Finally we are on the court. After many of us swanning around Europe and hitting the parties in Amsterdam for the Canal Pride Festival and elsewhere, Freezone have converged on Antwerp, Belgium for the 3rd World Outgames.
It’s been a great start to the competition here in Antwerp for both the Freezone teams, with both FZ Kinnaree and FZ Phoenix winning their first 3 matches of the tournament.
Kinnaree were the first to hit off in their very spiffy new uniforms in the Green and Gold colours, taking on the local Belgian United team who were outclassed by Kinnaree in the opening. A string of serving from Tanaphat Rukasook opened up the account for Kinnaree giving them an early lead in the opening set which they held throughout the match.
Phoenix opened their account later in the day, unfortunately with David Worner not being able to attend due to an ankle injury in training yesterday at the venue. We first up played a lovely team of ladies – one of only two female teams in the draw which were easily accounted for in straight sets.
The second match was a much harder test for Phoenix against the Toronto based Hits and Giggles team. They took the first set as Phoenix failed to block down their hitters. But in the second set, with a small rotational change, Phoenix limited their passers with a string of good serves as well as finding some rhythm between the two setters and the outside hitters. So it was a final set decider and it was tight the whole way. Phoenix managed to ramp up the skills without dropping the ball at all on their side of the court and keeping the ball in play. Toronto were out to a small lead at the change of ends, but careful placement and desperation at keeping the ball alive, eventually saw Phoenix victorious 15/12 in the final set. It was an excitable game and everyone was very happy at the narrow win.
Kinnaree were up to speed against Hot Helsinki accounting for them in straight sets, but were taken to small scare in the 2nd set of their final match against Schmetterlinge Munster. The boys were finding good rhythm with passing and setting and some solid serving by Tian Liu but the German team were keeping pace and almost took the set out. The Kinnaree team held focus and again resorted to careful play in teh final stages with solid hitting from Gee and Tanaphat in the middle to drill home a victory 27/25
Tomorrow will be another day of 3 games for each team as the teams fight for places in the final rounds. The B and C pools have been drawn together to give everyone a chance to prove their worth on the ladder and enter a pool that is on their level. The final 2 days of play will be determined after the round robin concludes tomorrow.
So we will keep you updated on the progress. Antwerp has cooled down a little after the heat that has been moving across Europe lately and far the Sauna like conditions of yesterday, today was much more tolerable.
So boys – early to bed tonight for another day of exciting play tomorrow – and some volleyball too!