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Tahitian Volleyball Championship

Halfway Update

Tuesday 1 April 2008 by legendary_totoro

We reach the first half of the championship as after this match, we will all have faced each other once. Let’s get to the action.

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Remember a while ago when we lost the first match of the championship (versus Tefana 3-2) ? Since then we’ve been on a winning streak of 5 matches but we haven’t faced the leaders Venus yet. This calendar gift let us prepare for the D-day which happened to be last Saturday.

We knew from the start they would have 2 main spikers with double meters heights : Thierry at the center and Lewis on the back. We also knew we had to put out good services in order to meddle with their game plan.

Following up is the introduction from our local newspaper, La Dépèche.

The action so far

Now let’s get to the main course : the recap of the match.

First Set

During the beginning of the match, our nervosity made us play really badly, with me slipping while trying to catch a ball for example, and Venus assumed the early lead.

We start focusing, and I start setting my spikers at a good distance from their blockers since we already took several nasty blocks at the beginning (mostly my fault for setting the ball so close to the net). We manage to take the lead before the 2nd techincal time out thanks to their services mostly going out of bounds.
Score : 1-5 then 8-7 and then 16-15

After that, I start making goods decisions and often set my spiker in one on one. We also start blocking better which allowed us to escape from their trail. Our wing spiker Axel Vaki converted the first set point I gave him.
Score : 25-19 (1-0)

Second Set

At the beginning of this set, I dive in order to save a ball that is going just behind our blockers on the right part (Position number 2) and collide with one of Rafio who managed to quickly get back down from the blocking position. He isn’t injured but I am. My left arm feels numb and think I cracked a little something around my left shoulder.

Despite the pain, I manage to keep going and we’re even with Venus in this set which had 9 X-X scores.

This match starts heating up :
- During a defense phase, our libero Jean-Yves Vaki takes the spike right on his neck but the ball gets back in their field and we score !
- Another defense phase, Jean-Yves barely saves a ball with his fist and a dive and I’m also heading towards the ground. I manage to push the ball high up with my fist but the 2nd referee barges in... he probably didn’t think I could save the ball and hastily blows his whistle... Suspiciously, the 1st referee indicates he saw a net foul from the blockers and we lose the point
Score : 22-22

In spite of the intensity of this set, we manage to grab the lead in the late stage of the set with 2 consecutive spikes from Maka Vaki, our captain.
Score : 25-22 (2-0)

Third Set

In Volleyball we often say that the 3rd set is the hardest one to win when you’re leading 2 sets to nothing. This particular match proves again this point to be valid.

Venus starts meddling with our game plan with a better course of services, but we are able to maintain the pressure on them at the first time out.
Score : 8-7

The balance of the match still isn’t broken when we reach the second time out as both team give their best not to fall behind.
Score : 15-16

Around 18-18, there’s yet another defense moment where I eat the ground hard. I saved the ball at the cost of a shock on both my knees, the left one is bleeding...
After that I start feeling the physical downside from our heated first two sets and both injuries from my left arm and left knee start showing up in the equation. My setting starts getting a little off and I don’t find the immediate solution. Venus doesn’t miss the opportunity to take the lead at this point.
Score : 19-23

I keep trying giving spiking opportunities to Maka at the left wing (Position number 4) we he no longer manages to scores. They keep the sideout and we lose the 3rd set.
Score : 20-25 (2-1)

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