We started off the CEV tournament last week vs a strong but young team from Almeria Spain. On this team were two other Americans - Jeff Menzel from UCSB and a fellow San Marcos Royal as well as Austin Zahn a fellow Trojan. This match up was based on the teams standing from the previous year. We had to play them first at home (where these pictures are from) here in Istanbul and ended up taking advantage of a what seemed to be jet lagged team winning easy in 3 sets.
This past week we had to travel to Spain where we either had to win the match or we would had played a GOLDEN SET...One set to 15 to see who advances. Everyone who knows volleyball knows that anything can happen in the 5th set so we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to win the match. We started the match knowing that Almeria was going to play much better in front of their home fans and on their own turf so our goal was to set the tone early. Didn't work out that way...Jeff had a much better start to the game and was more involved throughout the match...he is a high flying kid with a strong shoulder. They took the first set 25-21 after our side made way too many easy errors. After the first set we seemed to take control of the match with our block and service. Story of every game right? The team that makes the least amount of mistakes...wins. We won the next two sets pretty easy and started to relax thinking that they would give up.
The 4th set they found a grove with their opposite back at the service line. I think he reeled off 3 aces in a row that were bullets. They took a quick 9-3 lead but it was too early to say they won. We made a nice run to get to 8-9 and the rest of the set was close all the way till the end. We took the set 28-26 and was proud of all our team for playing through some difficult plays.
While in Spain I picked up a few Spanish wines, cheeses, pork sausage (very difficult to buy pork in Turkey) and Sangria for Bretty. 13 hours of travel back and we have 2 more matches before the break for the World Cup event. Brett and I have a trip planned to London and I couldn't be more excited. I've never been and couldn't think of a better travel partner!
|Austin Zahn - Trojan|
|Our Belarus player Sergei Antonavic|
|This was an overpass|
|Our Dutch player - Jereon Trommel|
|Gotta close the line on a 3 man block|