfalk, 1 ace
Best Serve Receiver: Meghan Sherman
MVP: Meghan Sherman

Katrineholm is a good team with a variety of attacking options. GVK was unable to rise to their level in the first set, dropping the frame 9-25. After a lineup change, Gislaved returned with a new focus and fought hard throughout the second set. After Emma Petersson’s unexpected injury at the end of the set, GVK lost what little momentum they had and Katrineholm won 22-25. Gislaved emptied the bench in the third set, but it was clear that Katrineholm would be the victor, finishing the match 10-25.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Back-to-Back Wins Inspire GVK

November 18, 2014

Pre-Game: GVK-RIG Away

On Saturday it is time for the match, this time against RIG Falköping

They are currently in 7th place with 3 points and we are in 10th place with 1 point, so both teams will be very excited and it should be an even and exciting match.

The city of Falköping hosts Sweden's national volleyball gymnasium and there are many exciting players and where every year grows new talent. This year, they have a strong team and show, that despite his young age, they will fight for a position in the playoffs. According to me, we need to be ready for strong attacking from their middles.

We will continue to work on with what we've done well and try to develop areas that we are not completely happy with. I think the key lies in a diverse offensive game and a stable block-defense. In matches like this, it's about minimizing their own mistakes and to dare to "go for it" from serve and attack.

At this writing, we have no injuries and it is with pleasure that we have a full squad for competition. Who knows how we are going to start?

Hoping for your support and do not forget to raise a dragon in the wind.


November 22, 2014

At last victory cheers

GVK's nightmare is over: Victory over RIG Falköping

According to coach Dick Runesson, this was much anticipated. "It was only a matter of time before we would win."
Final Score: GVK 3, RIG 1 (25-27, 25-17, 25-23, 25-21)
Volleyball | Then came, at last, that victory.

After seven straight losses Gislaved VK finally had something to cheer about after Saturday's meeting with RIG Falköping.

"Of course it feels good," says Dick Runesson who could pack the three points in the bag after his team stood for a strong turn-around, from down 0-1 in sets, to win 3-1.

"Without any cockiness, I believe that it was only a matter of time before we would win the match," said Dick Runesson.

With the victory, GVK abandoned last-place of the league. Their climb in the series has begun.

"We know what we need to work with and we want to win more. It's what drives us," says Dick Runesson.

November 23, 2014

Wait a minute - we really won?

GVK losing-streak ruptured at RIG. The feeling afterwards? "Have we really won?"

They fought. Ball for ball. 17-24, 18-24, 19-24, 20-24, 21-24. There, it stopped. With her 18th point, Emma Petersson ended the match with RIG 21-25. The feeling afterwards was not euphoric, but rather a calm wondering: did this really happen? 

"It was great to end it," she says, "But it was a strange feeling afterwards. we did not play one of our best games, but won anyway. Therefore, some of us were thinking, have we really won?"


GVK can rest easy, the three points are theirs. This nightmare of seven straight losses is over and they can start looking upwards in series. Had they continued to descend, however, GVK would need a much better game than the team showed today.

The first set was particularly inconsistent, RIG won 27-25.

"We really wanted to win, so it was a little tense, stressful and anxious on the court," says Emma Petersson. "There were many scattered thoughts, which is a result of feeling this high pressure."

The coach Dick Runesson could only agree. "I am very pleased with the result, but we're lucky that you aren't awarded points on how it looks," he says. "We could have played so much better today."

What failed?
"Communication. We focused on this all week, since we are not used to talking so much in matches. We will continue to train towards better communication."

Change strongly to turn 0-1 to 3-1?
"Sure. and frankly, when we stop making mistakes, we win. which of course is good."


BEST ATTACKER: Emma Petersson, 11 kills
BEST SERVER: Mikaela Larsson, Sanna Schultz, Emma Petersson, 5 aces each
BEST BLOCKER: Lisa Tannerfalk, 4 blocks
BEST RECEIVER: Sanna Schultz, 80% effective
MVP: Lisa Tannerfalk


BEST ATTACKER: Alma Hurtig, 9 kills
BEST SERVER: Stina Rix, 4 aces
BEST BLOCKER: Alma Hurtig and Fanny Andersson, 2 blocks each
BEST RECEIVER: Stina Rix, 77% effective
MVP: Alma Hurtig

Outstanding Performance in Front of Newly Acquired Player

Gislaved VK ran across KFUM Göteborg 3-0 in front of the new signed player, Lauren Rafdal.

