Thursday, February 26, 2015

Svedala Too Much For Gislaved

Gislaved prepares to take on Svedala
Wednesday night, Gislaved was unable to take more than 16 points against Svedala, resulting in a quick 0-3 loss.
Final Score: Gislaved 0 - Svedala 3 (12-25, 16-25, 16-25)
The focus before the away game was to stop Svedala's foreign players. The game plan went like that for Gislaveds VK.

Holly Franks were scores best with 18 points, second best was Autumn Wedan with 17 points.

"We put no pressure on them and they are both really good. It is the single biggest difference today," says head coach Dick Runesson.

GVK just took a total of 44 points in three sets. Dick Runesson's post-game analysis: "Today Svedala was too much for us to handle. They are better at all positions. There is absolutely nothing to hide the fact. But of course, volleyball is about winning their matches and we do not today."

What do you say about your game?

"This probably sounds really weird, but we fought together quite well. We kept to the game plan and we tried to find energy from each other and help each other as much as possible. Unfortunately we did not quite succeed, but we should not over analyze this effort. We will take with us what was good and build on to the next game."

And the next match is already on Saturday. Then we face Katrineholm at home.

"It's really good that we have another match so soon," says Runesson.

GISLAVED: Sanna Schultz (6 kills, 1 block), Lauren Rafdal (6 kills), Anna Dyakiewicz (5 kills)
SVEDALA: Holly Franks (17 kills, 1 block), Autumn Wedan (11 kills, 4 aces, 2 blocks)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Gislaved on the Road to the Playoffs

Gislaveds VK defeated KFUM Gothenburg 3-1 on Saturday (25-16, 14-25, 25-17, 25-17.)

GVK celebrates their 3-1 win // Mikaela Larsson (2) sets against KFUM Göteborg
Back-and-forth early in set one, both teams missed many serves. At 7-7, GVK was able to break the rhythm and take control of the match. Outside hitters Sanna Schultz and Lauren Rafdal stepped up to lead the team's offensive attack, and helped Gislaved secure a 25-16 win.

With momentum on their side, Gislaved's coaches opted for a line-up change to start the second frame. Unfortunately these changes appeared to have altered the player's mindset, allowing KFUM Göteborg's fighting spirit to take over and cruise to a 14-25 victory.

After the break, Gislaved stepped up their focus to earn a convincing victory, with identical 25-17 scores in both third and fourth frames.

Now GVK headed for the playoffs.

Lauren Rafdal (12 kills, 1 block, 1 ace)
Sanna Schultz (9 kills, 1 block, 1 ace)
Lisa Tannerfalk (7 kills, 1 block, 1 ace)

Natalie Ward (5 kills, 3 blocks, 6 aces)
Ellinor Nilsson (11 kills, 1 block, 1 ace)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fettisdagen | Fat Tuesday

At the start of the new year, Swedes begin baking the semla – a small, wheat flour bun, flavoured with cardamom and filled with almond paste and whipped cream. Traditionally eaten on Fettisdagen (Fat Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday) when the buns were eaten at a last celebratory feast before the Christian fasting period of Lent.
Daniel's mom brought homemade mini-Semlas for his birthday
Arriving earlier and earlier, the semlor (plural of semla) appear in bakery windows just after the Christmas holiday. In Gislaved, a local bakery joined the nationwide promotional Semlogram give-away that started in January. Users could go online to send a free semla to a friend via Facebook. I was fortunate enough to receive a Semlogram from one of the youth players in our club, Thelma, and joined her for a fika so we could enjoy our Semlas together.
Thelma and I at Bernt's Konditori in Gislaved

Monday, February 16, 2015

GVK Drops Final Derby Against Hylte/Halmstad, Sweeps RIG

Gislaved and Hylte/Halmstad line up for introductions before Wednesday's match

"Too bad we didn’t show up"

Gislaved hung okay in the derby against Hylte / Halmstad, but the reigning Swedish champions were too much to handle. “As it stands, it's not good from our side at all,” says coach Dick Runesson.

Gislaved-Hylte / Halmstad 0-3 (21-25, 18-25, 19-25)

 The beginning of the match was catastrophic for GVK. In front of 400 spectators, the team trailed 2-10 and the match seemed to lean towards a clear Hylte/Halmstad win.

They lost the set but gained momentum, fighting back to 20-21, but it was not enough. It seemed all match that Gislaved was not quite enough.

“That is attitude-wise. We have become such amazingly worse volleyball players suddenly. I do not know if it is so difficult to play in front of a large crowd, but then you have to deal with something else. It is this that drives us: frequent matches, a great audience. We tried to build the energy up today, but we did not do it.”

What was it that made you suddenly could not rise up? You had a 3-1 upset over Lindesberg and a good match at Engelholm.

“Not everyone was in the match [mentally] today. People played for themselves here and there, and that is no good. We have to play together for it to give full effort.”

