We traveled to the bottom of Greece this past weekend for our fifth match with Patras. It took us about 7 1/2 hours on the bus to get there. We have played this team a few times already in the pre season and knew their strengths and weakness'. In our three meetings we have only won once but our team was confident that if we played the level OUR team can play and didn't worry about the other team as much we would come out with a victory.
The bus ride really took its toll on us. One of our OH's, Ryan Owens, back went out and was a maybe for the match. He wasn't able to train in the morning and was on the floor all day. The back is probably the worst thing to injure as an athlete or in general. He was pretty stiff before the match started but managed to play. I could tell that it loosened up through out the match as his movements were more relaxed.
We came out in the first set and smashed them with a high efficiency in attack and block. Kostas, our setter, was setting the ball everywhere and he was confusing their blockers. I can't remember but we must of had a high passing rate as well.
The second set was a battle through 18-17 for us. Then we went on a small run and were leading 23-21 and even 24-22. We missed a couple serves which kept them in the set but we sided out. At 24-23 we had the opportunity to finish the set but with a low reception and low set to our middle blocker we didn't finish the point. They blocked us to tie the score at 24 all. Then the next play was an ace due to lack of communication...it was a float serve. Then we made our third mistake in a row on a ball that was hit out of bounds from position 4. They won the set 26-24. It was pretty hard to swallow.
We came back and regrouped in the 3rd set and won it fairly easy. To be honest I don't remember a lot of key moments in the set but we closed it out by a good margin in the end. And in the 4th set we lost our marbles and our passing. The caught us in a few rotations where they scored multiple points. This lead to Freddy changing both our OH's and them taking the set fairly easy...even though we made a strong comeback at 24-20...we came back to 22 but a missed serve killed our chance to come back in the set.
The fifth set Freddy, our coach, decided to leave Rodrigo on the bench for Zenia. Zenia had been playing middle for us but is really an OH. He did well but he has not had that much training this season. It was hard to focus and the referee's were def Patras fans. I don't want to give excuses but they really killed our momentum a few times with some terrible touch calls. It was 5-7 Patras when their OH hit a ball over our block to the back wall and the ref gave them a touch call...this lead to a 8-5 side change and a yellow card to our coach which gave them a 9-5 lead. After this it was a lot of catch up and we just didn't have it in us. We lost 15-9.
On to the next. We play Aries this weekend at home. Brett's sister Casey and her boyfriend Joey are coming to visit us for Thanksgiving. We can't wait to have them here with us. It is def going to be nice to be able to spend the holiday with some family! Right now they are leaving London for Barcelona...then Greece!
Keep your fingers crossed for this weekend!