Match Report: AVL Round 1 – WA Pearls/WA Hornets

3 from 4 for the WA AVL Teams:

The weekend has brought the first round of the WA Pearls and WA Hornets 2013 AVL season to The Rise in Maylands.

Game 1:  Pearls vs Uni Blues

The WA Pearls had a task ahead of them in front of their home crowd and showed some nerves in their first Round tournament.   They were down for much of the first set, but showed great determination by coming back and taking out the first set with some great service pressure,  winning 25 – 23.

For the second set the nerves started to settle and the Pearls middle hitter West was certainly showing some dominance through the middle after just coming back from overseas playing for Australia. The Pearls had some dominant serving from Ryan giving them a comfortable 2nd Set victory.

The third set for the Pearls was a little more difficult for them.  Walter from the Uni Blues certainly making the difference allowing the Victorian team to take the 3rd set, with the Pearls suffering some late serve receive difficulties.   Late substitutions gave Ganz and White their first taste of AVL volleyball, however after best efforts from the team they weren’t able to cross the line, going down in the 3rd set 23 – 25.  Set 4 proved a lot better for the Pearls and they were able to pass effectively and give Ryan the best opportunity to use West and Godfrey through the middle to show the Uni Blues the dominance that this team has.  Haederli and Day also stepped it up in this crucial set hitting critical winners and the WA Pearls coming out Game 1 winners   25 – 23, 25 – 18, 23 – 25, 25 -22.

Game 1: Hornets vs Uni Blues

The WA Hornets had a fresh looking team decked out in new uniforms with the new Volleyball logo,k  to take on the men’s Uni Blues side.   The Uni Blues side were bolstered with WA’s own Josh Court making the trip over to play for them and certainly add to the team’s line up.  Both teams weren’t short of a few good players with a number of them playing internationally and two current Australian beach players in the line up.  The first set proved to be very much like the first game from the Pearls, seeing some nerves and errors from the.  It allowed the Uni Blues an early advantage and they took the first set 15 – 25.

The second Set saw a few changes to the line and with the hands of Monck, some efficient hitting from Durant and Clinche the Hornet we able to beat the Uni Blues defence with pretty much all balls hitting the floor.  Set 2 also saw Caleb Watson produce the goods with a serious blocking display on fellow West Australian Josh Court.  The  Hornets closed the 2nd set 25 – 14.

The third set for both teams was a very unusual display with James Clinche somehow twisting one of the poles that holds the net up and bringing the whole net down with him, perhaps conveniently at 13 – 13 (!) . After a short delay the teams went back on court and the remainder of the set was side out until a winner was produced by the Hornets who  took  out the set 30 – 28.  The fourth  set shaped up to be a replay of the 3rd with Bennet from the Uni Blues showing class with some great displays of setting , using the middles O’Dea and Turleski to the Uni Blues advantage.  It enabled them to keep level with the hornets until mid way through the set.  The turning point was when Watson went back to serve and ended up getting 3 serves in a row to give the Hornets a 5 point lead of 17 – 12.  WA Hornets then becoming the eventual  winners through great team effort and winning  25 – 20.

Game 2:  Pearls vs Uni Blues

Game two for the Pearls was sure to be a good one with Uni Blues including Australian national team representative Olivia Orchard to their side.  The Pearls started strong with Tara West giving the Pearls the advantage with 3 early kills through the middle.  The Pearls were also passing a lot better with Evison having a big influence in the Pearls defence.  However the height and power from Jansen gave the blues the upper hand and they took  out the first set.   Set 2 the Pearls came out firing with Celine Haederli and Jen Day playing effectively in all areas of the court.  Set 2 also saw Godfrey play well through the middle, showing just why she was selected for the Australian team with some great work not only in hitting but in serving as well.  In their combined efforts they gave the Pearls the edge and they took out the set  25 – 17.

Set 3 again went the Uni blues way with errors creeping into the WA Pearls game and a strong performance from Shea Sloane from Uni Blues with 4 kills and no setting errors.  It gave the Uni Blues hitters every opportunity to get a swing on the ball and eventually take out set 3 20 – 25.  Set 4 saw a change up in the line-up for the Pearls who brought Harris back on and this proved effective and crucial for the Pearls to get back on track.   With the help from Shorter through the middle after a late substitution and who to the last kill for the girls, they took  it to the all important 5th set (25 – 19).  The 5th was a cliff hanger with both teams playing some amazing defence.   From some amazing option balls and some good runs by the Pearls offence they were able to take out the all important fifth set 15-12.

Game 2:   Hornets vs Uni Blues

The Second game for the gentlemen in black and gold or should I say white/gold/black (as they were in their new strips) saw the Hornets begin where they left off with Jack Halley being more of an influence in the game and passing effectively for setter Kable Monck.  Monck once again showed just how talented he is and connected well with Clinche to give the Hornets an early one set lead taking out the first 25 – 19.

Second set was a rollercoaster ride for the Hornets.  They started well with Lewington hitting effectively against the large block and using the blockers hands to his advantage,  earning a number of points for the Hornets.  Hornets had the lead up until late in the 2nd set when the Blues called a timeout at 21-19.  After this time out,  and from an awesome blocking display from Bennet,  the Blues were able to take out the 2nd  set 25 – 23.

After the 2nd set the Hornets really needing a change in line up and they  brought James Thomas onto court as opposite for Cole Durant.  It was Thomas’s first taste of AVL and from the early stages he made a difference to the line up.  Jayson Fox was also an inclusion to this third set for the Hornets and showed some early signs of great form working well with the hitters of the team.  Very much like the 3rd set Hornets started strongly and lead through the whole set,  however after the same circumstances Blues called a time out at 20-19.   After this the Blues came out firing with Ashby Smith getting subbed on for Josh Court and getting crucial kills and giving the Uni Blues the win for the set 25 – 20.  4th saw the dominance of the Uni Blues attack with ex-Australian junior player Darcy Taig and Trent O’Dea show their dominance on court.  Despite the best efforts from all WA Hornets players and with some great volleyball being played, the Uni Blues got the final block from Taig and it gave them the victory for their second game here in the West.

Both teams now have their second rounds again here in Perth against Queensland at The Rise next weekend – 12 & 13 October.  It is sure to be another great event with commentary, music and great volleyball being played, as well as a chance to see some of WA’s past and future national players.   This not being a game to be missed! Hope to see you all there!