Saturday, October 31, 2015

"I'm disappointed in myself"

Gislaved continues to lose.
Daniel Magnusson takes responsibility for the loss and searches for a new leadership voice within the team.

Svedala Gislaved 3-1 (25-15, 25-21, 25-20, 14-25, 25-22)

"I'm incredibly disappointed. It has been a long time since I was this disappointed. I am not disappointed with the girls as individuals but on how the game is."

Gislaved VK knew exactly how the series leader, Svedala, would play. Yet they fell.
"Our game plan was completely accurate. Certainly they will surprise us a few times, but mostly they did exactly what we knew that they would do."

Magnusson feels that he did not like what he did to the players.

"Why do we win so easily in the third, but don't perform that way in the rest of the sets? I am disappointed in myself. I should go home to Gislaved."

He also thought about how the team could take the lead and then drop it.

"The score could be tied 10-10, for example, and then we lose only a ball and get a little uneasy, then we lose the ball number two and three and then doubt creeps in our minds and we've lost."

It felt at the beginning of the season you won rallies when it hung in the balance, you won balls when it needed to be decided, but it is not quite the same now, was it luck or have you just forgetten how to do?
"That's the [million dollar] question. It feels like a mental block. We start to get a little outside the game plan and have not found our speed yet. Hylte/Halmstad plays fast. Holte and Brøndby play fast. Svedala plays fast. Our bodies have time, but our minds haven't caught up."

Has the Öresundliga taken the air out from you?

"No, it's a very good thing. I do not think girls sit and count wins and losses. If we had been taken a beating in the Öresundliga, then it would have been a different thing. Now we see it as a good opportunity to exercise."

Players may have had lower self-confidence from losses in the Öresundliga?
"I do not think so. They are fighting hard in practices, despite some bumps and bruises along our path."

What is needed to reverse the trend?
"We must get more speed in training. I'll have a talk with management. I think it might be good to get a different voice on one or a few trainings. Someone who can light a fire for the girls."

But that's no crisis right?

"No. There is no panic. It feels like we are on the balance between out-playing opponents and playing smoothly with them and lose. We are a really good team and we just need remember how we played against Sollentuna."

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Gislaved Dropped the Third Set

Gislaved headed towards a win in set three against league-favorite Hylte/Halmstad.
Then came the fall.

In the end, it was a loss for Gislaved VK against gold-favorite Hylte / Halmstad 0-3 (20-25, 25-27, 21-25).

The journey continues down through the elitserien.

Either sweep opponents - or get swept themselves.

"Yes, it is all or nothing," says Magnusson, laughing lightly.

As the match opened, it seemed that Hylte/Halmstad would rule throughout, but late in the first frame GVK lifted up their standard and continued their momentum into the second set, taking Hylte/Halmstad to "extra points". In the end, it was the home team who drew the longest straw.

"Both teams showed a great effort and really dared to win. There were a couple of really cool and spectacular balls."

Gislaved returned from the 10-minute pause showing a completely new side. They went straight up to lead 4-0, but the set battled on. 5-1 to GVK, then H/H closed the gap 5-4. GVK up 16-10, H/H 16-15.

The final pressure from GVK came with, four straight points to increase the lead 20-15. But then came the return. In the last eleven points, Gislaved was outscored 1-10, and dropped the final set to Hylte/Halmstad 21-25.

"That's how it goes. You have to take control of your own points to get out of the rotation. It was a good serve of pressure [from Hylte/Halmstad] and little bit of nervousness on our side. They are mentally strong and have self-confidence that, unfortunately, we do not have right now after a few losses."

All in all, he is still quite pleased with the match.

"We make an okay match, although I would have liked to win. They're big favorites and we can challenge them early [in the season] so it's good. It was a decent measure of value."

"I think they took the win fairly. They are good, they have a routine and a little more calmness when the match is on the line. Many of their players have played in championship matches. Their experience is obvious."

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Gislaved Wants to Surprise League-Favorite

GVK faces league-favorite in Halmstad. 

Can Gislaved surprise everyone?

Daniel Magnusson's GVK is not the favorite in tonight's away match against a strong Hylte/Halmstad.
But count on that Gislaved will fight to the end.

Hylte/Halmstad are big favorites in tonight's elitserien derby. "Almost all clubs hold them as favorites to win the gold," says Gislaved coach Daniel Magnusson.

GVK is focused on getting to play a lot of defense.

"If we can challenge Hylte/Halmstad with a good defense, then we'll be happy."

