Now in Shanghai I’ll attempt to reflect on my Fuzhou experience beginning with the Qualifier…
Following the longest qualification technical meeting I’ve ever been a part of (more details on that front to come later) we had our first round opponent set – Semenov/Koshkarev of Russia, with a second round of either Japan or Canada (Ben/Chaim).
We started the match vs. Russia with an early lead and kept it the entire set until Russia tied it up at 18, after a few back and forth side outs Russia made a play to steal the advantage and the set with a bomb serve down the line from Semenov. First set loss 20-22 and a bitter taste after having let the first set slip away.
Heading into the second both Sam and I reset and came out just like the first but this time we opened up a larger lead and kept it till the end finishing off a strong set with a score of 21-14 – into the third and final set. Anyone’s game, the start being the most important part, and finding ourselves down 0-3 we were going to have to fight extremely hard to make it back. We had our opportunities to make plays but let them slip away as the third set came to an end, 12-15.
Like many teams on tour, so close, that always seems to be the case at this level. Here in Shanghai we’ll be sure not to make the same mistakes again.
The title of this blog “Fuzhou Fight” reflects not just the qualifier but also a general theme of that trip, a theme that I’m positive will continue as the season goes on. This fight is with the FIVB as some drastic changes have been made this season and we, the players, are displeased with these changes. The FIVB held a meeting to allow all players to voice their questions and concerns and although both sides are trying to do what’s best for the sport it seems as though there is a disconnect between the athletes that make up the sport and the FIVB who controls the sport. Nothing new for us Canadians as we’ve always seemed to have similar issues going on within our own federation, within my career at least.
On a lighter note, the last “fight” of this trip occurred in taxis as I sat in the front seat fighting the urge to scream at the driver to slow down and stop blindly changing lanes – not that he would have understood me anyway… The few taxi rides I took while in Fuzhou was by the far the most nervous I’ve been during any car ride in my life, and I was not alone as it was the hot topic of conversation upon stepping out of the car.
Happily, the restaurants here in Shanghai (Jinshan) are within walking distance, and by “restaurants” I’m referring to McDonalds and Pizza Hut.
Time for training. It’s a beautiful sunny day here – stay tuned for a quick update prior to the start of our qualifier!