Sunday, March 29, 2015

GVK Knocked Out in Quarterfinals

GVK players celebrate a kill by Carlsson (10)
GVK needed a win to stay alive in the SM-quarterfinals. Engelholm won 3-0 and took home the quarterfinal series 3-0, ending Gislaved's season.
FINAL SCORE: Engelholm 3 - Gislaved 0 (25-17, 26-24, 25-12)
In the third set, GVK fought but nothing went their way. Par on course, Engelholm won the match ball due to a GVK player was on the net.

Sanna Schultz led GVK with 10 points
It also means that Engelholm advance to the semifinals with three straight 3-0 wins against GVK.

"It feels tough to end [the season] like this. Everyone wants to perform as well as possible, but I do not think we did that today. We can do better," says Sanna Schultz.

But Gislaved gave league-favorite Engelholm a run for their money.

In the first set, the teams played even to 13-13, then EVS took control.

Good second set
With luck, GVK could have won the second set. But again it was a home team win, 26-24.

"We played well at times, but we are a bit too much up and down in our game. We are amazingly good when we are good, but then bottom out."

What is that?

"If I knew, the match maybe wouldn't have ended this way," says Schultz.

Yes, up and down it was.

After a great second set, everything crumbled for GVK. Engelholm cruised to a 25-12 victory.

"I do not really know what happened. It feels a bit like the air went out of us after the second set."
Lauren Rafdal (3) and Jollan Åkerlund (7) block against EVS
Would you say that it is an acceptable effort for the team to go out with 0-3 in games against Engelholm?

"We should certainly have given them a better match and maybe win a few more sets."

Did you enter the quarterfinals thinking that you might upset Engelholm?

"Definitely! We have won sets against them before and shown that we can challenge them. But it requires that all our players are at their absolute peak at the same time," says Schultz.

With the loss, GVK ends their 2014/15 season

IMPACT PLAYERS//GISLAVED Sanna Schultz 10 points (7 kills, 2 aces, 1 block), MVP Lauren Rafdal 9 points (7 kills, 2 blocks)

IMPACT PLAYERS//ENGELHOLM Isabelle Haak 17 points (14 kills, 2 blocks, 1 ace), MVP Jen Cross 15 points (11 kills, 3 blocks, 1 ace), Anna Haak 13 points (13 kills), Sophie Wallner 11 points (7 kills, 3 aces, 1 block)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

GVK Run Over in 2nd SM-Quarterfinal

34 balls in three sets was all Gislaved VK earned against Engelholm.
"We are not as bad as we played," says GVK's coach Dick Runesson.

Runesson talks to his team during a timeout in the 2nd Quarterfinal
Everything to gain and nothing to lose. So was the motto Gislaved VK brought with them for the second quarterfinal against top team Engelholm.

When the match started on Thursday evening, it seemed like that GVK had chosen to lose.

Engelholm took hold of the game from the first minute and 45-minutes later, the match ended 3-0 in favor of the visiting team (25-12, 25-15, 25-7).

"How bad played is not how we are and that bothers me, said a dejected GVK-coach, Dick Runesson.

He continues: "Engelholm is the obvious favorite [to win], and we should just go out and have fun and play relaxed. Instead, it's like we put pressure on ourselves and I can not really understand that."

We can only agree with coach Runesson. The home side looked very tense and overwhelmed with the magnitude of the match. Visiting Engelholm took full advantage of their stress, and in both the first and second set EVS cruised to an easy lead after six balls in play.

"We were not [here] at all," sighs Dick. "We must forget this soon and try to reload and get back to a positive attitude. On Sunday we will go down and have fun on the court. That's the motto."

EVS has a familiar Gislaved-face in middle blocker Linn Englund. Linn was victorious in Thursday's match and smiled after the easy victory against former teammates: "This felt good and we had a clear focus on this match from the beginning," says Linn. "We had a really good balance in the team throughout the season and tonight it felt like we took another step."

It was, in other words, no chance for Gislaved to trip up Engelholm in the hunt for the SM-gold.

