Scape Australian Volleyball Super League Round 3 Wrap
Round three of the Scape Australian Volleyball Super League saw some movement in the competition tables as the race to the finals hits top gear.
Canberra Heat and Perth Steel both claimed twin wins at home on Saturday, while on Sunday Adelaide Storm and Queensland Pirates split the men’s and women’s results.
Canberra Heat v NSW Phoenix
Lyneham Hockey Centre ACT
Women: Heat d Phoenix 5:0 (18-13, 18-13, 18-17, 18-7, 18-14)
Canberra Heat remained in touch with the top end of the competition ladder following an emphatic five set victory over NSW Phoenix in Canberra.
Coming into the round in last place, Canberra leapt from six to 17 competition points, just four points from the top of the ladder and in third place overall.
The Heat looked comfortable in the opening two sets but were challenged in the third which went right down to the 35th point. After the locals secured victory, they put down the accelerator and eyed off a bonus point which they achieved by outscoring NSW by 26 points.
While the result keeps Canberra in the top four, the Phoenix face a must-win match next week if they hope to remain in the race for the semi-finals.
“I felt we played really well today,” said Heat outside hitter Holly Mallet. “I think our blockers did a good job at drawing the middle blocker. There was a seam in the block so I felt like I just went for that seam every time, so it was kind of a team effort to get me the kill.”
Men: Heat d Phoenix 4:1 (18-10, 18-17, 18-15, 17-18, 18-17)
Canberra Heat remain in third place in the men’s competition after their 4:1 result against NSW Phoenix on Saturday.
Having led 2:1 last week before going down to the Vipers, Canberra were keen to stamp their authority on the match and did that from the start with an eight-point victory in the opening set.
Despite the lopsided scoreboard at the end, the match was a hard, close-fought affair with just four points separating the two sides over the next four sets.
The result keeps Canberra firmly in finals contention, while Phoenix need to win next week to keep their top four aspirations alive.
Both teams are on the road in round four with Canberra taking on the Storm in Adelaide and Phoenix meeting traditional rivals Queensland in Brisbane.
Perth Steel v Melbourne Vipers
Warwick Stadium, Perth WA
Women: Steel d Vipers 4:1 (17-18, 18-12, 18-15, 18-12, 18-11)
Perth Steel came back from dropping the opening set to score a strong victory at home against the Melbourne Vipers and get their title dreams back on track.
Coming into the match in fifth place, Perth needed a good result and ended up coming away with nine competition points courtesy of four set wins and a bonus point for outscoring Melbourne by 21 points.
Perth won 10 points on their powerplays to the Vipers six, with the home side quickly coming to terms with the exciting new format.
“I think there were a lot of unknowns at the start but loving it now,” said Steel star Shelby Maher. “I think it’s good even if we won the first set or lost the third set, we still keep playing, that’s why we’re here, so I think it’s turned out better than we thought.”
The result sees the two sides swap positions on the competition ladder, with Steel now in second place while the Vipers are in fifth, however just three points separate the two teams.
Men: Steel d Vipers 4:1 (18-13, 18-15, 18-16, 18-10, 11-18)
Like the women, the Perth Steel men’s team also collected a 4:1 home victory over Melbourne.
A two point winning margin in the final set would have seen Perth take away maximum points from round three, however the Vipers were able to snatch the fifth to take two competition points back to Melbourne.
Steel captain Daniel Piggott said following his side’s third home game in a row that the local support was once again a factor.
“It’s the biggest crowd I’ve played in front of,” said Piggott. “It makes you feel so special and I really appreciate it, it’s so good.”
The result keeps Perth atop the competition, equal on points with Adelaide but ahead on point quotient. The Vipers currently hold the final semi-final place and have the opportunity to tighten their grip when they play the Pirates next week.
Adelaide Storm v Queensland Pirates
The Lights Community & Sports Centre, Lightsview SA
Women: Pirates d Storm 3:2 (18-10 14-18, 18-7, 17-18, 18-14)
Queensland Pirates remain on top of the women’s competition ladder after a 3:2 win over the Storm in Adelaide.
In a see-sawing match, the visitors twice held a set advantage only for Adelaide to tie the match back up in the second and fourth sets.
The defending champions showed their class in the fifth and final set, with an 18-14 win sealing the match.
Despite only just going down, heavy score gaps in the first and third sets denied Adelaide the opportunity to finish within 10 points of Queensland and a bonus point went begging.
The Pirates hold a three point advantage at the top of the table, while the Storm are in fourth place just five points off the competition lead.
Men: Storm d Pirates 3:2 (18-17, 17-18, 16-18, 18-12, 18-10)
Adelaide Storm have come from behind to remain undefeated after two rounds of the Scape Australian Volleyball Super League.
While the Queensland Pirates entered round three yet to register a win, just two points separated the sides over the opening three sets with the visitors holding a 2:1 advantage.
The Storm were able to find their groove however, outscoring their opponents by 14 points in the fourth and fifth sets to claim a 3:2 win.
The Storm remain equal with Perth Steel on 25 points, but are in second place on point quotient. The Pirates remain in fifth, but have opportunities to close the gap on the top four with matches against Melbourne and NSW next week.