11 and 0 – The Div2 Ladies SVL campaign

A winning club championship performance is based on lots of teams at lots of levels doing well.  Case in point…the UTS Women’s Division 2 team. Great work on your SVL season ladies!

Division 2 Champions!

Division 2 Champions!

Women’s Division 2 Gold Medal Match Report – 22.09.2013 (from Dani)

Well, here we were. Gold Medal day!!! Coming into this day we were undefeated for Division 2. However, it didn’t help that by our match time at 2pm, no UTS team had yet won gold for the day – albeit a lot of silvers. Thankfully coach Deb didn’t hold a team meeting before the match and ask “Is anyone nervous”, like she did for the semi and make Gaby nervous all match! But Gaby wouldn’t be nervous this week – she was one year older and more mature to handle the nerves!

As usual, we were late starting. But we got to see a good gold medal match in Honours while waiting and psyching ourselves up.

Then it came our time to shine against SNV. Warm up went well. Game started. And before you could blink an eye, we were 4-0 down!! Err……we were undefeated girls…..and UTS don’t choke until the last lot of points….not in the first five minutes! But Steph Reeves showed her mental resilience. Give her the ball to serve at 4-0 down and she becomes obsessed to get us back into the game. Serve after serve Steph single-handedly got us back into the game. And then we were 8-4 ahead. But Steph didn’t stop there. Now she was back court she became obsessed with passing and gave some great passes to set the spikers up. Milica wanted to show her dominance in front court doing some good blocking. UTS and SNV were neck and neck most of the way, however, that little four point lead kept us in front most of the match. Just when it felt like we could win this set by a few points, our gun universal Claire decided to lose her footing and twinge her ankle. Err…..Deb…..sub please. Never mind, we had a full bench and Verena came on to shine. Claire’s ankle injury didn’t deter us and we won the first set 25-21. Phew……one down….two to go….

Set two started and again it was neck and neck in points. We’d have a run of points, then SNV would have a run of points. Just when we thought we’d got our rhythm, we turn around and there is Steph hobbling. Err….Deb….sub please. Steph decided she wanted more sympathy than Claire (even though none of us actually saw what Steph did to herself) and decided to dramatise her injury more than Claire by calling for a chair and ice and lying down for the rest of the match with her knee elevated and ice on it. Err…Steph….you were our gun server in the first set…..what were we going to do now????

Never mind, thinks Claire, I’m not playing this “my injury is worse than your injury” game….I’m coming back on court. And come back on court Claire did, doing the ‘dive of the day’ from Position 1 to pass a ball. Set two had some good team work. Sophie was brilliant in her hitting and had SNV quivering in their shoes. Verena was a work horse with her passing. Leonne was tireless in the middle with her blocking. Lou was all over the court doing perfect sets. Her sets were so good, it had me looking around the audience thinking Fred was watching. Alas….Freddie was a no show. But Lou must have been trying to impress someone in the crowd….she actually did a block this set.

There were a couple of time outs this set. Coach Deb drilled into us in the time outs about communication and that communication doesn’t consist of just calling for the ball, but also ‘listening’ to the calls from your team mates. It seems the birthday girl, Gaby, only heard the first part of Deb’s inspirational words – “call for the ball”. So the ball comes to Position 5 where Gaby is. No problem, thinks Gaby, I’ve got this one. “Mine, Mine, Mine” she says. “Out, out, out” the rest of us say. But Gaby was so focussed on trying to do the perfect set pass into the net that she was oblivious to her team mates calls and to the fact that she was standing on the side line and the ball was at her head height and going out. One of these days, I’m going to lose my voice screaming the calls so much for this team.

But, nevertheless, onward UTS went and we won the second set 25-22.

Danger….danger….UTS are reknown for choking. I went into the third set thinking, in the back of my mind, that we wouldn’t win this set and it would go to a fourth set. My influence on the team this year must have had an impact, cause Lou quietly told me she thought the same thing. Lou probably thought that because she wanted to play more volleyball and spend more time on the court – I certainly didn’t.

Third set starts….again neck and neck in the points. But this set was Milica’s turn to shine with some great blocking. Then we had a point stuff up. The duty team obviously wanted to stay longer and duped us of some points. I swear we were 9-7 up. After a short break, where the first ref had to instruct the second ref on how to correctly score, the scores were judged to be at 7-7. Lou started chanting “Bring back Fred”, but alas, UTS are stronger than that, and we soldiered on from 7-7.

