A late drop in here on my blogg after taking a few days of beach volleyball to freshen the mind and rebuild confidence. Since my last entry about our first game in the 2009 World Championships, we played two more games and unfortunately didn't make it out of pool play.
Our two last pool games were played against the second and third ranked teams in our pool. The second ranked team was from Germany and players we have both had experience playing. In my opinion they were the best team in our pool and I knew we were going to have to battle hard to come out on top. The first set didn't go our way as nerves and consequently a few errors allowed them to take the upper hand. We refocused and came out fired up for the second set and beat them handily through precise defensive plays and a more consistent sideout rhythm. The third set was truly a tight exchange of points which lasted until the early teens where they made a great play on us and then aced me down my line with a heavy top spin serve for the 15-12 win. It was a super close game and in all honesty we felt we were in control of the last two sets of the match. Amazing how a single swing of two points late in the game can really change the outcome!! A devastating loss which put even more pressure on our performance for the deciding match of our pool.
The third game was against a Latvian team who are starting 2009 together after one of them split with his 2008 Olympic partner. We are good friends since they have developed over the same timeframe as I have and I was happy with this ultimate match up. As the whistle for the game blew, I felt very prepared and all my engines were firing. My new partner Ahren Cadieux is a more introverted player who plays with a poker face so my energy levels were making up for his on court calmness. Each set was a serious battle and after winning the first set, we eased up a bit in the second to let Latvia back in. Victory was imminent and as the third set developed, we knew we had to bring our partnership tighter and squeeze out some big plays. Unfortunately we were unable to clinch the victory as the final play saw the ball go over the net 8 times before they capitalized on a let spike which landed far in front of me cross court. It was a heavy loss once again and one which sealed our fate as the last placed team in our pool through a third and final 15-12 loss! That is correct, we lost all three of our games in very tight matches ending in the same points.
With time to think about our losses and attempt at solving some of our problems, we realized we give away a few points in the middle of one of the sets. This small gift of points allows our opponents to gain some momentum and even a lead. We are now aware of this easing on the gas pedal mid set and are determined to not give any points away for free. Aside from that small detail we are getting some great chances on transition which has given us some crucial point conversions to this date.
With lessons learned and wounds licked we have moved to Switzerland for the Gstaad FIVB Grand Slam. We are in the qualification tournament which is a single elimination bracket so the pressure is on us to win our matches and push on to the main draw event. It is beautiful weather here and our training session today saw us more composed and stronger than ever.
Wish us the best!!