My uncle David gave me a little crap about not keeping up with my posts on how our team is doing over here in Greece. And I have to admit I haven't posted on the last 4 matches. So here they are in brief.
vs Olympicos - This was a derby match and there was a lot on the line for both teams. Olympiacos has been playing well and have made some changes to their roster that have really improved their team. Granted we beat them 3-1 in Athens in our last meeting we knew that it was not going to be an easy match. They came into the game and played well as a team and we played like SH*T! Not one person on our team played well and me in particular. We lost the first two sets plain and simple. In the third set we got in a groove and had a good lead throughout. Leading 24-22 we made crucial mistakes and blew it. We lost 0-3. A lot of rumors through Greece stated that I lost the matches for us intentionally because I wasn't getting paid. In response to those articles and journalists I can call BS. I simply played at a lower level as did everyone else on our squad. We had a team meeting after the match and cleared the air and reminded each other that even after the loss we as a team are still in first place and have to continue.
vs Kalamaria - After our loss to Olympiacos we had to play Kalamaria who's gym is just around the corner. Kalamaria has knocked off some decent teams this year even though they are currently in 7th place or so. They have also made some changes to their line up and were coming off a good win...meaning they had confidence. We traveled to the gym all together by bus and got off to a good start. The team bounced back and we won the match 3-0 even though the 3rd set was a barn burner. Its not an easy task to close out a team 3-0 in this league so I was very happy that we got out of there with a W and gained a little confidence back.
vs Aris (Quarter finals of the Greek Cup) - This match was on a Wedn because it was for the Greek Cup. Aris had beaten Patra to advance to the quarter finals as we had a bi the first round. Each match of the cup is do or die...win or go home. This match up is always heated due to some drama that happened last season with the opposite of Aris. A Iralkis fan threw a bottle at him last season in the playoffs which hit him in the elbow. He complained that it hurt so bad that he couldn't play and they stopped the match with a win for Aris which put Iralkis in 8th place to finish the season.
We came out in the first set very strong and won fairly easy. The second set we relaxed and they built up a 12-17 lead. After some great plays by our team we came back and tied it up. Only to take the set 25-23 with two huge blocks on the left side. The 3rd set was another barn burner. I don't remember everything that happened but we won the set 25-23 on a transition swing by Rodrigo. (THE VIDEO BELOW IS OF THIS MATCH)
vs Patra - Last night we played Patra at home. Remind you we lost 2-3 in Patra the last round but had a good chance to win 3-0. Lost the second set after leading 24-22. Last night as a different story. We came out on fire with a 8-1 lead and even 16-9 at the second break. After the second break our team relaxed once again and made a game out of it. We ended up taking the set 25-22 but it was too close for comfort. Again relaxed in the second set they took it to us even though we fought back to 17-19. I think I served an ace cross court but the up ref over ruled and called it out from across the gym. After this we played point for point but they had us by a big enough margin. 3rd set we smacked em down 25-18. And in the fourth set we had to again fight back from a deficit of 4 or 5 points but we ended up taking the lead at 22-20 only to lose back to back points. Then again 23-22 but we didn't close and lost the set 23-25. In the 5th it was anybody's game. Going into the 5th set we know it is 10 minutes of all you got. We took a 3-1 lead but ended up switching sides at 8-7 on a big block to save us the point. Then we jumped all over them to 10-7 and never really looked back. Took the set 15-12...we won 3-2 and two points.
With all these matches we are now tied for 1st place with Panathanikos. Here are some pictures and a video of the past couple weeks as well as the current standings.
Brett took some pic's from the match as well. We had our friends Jonathan and Jaime-Rose as well as JR's mom Rose in attendance. To see some Brett's pics of the match click HERE!