Milica went back to serve, still infuriated by our points stuff up, and served with a mission to get us ahead again. Then it came Claudia’s time to serve again. Don’t worry Claudia, your last two serves have gone out, and Deb has continually focussed on us at training to get the next serve in. I’ve got complete faith in you Claudia, just do what we’ve been taught all year at training. A good ball toss goes up, arm goes back, and…….no Claudia, your aim isn’t to have the ball land within a metre of hitting the back wall on the full!

We are slightly ahead…..c’mon girls…..there’s only about six points left in this….we can do this! In reality, at the back of my mind, I’m thinking “this is when UTS normally choke and do stupid stuff, wow, this new breed of up and coming UTS volleyballers doesn’t seem to have that mentality and are powering towards a win”. Alas….it was not to be.

Gaby, who needs to go to a sports meditation session, had the nerves get the better of her and decided that she preferred the bench and didn’t have the nerves to go back on court.

Gaby: Deb, I can’t go back on.

Deb: Why not?

Gaby: I just can’t. I’m playing crap, I just can’t.

Err….way to psych yourself out Gaby.

Time out gets called. Coach Deb is pumping us up. A couple of points and we have the championship – nothing hits the ground. We’re pumped. We run back on court. Gaby is also pumped. So pumped that she misses the bench when she goes to sit back down, and subsequently falls off the bench.

Sophie decides the ball is all hers. She smacks some cross court spikes. We’re going to finish this match on a high. Claudia comes to front court and remains on. But Claudia is mentally strong and spike after spike were going in deep court to SNV and causing them all sorts of problems.

Hang on, thinks Lou. I want to finish on a high too, she thinks. I’ve run around all year trying to fix up your stuffed up passes, for what? I never get to smack the ball and take all the glory for winning a point. I’m going to show that I’m just as good as Leonne and Milica. Her eyes light up….the ball is coming over the net from SNV….here it is….Lou’s turn to go down in history as one of the best setters to spike and block a volleyball. Up she goes…..err…..I don’t even have the words to describe what happened next. Needless to say….stick to setting Lou.

Our workhorse, Bryony, has been consistent all year, quietly going about her business all year to contribute to the team. It would only be fitting that one of our most consistent players, Bryony, serve for championship point. I’m on the bench and can feel Gaby’s nerves for her. Don’t worry….it’s Bryony…..she above nerves. We all start chanting our customary chant “shots, shots”. Knowing full well that Bryony hasn’t had shots all year and will no doubt be ignoring our chants and the fact it is championship point and serve in. Well Bryony….the ball nearly went in…..on the vacant court next to us!! It wasn’t even close to going in on our court! Bryony….did you not think this team had enough alcohol to drink after everyone else’s shots throughout the year?!?!

Well…it is now 21(SNV) – 24 (UTS) and SNV are serving. The cameras are rolling (well Jo Kelly’s camera anyway). This is it, one good pass and someone can shine and win the championship for us. We were all pumped for one last point. Bryony didn’t have to serve, Lou knew not to be a hero and spike the ball. SNV serve…..and the serve goes out!

WE WON!!! WE WON!!!! WE WON!!! WE WON!!!! WE WON!!!!

Rapturous celebrations occur on court. We did it!!!! We remained undefeated all year and WON GOLD!!!!!

Even Steph manages to hobble up and celebrate with us. Even though some of us left to celebrate Gaby’s 19th birthday, we all had the customary photo with our winning beer mugs. Some of us kicked on into the night at the Clock Hotel to reminisce on a great year. While some of us became an ambulance and were sending out SOS messages at 10pm asking for crutches – get better soon Steph!

Thanks for a great year full of absolute laughter. I’ve never known a team to win a point while still pissing themselves laughing from the previous point. There has been some great improvements and highlights during the year – Milica’s blocking, Lou’s jump sets, Claire’s captainancy, Claudia’s eagerness to learn new ways, Leonne’s blocking. You all individually came together to gel well as a team and were always there supporting each other – even if it was to ridicule each other like I did. Thanks heaps to Deb and Jess for your coaching and enthusiasm.

What more can you ask for than to remain undefeated all SVL!!

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