Friday, June 21, 2013

Close Calls and Challenges in Day 2 Play

Supreme Ventures Business House Volleyball Indoor Competition

The final segment of Round-Robin play in the Supreme Ventures Business House Indoor Volleyball competition will take place on Sunday, June 23 at the UWI Gym, with the Knock-Out phase beginning immediately after.  Games start at 9:30 am and entry is free to the public.
In last week’s challenge on Sunday, June 16 the BOJ female Gators faced their biggest threat in their swim towards the Number 1 overall women’s seed when, in their lone match on day two, they defeated a full strength UWI Lady Pelicans team 21-20 and 21-16 in the Supreme Ventures Business House Volleyball Indoor League, Sunday, June 16 at the UWI Gymnasium. Barring some drastic unforeseen occurrence, these two are on a flight path to meet again in the finals. The match itself on Sunday had everything that a FINAL would want-intrigue, close calls, frustrated players, and game changing individualistic plays.
On the day, it was 3-2 to the UWI in its 5 match schedule. After the Pelican’s loss to the BOJ, they defeated the NWC 2-1 (17-21;21-20;21-13) in a female and 2-1 (21-20;15-20;21-18) a mixed team match. The Pelicans continued on to defeat Sagicor 2-0 in their third female match of the afternoon, but lost 1-2, to AMECO in their second mixed team match.
In start contrast to their substandard play on Day 1, AMECO brought their ‘A’ game on Day 2, and it was evident that they had reviewed their lackluster performance of the previous week and wanted to remind the other teams of their pedigree standing in the competition. In a close match, much closer than the scores reflected, they finally defeated a UWI Mixed Team 2-1 (21-17, 13-21, 21-16), in what was an anomaly, as the UWI had previously triumphed whenever the game went to three sets.
Sagicor was the other company that played multiple matches on the day. First, their females upset the more experienced and fancied sister company Guardian Life 2-0 (21-15, 21-18). This however was their only win out of four matches.  In the next match, last year’s male runners–up JDF, defeated them 2-0, (21-9, 21-11) in a match was interrupted for approximately one hour by the torrential downpour that caused the suspension of play due to a wet floor. Their third match saw them being thoroughly outclassed by the UWI’s female team, 21-6;21-9 while in their fourth and final match of the day, seasoned campaigners, the BOJ, defeated them 21-13, 21-10 in a male match.
The BOJ thus won both their matches on the day, while Sagicor ended with a 1-3 record.
The JDF’s victory moved the team closer to the overall #1 seed in the male division, and it will be up to the Seamers of the JCF to respond on Day 3.
In the other male match, the JUTC restored some lost pride by defeating Guardian Life at 17 and 11. The Drivers played much more consistently than they had on Day 1, and it helped that some of their experienced players were ‘at the bus stop’ this week in time to catch the ride to the venue. 
The most exciting match of the day was the Mixed Team match between newcomers  JMB and veteran team Guardian Life. The first set yielded an expected victory by the Guardian Lifers at 21-15, but the JMB Mortgagors, in what was only their second game of the competition, brought an unexpected aggression and determination that inspired a large part of the crowd to support the underdogs with rallying cry.
Chants of “JMB, JMB” and “Guardian, Guardian” began to reverberate in the gymnasium as each time it looked like Team Guardian was going to win the set the Mortgagors rallied.   JMB won the second set 21-20 much to the delight of the crowd, and the anticipation of an upset rose as the third set unfolded.
The teams did not disappoint, and the gym rocked from side to side as the momentum shifted with each serve. JMB had Team Guardian on the ropes at 10-6, with spectators running along the sidelines with each JMB point, and the nervousness clearly etched on the faces of the Guardian Life fans.  The Guardian Life team rallied to tie the scores at 12-12, and 13-13.
Buoyed by the crowd which was clearly partisan toward them, JMB took the lead at 17-14, and were leading at 18-16, and at 19-18. It appeared that the upset would be sealed when they were still leading at 20-19 but what happened next however, will go down in the annals of Business House Volleyball lore.
With the scores tied at 20-20, the Guardian Lifers rallied to take the score to 21-20-but before the final whistle could be blown, the protests of the crowd joined the on court ones from the JMB team who lodged a complaint to the first referee that a whistle had stopped them from continuing play during the final point. The referees consulted and with the crowd in frenzy, called for a replay of the final point.
The tension was now so palpable that it could be ‘cut with a knife’, and then the bubble burst with the sound of the second referees whistle as soon as the final serve was made. The JMB team was called for a rotational fault, bringing the match to a sudden and anti-climatic end. Though they lost the match however, the JMB Team won the hearts of the crowd.

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