Set One
T.Ryan (s), L.Cory (PH), J.Gordon (M), E.Greenwood (O), L.Skipper (ph), B.Carey (M), K.Evans (L)
The match begins with strong hitting by both teams. AUS #8 E.Greenwood smacks one down the line. Teams then fight it out point for point with tough serves and desperate defense on both sides of the court. Aussie scrambling keep them close behind the Swedish. J.Gordon controls the front court, putting pressure on the Swedes to push past the well-formed block. Powerful serves and spikes from the opposition give them the set 25-20.

Set Two
T.Ryan (s), N.Bishop (PH), J.Gordon (M), E.Greenwood (O), L.Skipper (ph), B.Carey (M), K.Evans (L)
First point goes to Aus with Sweden quickly claiming the next Aus early points with well placed serving and smart hitting, Sweden then forces Aus passing errors with deep float serves, limiting the Aus attack, pulling into an early lead 8-16 Aus sticks with their game plan and discipline in backcourt forces the Swedish to adapt making unforced errors while Aus maintained pressure with their serves. The scores level at 20 all. L.Skipper hits an enormous cross court ball through the Swedish seam, firing up the Aussies Sweden momentarily lose their composure with Aus taking the advantage of the shift in momentum. The Aussies fight hard in the last few points but the experience behind the Swedish team enabled them to regain focus and terminate, taking the set 22-25.

Set Three
T.Ryan (s), N.Bishop (PH), J.Gordon (M), E.Greenwood (O), L.Skipper (ph), B.Carey (M), K.Evans (L)
Australia came out fighting in the 3rd set wanting to prove themselves in the international field. Both teams started strong, going point for point. N. Bishop kept Aus attack alive with great defense in 6. Sweden maintained the pressure with aggressive hitting and a strong serve. Once again Australia executed their game plan, winning points off Sweden’s block. The Swedish attack proved too strong, winning the final points of the game. Taking the set 25-21.
Serve Receive 2.05 (highest of the tour) K Evans 2.27, Skipper 2.17 and Greenwood 2.08
Attack Efficiency 25% (highest of the tour) Skipper 38% and Greenwood 21%
Blocking 8 stuffs and 27 controls (highest of the tour) Gordon 4 stuffs and 8 controls
Serve only 2 errors for the match (lowest error rate for the tour)

SWEDEN DOWN AUSTRALIA IN STRAIGHT SETS

Set 1:

E.Greenwood (PH) B.Carey (M) T.Ryan(S) L.Skipper(PH) J.Gordon(M) H.Shorter (O) K.Evans (L)

A slow start by the Aussies give Sweden a 5 point lead. Strong backcourt hitting by Lena Skipper get Aus back into the set. With lefty number 14 from Sweden hitting deep corners and putting Aus under pressure, Aus allow Sweden to push infront. Both teams battle out a point for point game. Aus try to push in front with long intense rallies. Sweden coming out with good offence and win the first set 22-25.

Set 2
T. Ryan (s), L. Skipper (ph), J. Gordon (m), H. Shorter (o), N. Bishop (ph), B. Carey (m), K. Evans (l)

Set two for Australia begins with big hitting from both sides of the net; each rally full of inspirational defensive touches. With Sweden just pushing in front with disciplined skill, Australia plays catch up for the rest of the set. Australia once again becomes stuck in a serve receive rotation, with our hitters finding it hard to terminate the ball. Sweden eagerly steps in to finish the set at 14 – 25.

Set 3:

T.Ryan (S) E.Greenwood (PH) H.Shorter (M) L.Cory (O) E.Simson(PH) L.Upitis (M)

Good start for the Aussies going point for point with Sweden up 8 all. Weak floor defence in the centre court gives a run of points to Sweden. A great stuff block by Lydia Upitis giving Aus fighting spirit to get their heads back in the game. Aussie’s lack of execution giving Sweden the upper hand and consequently the match. 14-25

The Team passed at 1.58 Ebony Greenwood 2.08 from 13
Attack Efficiency 11% Holly Shorter 30% from 10 swings
4 stuff blocks
Served at 1.33% Lena Skipper at 2.25 from 8 serves