"No. We have scouted GVK a lot this time and tonight we did a really good game and can be satisfied," says Linn.

And the goal for Engelholm's season is of course to bring home the SM-gold:

"Absolutely. That's what we've worked for all season."

Monday, March 23, 2015

"He Has Something Against Me"

Dick Runesson was not satisfied with referees at the end of the third set in Sunday's quarterfinal match against Engelholm. "It feels bitter," he says.
RESULTS Volleyball SM finals Quarterfinal 1: 5
Engelholm 3 - Gislaved 0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-23)
Runesson's criticism of last night's referees were not gracious. And then it was still "mildly put" according to him.

"Honestly, we should have had the third set. But there are some other elves who settled in and took extremely strange verdict. We were leading 21-19 and then the match had four catastrophic calls. It is balls after balls that hit the floor on [EVS's] side that went unnoticed. There was chaos in the end, the referees lost it completely and it is amazingly boring. Seriously, the [Swedish] Association needs to raise the referee standards," he says.

Runesson mention that it was the same judge who ended GVK's run in the semifinal against Hylte / Halmstad four years ago.

"I talked to him afterwards, and he has something against GVK and me. To this day. It is sad that such grudges can be maintained at this level. The worst part is that he came and confessed afterwards that he has a problem with me."

What did he do?

"He came and said that 'There is one coach in Sweden who thinks I am not a good referee, and that's Dick. I know he thinks this way, and I take it with me into the game.' Taking this mindset into a match... his judgements have been reflecting this for a long time. It's inexperience not to let go of old things."

"I am not saying that we would have won the third set, but we could have had more of a chance."

The match then? Well, it was a clear victory for Engelholm 3-0.

"The scores do not reflect the playing of the match. We stuck with them, we fought hard and we wore on quite well. We didn't earn as many points as we fought for, but we sustained our team morale."

For the second quarterfinal at home on Thursday takes with it the third set.

"There we served with pressure, but really we must lift our serve-receive. The battle is far from lost!"

IMPACT PLAYERS//GISLAVED MVP: Lisa Tannerfalk (4 blocks, 2 kills), Sanna Schultz (10 kills)
IMPACT PLAYERS//ENGELHOLM MVP: Jen Cross (7 kills, 1 block, 1 ace), Isabelle Haak (14 kills, 3 aces, 3 blocks), Sophie Wallner (6 kills, 3 aces, 1 block)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Gislaved's Hope: Wear Out Engelholm

GVK is ready for the playoffs.

1-3, 0-3, 0-3, 0-3. Those are GVK's results against EVS this season.

"On paper, we don't have a slightest of chances," says Dick Runesson.
On Friday evening, Gislaved had their final training for Sunday's playoff game against Engelholm. The training ended with an passionate speech by coach Dick Runesson.
"I usually do not finish the workout like that, but [playoffs] are a bit extra and so it calls for passion. [Lighting the fire] is a way to remind the players of this," he says.
It is series leader Engelholm VS that GVK will meet in the quarterfinals. The first match played in Ängelholm on Sunday.
"We deserve to be in the playoffs. Engelholm should not underestimate us, we have faced teams before that have done that and they've eaten their words."
EVS was undefeated in the regular season and lost only twelve sets, while GVK dropped 59.
"On paper, we have not the shadow of a chance. There we are totally outmatched."
Could that be what gives you a chance?
"Exactly! We tend to be at our best when we are most underestimated."
Gislaved sees a chance for the team to upset the EVS.
"We will try to use their few weaknesses."
EVS has weaknesses then?
"Absolutely. Without revealing too much, I can say that we will try to play a tight defense many times in a row. That is to say that, we should try to get long rallies. They are not so used to it and have a tendency to become tired. We will wear out Engelholm."
Anything more you focus on?
"How we can handle our dips. All teams face dips throughout a match, where they lose 2-3 balls in a row. But we must limit those runs."

