The 4th Set

Saturday 12th January 2013

Su Ragazzi II  V  Glasgow Mets II

Let’s talk about the fourth set……

Set 4 see-sawed back and forth with one side or the other dominating the proceedings.  They were protecting a two sets to one lead, we were trying to even up the set scores and take the match into a fifth.  In our home gym at Coltness High School it was tense, noisy, demanding, and exciting stuff.

The ‘cutesy’ tactical plays of the opening exchanges were gone, replaced by power hitting and top class defence from both sides.  We had won that set with a titanic point scoring block by outside spiker Conor Walker.  They were only two points behind us.  At 24 – 23 up in the fourth set we had high hopes that we could repeat that play, but we didn’t and the score was tied.

The second set they had come out of the traps with all guns blazing and changed their service tactic to focus on Jordan Scott.  From then till the end of the match Jordan passed 9 out of 10 serves.  He was under extreme pressure, and his passing partner Libero Stuart Mackenzie tried to help out as much as he could, but their serve was carefully targeted, and the target was Jordan.   He coped, and for a young player he coped very well.  We didn’t prevent them taking and keeping a lead in the second set, but at 24 all in that fourth set Jordan was asked to pass again.  He did, we scored a side out hit, and took the lead again at 25 – 24.

We served, we watched them pass, we assembled our block, and couldn’t prevent them scoring.

The third set had been an epic tussle.  They were always in front, but we were never out of it.  Mark McLaughlin was running his offence carefully, and having an excellent day in the service box.  We did damage to their passing unit with our service, and they challenged Jordan with theirs.  The game was evenly balanced, and they were getting just that little bit extra from their outside spikers…..it was enough to enable them to win and take a 2 sets to 1 lead.  In the fourth set they served at 25 each, Jordan passed, Mark set Chris de Lattre, and he thundered the ball away for a 26 – 25 lead.

We served again, we watched them pass again, we assembled our block again, and couldn’t prevent them scoring again.

This is the third time we have played Mets II this season.  The previous two matches finished in 0 – 3 losses for our side. So the performance in this game demonstrated clear improvement from our young side, but we desperately wanted the win.  So did they.  They served, Jordan passed, Marc set, and they defended.  There was a scrappy rally with the ball flying back and forward before Captain Gordie McGilivrey finished the play with a terrific back court attack.  27-26 and another chance to win.

We served, they passed, Fraser Johnson, making his debut for the Club in the National League, touched the ball in the block, but couldn’t prevent them from scoring.  27 all.

It finished fairly quickly.  They served, Jordan passed, we hit, they defended and scored in their transition attack.  27 – 28.  They served, Jordan passed, we made an untidy mistake and it was done and dusted.  They jumped around a lot, we stood and stared at the floor.  We had to play the compulsory 5th set, it was a waste of everyone’s time, they won it.

After the match we talked of the clear progress we have made, about the excellent quality of play that had been served up, and about using the lessons learned from this game to develop ‘experience’.

The fourth set had been terrific.  The fourth set had been an outstanding advert for Scottish Volleyball.  We played some fantastic volleyball in that fourth set, and we can build on that………….bring on next week.