AUSTRALIA VS SWEDEN FRIENDLY MATCH ON 10 MARCH 2009
Set 1
Starting Lineup: T.Ryan (S), L.Skipper(PH), J.Gordon (M), H,Shorter (O), L.Cory (PH), B.Carey (M),
K Evans (L)
A slow start by Australia gave the Swedish a six point lead early in the game. After a timeout to re focus the team, the Aussies were left to chase the margin. Aus then shook their nerves with some strong offence, allowing them to close the gap. The teams then rallied point for point, with strong serves putting pressure on the passing line, breaking the Swedish offense. Australia put up a good fight, with Sweden making few unforced errors, allowing them to take the set 25-22.
Set Two
T.Ryan (s), L.Skipper (PH), J.Gordon (M), L.Cory (PH), H.Shorter (O), B.Carey (M), K.Evans (Libero)
A slow start to set two for Australia; errors causing pressure for the team early in the match. T.Ryan gets the team’s momentum going with a tip into the opposition’s side winning two consecutive points. The strong serving from Sweden lead AUS to trouble but the powerful hitting from L.Skipper kept Australia in the game. Inspirational play in defence closed the point difference and AUS were back in the lead. Despite the pressure applied by the Swedes, Australia kept fighting and won their first international set of the tour, 25 – 21.
Set 3
Starting Line up: T. Ryan (S), L. Skipper (PH) J. Gordon (M), B. Carey (M) E.Greenwood (O), N. Bishop (PH) K. Evans (L)
Aus start off well with the help of T.Ryan’s pressure serves, backed up by the blocks in front court. This keeps Aus in the lead by 3 points and the pressure on the opposition. Some defence errors allow Sweden to even out the scores and make it a point for point game. A massive roof by Loren Cory keeps Aus in high spirit, but then Sweden pull away to take the 3rd set 22-25.
Set 4
Starting Lineup: T. Ryan(s), L. Skipper(ph), J. Gordon(m), L. Cory(o), N. Bishop(ph), B. Carey(m), K. Evans(l)
Set four begins with desperate floor defence on both sides resulting in a point for point start. Australia gets a lead on the Swedish side with smart hitting options beating their defence. Australia is let down by lack of communication with balls left to hit the floor. Poor passing followed which gave the Swedes a lead over Australia. Australia struggle to side out, Sweden wins point after point giving themselves a large lead. Although Australia try to stay alive they couldn’t close the gap. Sweden take the set 25-10

Set Five
Starting Lineup: C.Martin (S), E.Simson (PH), L.Upitis (M), L.Skipper (PH), E.Greenwood (O), B.Carey (M), K.Evans (L)
The lack of momentum from the fourth set continued into the beginning of the fifth. Strong attack and an improvement in control from AUS closed the point deficit between both teams. The Swedish team kept the pressure on the Australians but scrambling defence proved too good winning the Aussies crucial points. L.Upitis and B.Carey show their strength at the net through blocking the Swede attack. Consistent serving by T.Ryan turned the set around and Australia gained the lead. With set point close by, both teams increased intensity creating long, strenuous rallies. Australia’s fighting spirit and commitment to the ball leads them to victory, 29-27.
Stats
Team Passed at 1.65 Ellie Simson 2.25 Ebony Greenwood 1.82
Team Attack Efficiency 8% with 35 kills, 24 errors and 75 in plays Lena Skipper 42 swings with 14 kills
Blocking Beth Carey 6 stuffs, T Ryan and L Upitis 2 stuffs each
Serving 1.41 Lena Skipper 1.84

Set One:
(1) T.Ryan (S), (2) N.Bishop (PH), (10) J.Gordon (M), (4) L.Cory (O), (5) L.Skipper (PH), (3) B.Carey (M), (6) K.Evans (Libero)
A controlled hit by Bishop left Puorto Fuori to penetrate our defense but was unsuccessful with a massive stuff block. Clever tactics by Puorto Fuori saw their hitters using our blocks to gain points. 14 spiking kills by the AUS team put the pressure on the opposition however we were unable to get a strong hold on the set, going down 20-25.
Stats:
Serve Recieve: Avg Passing Rate: 1.91, 2 errors
Spiking: 14 kills, 6 errors
Blocking: 2 stuffs, 4 errors
Serving: 1 Ace, 4 errors

Set Two:
(1) T.Ryan (S), (2) N.Bishop (PH), (10) J.Gordon (M), (4) L.Cory (O), (5) L.Skipper (PH), (3) B.Carey (M), (6) K.Evans (Libero)
AUS started slowly and were points down. With a serving error by the opposition, Australia were given the opportunity to catch up. However, a communication breakdown gave the opposition room to establish a strong lead. Team AUS fought back thanks to the consistent serve of Cory, but were still not able to close the point difference. The final set score of 17-25 was in Puorto Fuori’s favour.
Serve Recieve: Avg Passing Rate: 2 , 2 errors
Spiking: 3 kills, 5 errors
Blocking: 1 stuffs, 4 errors
Serving: 1 Ace, 1 errors