Final Score: GVK 3, KFUM Göteborg 0 (25-15, 25-16, 25-18)
Lauren Rafdal cheered for GVK on Saturday
Volleyball | The American player was recruited to GVK to provide more stability.

Since she has signed with Gislaved, the team has won two matches in a row. Nevertheless, she has not played a game yet. On Saturday afternoon she sat in Gisle Sportcenter's stands for the first time to cheer for her new team.

"I like the energy, aggressiveness and how the team support each other. It's a great first impression." She smiled.

Jollan Åkerlund agreed, "We already have stability. It's not that she needed to save the situation. But she will add [to it] and make us even better."

On Saturday afternoon it went well without the new player on the court. GVK crushed Göteborg in straight sets: 25-15, 25-16, 25-18. There was never any danger that the away team would recover like they did in the last meeting, despite GVK trailing 1-4 in the third set.

"We have had some problems [in the past] with keeping the lead in matches. But we've been talking a lot about continuing to play our game and not to lower ourselves to the opponent's level." GVK pressed on and finished with a victory.

"We got into the flow again and showed stability and good team spirit. We pushed through it and could only win. We are moving forward now."

She took a chance from the start

Mathilda Carlsson went from bench players to victory director

It was Mathilda Carlsson's first match in the starting lineup, and certainly not the last.

From the speaker played music from "You Are the Best": "... never doubt that you are the one. And you can have your dreams."

It was symbolic. Even more for Carlsson.  "I told myself before the game. You can do this."

She did that and more. Mathilda Carlsson took full advantage of her debut in GVK's starting six.

"It felt pretty good."

"Three of five maybe..."

Not four out of five then?
"Okay then. Four out of five." She smiled. 

She had every reason to do so. She had taken her chance and she had many attacks against KFUM Göteborg.

"I tried to take it easier and then I was very stable in my serve receive. My previous appearances have given some confidence and my teammates have been really positive and pumped me up."

Nerves Erased

All the nervousness that existed when Gislaved dropped a 2-0 lead to 2-3 against Göteborg was blown away. GVK appeared complete and focused and at the same time in Saturday's match. Despite trailing 1-4 at the start of the third set, could not be unhinged.

"We were quiet, methodical and do it, we'll even when we are below. We have made great strides since we lost to Göteborg. It is a brand new team," said coach Dick Runesson.

Home Court Advantage

The home team was better than Göteborg in everything: serve, receptions and blocks. 
GVK won most recently against RIG Falköping; victory going to the team that was the best of the worst. This time, GVK were clearly the best. GVK's best player, Emma Petersson, contributed greatly to it, but none can be overlooked. The entire team played a good game all the way through.

"I was able to sub in players from the bench that not only helped to maintain the level, but raised it. Fantastic!" says Runesson.


Best Attacker: Emma Petersson, 11 kills
Best Server: Emma Petersson, 3 aces
Best Blocker: Lisa Tannerfalk, 5 blocks
Best Receiver: Meghan Sherman
MVP: Emma Petersson


Best Attacker: Ellinor Nilsson, 8 kills
Best Server: Lisa Westby, 3 aces
Best Blocker: Jennie Hugosson, 2 blocks
Best Receiver: Lisa Westby
MVP: Katarina Bagavac

Monday, November 17, 2014

Despite Obvious Improvements, GVK Suffers Back-to-Back Losses

November 12, 2014

The break killed Gislaved’s fight

This season's best sets. Then came break - and the fall. "We're not quite there yet," says Sanna Schultz.

Final Score: Gislaved 1, Svedala 3: 22-25, 25-22, 16-25, 18-25
GISLAVED | You have heard it before. You get to hear it again: GVK was close, but not close enough.

