Last night we had our most exciting win of the season. We played Piacenza at home (featuring Americans Max Holt and Ryan Ammerman), and I would say we also had our largest home crowd, though I can’t really give a good estimate. Maybe 1000 or more.
As for the match, it was very close from the start. The entire first set, no one was ever ahead by more than three points, and after being down 24-22, we came back and tied it at 24. A few points went back and forth, until they made a good defensive play (assisted by Max Holt) and took the set 27-25 (I think).
The second set was not so close. The broke away somewhere in the middle and maintained a steady 4-point for the rest of the game. So now we are down 0-2, against a very good team. We start well in the second, but mid way through they get a few big points to take a small lead. I get subbed into the match at this point.
Things stay sort of stagnant, trading points back and forth, until we are able to catch them at 16. From then on, it was a game to 9, and I’m not sure if we thought we could win the match at this point, but we were playing very hard nonetheless. We were able to turn a couple big points, and we took set three.
Game 4 was a little rocky at the beginning. I think we started down 6-2. But, we kept going, and scoring points here and there to climb back in. A huge turning point in the match was near the end of the fourth, I think we were down 18-17, when Jose Rivera came in as a serving sub. Jose goes back and dials up 3 ACES! In a row! It was awesome, it really got the crowd going, and it gave us a little bit of a cushion to win the fourth set. Another note on the fourth: somewhere in the middle of the game I got hit in the face with a ball, but it popped up in the air, our setter got to it and set me the ball, and I got a kill! Pretty funny/wild play.
On to the fifth! We started well, and so did they. It was back and forth for th first half of the set, and we swithced sides leading 8-7. Here is where we made our jump. With a combination of digs, blocks, and errors from the other team, we made a big push to go up 14-10. From there, they made us sweat a little to make it 14-12, but we were able to side out on our third try, finishing the match. The crowd was going nuts, the coaches were ecstatic, and some fan even threw me an American flag after the match. I think I’ll hang it on my wall!
It was a great match to be a part of. Another funny note is that in the fouth and fifth sets, when I would get a kill, they started playing “Born in the USA.” I think its sort of become my anthem with the fans. We had a lot of young fans that wanted pictures and autographs after the match, so hopefully we are building a stronger fan base. I was named MVP of the match and had to give an interview after, and all I could say were things like “We are a good team. We worked. We wanted to win and we have enthuiasm. This was an important match for us.” Haha, I would love to see the transcription of that.
I haven’t looked yet, but there is probably an (Italian) article on http://www.top-volley.net with stats for the match also.
On a side note, what a weekend for St. Louis sports! Unbelievable! I like to include myself in this group, though probably no one else outside of the 6 that read this blog would agree. If only SC could have eeked out the win against the damn trees!
Sorry for the lack of pictures in this post, but I am going to Rome today and will hopefully take lots of good ones.
Ciao, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!