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) 

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