Center court was an amazing atmosphere with about 1000 people attending and loads of Canadian flags out!! Such a pleasure to play in front of a few fellow country men as any support network helps. It was a fantastic day with plenty of direct sun and a slight warm breeze making center court a little stuffy.
Ahren and I had a great warm up and were feeling superb. We were able to bring that positive energy to the court and won the first set 23-21, fending off a game point advantage for the Chinese. We battled hard and were paid off for our patience and tough serving. The second set was also a tight one and had us leading 12-9 at the technical timeout. We were making great points from their left side player who is a more juvenile athlete in the Chinese program but we just couldn't build on the lead. The second set finished at 28-26 for China even though we had 3 match point attempts with us serving. They made some great blocking plays and I wound up getting aced on my line to put them back in the game for the last push.
The third set saw us go down 4-1 on the first switch but we brought it back to what felt like a tight 11-9 score for China. We had a few points to tie it but we just couldn't convert and wound up switching 14-11. We brought it to 14-12 but unfortunately couldn't hold them off long enough to tie it.
Overall it was a great game for us and we proved to ourselves that we are able to compete with the top ranked teams in the world. We displayed our grit and determination late in sets which isn't usually present in new teams so we are excited to build on this promising duo. Please check out the tournament photos where you can find some great actions shots of us!
Our next opponents will be Germany on Sunday at 11 Norwegian time so we will have plenty of rest and refocus time before we hear another whistle.
All the best from Stavanger!