Backing Up – UTS Honours Men are SVL Champions again in 2013

The UTS Men’s Honours Black team had the perfect 12 & 0 season.  Anything from coach Morky is a good read as well.

Artem getting ready for another kill

Artem getting ready for another kill

UTS Men’s Honours SVL 2013 Season in a Nutshell (from Morky)

With a perfect record of 10 wins from 10 games leading into finals, there were murmurs’ of the “UTS Choke” making an appearance before the season end.

The Semi final against Baulko saw 2 veterans and a young gun missing from the line-up. Andrew “always in the right spot” Lyell was forced into a family vacation to Disneyland, meaning he would miss volleyball trainings and games for the first time in 63 years. Another not to take the court was veteran middle Dave “D-Bo (like J-LO but better) Boettiger. After 3 minutes of warm-up with the awesome hitting power of coach Morky “I’ve made almost as many comebacks as John Farnham” Munter, D-Bo’s arms were so sore, he had to sit out the rest of the season. Also missing was Ben “it’s alright guys, next one” Lalic, who decided his brother’s wedding was more important that a volleyball game.

All of this led to Nik “I can’t wait to share a room with Kiel next year” Kukic being promoted to starting outside; Morky “I think my body can hold out long enough to finish this set” Munter making a return to the libero position; Sam “I really am a middle” Morrison, slotting back into middle; Artem “you must SIT!! PREPARE!!” Ipatyev moving to universal; Stu, Marc and Nigel playing their “normal” positions, as did Darren, who manned the bench as only he can! The “Flamingo” took on the role as coach, but unfortunately no-one could understand him.

The Baulko tactic of serving every ball and hitting every ball at the new, younger, more handsome, more intelligent, more talented (should I go on??) libero backfired, as he passed nails. “Is passing nails a good thing?” queried Nigel. “I actually though he played well!”

Each set was close to about 15, at which point the boys put their foot on the gas and romped home, keeping Baulko to 20 or less each set to come away with a 3:0 victory.

Highlights were Darren “I’m a middle and I CAN serve in” Hojel dominating from the service line, where Nigel “I’m a middle and I CAN’T serve” Flintoff did not.

Grand Final day saw UTS Black up against a very formidable opponent in UNSW who had disposed of Cedars 3:1 in their semi. This was a re-match of last years’ final, but UTS felt confident after having already beaten them twice during the regular season as well as having beating them in last years’ final. The training session leading up to the final had UTS preparing tactics to prevent UNSW playing to their strengths – which ultimately paid off.

Nigel at the net

Nigel at the net

The first set saw UTS play clinical volleyball and execute their game plan extremely effectively. Blocking and defence were great, setting options spot on and hitting, precise and consistent. The first set went to UTS 25-16, leaving USNW shell-shocked, but we knew they would come out fighting in the second.

The second set didn’t start to plan, with UNSW quickly building a good lead. The UTS blockers lost form and chased ball, the defence struggled to adjust to the erratic blocking. On top of this, some unorthodox hitting and plays saw UTS on the back foot. At 11-17 down, it looked as though UNSW would take the set. A time out ensued and the guys came back out onto court much more focussed and ready to play in the same vane as in the first set. Within minutes the scoreline changed dramatically. Some crazy defence, great blocking and power hitting saw UTS get on level pegging at 18-18. From here on, both teams sided out point for point, but ultimately UTS came out on top with a 29-27 victory.

The change of ends had the boys feeling pretty confident that they had repelled the best that UNSW had to offer. That confidence showed in the third set as UTS quickly build a substantial lead that would not be given up. Steve Neill had a blinder for UNSW, but it was not enough to get them over the line, UTS taking the third 25-20 to win the game 3:0. It was a dominant display by the UTS guys to win both the semi and the final 3:0, but it took a lot of hard work from all involved throughout the whole season.

A few highlights of the game include:

Nigel “I’m an Effing big boy and I’m going to roof the shit out of you!” Flintoff having a blinder (that’s a good thing Nigel) and amassing more blocks in the one game than all of the other games in the whole season combined.

Sam “I’m not as big as you Nigel, but I’m still going to roof the shit out everyone!” Morrison, unfortunately not being able to match it with Nigel, finishing the game with only 30 solo roof blocks. Sam also earned “dig of the day” although I am not sure he even saw the ball – I think this was one of two balls that Steve Neill didn’t hit for winner all day.

Artem “I look possessed and I am going to eat your children!” Ipatyev amassing something like 20 kills from 28 swings (with only 2 errors) – accrediting most of his success to his new shoes.

Marc “Mum and Dad are here to watch me win, not you Luke” Carroll setting great options all day, giving his twin brother on the other side of the net the run-around.

Stu “aren’t all-rounders cricket players?” Maycock playing a good captains knock and steadying the ship when needed.

Ben “I’ve never been blocked by Victoria” Lalic played his usual game, frustrating the crap out of the opposition by hitting off, through, around and into their blocks for winner after winner.

Nik “I’ve won my first honours gold medal at age 17” Kukic making a late appearance onto court, only to be denied in his only swing by the UNSW block (or was it all net?)

Darren “ I think Alberto hates me!” Hojel once again doing a stellar job of warming the bench. He did however play the Div 1 final earlier in the day and considering how his ankle looked only a few days earlier, it was a miracle he was playing at all.

The new libero had a reasonable game (passing at 3:0 in first set, 2.4 in the second and something else in the third) but was quoted after the game to have said “thanks Christ we won that in 3, I’ve got about 2 more minutes left in me before I keel over and die!” Morky has also claimed “fake out of the day” by tell his blockers not to block Steve Neill (a dangerous tactic) as he was back court, knowing full well that John would set him. He spanked crap out of the ball – unfortunately for him into the tape. Both Morky and Ben claimed to have it covered in any case….NOT!

Alberto “I am the ………FLAMINGO” gave valuable insight into the game between sets and at timeouts. Unfortunately it was all in Italian, so no-one understood any of it, with the exception of one word: “Motherf…..r”

It has been a great pleasure to coach the group this year (and have Alberto as my assistant) and to go through the season undefeated, as well as take out the semi and grand final in 3 sets. This is a testament to the hard work put in by all to continue to improve and push themselves. This is also the first time the UTS men have won back to back premierships.

Congratulations to Stuart Maycock (best all-rounder), Marc Carroll (best setter) and Artem Ipatyev (best outside hitter) for making the all-star 7

 

 

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