What will be the key to a good game from your side?

"We must dare to relax and like the challenge. We have to play fast, varied and give one-hundred percent effort from each individual."

Gislaved must be at their peak-performance in order to take down the leauge-favorite and the need to bring in a tough service pressure.

"Their strength lies in their experience, they have really good players at every position. They're used to winning and trust each other and their game."

It is expected that Hylte/Halmstad will control the game.

"But we will do our best and certainly fight to the last point."

Sunday, October 25, 2015

GVK Suffers Loss in Öresund League

Tough loss for Gislaved in Denmark.
"It was such a small margin," says head coach Daniel Magnusson.

Holte-Gislaved 3-1 (25-22, 22-25, 25-16, 25-23)
Gislaveds volleyball ladies fought well in Saturday's meeting with the Danish Holte IF.

But it was not enough this time either, and after three rounds played, GVK is still without a win in the Öresund League.

"No need for panic," says coach Daniel Magnusson on the phone from Denmark.

"It was a tight game with small margins and it could equally have resulted in five-sets or a win for us," continues Daniel.

Despite the loss Daniel was found some bright spots:

"Great efforts. The girls battled on well and they were of course not happy with a loss, but knew they had given everything and that means a lot."

"This league gives us very good trainings that you can never get from practices and it strengthens us and our play in the Elite League. We will meet each team [in the league] home and away. The second time around, it becomes something completely different," says Gislaveds coach.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

National Sports High School Awaiting for GVK

Gislaved has not lost against RIG Falköping since November 2011

RIG Falköping is a team that GVK has beaten easily, but Daniel Magnusson raises a warning finger.
"If you give them an inch, they will take a mile," he says.

The elitserien premier went smoothly.

Then came last weekend. Two losses. Down to earth. GVK had, as it wished, have been tested.

"We can say that definitively. Engelholm tested us to the core," says GVK-coach Magnusson.

Now awaits RIG Falköping. A team Gislaved not lost to in four years.

The keys to beating Falköping [see note] have been hammered out during the week, with the team working on defense. An area they were not in control of last Sunday against EVS.

"We were a bit taken by surprise in the defense then, there were a couple of areas that we thought we had better check on. We have tried to solve it and have worked hard on the block, specifically how to block against RIG, and to create a security and an atmosphere where we can communicate with each other."

"It will be exciting. I think it's a little redemption that we're playing for; we want to of course always win when we play."

Is there someone you should look out for?
"Stina Rix. She is up at the top of the scoring leaders. She is a key player for us in RIG."

However, it is Gislaved that has some bumps and bruises within the team.

"There are some that are not quite as fresh as we'd like, but we have a big squad and many hungry players. Ester (De Vries) did not train Friday, and she is a question mark. There are some others that got some special treatment in the day but practiced."

"It is not that we will not be able to set up a team that can win, but we'll see what six it is. I do not think I will know until just before the start of the match. There will be a lot of discussion, a lot of feeling and very long warm-up before we take a decision."

Sunday, October 11, 2015

"She had a playground today"

Engelholm's roster lists one of Sweden's best players.

Which was made clear to GVK during Sunday's match.

Ester de Vries led GVK with 13 points
Engelholm-Gislaved 3-0 (26-24, 25-22, 25-21)
Isabelle Haak is only 16 years old, but she is already Sweden's top player and it GVK had a first-hand experience.

"She had playhouse today. Everything worked for her. We could not stop her," says GVK-coach Daniel Magnusson.

But the game was still steady, although Haak took down 24 points, earning almost an entire set by herself.

The largest set-margin was just by four balls. 

"At times, we played well and showed a lot of passion." 

But overall, he was not satisfied.

"We need to get better at executing our tactical details. We did not follow our game plan well at all today, both in our serve and defensive game. But it is also quite difficult against Engelholm."

The team did not have an optimal match-preparation. As we wrote earlier, it was a monster weekend and it was not made easier by Saturday's five-set match.

"It was in the legs. Then I think we were taken by surprise when Haak and their setter connected so well. We were probably the first to meet that combination in such a great connection. It was not underrated but it went quick and [Haak] hits high."

Saturday, October 10, 2015

GVK Near Upset

Gislaved VK faced the hardest possible opposition.

Yet, GVK stole two sets against the two-time Danish champions Brøndby VK.