In home meeting with Svedala, 2014 SM runner-up, was the blue-clad once again for a solid effort. Sure, they lost the first set with 22-25, but they gritted. Battled. Tore both walls and beams and managed to get back into the game.

"In the second set we did everything. We had good energy on the field, all dared to go for it," says Sanna Schultz. “Our best set so far this season”

The coach Dick Runesson enjoyed just as much effort. "I felt calm and relaxed. We responded perfectly at the end of the set, where we've lost before. Now we know that we can win on our own merits in those positions. We will definitely take with us into the future.”

After the ten minute break between the second and third set, Svedala's big stars Holly Franks and Autumn Wedan came out and smashed home the match. The fighting GVK game remained the locker room.

"That damn break." Dick Runesson sighs. "Generally, it should be good, if you need to talk through lot of things. We had the momentum, and I just wanted to go back out and play. But that’s how it is. We have to get better at coming back from the break.”

It was by 16-25 in the third. 18-25 in the fourth. No funny numbers. It was fun, however, to see Stina Lindstam enter into the match’s final set. After being plagued with illness the past two months, she finally made her Elite Series debut for GVK.

"I was really nervous. It's good to be nervous and I was in the beginning. But when I got to come in, I had calmed down,” she smiles. “And it was fun because I got a really good block.”

What did you see while watching the match from the sidelines?
"We had some dips and we got stuck in them for some time. But as long as we focus on the next ball, we can continue to play well. And then, we will find a solution.”

Sanna Schultz adds: "We know we can ...."

But ...?
"... we are not really there yet."


BEST ATTACKER: Emma Petersson, 12 kills
BEST SERVER: Meghan Sherman, 2 aces
BEST BLOCKER: Jollan Åkerlund and Lisa Tannerfalk, 3 blocks each
BEST RECEIVER: Emma Petersson, 94%
MVP: Emma Petersson


BEST ATTACKER: Autumn Wedan, 21 kills
BEST SERVER: Holly Franks, 3 aces
BEST BLOCKER: Viktoria Nordstrom, 2 blocks
BEST RECEIVER: Autumn Wedan, 95%
MVP: Autumn Wedan

November 14, 2014

Pre-Game: GVK-EVS

GVK to face Engelholm, Saturday at 14: 00

Tomorrow it's time again for an exciting game against the series runner-up Engelholm.

We are fully aware that it will be tough and EVS have run over the opponent that they've met so far in the series. The advantages of a match of this nature is that all the pressure is on the opponents. We are strong at home and our keys will be in a stable defense game and a tough serve.

In a face text against EVS must designate Isabella Haak 15 years old but already with credentials that beats most. One of the biggest talents ever. She is fifth in the overall points league and has already made debut in the Swedish national team.

EVS is a large and complete team but we know that if we show a lot of heart and follow our game plan, nothing is won in advance.

We will welcome the challenge and hope we get to see you in the stands. Your support means a lot.


November 15, 2014

GVK did what no others have managed

No one has previously taken a set against Engelholm this season. Today Gislaved did just that.

Final Score: Gislaved 1, Engelholm 3: (11-25, 13-25, 28-26, 15-25)
GISLAVED | Hylte/Halmstad has failed. Katrineholm has failed. All have failed so far. Until Gislaved stood as the opponent. Then Engelholm lost their first set of the season.

To think the series’ current last-place team could upset the undefeated series leader was quite impossible, but GVK stood up well. Despite EVS winning their three sets far by ten-points or more, the third set showed that GVK is on the rise.

GVK won the third set through a good serve reception and an aggressive offense. One good set was not enough. Engelholm ground down Gislaved in the final, and GVK continues to find themselves in last place in the Elite Series with seven losses and only one point recorded. But as a coach Dick Runesson reminds all since the start of the season, 
GVK comes closer and closer.

November 16, 2014

GVK managed what none other could

GISLAVED | It was a loss for GVK, but they did something that no one else has before. The talk before the match was to Gislaved would not be able to take more than ten points per set. But did you, in each set. You also succeeded in something that both Hylte/Halmstad and Katrineholm failed. Gislaved won a set against the superior opponents.

