This season, Albatros Heren 1 has started almost every match with a different squad, and this time was no exception. Two injured players, Andrea and Pedro, and two missing players, Anderson and Andrew, along with a missing coach, Alex, meant that Artem had to assume the coach position and Michal started as the first setter. In order to have two middles, we invited a young talent from Heren 2, Mateo, to join the team.
The match was expected to be challenging as we were playing against VVW, who was ranked number 4 in the standings, and we had previously lost to them in an away match. During warm-up, Michal and Artem tried to find a good tempo to play fast balls with Mateo.
In the first set, we started on an unusual court side, and VVW took immediate initiative, penetrating our service-receive defense. However, Lorenzo started delivering good passes, and we were able to recover and equalize in the middle of the set, ultimately taking a lead and winning 26-24.
Despite finishing strong in the first set, we lost focus in the beginning of the second set. Good timeouts and feedback from Artem and Andrei put the team back on track, and Stefano and Hilliard were able to penetrate the opponent’s block. The second set ended with a more convincing 25-22.
In the third set, Michal started using middles more, and VVW could not find a defense against Mateo and Johannes, who finished the set with powerful jump services.
The last set was a challenge against ourselves, but it seemed that the opponent did not have enough energy to take it away from us. A few times Michal put Stefano on an empty net, resulting in strong attacks, and Mateo delivered a couple of aces and attacks within the 3-meter line. Although combinations and pipe did not work well this time, our consistent regular playing was enough to win the match.
Albatros HS1 will face the top team from the pool, and Marat’s ex-team, on the next Wednesday.
Big thanks to Rob, Jan, and Kier for their perfect reffing of the match.
Albatros HS 1 vs VVW HS 1
Result 4-0 (26-24, 25-22, 25-16, 25-20)
Team: Andrei, Artem (❤️ coach), Hilliard, Johannes, Lorenzo, Mateo, Marat, Michał, Stefano
15 Feb 2023 at Wethouder Verheijhal, Amsterdam