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Gislaved VK's Foreigners Talk About Their Time in Gislaved and Sweden

Playoffs await. Värnamo Nyheter sat down with GVK's three foreign professionals to gauge the feelings.
GVK's pros during their interview with Värnamo Nyheter
Three professionals, two homelands. For Americans Rafdal and Sherman and Brit Dyakiewicz, it has been a big change to move to Sweden

VN sat down with them to hear their thoughts about their new homeland.

How is it to play and live in Sweden and Gislaved?
Lauren Rafdal: It's different. The atmosphere is different. I like that everyone cares. People wonder when our next game is and how it went last time.

Meghan Sherman: It's not a huge amount of people in our age. For us, coming out of college,  where we tend to be surrounded by people of our age, this is really different. Everyone here has a family, either parents or sambo. It makes us miss our own family. When you are at university, the team is your family. Here, everyone has their own family. So if we three aren't together, we spend our time alone.

LR: Everything she said, I agree.

Everyone laughs.

MS: It's pretty tough to mentally keep at it all the time when our whole life revolves around volleyball, and it is not the same for anyone else here.

LR: But that's why we are here, too.

What were your expectations in Sweden before you came here?
MS: I thought that everything would be what you [Swedes] think about Alaska: wilderness and wildlife. And moose, everywhere! I have been here for three years and still have not seen a moose!

LR: I thought it would be more snow. But I have heard that this has been one of the mildest winters you had.
MS: And the Northern Lights ...

LR: Yes! I thought that I would get to see those too.

MS: I was so disappointed.

LR: I thought everyone would be blond with blue eyes too.

Dyakiewicz sits quietly so I turn to her with the same question.

AD: When I came here the first time I thought, "What is this place?". Coming from London to this. But my second year, I was used to it and know what to expect.

MS: I'm from Florida. I lived ten minutes from the beach. I hate to wear socks and shoes. This is the longest time I've worn pants in my life. At home I can sometimes wear shorts at Christmas.

LR: I went to college in the snowiest part of the United States, so I know about snow.

AD: And I went [to university] in Canada so there was a lot of snow too.
Enjoying a day off in Halmstad
What's the oddest you have encountered?
LR: It is strange that everything closes on weekends. It's not the weirdest thing, but it's definitely odd. At home, you can go to any store you want 24 hours a day.

The discussion continues with, among other things, alcohol prices, even if they are reluctant to name just alcohol, and maternity leave.

LR: I'm surprised that you get a year's maternity leave. We get three months. Although not a concern, ha ha. And you get five weeks of vacation. We only get one.

Are you serious?
MS: Yes. Do not move to the US to work.

Everyone laughs again. The discussion continues about including churches and religion before we get into the playoffs waiting. I ask Anna about when they knocked out Engelholm later.

AD: We stuck to the game plan. EVS led with two matches but we won anyway.

Won you not 3-1?
AD: Really? Maybe I'm confused. Haha. But whatever so we were down. When it counted, we managed to beat them.

They look forward meeting Engelholm again.

AD: We were close to them in the last set we played against them at home. It's clear that we just keep better and better.

LR: Playoffs are always exciting. You prepare throughout the season for this final exam, and the playoffs are the exam!

Now we wait to see whether GVK can obtain a maximum score on the test.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Could There Be a Replay?

Gislaved remembers the 2011/12 season very well. Engelholm had only lost one match and was defeated by GVK 3-1 in the quarterfinals.
GVK celebrating their home court win over EVS in 2012
We now await the replay. Engelholm has not lost a single match this season.

"There is no greater challenge in Swedish volleyball right now. On paper, they are a monster team, but all the pressure is on them."

Head coach Dick Runesson does not think that Engelholm chose Gislaved strictly based on the geographical proximity: "Honestly, they chose us because they think they'll beat us easily in 3-straight matches. Then they try to twist it in words about geographically and they match up well against us, but honestly it's just bullshit. They talk already in their local newspaper how nice it will be to have a week off before the semi-finals. Those papers can be used as lighter fluid."

"David and Goliath"
When chosen by the superior series leader, it is easy to develop a "give-up" attitude. But not in Gislaved.