“It was the same as when we met Svedala; we managed to take a set. We did it because we do good things. We need it to last longer, a full match, first and foremost. We have it in us, we showed it today,” says Runesson, and continues: “We showed a lot of heart in the third set, we came out as a completely new team. But unfortunately it gives no points. We are not there yet. But we will get there, I promise. I'm still not worried.” Gislaved really showed heart in the third set, just like Runesson says.

Engelholm SuperiorThe two teams went back-and-forth in the third set and GVK trailed 20-22. Then they took four straight points and turned the tables. Engelholm tied it at 24-24, and the teams exchanged points until that Johanna Larsson decided the set with a serve-ace at 28-26. But that set-victory did not give much. Engelholm was superior in the other three sets, despite Gislaved had a lead of 9-8 in the fourth.

“It's a shame because we had a good start there. We saw that Engelholms coach became redder and redder, and it is good for us when he gets red in the face,” Dick says, laughing.

Fine DebutOne that did not get lost in the game was 17-year-old Therese Bengtsson. She started playing volleyball for a year and a half ago, played in GVK’s C-team last year, and today experienced her first Elite League games. “It was fun and it was exciting. I'm happy with my effort,” she says.

Think you have increased your chances of getting more play in the starting six now?
“Yes but ... I do not know. We'll see. You never know,” she says.

Dick Runesson has more good things about his young protégé. “She may be the greatest center the talent we had here. She has a unique ability that she is thinking not so much. If you tell her something that she should do, she does it without question. This club will be happy to have such talent here! She walks in here and meet Sweden's best teams and played well. So impressive!”


BEST ATTACKER: Meghan Sherman and Emma Petersson, 10 kills each
BEST SERVER: Emma Petersson, 3 aces
BEST BLOCKER: Jollan Åkerlund, 2 blocks
BEST RECEIVER: Sanna Schultz
MVP: Mikaela Larsson


BEST ATTACKER: Isabelle Haak, 24 kills
BEST SERVER: Jennifer Cross, 6 aces
BEST BLOCKER: Jennifer Cross, 3 aces
MVP: Isabelle Haak

Monday, November 10, 2014

Drop in Focus Halts GVK's Progress Against Top League Teams

November 4, 2014

A Welcome Return

Stina Lindstam is back after a long sickness: "I want to play"

GISLAVED | A glimmer of light in the darkness disease. Stina Lindstam is training with Gislaved VK again. “I am tired of rest,” she says.

“What a block she has!” Lars Englund sitting and enjoying in Gisle Sportcenter. “And she has been gone for two months. Unbelievable.”

"She" is Stina Lindstam. And it is in front of the sports chief’s eye that she performs her first workout with GVK in a very, very long time. In just over seven weeks, her life has been filled with diseases instead of looking for volleyball. Lung inflammation. And on top of the two infections.

“It's been frustrating. I have not even got to go walking because it was too cold outside. But trying to be positive though.”

How did you think it went today?
“It was fun to play, but I felt bad. Not like it was before. But at the same time one can not expect that it will be good right away.”

With sickness absence, she has not yet had time to play a single minute of elite series volleyball this season. If all goes as she pleases, however, it will change it when the team is set against Hylte/Halmstad on Wednesday evening.

“I want to play,” she says with bright eyes, “But I do not know if I'm good enough yet.”

You yearn to play, huh?
“A lot. It's so sad to be home. And I will interact on more movies to watch.”

Are you completely healthy now?
“I cannot know for sure. I have been sick since last summer. But I hope it's fine now.”

November 5, 2014

Woke up late - fell again

GVK finished well, but failed to score against Hylte/Halmstad

Final Score: Hylte/Halmstad 3, Gislaved 0: 21-25, 17-25, 24-26
HYLTE | When did it run out? When the home team, Hylte/Halmstad, led 14-10 in the third set and looked to be pulling away to another victory. Then the GVK-machine started to tag along.

Block game worked. Attacks hit the floor. A few balls later it was 24-24 on the scoreboard. Could the GVK team manage to force the match to a fourth set? No. GVK woke up too late and Hylte/Halmstad won the match 3-0. Just as before.

