ROTTERDAME, Netherlands (June 14, 2009) - A fun match today—not just because we won, but because it was a good match for the crowd. Yesterday the Dutch controlled the match from beginning to end. Today, we can’t say that USA controlled throughout, but we certainly dominated the three sets that we won.
The first play of the match saw USA run a Bic (a fast back-row attack in the middle of the court) right off the bat and score a point with it. This is a play that USA’s outside hitters are very good at, but we were unable to run it with any consistency last night. That set the tone for the first set. Netherlands burned both of their timeouts early as they fell behind quickly and had to do anything they could to keep it from getting out of hand. It was too late.
In the second set the Dutch got their serve going and USA’s serve fell off at the beginning of the set. USA climbed back into the set and made a great run at it. Both teams played well at the end but Holland made a couple of plays and USA missed a couple of opportunities.
Sets 3 and 4 were repeats of the first two sets, then USA pounced on their host to start the 5th, and Holland helped USA’s cause with unforced errors.
This Dutch team may have played out of their minds last night, but make no mistake about it, this is a good team with some guys coming off the bench who can play. Klapwijk came in at opposite and was great for them. He’s a smaller lefty who hits a really fast backset with range. He also hits his serve with good heat and control. Rauwerdink is an OH who didn’t start either match but came off the bench in both and has a cannon arm and passed well too. Horstink gets up very high and can hammer the ball. He's is nearly impossible to stop when in rhythm on the left side. Their setter is very dynamic and young... early twenties. They are a good team and they are young…
David Lee hadn’t touched a ball for a couple of weeks before yesterday’s match because of an ab strain. He seems fine, but he and the setters haven’t connected with any consistency yet.
Matt Anderson looks like he has been a starter for this team for years. Not only is he technically sound and long in the limbs, but he plays smart and seems very comfortable out on the court as the OH1. He is playing the whole game, serving well, blocking balls and making some digs.
David Smith got his first stuff of his promising USA career on a triple block in the 5th set.
Evan Patak put fear in the Dutch with his serve today. It comes at the passers in a very big hurry and there’s not much time for them to figure out what to do with it. By the time they do it’s too late—the ball had bounce off them and is headed somewhere other than where it’s supposed to go.
Suxho, Lambourne, Lee and Rooney anchored the team, which helped put the young guns (Anderson, Hein, Patak) in a position to show their stuff.
There has been a beach tournament in the parking lot of the arena the past two days. The best players in Holland are competing for a championship – High-level play on both the men’s and women’s courts.
Another good crowd at Sport Palace Ahoy! They are a little too well behaved for my liking. I’m kind of partial to just a little bit of hostility toward the visitors…
We will stay here tomorrow and depart on Tuesday for Florence. Training tomorrow, then weights, then a little down time for the boys before three days of training in Italy before the match on Friday.
It’s 9:15 p.m. here and the sun is still up in the sky here. The sun comes up around 4:30 a.m. so there’s no excuse for not getting one’s work done during daylight hours in Holland in June…