Summer 2015 - Saturday, July 11, 2015 - 7:45 am MST

posted Feb 10, 2017, 6:21 AM by Ashley Lee
Saturday, July 11, 2015 - 7:45 am MST

Well almost done here. Watched the Women's Gold final and Russia demolished the Ukrainians 3-0 without much of a fight. They are far the best team here and it was good to see Canada Women play a good match against them a day ago. For the Bronze it was Japan 3-1 over the Brazilians. Great spirit and determination shown by Japan to claim the victory. The Russians all play in their “Pro Super League” so I don’t know how they all became students so quickly.

Rankings for Women:
5. China - thought they were a poor team for being Chinese but still eeked out some wins
6. Canada - very good tournament, might of gotten a higher finish if in a different pool
7. Thailand - nice combination play for a smaller team
8. Colombia - big surprise for their first FISU
9. USA - improved as the tournament went along
10. Finland - another good surprise, decent athletes and close to their National Team minus a few older players.
11. Switzerland - my old team surprised Turkey in the second round
12. Chinese Taipei - too small but should have finished higher, surprised that they lost to Finland
13. Turkey - biggest disappointment after beating Canada 3-2
14. Korea - only 3 women’s universities playing volleyball in Korea - not good level of play
15. Chile - a good team but a bad result
16. Zimbabwe - tried hard in their first ever international tournament but were outclassed. Much to remember!

The FISU Organization does not allow all stars or best attacker, etc. to be named in this competition. As a result there cannot be a recognized award ceremony unless it is done outside when medals are presented to the top 3 teams. So there are none of these type of recognitions in this competition.

And for the Men, the Bronze is tomorrow with Argentina playing Chinese Taipei and Russia playing the Ukraine for the Gold. I got a bit lucky and was chosen with the Iranian to do the Gold medal match as a Jury member. I hope there is a good crowd and a better match than the women today. They are the two tallest teams in the competition so there should be some good blocking and attack with strong spin service. 

Today I had two matches that both went 5 and over 2 hours each in those 5 sets. What was outstanding was the number of defensive plays with the foot being involved. In one play the ball was dug in 6 and went behind the Referee’s stand and into the opponents side of the court. The player chasing the ball has to bring it back to their side without going inside of the antenna. As the ball was just about to fall he lunged on his back sliding and kicked the ball over his head back to a team mate near the 3 m line who attack the ball and scored. In another similar situation the setter chased the ball in the same place, turned to face his team and set the ball back to a teammate on the 3 m line who attacked the ball but it was blocked. There were about 5 or 6 plays of this variety in the two men’s matches I had today. I have never seen so many different ‘foot’ plays in volleyball in such a short period of time. Libero’s have to learn to do the impossible some time on the court. Crowd (all 320 of them) went wild.

In the Japan vs Iran match in the 2nd set, Japan is down 22-19 and they bring in #2 who has not seen any action in the first set. He hammers a serve that almost took the arms off the receiver. He then proceed to do this 4 times in a row, also made one spectacular one handed dig and when Iran finally scored it was 24-23 for Japan. It brought them back into the game. Typical of Japan to save one player for one task and watch that player do it. His training during a practice session was probably to bounce in the corner for 15 minutes - come into team training and use his spin serve until he made a mistake and then go bounce in the corner again until he was asked to come in again. In the 5th set they have a player who is very tall for Japan, 1.99 (Dexter, not really a Japanese name), but he started the 5th set and made two blocks and a kill to keep Japan in it. He was later pulled after the change over. Heard after that he was a starter but had injured his knee in the first or second match. With him it might have been another team and a better result. They have never had a men’s player with this height before so he will be a treasure in the future.

Rankings for Men:
5. Iran - if in a different pool they could have finished higher
6. Japan - deserved a better fate, but setter is too small but still they would not have finished as high without him.
7. Latvia - played hard, lacked quality middle players
8. Chile - spirited, went as far as the two brothers could carry them
9. Korea - started to play good volleyball in the second round. Seemed as if they were not ready for the first one.
10. Switzerland - bit of a surprise, played at a good level
11. Thailand - very fast attack, maybe best setter in the tournament.
12. Colombia - good result for their first time in this competition and played their last 3 matches without a libero.
13. Czech Republic - disappointment, should be higher
14. Venezuela - very spirited
15. Mexico - same as Venezuela
16. Brazil - biggest disappointment in the competition, fighting with themselves, really unusual for that country
17. USA - tall but not stay
18. Australia - same as the USA
19. Canada - 3-0 today over China for their first win
20. China - another disappointment for such a big country
21. Hong Kong - my favourite team along with Chinese Taipe and Thailand men to watch

The smallest libero in the tournament is on the women’s side being 4’11” (1.51m) tall. Many around 5’2” to 5’6”. A few over 6’ (1.82) as well. A lot of men now have specialized libero’s instead of the older power hitter who can’t jump as well as he used to. All men’s team’s seem to be using 3 receivers instead of the traditional 2 for international play. None used two libero’s in this competition. But two women’s team did enter 2 libero’s in their line-ups. Maybe Canada could have done something similar as I am sure it was a discussion point before they decided on the decision that they did.

More from the final match tomorrow. Matches are at 2 pm and 8 pm - same as it was for the London Olympics - guess it helps to sell tickets twice. Hope there is a 1/2 price sale of some of the souvenir training shirts. If you can believe it there are no XL size shirts in Korean stores. They may call them XL but they are more our Large shirts. Occasionally you can find 2XL (they call) which is like our XL shirts but not many choices. I asked a few Koreans where do the ‘big guys’ get their clothes. They just said the buy them on the web as there are no ‘big and tall’ shops in most Korean cities.

Last day tomorrow, will enjoy it while it lasts.

Honam University - 500 students only but superb buildings and gymnasium