"We have defeated greater giants before. I do not fear them and not the girls either. When we heard [the news] on the bus that they have chosen us, we celebrated. There was a good reaction [from the team]. These girls don't think like everyone else. They try to find challenges in everything. And this is a fantastic challenge we face."

A challenge that will require full focus and an incredibly high level of the game. Something that Runesson realizes. "Our most important key is that we mentally bothered to stick to what we have decided in the game plan. Work to play boring, play consistently and play cynical. It is our biggest challenge."

He has pretty good track of Per-Anders Sääf's team and how they will play.

"I do not think they will offer some surprises with his game. We have found their weaknesses too. Daniel and I will try to convey their weaknesses and focus on it. Their strengths are known by all of Sweden."

Yes, that's very Isabelle Haak huh?

"Yes, and their pros are good."

But it is Isabelle Haak that make the big difference. One advantage Gislaved may have is that they have played in these play-off situations before.

Survival Mode
"Now teams have found their routines with training, but we know that the playoffs is something completely different. We have had to fight a lot more adversity throughout our season. We have continued to become better all the time and take good victories on the way. We have been in our "survival mode" longer than they have been. [That mentality] is not easy to deal with it when you're not used to it. It changes now when all of a sudden you must win. We'll see how they respond to it. They have everything to lose."

HISTORICAL RESULTS: Gislaved vs. Engelholm
10/11: GVK-EVS 0–3 (15–25, 25–27, 20–25), EVS-GVK 3–1 (25–15, 25–14, 20–25, 25–16)
11/12: EVS-GVK 3–0 (25–14, 25–20, 25–23), GVK–EVS 1–3 (12–25, 25–22, 22–25, 12–25)
Slutspel: EVS–GVK 3–0 (25–17, 25–19, 25–13), GVK–EVS 3–2 (25–22, 18–25, 17–25, 25–15, 19–17), EVS–GVK 2–3 (21–25, 21–25, 25–15, 25–19, 9–15), GVK–EVS 3–2 (21–25, 25–14, 28–26, 19–25, 17–15)
12/13: EVS–GVK 3–0 (25–17, 26–24, 25–14), GVK–EVS 3–0 (25–16, 28–26, 27–25).
13/14: EVS–GVK 1–3 (25–22, 20–25, 29–31, 16–25), GVK–EVS 2–3 (25–18, 18–25, 28–26, 21–25, 10–15)
14/15: GVK–EVS 1–3 (11–25, 13–25, 28–26, 15–25), EVS–GVK 3–0 (25–17, 25–15, 25–18), EVS–GVK 3–0 (25–21, 25–20, 25–19), GVK–EVS 0–3 (6–25, 15–25, 26–28) 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Season in Review

At the conclusion of the regular season matches, the top-8 teams head into the Swedish Championship Playoffs (Svensk Mästeskap Slutspel). Each of the three rounds are played best of five matches, alternating home- and away-games, hosted first by the highest regular-season seeded team. Engelholm finished the series undefeated, was given the first opportunity to select their quarterfinal opponent of teams finishing 5-8, and selected to play us. Hylte/Halmstad finished second and chose to play Sollentuna; 3rd-place Lindesberg selected Örebro and Katrineholm will play Svedala.

Before we head into playoffs, I'd like to take an opportunity to reflect on our achievements, and disappointments, that have taken place throughout this roller coaster season.


The best match of the season is, without a doubt, the 4-set victory over Lindesberg on January 24 in Gisle Sportcenter. The first meeting between our two squads was one-sided, heavily dominated by Lindesberg’s attack. With a solid month of matches under our belt, and the home-court advantage, we were ready and focused for redemption. The apex of the match came in the 4th set, when Lauren Rafdal’s 15th kill of the match tied us at 18-18. Our two teams traded points back-and-forth, with every GVK player scoring en route to the 26-24 victory, but it was a wide-attack by Lindesberg that eventually sealed the deal.
Elite Result: 24 Jan: Elite-team defeated 3rd-ranked Lindesberg 3-1 at home (25-21, 20-25, 25-20, 26-24)
While that upset marks our best match of the year, the most important match came against Engelholm on November 15. Despite losing the first two sets by large margins (11-25, 13-25), we fought back to give EVS their first set-loss of the season with a 28-26 win in the 3rd. The confidence gained from our performance fueled two-straight wins over RIG Falköping and KFUM Göteborg, and built a foundation that would be utilized as the season continued.
Elite Result: 15 Nov: GVK took one set, which was Engelholm's first set-loss (11-25, 13-25, 28-26, 15-25)