Set Three:
(12) C.Martin (S), (8) E.Greenwood (PH), (10) J.Gordon (M), (7) H.Shorter (O), (5) L.Skipper (PH), (3) B.Carey (M), (6) K.Evans (Libero)
Puorto Fuori came out attacking strongly and cleverly, hitting around the block. Australia’s ‘never say die’ attitude kept us in the game with some awesome scrambling and ensured that we kept point to point with the opposition. 19 – 25
Serve Recieve: Avg Passing Rate: 2.2 , 2 errors
Spiking: 3 kills, 4 errors
Blocking: 3 stuffs, 1 error
Serving: 0 Ace, 1 error

Set Four:
Set Score: 24-26
Serve Recieve: Avg Passing Rate: 2.15, 2 errors
Spiking: 4 kills, 2 errors
Blocking: 4 stuffs, 0 errors
Serving: 1 Ace, 2 errors

Aus VS Idea Volley
Set 1
#1 T.Ryan (S), #2 Nikki Bishop (PH), # 3 B.Carey (M), #4 L.Cory (O), #8 E.Greenwood (PH), #10 J.Gordon (M), #6 K.Evans (L)
The game begins with both teams rallying point for point, hoping to achieve an early lead in the set. Captain, B.Carey leads Australia’s blocking frenzy against the Italians main hitter. Inspirational defensive ups, keeps Australia in the game and boosts the fighting spirit throughout the team. With their end of the set closing in, both teams begin to feel the pressure, but it was the experience of the Italians the prevailed, allowing them a win 25 to 19.

Set 2
#1 T.Ryan (S), #2 Nikki Bishop (PH), # 3 B.Carey (M), #4 L.Cory (O), #8 E.Greenwood (PH), #10 J.Gordon (M), #6 K.Evans (L)
Australia’s strength on the net starts the set of with a series of points, putting Australia into an early lead. Their consistant standards of Australia’s passing allows the team to effectively terminate through the middle, beating the Italian defence. Idea volley’s desperation in floor defense keeps them in the match but it was their aggressive serving that lead them to break away to win 25 to 20.

Set3
#1 T.Ryan (S), #2 Nikki Bishop (PH), # 3 B.Carey (M), #4 L.Cory (O), #5 L.Skipper (PH), #10 J.Gordon (M), #6 K.Evans (L)
Idea Volley kicks of the third set with a strong serve, putting Australia under pressure. Once again the huge blocks from Australia prove quite the challenge for the Italian’s, but they persevere, boosting Australia’s fighting spirit. Australia’s outside hitters continue to put the ball away, but it was the Italian who took the win 25 to 21.
Stat Summary
Once again Australia’s height at the net, prove an advantage with B.Carey and J.Gordon, leading with four stuff blocks each. Austrlaia’s passing was solid with each passer hitter passing above 2.0, K.Evans, N.Bishop, E.Greenwood and L.Skipper. Passer hitters won a lot of points for Australia with their kill rate, with N.Bishop leading with 12 kills.

Australia vs. Modena (4/03/09)

Set 1:
#1 T.Ryan(s), #5 L.Skipper(ph), #10 J.Gordon(m), #4 L.Cory(o), #2 N.Bishop(ph), #3 B.Carey(m)
Australia came out fighting, forcing the first three errors of the game. Italy quickly regained their composure to even out the score. A solid performance by J.Gordon through the middle kept Aus in the game, which was backed up by some tactical setting from T.Ryan. Despite some desperate scrambling the power behind the Modenian offence proved too much for the Aussies with Modena taking the set 18-25.

Set 2:
#1 T.Ryan(s), #5 L.Skipper(ph), #10 J.Gordon(m), #4 L.Cory(o), #2 N.Bishop(ph), #3 B.Carey(m)
Fantastic service reception by libero K. Evans and L. Skipper kept the Aussies attacking consistently. As the Aussies found their rhythm the team fired up with some excellent stuff blocks by Captain B. Carey. The Italian jump floats kept the girls working hard as the Italians slipped into the lead, but perseverance and some inspirational defence had the girls tighten the gap. Modena eventually took the set from the scrambling Aussies 18-25.

