Scape Australian Volleyball Super League – Round 1 Wrap

Scape Australian Volleyball Super League – Round 1 Wrap

Round one of the new Scape Australian Volleyball Super League is in the books with glory shared across all the states involved.

No side was able to win both the men’s and women’s fixtures on Saturday, setting the tone for what is no doubt going to be a season of hard-fought volleyball.

Queensland Pirates v Canberra Heat
Iona College, Lindum QLD

Women: Pirates d Heat 5:0 (18-11, 18-11, 18-13, 18-16, 18-11)

Queensland Pirates have started their title defence in the best possible way with a dominant victory over Canberra Heat.

The Pirates recorded the only 5:0 win from the six round one matches, setting the benchmark for what they hope will be another successful campaign.

Setter Kylee White said the team were buoyed by the vocal support at Iona College, and enjoyed the new rules and format.

“It’s pretty epic, even better when you’ve got a home crowd around you  – I think it makes it more exciting when you do get the win,” said White.

“The new rules bring a new aspect to the game and I think it was really exciting – I think it worked really well.”

Men: Heat d Pirates 4:1 (18-10 18-8, 12-18, 18-15, 18-12)

Canberra Heat have shown they will once again be one of the teams to beat with the defending champions enjoying a successful trip to Brisbane with victory over the Queensland Pirates.

With just one player remaining from the 2022 final starting side and just five returning from the team’s Asian Club Championship campaign earlier in the year, the Heat had a new look but the result told a familiar tale.

Outscoring the Pirates by 18 points in the first two sets, the Heat were put back on their heels in the third but regrouped to run out 4:1 victors.

“We came up here with only two weeks of being able to train together as a team,” said Heat captain Nic Borgeaud. “We’ve had a lot of [player] turnover, but some great ins from players from the Australian Volleyball Academy as well as a couple of returning guys from the Australian national team – Matt Aubrey, Trent O’Dea and James Weir – so those have been massive additions for us.”

Borgeaud said that while the new rules would take time to adjust to, the parochial crowd got right behind the format.

“It’s different – it’s going to take a bit of getting used to,” he said. “It’s going to be the same for a lot of teams working out when’s the best time to use those powerplays to get those extra points and get that advantage.

“It’s always good to play in front of a crowd, they had a packed stadium. It really helps to bring a lot of energy to the court.”

Melbourne Vipers v Adelaide Storm
State Volleyball Centre, Dandenong VIC

Women: Vipers d Storm 4:1 (18-14, 13-18, 18-14, 18-17, 18-17)

Melbourne Vipers have opened their Scape Super League season with a victory in front of a home crowd in Melbourne, defeating Adelaide Storm 4:1.

After sharing the opening two sets, Vipers captain Rochelle Sison helped her team regroup with the experienced libero leading her side to a four-point win in the third.

While the three-set victory margin looks lopsided, the match could have gone either way with the Vipers winning the crucial 35th point in the fourth and fifth sets to claim the win.

The Vipers scored eight points for their four set wins, while Adelaide earned two points for their set win plus a bonus point for finishing within 10 total points of their opponents, giving them three points on the overall ladder to Vipers’ eight.

Megan Runacres impressed in her Vipers debut and enjoyed the new aspects to the competition including the powerplays.

“Nobody knew how we were going to respond to the new format but I thought the girls played amazingly and I’m really stoked about the win, I think it’s a great way to start the season,” she said.

“I think it [the new format] is exciting and I think if you’re leading or if you’re behind a bit you can push the lead and I think that makes it exciting for both the players and the audience.”

Men: Storm d Vipers 4:1 (16-18, 18-17, 18-16, 18-16, 18-17)

In an incredibly tight encounter, Adelaide Storm made the most of their trip to Melbourne, taking down the Vipers 4:1.

That scoreline doesn’t give a true indication of how close the match was, with every set decided by a maximum of two points.

The home team gained the edge in the first set, but the second went down to the 35th point with Adelaide able to even up the game. It was the first of four straight set wins for the away side, however they only outscored the Vipers by four points in the entire match.

The result saw the Storm take eight competition points back to Adelaide, while the Vipers collect three points from their opening set win and the close margin.

“Really happy to come away with the win,” said Adelaide’s Josh Thorpe. “Melbourne’s got a really strong team this year. It was a good atmosphere, good crowd. They played really strong volleyball so it was really good to fight it out and win a tough game.

“With no timeouts with the new format it makes it harder for the coaches to get involved so on-court leadership becomes really important. It was really interesting to see how everyone uses the powerplays, different tactics, and just seeing how quickly the sets go. It’s quite fun, it’s a bit of a challenge – I like it.”

Perth Steel v NSW Phoenix
Warwick Stadium, Perth WA

Women: Phoenix d Steel 4:1 (18-11, 12-18, 18-14, 18-17, 18-16)

NSW Phoenix have scored an impressive 4-1 win on the road against the Perth Steel in their opening round of the new Scape Australian Volleyball Super League.

Phoenix’s serve maestro Taciana Moreira steered her side to the first five points of the match on their way to the first set, however the Steel bounced back to square the ledger in the second.

Similarly timed powerplays cancelled each other out in the third with the two sides locked 10-all before NSW pulled away to win by four points.

Leading 17-16 in the fourth set, Perth had two opportunities to tie up the match however NSW held their nerve to win both points and take a 3:1 lead.

The fifth set was just as tight, however the Phoenix again prevailed by a two-point margin to earn eight competition points. The Steel took three points away from the game having finished within eight total points of the Phoenix over the course of the match.

Men: Steel d Phoenix 4:1 (18-9, 18-15, 16-18, 18-10, 18-14)

A towering twin performance by Jose Martinez and Tom Heptinstall helped drive Perth Steel to a commanding 4-1 win at home against the NSW Phoenix.

With the Steel holding a slender one-point lead 8-7 after the opening rallies in the first set, Martinez stepped up to serve and won the next eight points to blow the set wide open. Heptinstall was almost as dominant in the second set, helping the home team to an 8-4 lead which they maintained to go up 2:0.

The Phoenix stayed alive in the third and had the set in their reach at 17-13. The Steel reeled off three straight points and threatened to overrun the visitors before NSW took the set by two points.

Up 10-8 in the fourth, Perth timed their Powerplay to perfection to open up a five-point advantage which they extended to take the set, and held that momentum into the fifth to win 4:1.

By finishing more than 20 total points in front of their opponents, Perth took away nine competition points from the match with NSW earning two points.

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