Öresundliga: Gislaved VK - Brøndby VK 2-3 (26-24, 22-25, 25-20,15-25, 8-15)

"I think we played a great match. Of course we want a win, but the way we fought on is fantastic," says coach Daniel Magnusson.

Brøndby offered a faster game than the GVK players are used to. Still, the home team was able to win the first set.

And they did it.

The home team trailed 16-20. Then stood GVK as a team and Lisa Tannerfalk, Hanna Salomäki and Ester de Vries stepped forward and dared to win.

At 19-20 Brøndby took a timeout. It helped. The visiting team went up to 21-24.

GVK did not give up. De Vries gave hope for a set win with a hard jump serve.

21-24 quickly became 24-24.

The Dutch spiker served on and on, and finished the set 26-24 was an ace.

Brøndby won the second set. But GVK fought back to take the third set with 25-20.

In the fourth set, the visiting Danes increase their tempo, it seemed difficult for GVK to keep up.

"They play incredibly fast. There is no Swedish team that plays so quickly. We did not have time to come up and take the block. But it is still amazing that we are so close to winning against them."

In the fifth set ended with the home team trailing Brøndby's tempo, and ended the match 8-15.

"Now we reload for Engelholm. This is the match that we have focused on most for this weekend. The girls will eat together tonight to find and get new energy from each other and then it's game-on Sunday afternoon again."

Monster Weekend Awaits GVK

Gislaved set to face both the Danish and Swedish reigning champions.

Hanna Salomäki is a key player in the weekend's matches.

It is only the second weekend of the season, but already now GVK faces their toughest matches.

Daniel Magnusson trains his team Thursday evening.

He steps in. Picking at minor details and also gets upset after a short while.

He is simply on his toes, just as the whole team must be facing the weekend ahead.

"It is the toughest weekend of the season. But it's nice to have it so early, before the darkness comes and possible flaws and damage. So it is good for us."

The darkness?
"Yes, you must factor that into planning your season. It is a difficult period when autumn comes. It is difficult to come to the gym, night after night. We have talked about the girls to take multi-vitamins, and be prepared for being sluggish now when you don't get that additional boost from the sunshine."

The teams they face are tough. The two-time Danish champions Brøndby VK visits Gisle Sports Centre on Saturday and on Sunday the team travels to Ängelholm for the match against the reigning Swedish champions. The latter match counts double: both in Swedish Elitserien and Öresundsliga.

"We play for nine total points this weekend. It feels incredibly exciting. Nine points on a weekend, that's what some teams earn in one season."

But two games in a weekend will not be a problem for GVK. At least not according to Magnusson.

"In our season planning, we've run hard until last week. So Sollentuna we started to taper, or should have been, anyway. This week has been a little calmer."

You feel in the air that this weekend is something to look forward to. Especially when the players have more to give.

"So far we have not been properly tested. We have played well, controlled games, but have not been tested. At times we have needed to come together, but will we come together or hesitate when the going gets tough?"

The question remains unanswered. Either way they go full-swing this weekend, with hopes to use many lineups.

"The hope is to go around with different people on Saturday and in the best of worlds even Sunday. We are very focused on winning Sunday's match, when it is six points at stake. On Saturday it is "only" three."

Friday, October 9, 2015

Meghan to Instagram about life as elitserien athlete

Meghan Sherman from Florida, USA, has played volleyball since she was eight years old and has played for three years in the Swedish Elitserien. She takes over Swedish volleyball's Instagram account on Monday.

"I am very excited to participate with the Swedish Volleyball Federation and spread a positive message for the sport of volleyball, says Meghan Sherman.
Reading "Volleyball Magazine", age 2

Coming from volleyball family

She started with volleyball early, growing up in a volleyball family with two active parents. Her mom was a coach at the collegiate-level for 16 years and then trained Sherman in high school, and accounted for a large part of her development during the first years.

Volleyball unites

After a professional season in Hungary, she had the opportunity to come to Sweden, where she spent the 2011/12 season at Ljungby VBK, who played in the Elitserien. Love for the sport brought her back to Sweden in winter 2013, and she now starts in her second season with Gislaved VK.

"Volleyball is my family, I have played volleyball in Austria, South Africa and Europe, and have met so many nice and good people through this sport. It does not matter where you come from, volleyball can bring people from all backgrounds together to achieve a common goal."

2011/12 season with Ljungby VBK (photo: Fredrik Skog)

Thrives in Sweden

She believes in the idea of ​​spreading the sport through social media, and is happy to contribute by taking over the Swedish Volleyball Federation's instagram next week.

