Winner winner chicken dinner!!! Ljungby Volleybollklubb had its first Elite Series victory, at home, against Örebro. After our 4-set loss to Gislaved two weekends before, the team was fired up to finally play at home and show our fans some exciting volleyball. Daniel (our coach) came to pick Jo and I up Saturday morning to take us to the gym for an hour-long morning practice. Both Jo and I were surprisingly chipper, or as the Swedes call it “morning pigs”; we were ready to go! After our practice, we went to the yellow house for our pregame meal, spaghetti made by some of the mothers. SLASH, Swedes put ketchup on their spaghetti; very strange.
The match started out a back and forth battle, neither team jumping out until we took the lead 21-18. Our middles were able to be highly effective due to our serve receive and playing against their inexperienced middles. Jo had a HUGE kill in set one: the ball was passed high and on the net, so I jump set causing both Örebro’s outside and middle blockers to jump with me, leaving an open net for Jo to crush the ball inside the 3-meter line. Luckily their libero was able to get her hands up fast enough to protect her face. We won the first set 25-19. Set two, we struggled a bit more trailing the entire time; finally losing 19-25. We had a 10-minute break between the 2nd and 3rd set where we went to the locker room and talked about how we need to be patient and not rush to win the match on the first few points.
|#9 Sofie, #5 Julle, #6 me, #3 Malin|
This pep talk helped us relax and come back out strong and focused. Despite a 6-point deficit, we kept fighting for each point, and our blocking game really turned up. (I should probably state that there are NO line judges here, as with most European volleyball leagues, so the referees must make all close calls themselves.) Jo and I had a key momentum-changing block that would have given us match point, but the up-ref called the ball out. The crowd, our coaching staff, and our team went crazy! If my eyes could kill, that poor guy would be a goner. Fortunately, we were able to pull out the win with a close score of 29-27. We held the lead the entire fourth set, finishing Örebro off 25-19. First “w” of the season! Jo was named MVP for our team, receiving purple flowers, after hitting 15/15 kills and no errors (we think that the stats were kept wrong; the stats also give block-assists to only one player, instead of .5 blocks to both players involved).
|Me and Jo with Me and Jo :)|
That night we celebrated our victory at a local bar (not Harry’s) and listened to a Swedish girl-band called Sahara Hot Nights. It was a great way to end this successful day.
|Sahara Hot Nights|