“It got better in the third set,” says Emma Petersson. “We knew that we had nothing to lose. We didn’t have that pressure earlier in the match either, but it was finally time to go for it in the third. We should have started [like this] in the first set.”

“It felt good before the game ... but they were good. They pressured us in the serve and we were not able to respond.”

GVK did not make it. Until the fine finishing, as in all cases, gave something positive to take from Örnahallen, Hylte/Halmstad was clearly better team. The first set ended 25-21. Other 25-17. “They are really good. But we can beat them,” says Emma Petersson. “Too bad we did not really wake up early.”

November 6, 2014

Hylte/Halmstad continues as an undefeated ghost

Halloween is over, but Hylte/Halmstad continues to haunt Gislaved VK.

“Another loss,” sighs Dick Runesson.

VOLLEYBALL | It is October 30, 2013. Hylte/Halmstad down GVK 3-0 home in Örnahallen. "They blew us off the court today" commented Dick Runesson, meeting then.

Twelve months later, GVK failed to turn the tide and get back onto the court. Three Elite Series meetings have been played against rivals from Hylte/Halmstad. All three have resulted in a GVK loss. Most recently on Wednesday night.

“Considering the team they have, they mash us,” says Dick Runesson.

Was not that exactly what happened? The match took 71 minutes.
“Perhaps they did. In the second set, I can agree with you. But I say that we showed heart, fought hard, struggled and played at our level.”

Gislaved’s head coach tries to find the right formula. “We do not really have the weight and the security of our attacking play that Hylte has. That was where we dropped matched,” he says, and turns his gaze forward.

The next meeting is set for January 18.

“We know how to play to beat them. And next time, we'll take them.”

Meghan Sherman (6) serves against Hylte/Halmstad


BEST ATTACKER: Meghan Sherman, 9 kills
BEST SERVER: Jollan Åkerlund, 4 aces
BEST BLOCKER: 3 players recorded 1 block each
BEST RECEIVER: Amanda Länkinen, 72%
MVP: Meghan Sherman


BEST ATTACKER: Christina Alessi, 13 kills
BEST SERVER: Jonna Wasserfaller, 4 aces
BEST BLOCKER: Jonna Wasserfaller and Daniele Kovacs de Lima, 3 blocks each
BEST RECEIVER: Daniele Kovacs de Lima, 89%
MVP: Christina Alessi

November 9, 2014

GVK falls at Lindesberg

Final Score: Lindesberg 3, Gislaved 0: 11-25, 24-26, 17-25
LINDESBERG | Gislaved did not have much defense against Lindesberg Volley.

Lindesberg Volley entered the match with 4-straight wins and great confidence. It became no less nor that they completely ran over the visiting Gislaved. The last-ranked GVK had no chance but fell 3-0 in sets, a quick victory that fit Linde amidst the tight schedule.

“Yes, absolutely, it's super important to us. Now we have matches on both Wednesday and Saturday, so this worked well for us to prepare” admits Lindesberg coach Johan Isacsson.

Lindesberg started the game very strong and also got good help from the opposition. Gislaved stood for their own series of mistakes in the first set, where Isacsson believes that his team more or less just needed to tip the ball over the net. When the team crossed the 20-point line was the line up for over ten points and we finally won with 25-11.

In set two, Gislaved came out more prepared, which meant a big change for Lindesberg. After high drama, Lindesberg eventually won 26-24.

Lisa Tannerfalk (9) and Meghan Sherman (6) block against Lindesberg


BEST ATTACKER: Sanna Schultz and Emma Petersson, 5 kills each
BEST SERVER: Meghan Sherman, 2 aces
BEST BLOCKER: Jollan Åkerlund and Lisa Tannerfalk, 1 block each
BEST RECEIVER: Amanda Länkinen, 71%
MVP: Mikaela Larsson


BEST ATTACKER: Marjorie Giordano, 13 kills
BEST SERVER: Rebekah Gustavsson, 3 aces
BEST BLOCKER: Evelina Frank, 5 blocks
BEST RECEIVER: Nette Peit, 65%
MVP: Evelina Frank

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Höst | Fall

While summer ended abruptly over two months ago, the fall has taken its time. The leaves turned from green to bright yellow, fading into the warm oranges and reds before making their descent to the Earth. There is something to be said about the beauty of this transition, as if mother nature is shedding her summer accessories, returning to her roots in preparation of the upcoming winter. Despite some rainy days, October has brought a crisp autumn air. The freshness fills your lungs as leaves crackle beneath your step. It is truly magical.