"I hope that I can share with you how it is to be a volley-pro in Sweden. Gislaved is a small town with a big heart for volleyball in the club. I'm really happy here and with this club," says Meghan.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Gislaved starts with crystal-clear win

Coach Daniel Magnusson could not get a better start to the season when the women's elite series premiere, led to victory by 3-0 for Gislaved.

GVK celebrates a 3-0 win in the series premier at Sollentuna
Facing a premier, of course, there is always a certain amount of nerves present, so it is naturally very exciting to follow the outcome of the matches. This weekend's perhaps most unexpected result was Gislaved, when they won big over Sollentuna. Sollentuna did an okay season last season, kept most of the squad intact for this year and returns long-term injured Madelene Green (11 points), who absolutely has the capacity to replace a foreign professional on the squad. Gislaved, on the other hand, continued with their long-term goals and has already this season begun to see results.

Two quick and then one evenly-matched set

The clash between the two teams, however, was strangely one-sided. Gislaved made a relatively simple affair of this match, with Ester de Vries (19 points) as the clear and sunny leader of a team that also included three Elite League debutants in Emma Tegnhammar, Emina Bosno and Sofie Bäck. Sollentuna did not have much of chance against Gislaved's huge service pressure, which despite GVK's 14 serving errors, made it difficult for the home team to produce points. Gislaved also did a good job of converting defense into an attack. Only in the third set did Sollentuna get some control on their game, but it was not enough to turn the match, instead handing Gislaved a well-deserved confidence boost - which may be required in future.

The next match against defending champions

This means that Gislaved takes a natural first step towards an early lead in the series. How long they remain in the top is yet to be seen. Next for them is their debut in the Öresunds-League, which is expected to be able to further develop the team. They continue on Sunday with the match that will quickly separate the cream of the crop in the series leaders, against Engelholm. EVS is the reigning Swedish champion and still a league-favorite, their clear defeat against very strong Hylte / Halmstad notwithstanding.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Dream-start for Magnusson's GVK

Esther De Vries.
Add that name to your memory.
"She was great," says GVK's coach Daniel Magnusson.

Sollentuna - Gislaved, 0-3 (13-25, 16-25, 23-25)

When Gislaved VK got a new coach, Daniel Magnusson, it was the Dutch Ester de Vries at the top of his list for the club to recruit.

After some discussion with the club management, he received the green light to attract the hard-hitting the Dutch - but then Ester De Vries was not interested.

But Daniel was stubborn and finally got the club her signature - and after Saturday's Elite Series premiere Sollentuna, no one is complaining.

The Dutch attacker was a high-flying giant, accounting for a full 19 points.

"She was great," praises GVK-coach Daniel Magnusson.

He continues:

"She was named player of the match, and no one can argue against that."

"But again, I must give credit to the whole team and a little extra to Sofie Bäck, Emina Bosno and Emma Tenghammar. These three young players that made their Elitserien debut and left a wonderful impression on me."

And according to Daniel, this is GVK's strength this season: to be able to change around as many players as possible without losing quality.

"It makes me really happy to be able to use the full bench."

3-0 in the opening weekend.

A result which reveals that GVK played well, or...?

"Absolutely. We went into the game with a focused plan and we keep the whole match," says Daniel.

And adds:

"I was not even worried in the third set, even though it was a much closer set. Jessica (Lakatos) stepped in to the team [at a crucial point in the match] and took a great responsibility to help the rest of the team to relax and I'm glad she showed it already in the first match as our starting libero."

"This was a dream start for us and that we also secured the three points [to the league rankings] can be really important in the future."

The upcoming weekend, GVK is expecting a tough new challenge.

GVK joins into the newly developed Öresund-league, with a home match against Denmark's Brandy VK on Saturday, and continues play on Sunday where GVK travels to play Swedish Champions Engelholm.

"A fun challenge," says Daniel and further elaborates:

"Our preparation focuses completely on the Engelholm match on Sunday. Elitserien, after all, is the most important thing."

"But for that matter, we do not take lightly the task against Brøndby, but it gives me a lot of wonderful opportunities to continue airing the younger players and give them more experience at this level. So the home crowd will probably see the good volleyball."

Saturday, October 3, 2015

CHRONICLE: It will not be easy

Mathilda Carlsson gets lost every now and then.

She steps into the court and want to help with the serve-reception for the player to her left. That is not what Daniel Magnusson wants. There are misunderstandings and missed points.