Most Points Scored in 3-set Match 48 points vs RIG (2/14/15)
Most Points Scored in 4-set Match 61 points vs Lindesberg (1/24/15)
Most Points Scored in 5-set Match 71 points vs Örebro (12/13/14)

Most Kills in a 3-set Match 34 kills vs RIG (2/14/15)
Most Kills in a 4-set Match 48 kills vs Lindesberg (1/24/15)
Most Kills in a 5-set Match 50 kills vs Örebro (12/13/14)

Hitting Efficiency in a 3-set Match 27% vs RIG (2/14/15) and Svedala (1/10/15)
Hitting Efficiency in a 4-set Match 26% vs Lindesberg (1/24/15)
Hitting Efficiency in a 5-set Match 25% vs Örebro (12/13/14)

Most Aces in a 3-set Match 10 aces vs Göteborg (1/15/15)
Most Aces in a 4-set Match 17 aces vs RIG (11/22/14)
Most Aces in a 5-set Match 10 aces vs Sollentuna (12/20/14)

Serve Receive Efficiency in a 3-set Match 40% vs Svedala (1/10/15)
Serve Receive Efficiency in a 4-set Match 15% vs Lindesberg (1/24/15)
Serve Receive Efficiency in a 5-set Match 24% vs Örebro (12/13/14)

Most Blocks in a 3-set Match 11 blocks vs Göteborg (11/29/14)
Most Blocks in a 4-set Match 9 blocks (2x) vs RIG (11/22/14) and Svedala (12/20/14)
Most Blocks in a 5-set Match 14 blocks vs Örebro (12/13/14)


Lauren Rafdal (left) Sanna Schultz (right)
Most Points Scored in 3-set Match 
Sanna Schultz, 16 points vs EVS 
Most Points Scored in 4-set Match 
Lauren Rafdal, 21 points vs ÖRE
Most Points Scored in 5-set Match 
Lauren Rafdal, 21 points vs ÖRE

Most Kills in a 3-set Match 
L. Rafdal & S. Schultz, 12 kills
Most Kills in a 4-set Match 
Lauren Rafdal, 20 kills vs ÖRE
Most Kills in a 5-set Match 
Lauren Rafdal, 18 kills vs ÖRE

Hitting Efficiency in a 3-set Match Lisa Tannerfalk 60% (6 kills) vs Hylte/Halmstad
Hitting Efficiency in a 4-set Match Lisa Tannerfalk 53% (8 kills) vs RIG Falköping
Hitting Efficiency in a 5-set Match Lisa Tannerfalk 37% (4 kills) vs KFUM Göteborg
Lisa Tannerfalk hit 22% on the season
Most Aces in a 3-set Match Lauren Rafdal, 5 aces vs KFUM Göteborg
Most Aces in a 4-set Match Mikaela Larsson, Emma Petersson & Sanna Schultz, 5 aces vs RIG
Most Aces in a 5-set Match Mikaela Larsson & Sanna Schultz, 3 aces vs Sollentuna
(L to R) Mikaela Larsson, Lauren Rafdal, Sanna Schultz, Emma Petersson
Serve Receive Efficiency in a 3-set Match Amanda Länkinen, 50% (4 matches)
Serve Receive Efficiency in a 4-set Match Sanna Schultz & Meghan Sherman, 20% vs RIG
Serve Receive Efficiency in a 5-set Match Amanda Länkinen, 46% vs Örebro

