This is an entry in my Technical Director’s log for the 2018-19 season.
The first week after the last tournament we didn’t have access to our normal training facility, so we took the team outside. We had them out on a local sand court. As you might expect, the first session was pretty rough. It did get better, though. A lot of the focus was on ball control.
I wasn’t particularly happy to do the sand training. Don’t get me wrong. I think sand training and playing is generally really good for player development. In this specific situation, though, I wanted the indoor time to work on things for the next tournament – blocking to name the main one.
I also got chewed up by bugs, which wasn’t any fun.
The second week we were back inside for two sessions. Serving, reception, defense, and attack all got attention to get ready for the weekend’s play.
We played in the Chicago national qualifier – Adidas Windy City. As was the case when we played in Orlando, we were entered in the Open division. Our pool saw us pitted against the #18, #20, and #56 teams in the AES ranking. For reference, our ranking was #1193.
It won’t surprise you to hear we didn’t get very far. Of the six sets we played our best result was 16 points. We got into double digits in all but the last set when we got only 7. I wasn’t there, so I can’t speak to how things went. I’m not surprised our worse score came in the last set, though. That tends to be the toughest mentally in a situation like ours.
The stats on the day were pretty indicative. Normally, when facing teams at close to our competitive level, we have multiple servers at serve ratings >2.0 (using SoloStats). This day our best was at 1.92, and it fell off fairly quickly from there. Similar story in terms of passing. Normally, our top passers are in the 1.7 area. This time we did have our best at 1.82, but the rest were between 1.0 and 1.52.
Interestingly, we had a couple of hitters put up reasonably good numbers – including one who had 6 kills on 10 swings. Overall, though, the offense was weak. Our hitting percentage was only 0.025.
For the second day’s pool we had the #32, #101, and #358 ranked teams. You might think we’d do better, but we didn’t. In fact, we had one set in each match where we failed to break 10 points.
Statistically, it was a mixed bag. Serving and passing were both better in the second pool. Our best passer was at a 2.0 and we had three players above 2.0 in serving. Offense was the problem. We hit slightly negative on the day. One of the OHs, who had a poor first day, was at 30% kills, but none of the other hitters was better than 20%.
Bracket play on Sunday brought a match-up against a team ranked quite close to us in AES – #1137. Interestingly, they actually won a match in their second day’s pool. As you might expect, it was a more competitive match. Even still, we went down 25-20 and 25-19.
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