Scape Australian Volleyball Super League Round 2 Wrap
Another exciting weekend of action across the country for round two of the Scape Australian Volleyball Super League, as players became more used to the new rules and format.
The women’s competition is proving to be extremely close with all teams notching a win from the opening two weeks, while a pair of men’s sides remain undefeated going into the middle round of the home or away season.
NSW Phoenix v Adelaide Storm
Netball Central, Sydney Olympic Park NSW
Women: Storm d Phoenix 4:1 (18-16, 18-6, 18-11, 18-3, 17-18)
Adelaide Storm brought the lightning to Netball Central at Sydney Olympic Park with a dominant 4:1 over NSW Phoenix on Saturday.
Storm captain Rebecca Reeve led her team to a narrow two-point win in the first set before the visitors unleashed the fury, dropping just 20 points on their way to a 4:0 lead.
Phoenix captain Lacey Bruce managed to rally the troops and take the final set 18-17, a much-needed high going into next week’s match against the Heat in Canberra.
“It felt unreal today,” said Reeve. “We were very lucky we had a few new young players come in which brought a new depth to us since we’ve lost a few players to the Australian team at the moment.
“But we seem to have bounced back pretty well from last week and so feeling pretty good right now, pretty pumped up from that win.”
Men: Storm d Phoenix 5:0 (18-12 18-13, 18-13, 18-15, 18-6)
Back-to-back road trips have galvanised an Adelaide Storm side which now sits atop the table following a dominant 5:0 win over the NSW Phoenix in Sydney.
The Storm have dropped just one set in their opening two matches and have scored 19 out of a possible 21 competition points.
While the Phoenix had their chances in the opening sets, Adelaide were able to get on top at crucial stages and maintained momentum through the powerplays to take control of the match.
“It’s always fun coming to play in Sydney,” said Adelaide opposite. “I’ve been here as a player, a coach, as a spectator. They always put on a really good show here, the crowd is always really good. To have that energy around the team, around the court as well, just adds to that energy for us, so it’s a great feeling.”
Attempting to bounce back from a pair of losses next week, Phoenix coach Antony Rowda said his young side would benefit from playing against the high-quality opposition they faced in round two.
“It was a tough game,” said Rowda. “We played really well in some parts, obviously a very consistent and experienced team on the other side of the net.
“A lot of experience there with a lot of national and international representation. Their setters did a great job of keeping them in the system.”
Canberra Heat v Melbourne Vipers
Lyneham Hockey Centre ACT
Women: Heat d Vipers 3:2 (18-15, 18-11, 8-18, 18-15, 17-18)
Canberra Heat have emerged victorious from a gripping clash with the Melbourne Vipers, earning themselves a vital home court win to stay in touch with the competition.
In a sign of how close the women’s competition is, Canberra’s victory was not enough to lift themselves from the bottom of the table while the Vipers are in second despite the loss. Each team in the women’s competition has one win and one loss from the opening two games, with the ladder margins determined by set wins and bonus points.
The Heat jumped out to a 2:0 lead however Melbourne won the third set by 10 points to show the Canberra crowd they were not going away.
The Heat regrouped well to take the fourth, but the Vipers’ fifth set win was enough to take them ahead of Adelaide on the competition table.
Men: Vipers d Heat 3:2 (13-18, 18-10, 16-18, 18-9, 18-14)
Melbourne Vipers have opened their 2023 account with their first victory of the season, coming from behind to take down Canberra Heat 3:2.
The two teams traded the opening two sets before the Heat edged ahead with an 18-16 win in the third.
The Vipers went up a gear in the fourth set, taking it 18-9 to set up the decider, maintaining the upper hand to score the win.
Canberra’s two sets were enough to keep them in third place on the competition ladder, just ahead of the Vipers in fourth.
Perth Steel v Queensland Pirates
Warwick Stadium, Perth WA
Women: Steel d Pirates 3:2 (18-14 18-9, 17-18, 18-16, 17-18)
Perth Steel has scored its first victory of season 2023 in a hard-fought match against the Queensland Pirates at Warwick Stadium.
Having earned just one set from NSW Phoenix in round one, the Steel were coming up against a Pirates side high on confidence following a 5:0 round one win.
However the home side was equal to the task, taking the opening set and keeping the scoreboard ticking over with a nine-point margin in the second.
The next three sets went about as far as they could, with 104 out of a possible 105 points contested. The Pirates won their first set of the match with a one-point win in the third, Perth took the fourth by two points and Queensland won another 35-point thriller to round out the match and ensure they stayed atop the competition ladder.
“It was awesome to get a win on the board,” said Perth opposite Shelby Maher. “Obviously we would have liked to do it 5-nil, but I thought the girls really learned from last week which is what we wanted and we fought hard.”
Queensland leave Perth buoyant from a two-point competition lead, with Kylee White enjoying the new format delivered by the Scape Australian Volleyball Super League.
“It’s definitely a faster game which gives you less time to think but I think that’s the whole point of it so it’s actually really exciting,” she said. “When you have the powerplays and you get the big wins you celebrate them even harder because you get double points.
Men: Steel d Pirates 4:1 (18-13, 18-16, 18-9, 15-18, 18-14)
Perth Steel are one of two undefeated teams after two rounds of the competition following their second straight 4:1 win.
The Steel took the ascendancy early, taking the opening three sets from the Queensland Pirates before the visitors came back to claim the fourth.
A fifth set win places the Steel just two points behind Adelaide Storm following the opening two weeks of the competition, while the Pirates are still looking for their first win.
With their opponent’s imposing record over the past decade, Steel captain Daniel Piggot said he knew his side would need to be up to the task if they were to take down the Pirates.
“We have a lot of respect for Queensland,” he said. “Their mentality is really solid and we wanted to match that.
“I think we did a good job of that tonight.