(L to R) Meghan Sherman, Amanda Länkinen, Sanna Schultz
Most Blocks in a 3-set Match Lisa Tannerfalk, 5 blocks vs KFUM Göteborg
Most Blocks in a 4-set Match Lisa Tannerfalk, 4 blocks vs RIG Falköping
Most Blocks in a 5-set Match Jollan Åkerlund, 6 blocks vs Örebro

Jollan Åkerlund (7) and Lisa Tannerfalk (9) 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Playoffs Can Come

The playoffs begin next weekend. It's good timing for Gislaved.
FINAL SCORE: Sollentuna 0 - Gislaved 3 (18-25, 22-25, 22-25)
Gislaved deservedly won against Sollentuna on Saturday.

"We were better in all positions. We followed our game plan and attacked at the right places, served at the targeted players. When we do with continuity...when we play good..nah, I'm very pleased."

Gislaved and coach Dick Runesson got the ending to the series that they wanted.

"We've talked about stepping up our game, and we did today."

The team stuck to what they needed to do, not overthinking the match. Piece by piece, they saw victory against Sollentuna.

"We trailed by five points in the third set, but there was never any worry. The girls kept calm and were aggressive when they needed to be."

Calm when they were chasing the lead and stepping up in key points. It sounds like a good combo?

"It was a really good combination. We begin to find situations that work. It looks good."

The playoffs can come.

Most Points Lauren Rafdal 11 points
Most Kills Lauren Rafdal 11 kills
Most Blocks Jollan Åkerlund 3 blocks
Most Aces 5 players with 1 ace each
MVP Meghan Sherman

Most Points Whitney Turner 21 points
Most Kills Whitney Turner 15 kills
Most Blocks Whitney Turner & Isabella Falck, 2 blocks each
Most Aces Whitney Turner 4 aces
MVP Whitney Turner

Monday, March 9, 2015

GVK Suffers a 4-set Loss to Örebro

A cynical GVK goes to Örebro

GVK and Örebro have only met each other once this season, and GVK was victorious 3-2. Now Örebro looks for revenge on their home court.

The match was to be played on Saturday, but has now been moved to Sunday, due to the Davis Cup being held in Örebro. This is no problem for Gislaved.

"We have played really good matches against several top teams. There we have learned what to bring to the match against Örebro," says Runesson.

The focus this week has been on the block and defense game. 6th-ranked Örebro has three talented foreign players that they rely on very much.

"[Besides our defense against those players] we have also focused on how we should attack, but there is nothing I reveal. Örebro has an old GVK player in the team."

It is Josephine Tegenfalk as Runesson talking about.

What will be the key to Örebro?

"If we stick to the game plan and be consistent. And maybe a little boring."

Are you saying that GVK play a boring volleyball?

"No, I do not say. But I can say that our game plan is extremely straight forward. We must have patience, attack and serve on our targets, all the time. While we are playing a compact defense game."

Gislaved VK worth one point

But there was a loss against Örebro

Gislaved did a good match, but it was not enough points.
FINAL SCORE: Örebro Gislaved 3-1 (25-23, 23-25, 25-20, 25-23)
"It's a long trip home now. It's always hard to lose when you played well."

Lisa Tannerfalk knows that Gislaved had followed the game plan. In large parts of the match, GVK was able to succeed, especially in the second set.

"It's a shame that we can not keep it all the way."

It was very close that it became a fifth set. In the fourth set, Gislaved fought to tie it 20-20. Then they lost three balls in a row and Örebro went up to 24-21.

"We fought to come back again. With luck, it could have become a five-set match. We did not give up and laid not down even when we were trailing. We fought on."

She continued: "When we dared to go-for-it, we made some really good points. In the end, we slipped on the finish line. We deserved the points but luck was not on our side."

Lauren Rafdal 21 points (20 kills, 1 ace)
Sanna Schultz 11 points (11 kills, 1 ace)
Jollan Åkerlund 8 points (6 blocks, 2 kills)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Gislaved Hopeless Against Series Leader

It was thrilling. The third and final set went to "overtime balls". "We could have had it," says Lisa Tannerfalk.
FINAL SCORE: Gislaved 0 - Engelholm 3 (6-25, 15-25, 26-28)
In terms of the level of the third set, Gislaved VK probably deserved the set-win to extended the match further. But then it was also undefeated Engelholm as the opponent. EVS's dominance was particularly noticeable in the first set, however, it was also Gislaved who looked scared.

