Our Division 1 girls team – who we know lots about because they write lots of match reports 🙂 – made it into the Gold Medal match and faced the daunting prospect of an undefeated UNSW team.
Sunday 22nd Vs UNSW (from Clara)
After a very early start, coach Deb had us all there with plenty of time for a team chat before the game and a nice long warm up. Deb set up her bench on the good side of the net, but UNSW did not see this and started warming up, ruining her plan. On the plus side, Clara lost the toss and chose to swap sides anyway! With quite a young team, a number of the girls were nervous to start the game and therefore the first few points were not the greatest in terms of passing, but the middles did a good job at closing out over passes and blocking. The whole set was point for point but luckily UNSW was also nervous and we managed to narrowly close out the first set.
The second set found our passing to slowly improve, therefore making it easier for the setters Jo and Missy to find their rhythm also. Unfortunately UNSW had a solid block which was making it tough for our hitters to find the gaps. With less errors from the strong UNSW side and many tools off our block, they closed out the second set.
By the third set our defense and passing were meeting the demands of the UNSW serve with our libero Monica and passing sub Gemma, but again we were struggling to get the straight kills. On the plus side, we were down 5 or so points numerous times and would fight back hard with tough servers and well placed hits from Nat nd Gabes and tips from Clara and Jo, which proved to be more effective. Unfortunately the setters were still struggling to connect with the middles and get them into the game, but we were running some nice 2’s behind to opposite Claire Walker. After another close set, we managed to stay on top.
4th/choke set. We started out quite evenly matched but then struggled to get a side out on a particular rotation, therefore giving them another 4-5 point lead. We eventually got the serve back and caught back up to within 2 points of their score, but then did not side out again for the rest of the set. UNSW’s block/defense was just too good or the team had just decided they really like playing and wanted to reserve their energy for another set. Either way, we were going to the 5th set.
Again captain Clara was unlucky with the toss but managed to get the good starting side. We unfortunately had a rough patch early on in the set but managed to bounce back once again. UNSW had reached 8 points first but we were only a few points behind and were eager to win. With some great team work including some awesome defense and serve receive, we managed to pull ahead to 12-9. Unfortunately the UNSW coach called a time out at the right time, allowing them to re-gain the serve and overtake us. We then had a big hit from Gabes, bringing it back to 13-14, but they managed to close out the game with a cheeky tip that we just could not return.
Overall a great game from us and an even better season. UNSW are a very strong team and had not lost a game all season, so we did quite well to make it so close. Until next year UNSW……