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Tahitian Volleyball Championship

The Saga Continues

Monday 19 May 2008 by legendary_totoro

This match has been pushed back so many times that I don’t remember when it was originally scheduled... At last, we get to play it and here’s how it went...

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Introduction

First of all, you need to know a few things about Venus’ Gymnasium. It’s situated on a road that leads to the localy famous Venus Beach (hence the name of the team) and that means there’s often some wind breezing through the place.

Yeah, here in Tahiti, our gymnasiums are often opened on the sides, because it’s too damn hot to play in a closed environment ! Now, aside from the geographical details, I have to mention that the place was pretty dusty when we got in and the lanes of the field were barely visible... The chair referee couldn’t even see the bottom lane...

Next thing I wanna say is about the space we had to warm up. We got parked on the roof of a barrack that is actually used as a restroom... Even if we don’t look at the hygiene, there were a lot of nails, screws, splinters and other harmful items...

Had we been playing in France, these few conditions would have been enough to dismiss the match but here, volleyball is more of a family institution and noone aside from Christophe and me probably noticed these...

Strategy

Anyway we warmed up nonetheless and started the match with high spirits since we’ve been waiting for this match for ages.

I personnaly planned to make a good use of Tapu, Rafio’s substitute as I’ve got a lot of affinities with the guy since we chit chat a lot when I take him back to his place on my way home after the trainings.

This match also saw Steve coming back after a long absence due to his shoulder injury. His presence will certainly be very helpful against Venus’ best man aka Thierry (center blocker) as Vaana (our 2nd center blocker) still lacks experience and explosivity to counter Thierry.

The only thing we did during the last 2 training sessions was play, play, play, so I was a bit more confident in my technical skills. Anyway, without further ado, here’s what happened

Let’s Rock !!

First Set

The match gets started and everything works very well for us. We assume the early lead by putting pressure on their receivers : Axel and Maka’s combination of floating & jumped smash services have wonderful effects on Venus’ backliners.

I have the time to experiment a bit with some "décalée" with Terau (our main central blocker) and even some "pipe" combo with Axel and Maka (to reward them for their services maybe :D)

Our advantage only grows up to 6 points to the 2nd technical time out, thanks to Tapu getting heated up as a secondary scorer.

I guess we just played at a good level and Venus didn’t get a chance to make a stand here. A good thing for us.

Score : 25-20, we’re leading 1-0.

Second Set

Something strange happened at the beginning of this set. Maybe we were already feeling the return over our physical investment from the first set or maybe Venus was just playing at a higher level... anyway we took a severe 8-0 run right from the start to the first technical time out.

I think it’s a mix of Venus’ floating services that have given us so much troubles in the past (along the lines of the match vs Tefana) and our attention dropping down on our receivers line.

We try to fight back slowly as I’m still in a good condition both technically & physically speaking. Tapu makes an incredible job here in giving Axel & Maka some air (that 8-0 run must have hit their mentals) by assuming the scoring role.

Needless to say, I had a hard time delivering good passes to our centers as we were still stabilizing our play. I didn’t really follow the score until we finally caught up around 21-22 (still behind by one point).

We reach the money time and I had already put a high level of physical and psychological energies to make our comeback. Then, on an important point, the ball goes behind me (post 2) and I figured out it would be best to try to give the ball to Tapu on the back line instead of trying to make a long distance pass to Axel who was waiting in post 4.

The pass in itself wasn’t really a good one from me and Tapu misses the opportunity to score and it allowed Venus to put an end to our rally.

Score : 24-26, we’re tied 1-1.


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