Yes, it's a team sport.
“Yes, I've heard that,” laughing Runesson. “But honestly, there were many who acted for themselves and that is not okay.”

But if it was so bad, then it is surely positive, but a pretty even match numerically?
“It depends on what eyes you see it with. We must do a better team effort next game, otherwise we’re going to get beat. It's that simple. There is no denying about.”

The match is long gone and Runesson seem to want to go home. But before he concludes with one last quote: “It's too bad we did not show up better. Sad but true …"

GVK Ran Over RIG Falköping

Bittersweet win following Lina Johansson's Injury.

Gislaved Volleyboll Klubb is a winning team again after winning in straight sets against RIG Falköping, but it was bittersweet.

The score was 20-8 in the third set as Lina Johansson stepped up and smashed into 21-8. Something happened in her landing, and she was lying on the floor with severe pain in her knee joint.

Lina Johansson attacks against RIG
"She slipped a little when she landed and her knee twisted some. She's had a cruciate ligament injury in the right knee before but not in her left. We believe that the knee dislocated but we do not know yet," said coach Dick Runesson.

Bad Timing
The damage to Lina Johansson came at the wrong time, says Rune Andersson. "She had a tough start to the match but then returned in the third set and did absolutely fantastic. Then this..."
Värnamo Nyheter was in contact with Runesson Sunday evening to get the latest information about Johansson's injury.

"She came home [from the hospital] and we know that there were no skeletal injuries. Her knee is still very swollen and you can not do an MRI until the swelling has gone down. So right now I do not know much more than that," says Runesson.

Tough Start
GVK had to face meeting against league's last-ranked RIG following two straight 0-3 losses [to EVS and Hylte/Halmstad]. In addition, the team had a lot of ailments during the week. At the start of the match, RIG saw little resistance and took an early lead.

"Clearly our sicknesses affected us today, but everyone performed very well when they came in. It was a little slow at first but we turn it around and come back very strongly," says Runesson.

Lisa Tannerfalk goes for a kill against RIG
Yes, GVK pulled themselves together and did a full team-effort, winning 28-26 in the first set, followed by a 25-22 victory in the second. GVK controlled the third set easily, winning 25-12.

"We really makes a good team effort today. Looking back to the Hylte/Halmstad match, we cannot compare energy-wise and we did not have fun on the pitch. We do not know why that happened but when we play as a team, we are great. That's what we did today, "says MVP Lisa Tannerfalk.

RIG has only won one match this season and they are team that GVK can beat, at least if you look at the paper. "There are no easy matches in this series. All teams have taken sets from one another, so we can not underestimate any opponent. I think RIG played very well today"

How important was this victory then?

"Extremely important. We are approaching playoffs now and it was obviously good to really control them in the last set," says Tannerfalk.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Series Leader Engelholm Deals GVK Another Loss

On Sunday, Gislaved Volleyboll Klubb traveled south to Ängelholm focused on having a good match. Despite maintaining their focus, elitseries-leader Engelholm dealt Gislaved another loss.
Gislaved's Sanna Schultz (11) led the team with 16 points (12 kills, 3 blocks, 1 ace) 
It will not be Gislaved who gives Engelholm their first loss of the series, but at start of the match it appeared that the 8th-ranked GVK would give EVS a run for their money.

“I was concerned that we would look a little rusty after a long break, but we did not,” says coach Dick Runesson.

Lauren Rafdal (3) & Lisa Tannerfalk (9) gave GVK 2 blocks each against EVS
In the first set, GVK led 21-19 causing a shaky EVS to call a time out. What was said there is known only by those in the huddle, but it was obviously something good as Engelholm returned to the court, taking six straight points and the set 21-25.

“Engelholm put a lot of serve pressure on us. One thing leads to another and we make some unfortunate mistakes.”

Again in the second set, GVK led up to 14-14, but after more Gislaved unforced errors, Engelholm took control.

“Our mistakes really do a lot of damage. We begin to doubt ourselves, and the results suffer,” says Runesson.

But Engelholm’s average age is 20.4 and the league’s average age is 23.6?
“Experience is not only age-based. It is more about the total playing time over a lifetime.”

Engelholm also won the third set, securing the match.

The focus of GVK before the game was to do good actions, which the team did, says Dick Runesson.

“Honestly, I think we did a lot of positive things today. We stood up well [against the top team] and I think that we could have taken any set today, if we had managed to play the whole way through. But this was a really good workout before the upcoming matches.”

What did you learn?
“That we have to cope with being more consistent in our play. It bothered me that we were not [that] today.”

On Wednesday Gislaved has a chance to see if the training has given effect when they play Hylte/Halmstad at home.

GVK (purple) 30 kills, 8 blocks, 3 aces
EVS (blue) 51 kills, 3 blocks, 4 aces