As I mentioned in my last post, our draw for the Qualification in Myslowice, Poland was against our Canadian teammates in the first round. Out of 64 teams, we drew them by chance! The way I looked at it was this; the better team of the day would earn the right to play Brazil and attempt at taking down the toughest duo in the qualifier.
We woke excited, prepared and keen to execute in our second FIVB tournament together. On the shuttle there I got this overwhelming feeling that this our day to upset teams and win some big games! I was listening to one of my favorite songs and it injected crazy energy into my veins, so much in fact that I played the drums on Chaim’s legs and screamed in a spontaneous reaction to my stoke.
We had a beauty warm up and collectively we felt better than we had to date! Everything was coming together and then Chaim’s amazingly close buddies from Alberta who were backpacking Europe showed up! Unbelievable to think these guys were just rocking out in Poland and were able to make a vague and sketchy trip in the early hours of the morning. Needless to say they were SUPER excited to see Chaim and it was beauty to have these guys in our corner!
The first set of our match against Matty and Josh was all us. We executed our game plan perfectly and made some fantastic plays, winning most of the longer rallies which usually dictates the emotional swing of the game. I bicycle kicked a ball and made a cross block after Chaim put it over the net and that was put us in another gear. Chaim was digging up a storm both above and bellow his head and he was executing super well in transition. We had great energy and our spirits were high with confidence and poise.
The second set we knew they were going to change up their game plan and bring something greater to the table. It was more of a sideout battle in this set as all the switches were even or as close as your can get to being tied. Late in the set Matt made some great blocks and before we knew it we lost the set 21-17 after only being down 17-18.
Of course it had to go to three sets! We both wanted it badly and the level of play was high for a first round qualification match. Once again the game started with even scoring but after a let serve and a good earned point we went up to a cushy 9-6 switch. Josh was then called on a handset for a double touch which proved to be the TSN turning point. We kept our serves tough and ended the set with a final score of 15-9!
Our playing demonstrated our recent increase in performance and the way I looked at it, we earned the right to play Brazil in our second match of the Qualifier!