SQUAD lost to Giants 21:16 14:21 22:20 13:21 7:15 Underdogs force five sets Giants move to the top of the table, probably only temporarily if Onyx have anything to do with it, but SQUAD, from near the foot of the table gave us another reminder of how competitive the season has been.
The home side began well by winning the first three rallies and were never behind and it seemed clear that there was little between the sides in ability. They went a bit off the boil in the middle of the second set, falling from 4:5 to 6:12 as Giants raised their game. Then after a mini-revival, Giants eased away again to level the score.
A marvellous set followed which began with SQUAD taking the first two rallies then Giants six in succession. However, SQUAD quickly got back onto terms and there was nothing between the teams to 20:20 when SQUAD were able to grab two points and the lead once more. That boosted their confidence and they hit Giants hard in the early stages of the fourth set going 6:1 in front. Giants then gradually closed the gap, drew level at 12:12 and moved 12:14 in front. SQUAD confidence looked to have disappeared; they won just one more rally as their guests once again drew level.
Sadly, the confidence did not reappear. Giants were playing much better too and they were in total control when the sides changed ends at 2:8. There was some improvement after that but Giants were still outscoring them and, in the end, it looked much easier for the visitors than the evening had really been.
A relieved comment from Giants' skipper, Roberto Rigante's after the game: "The match has been played totally on nerves at this away game against Squad. We knew the pressure we had on our shoulders , especially because we really wanted to win and keep the high position in the ranking.
"I think we showed a great team spirit and capacity of managing the tension in such a tricky game. I personally would like to thank each member of Giants team. Each of them has been unique and showed an incredible passion and spirit throughout the whole season and in particular at this final game of the season. And also thankful to Giants management for the support and coordination of all elements of running a team brilliantly. My memory goes back to the LVA M2B rankings last October. Last in the ranking with two losses in a row.
"And looking at where the team is now! This is what volleyball must be . Sweat and tears to achieve altogether as a team, an amazing successful result!"
Bacons College S C , Rotherhithe, 2nd April
Players: SQUAD Starting Six: Scott Anderson, Paul Ifrim, Wojtek Kostelecki, Michael Mark. Kehei Matsuo, Georgi Stanev (captain). Libero: Jin Ng. Other players: Luis Vigar, Artur Zapalowski. Coach: Greg Gwinnett.
Giant Men Starting Six: Federico Cifuentes, Guiseppe de Mosa, Victor Goncalves, Francesco Rigante (captain), Anton Romalijsky, Krasi Zhechev. Libero: Paolo de Grazia, Rafael Jovanelle. Other players: Antonios Armonis, Ioannis (John) Theocharopoulos, Marcin Tkaczuk, Coach: Anestis Kales.