Now that the Swedish season has ended, I wanted to provide something of a footnote to my coaching with Svedala.
Svedala managed to finish 3rd in the table at the end of the regular season. As you can see on the final table below, Engelholm was the clear top finisher. Only three points separated 2nd through 4th, and it was only three more points to 5th. Örebro was definitely helped in having the softer northern group schedule, as it put them in position to have home court through the semifinals.
Svedala’s 3rd place saw them matched up against Gislaved in the playoff quarterfinals, which they won 3-0. They then faced Örebro in the semifinals. That series went five, which each team taking a 3-2 victory on the road the second time around. As the higher seed, Örebro hosted the deciding match, which they won 3-0. The first two sets were tight, but the third not so much.
Engelholm won the other semifinal 3-0, putting them in the final vs Örebro. Svedala played for 3rd against Hylte/Halmstad. Engelholm went on to win the final 3-0. Svedala lost to Hylte to end up in 4th.
While it represents an improvement over last year, I think there is probably at least some disappointment in the club that the team didn’t finish higher than 4th. I’m sure they really thought making the final was a good prospect. No doubt it was tough to play in the 3rd place play-off after having lost in 3-2 in the semifinal series.
Svedala ended up finishing 2nd in the Danish/Swedish cross-boarder league. Here are the final standings:
Brøndby had already sealed up 1st place by the time I left Sweden and we were looking good for a top-3 spot. At that stage Engelholm was the other likely contender, but they obviously fell off the pace.
My young Swedish MB at Svedala was selected as the season’s Break Through Player. I think the fact that she had the opportunity to work with arguably the best middle in the league (the team’s American) was a real plus for her growth and development. The team’s American setter was nominated for Player of the Year, but not surprisingly was beaten out by the OPP from Engelholm.
The American MB was in the statistical Best Team for the regular season as the #1 in her position. The young Swedish middle ranked #4, so was in the second team. The American OH was #3 in her position. Officially, the setter ended up #2, but the player in the #1 spot wasn’t actually the starting setter for her team, so shouldn’t really count.
I held all year the Svedala had arguably the three strongest foreign players. That was borne out by the All-Star team selections in which they all were chosen. Interestingly, Hylte took three of the other four spots, with Engelholm’s OPP getting the remaining one.