From the old comes the new.

New times and new requirements.

The new head coach Daniel Magnusson stands with team-manual in hand.

On the first page it says: "We're not saying it will be easy, but it will be worth it." He and the team has formulated where to go with their future. The road leads away from last season's seventh place, away from the bottom, traveling through a volleyball world that continues rotating.

Last season, the team was fixated and thus easily readable in their defense game.

This season, GVK must be able to redraw the map and find new ways to win during games. They must have a team where every player takes on greater responsibility for the team's goals.

Otherwise the team will get stuck where they stand, unable to find the way to the series top. It is a must when modern volleyball is controlled by moving game models and the smarter players who are constantly looking for weaknesses and new ways to achieve victories.

Magnusson has sent out a more mobile GVK during the preseason. And the team has got something they lacked last season. More flexibility.

But also more clarity.

Magnusson's Manual, that includes everything from days off to dietary rules, will certainly be a good compass towards a more disciplined GVK.

Written rules are good - as long as they are followed. If they do not, then it can spread a bad atmosphere. It has not been seen in GVK so far.

Along the way, they have already piled up victories and brought home some success. Meanwhile, there Dick Runesson's GVK-drive remains. And the team feels somewhat back from last season. Inspired, energetic and daring.

In training matches, they have learned to climb up from the slumps to fight back and win the decisive long rallies. The team rarely gets desperate or stuck. It creates confidence and is a testament to Magnusson and shows that GVK seems to be on the right path. The single needle in confidence balloon is a 2-3 loss to Svedala.

But what has the "new" GVK actually achieved?

A manual, a quick feel-good sensation, and a championship win at Knallecup.

What is it worth?

A lot. But not all.

The team wants to reach the top four.

There is a long way to go.

It will not be easy.

But it will be worth it.

Bedtime rules should provide more discipline

New coach Daniel Magnusson builds GVK with sights aimed for a top-four finish.
Ester de Vries, Meghan Sherman, and Hanna Salomäki are just a few that will contribute towards that goal.
BEFORE THE SEASON Gislaved VK continued to build.
Värnamo Nyheter has got an exclusive look at the blueprints.

It is time for the end of an era. Dick Runesson has stepped down. Daniel Magnusson has stepped up.

It's the month of May. GVK will choose a path. Home-grown players again or new pros?

Magnusson knows what he wants. He takes out a pen and paper. At the top of the paper he writes: "We're not saying it will be easy, but it will be worth it." It is only the beginning of a long 10-page manual. The beginning of a reconstruction project. The beginning of the way back to the top.


In September, midway between history and the new building; a Thursday practice just weeks before today's elite series premiere gone towards Sollentuna. The new acquisition Esther De Vries has a clear path for her attack.

"Go for it," cries Magnusson.

She does not listen.

Instead, she gently places her roll-shot to fall brutally on the other side of the net.

"There are different paths to the same goal," says Daniel Magnusson, smiling.

He still got his way.

"I really wanted her [in our team] and I fought bit to get her here," he says, smiling.


Esther De Vries stood at the top of the wish list. A young, hard hitting Dutch. She initially turned the club's offer down. But GVK was stubborn and continued to fight for what they wanted. Lars Englund and the club signed Hanna Salomäki early. A defensive magnet from Finland.

Along with GVK-foundation, young talent and new building blocks, Gislaved aims to be in the top four.

The process is in the team's newly written manual. Värnamo News has received an exclusive preview.

Bedtime Policy

The manual will make the team more disciplined and take up everything from nightly curfews to where each player should stand when the team is blocking cross.

"Our defense game could be a bit fixated last year. We had one defensive tactic that we used throughout the entire game. Now we will be able to switch seamlessly during the play," says Magnusson.

The manual also controls the environment during practices and games.

"During practices, the bags will be far from water bottles to eliminate unnecessary disruptions, and keeps players from being tempted to check their phones during training."

It is also ruled out with the "bed-fellow social media" in the late evenings. After 22:00, the players shall not engage in Facebook or the like. At that time, it's bedtime.

"They should sleep eight to ten hours every night, in order to be prepared in a good way."

Active rest

There are also written rules that players should drink two to three liters of water, juice or milk each day.

Players also have been given clear guidelines on how they should eat quality carbohydrates, clean proteins and fruits and vegetables.

And gone are the lazy off-days. Now instead they have "active rest".

"Days off should includes easy-going exercise such as walking, cycling, swimming or yoga."