"I'll be completely honest and say that this was the worst we have performed this season. They served us out. Our serve reception did not work and the few balls we got up, we missed or so we gave them free balls," says Tannerfalk.

Yes, it was not a pretty sight, the first set. But you played it. The second set went up to a lead of 10-5 and it looked really bright.

But then: "[Engelholm] got a few in-a-row. We had problems with our rotations when their Austrian and their setter served."

The visiting team walked from a 10-5 deficit to win the set 15-25.

But then came the thrilling final set.

The teams kept pace all the way and it was close that Gislaved would take the set at 24-22. But Engelholm caught up. Eventually it would be a GVK loss, with 26-28. An inglorious termination of a climb where GVK was heading for something special.

"Recovering from the first set, I think, is strong. Teams can bury themselves after such performances."

"It is really disappointing when we did not win the third set. We know we can and we were so close! It was extremely important that we stepped it up and that we played tighter in third. It will take a while to get over this, signs of a competitor."

As long as you don't grieve over the loss.

"It will probably take one to two days. We do not have much more time to reflect when it is new match on Sunday. But in the end we should be pleased with our performance today."

Lauren Rafdal (10 kills, 1 block)
Jollan Åkerlund (3 blocks, 1 kill)
Anna Dyakiewicz (2 aces, 1 kill)
Amanda Länkinen (libero) MVP

Isabelle Haak (18 kills, 3 blocks) MVP
Jen Cross (11 kills, 1 block)
Hannah Allison (5 aces, 3 blocks, 2 kills)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Gislaved Unable to Measure Up

Fantastic playing by Amanda Länkinen was not enough. "We did not rise up to the level that we are capable of" says Gislaved's MVP.
FINAL SCORE: Gislaved 0 - Katrineholm 3 (15-25, 20-25, 17-25)

One hour of play lost in straight sets. So it stood after Katrineholm visited GVK on Saturday. If we look at the pre-match comments, there was no big surprise.

"Katrineholm is a really talented team and we really need to play at our highest level if we are to beat them," says GVK's libero Amanda Länkinen. "I think we [rise to the challenge at] some moments, but not consistently. Overall, it was a little too many offensive errors and that can't happen against the top teams."

Self said, Amanda had a really good effort and held a high standard throughout the match.

"I am satisfied with my effort and my performance feels good. But it's never fun to lose."

Before the playoffs begin, GVK has two more matches against the top teams in the series. Matches that Amanda is looking forward to:

"We have Engelholm and Örebro this upcoming week. These matches are perfect for us to have just before the playoffs starts. [Once playoffs begin] you never know what can happen. If the whole team has a good day, we can beat anyone."

Gislaved's coach Dick Runesson was not entirely happy after the game and agreed that GVK didn't measure up: "You hit the nail on the head," said Dick.

And continues: "We do not do an extremely poor match. We had too many times we gave up simple mistakes while Katrineholm was incredibly stable. Therein lies the difference for us to be able to keep it a really tight match. I had hoped for at least one set win. At the same time, we must be humble. We have already secured the playoffs with five rounds remaining [in the series]. If someone told me that before the season, I would have called that person an idiot. Now we can build up for the playoffs without pressure or stress, so we'll see how far we can go."

IMPACT PLAYERS//GISLAVED: Lauren Rafdal (12 kills), Lisa Tannerfalk (5 kills, 3 blocks, 1 ace), Amanda Länkinen (libero) MVP
IMPACT PLAYERS//KATRINEHOLM: Taru Ahlo (7 kills, 2 aces, 1 block), Agne Daunyte (9 kills), Aida Rejzovic (6 kills, 3 blocks), Agne Zakarauskaite-Landin (setter) MVP