Todd's Tales: USA Volleyball
July 16, 2013
Written by UCF head coach Todd Dagenais
USA has qualified for the GOLD MEDAL ROUND!!!! After completing the most challenging preliminary schedule of any team in the tournament, we find ourselves at 9-3 in sets and the No. 3 team overall in the event.
Today we opened ay with the No. 1 team in the tournament, Nova BKM, from Slovenia. This was a team that we scrimmaged and defeated 3-1 during friendly play earlier in the training sessions. Like most European teams, they play one way when they are scrimmaging, but they really dial it up when the scoreboard lights up. We dropped the first set, fell short 25-23 in the second set, but won big in the third set securing one point for our set win.
Meanwhile, the BIP SE team comprised of American college players swept both of its matches today. They had the fortune of not playing the No. 1 or No. 3 teams during the preliminary stage and swept the today going 6-0. This put us in a position where we had to win our second match of the day 3-0 to clinch the No. 1 seed and automatic bye into the semifinals.
Our second match was against the No. 3 team in the tournament Hungary-Vasas. We opened a very spirited first set narrowly winning 25-22 to keep our chances alive. Hungary took the second set behind some incredible serving and great floor defense. This set loss eliminated our chances of the automatic bye, but we still had to win the third set to get the overall No. 3 seed. We pulled out a gritty win 25-23 where many players who hadn't seen as much action played their best set of volleyball and secured the No. 3 seed for the team.
Tomorrow will be the quarterfinals and semifinals. We are scheduled to play at 12:00 p.m. locally (6 a.m. Eastern) against the same Hungary-Vasas team we played this evening. I guarantee it will be an intense match. There were some pretty interesting exchanges between coaches and players tonight...it's sure to carry over :)
Should we win, we will play in the semifinals against BIP SE at 7:00 p.m. (1 pm Eastern). You can follow me on Twitter @ucfvbtodd for the latest tournament updates. GO USA!!!!!