Nature is everywhere in Sweden. Through most of the wooded areas near me, you can find walking paths and bike trails, frequented by the locals on weekends and students en route to or from school. Others find the path-less-taken in search of wild berries or edible mushrooms. The only animals are leashed dogs, although I not-so-secretly hope to be met by a wandering moose.

With the days getting shorter and shorter, the sunshine has become more and more valuable. Despite the brisk weather, sunny days are utilized to their maximum potential by bundling up with a cosy sweater and scarf and sipping on your favorite warm beverage. With no coffee-franchizes in the area, my town is naive of the pumpkin-flavored-everything that has swept the USA by storm. Local "fika" breaks are set with strong black coffee and a pastry, nothing that isn't available every other day.

Like most American-celebrated holidays, Halloween is overlooked by most. I encountered less than 7 trick-or-treaters this year, three of which came on November 1st. Instead, Sweden observes All Saint's Day, where they visit the graves of lost family and friends, honoring their life by adorning their plot with flowers and lit candles. For a girl raised in America, I was conflicted, unsure of how to feel about this new idea of Halloween. Celebrating life of family and friends is a beautiful idea, and one that I plan to adopt; however, I cannot shake my nerves when passing a candle-lit cemetery on October 31st. I've watched ABC Family's 13 Nights of Halloween. I know how these things end.

Fråga mig...

It's been a tough start for Gislaved Volleyboll Klubb in the Elite Series. This year's team is vastly different from GVK Elites in the past. There are no expectations of championships, no pressures for one to be the league's best scorer. With such a young group of athletes, the focus lies on development. Every training session is an opportunity to get better: better touches, better movement, better confidence. Each match is a chance for us to be challenged, but also to challenge our opponents. The season opener was a wake-up. We are young, inexperienced in the elite series, but have a lot of potential. We cannot expect to overpower teams. Extensive scouting will do us no good. Our tactics must come from within. Control our side of the net. Know that our opponents can, and will, make mistakes. By minimizing our unforced errors, we can continue to whittle away point-by-point. 
Despite dropping two matches 0-3 against Svedala and Hylte/Halmstad, we have managed to gain respect in our opponent's eyes. And although we've lost our first three matches, we've continued an upward climb. Of course this year will not be without it's ups-and-downs. Patience is key. 

Jollan Åkerlund (7) and Mikaela Larsson (2) team up for a block
against Hylte/Halmstad's Danielle de Kovacs Lima 

ELITESERIES RANKINGS (as of 1 November):

1. Engelholm (3-0)
2. Lindesberg (3-0)
3. Svedala (2-0)
4. Hylte/Halmstad (2-1)
5. Sollentuna (1-2)
6. Katrineholm (1-2)
7. KFUM Göteborg (1-2)
8. RIG Falköping (1-1)
9. Örebro (0-3)
10. Gislaved (0-3)


16 Oct against KFUM Göteborg, 2-3: 25-21, 25-19, 21-25, 23-25, 12-15.
MVP: Jollan Åkerlund
Stat Leaders: GVK Sanna Schultz (16 kills, 1 ace), Meghan Sherman (11 kills), Lisa Tannerfalk (4 kills, 4 blocks), Jollan Åkerlund (4 blocks, 1 kill); Göteborg Lisa Westby (15 kills, 2 aces), Ellinor Nilsson (9 kills, 1 block, 4 aces), Alma Skarrie (5 blocks)
18 Oct at Svedala, 0-3: 13-25, 16-25, 18-25.
MVP: Meghan Sherman
Stat Leaders: Svedala Holly Franks (19 kills, 2 blocks), Autumn Wedan (13 kills, 2 blocks), Marissa Collins (3 blocks); GVK Meghan Sherman (7 kills, 1 block, 1 ace), Lisa Tannerfalk (2 blocks, 1 kill, 1 ace)
25 Oct against Hylte/Halmstad, 0-3: 20-25, 22-25, 18-25
MVP: Meghan Sherman
Stat Leaders: GVK Sanna Schultz (9 kills, 1 ace), Jollan Åkerlund (4 aces, 2 blocks); HH Danielle Kovacs de Lima (12 kills, 2 aces, 2 blocks), Megan Devine (11 kills), Christina Alessi (10 kills, 2 blocks)

Meghan Sherman (6) attacks against KFUM Göteborg


*home matches in BOLD

5 November at Hylte/Halmstad
9 November at Lindesberg
12 November vs Svedala
15 November vs Engelholm
22 November at RIG Falköping
29 November vs KFUM Göteborg

Saturday, October 25, 2014

GVK Handed a Tough Loss by Reigning Champs

October 25, 2014
GVK change training plan prior to the derby 
Gislaved | Ditch the heavy weight training.
So, Gislaved VK hopes to change the season that started with a negative trend.
“I think it can give us a boost,” says team-captain Lisa Tannerfalk.  
Volleyball | Two heavy matches. Two heavy losses. Gislaved VK has had to work hard during the season’s start.
Ahead of today's meeting with Hylte/Halmstad team has moved around in the training set-up and perhaps found a break in the trend.
Away with the heavy weights. Maintain the light and fresh legs.
“It feels good that we're doing this now. I think we will be fresh,” says Lisa Tannerfalk.
Have there been heavy legs?
“We started [the series] pretty hard with a 5-set match against Gothenburg. And then it was tough at Svedala, even if it was [a 0-3 loss]. Certainly each day thereafter pretty tough.”
The coach Dick Runesson: “One can not lift heavy indefinitely; you [constantly] break down rather than build up. We have run heavy strength training until after Svedala game, now we change a little bit and I think we will feel lighter in the bodies for a while.”
First test if the change gives the desired result?
A derby at home in Gisle Sportcenter against Hylte/Halmstad.
The reigning Swedish champions who won both meetings with GVK last season.
“Everything but a clear win for Hylte is a great success. I must be honest,” says Dick Runesson. “They have half the national team and they have put a lot of money on their foreign players. They are again considered as one of the top teams.”
But ...?
“So far, they have not shown that they are as good as last year. They barely won against Orebro and lost to Engelholm in 3-sets. They have not quite found it yet.”
What is most important to you?
“I think the key for us is to resist hurricane in the early sets. To not let them run away. As long as we can keep up with them so you get to see what it is going.”
Lisa Tannerfalk adds: “Serve receive is very important. And we must be calm in defense. Stay patient and do not have too many of our own mistakes.
Can you win?
“Yes, absolutely.”

October 25, 2014
Honorable Home Defeat  
Lisa Tannerfalk (9), Meghan Sherman (6), Mikaela Larsson (2)
& Sanna Schultz (11) celebrate a point against Hylte Halmstad
Gislaved | Reigning champion stood on the other side of the net. 
Intimidation? Not an ounce.
Final Score: Gislaved 0, Hylte/Halmstad 3 (20-25, 22-25, 18-25) 
Gislaved really showed zero fear of derby opponent, and reigning  champion Hylte/Halmstad. 
The home team proved once again that they are on the rise, and the match on Saturday was a testament that GVK is heading in the right direction. 
That it was the loss was a side-note for Dick Runesson. He was pleased, despite the loss, and felt they did not need to be ashamed of the effort. 
They pressured the guests throughout the match and, in the second set, had a 20-13 lead, however, GVK dropped the set with 22-25. 
Despite the loss, it was a well-rounded effort by the home team; an effort that bodes well for what's to come.
Match’s Best Players awarded to: Christina Alessi (Hylte/Halmstad) and Meghan Sherman (Gislaved)

Stat Leaders: GVK Sanna Schultz (9 kills, 1 ace), Jollan Åkerlund (4 aces, 2 blocks); HH Danielle Kovacs de Lima (12 kills, 2 aces, 2 blocks), Megan Devine (11 kills), Christina Alessi (10 kills, 2 blocks)