Set 3:
#1 T.Ryan(s), #2 N.Bishop(ph), #10 J.Gordon(m), #4 L.Cory(o), #8 E.Greenwood(ph), #3 B.Carey(m)
Australia held the momentum from the start of the third to gain an early lead. The game ran point for point with some smart offence by N. Bishop and desperation in backcourt by E. Greenwood. Setter T.Ryan caught the Italians flat footed with some deceptive tips into the centre of the court allowing the Aussies to hold the lead. Aussies kept their composure to fight for the final points yet went down 21-25.
Set 4:
#1 T.Ryan(s), #2 N.Bishop(ph), #10 J.Gordon(m), #4 L.Cory(o), #8 E.Greenwood(ph), #3 B.Carey(m)
Modena showed their discipline through minimal errors, securing them an early lead with the Aussies unable to match their performance. Consistent serving across the team helped Aus back into the game. The teams rallied with one another but Aus was unable to adapt to the Italian offence, making too many blocking errors. Modena takes the set 17-25.

Set 5:
#12 C.Martin(s),#9 E.Simson(ph), #10 J.Gordon(m), #7 H.Shorter(o), #8 E.Greenwood(ph), #11 L. Upitis(m)
A fresh lineup went on to disturb the Italians momentum. The team fought hard early on and held the scores even until eight all with solid play all around. A change in blocking tactics allowed the Aussies to channel the ball to a desperate backcourt, yet Modena capitalized on the Aussies errors, pulling away to a comfortable 9-15 victory.
Stats:
Passing: N.Bishop (2.06), K.Evans (2.02), L.Skipper (2.30)
Blocking: B. Carey (6 control, 1 stuff)
Serving: B.Carey, N.Bishop, J.Gordon
Spiking: N. Bishop (6 kills), B. Carey, L.Cory

Set One
(1) T.Ryan, (5) L.Skipper, (10) J.Gordon, (7) H.Shorter, (4) L.Cory, (3) B.Carey, (6) K.Evans (libero)
A passing error starts the game off badly but smart play saw Skipper tip into the middle of the court for Australia’s first point. The Aus’ team’s attack was consistent in putting pressure on the opposition but Longara were an experienced side who were able to find holes in the defense. The team fought to the end but were unable to close the point margin, losing the set 17-25.

Set Two
(1) T.Ryan, (5) L.Skipper, (10) J.Gordon, (7) H.Shorter, (2) N.Bishop, (3) B.Carey, (6) K.Evans (libero)
First point of the set goes to Aus thanks to the pressure of Ryan’s serve and the intimidation of the blockers. The girls kept up with the opposition point for point,with some strong hitting by Skipper and H.Cowell. However, several unforced errors allow the Longara team to edge ahead. Australia were unable to make a steady sideout and therefore the team were constantly chasing lost points. The final score was 12-25.

Set Three
(1) T.Ryan, (5) L.Skipper, (10) J.Gordon, (7) H.Shorter, (2) N.Bishop, (3) B.Carey, (6) K.Evans (libero)
14-25
Statistics
Spiking: 5 Kills, 4 errors, 10 in-play
Serve Reception: Passing average of 1.78
Blocking: No Stuffs, 4 errors
Serving: 0 Aces, 2 errors

Set Four
(1) T.Ryan, (5) L.Skipper, (11) L.Upitis, (8) E.Greenwood, (9) E.Simson, (3) B.Carey, (6) K.Evans (libero)
18-25
Set Five
(12) C.Martin, (8) E.Greenwood, (10) J.Gordon, (7) H.Shorter, (2) N.Bishop, (11) L.Upitis, (6) K.Evans (libero)
12-25

Statistics for sets four and five:
Serve recieve: 6 errors, passing avg. 2.05
Spiking: 9 kills, 3 errors
Blocking: 4 stuffs, 3 errors
Serving: 1 Ace, 2 errors

Australia vs. Gio Volley (2/03/09)

Set 1:

T.Ryan, L.Skipper, J.Gordon, H.Shorter, L.Cory, B.Carey, K. Evans (Libero).
Australia got off to a solid start with some strong blocking from Jenelle Gordon and Holly Shorter. Consistent rallies led to a point for point game with some aggressive work through the middle by Beth Carey giving Aus some fresh energy. Some inconsistent passing from Aus allowed Gio Volley to break away giving the Italians a 6 point run, bringing the scores to 15-23. Strong hitting proved too good for Australia’s defence, taking the set, 25-16.

Set 2:
C. Martin, N. Bishop, J. Gordon, E. Greenwood, L. Cory, B. Carey, K. Evans (Libero).
The second set got off to a slow start with inconsistencies from both teams. Gio Volley found their ground early, leaving Aus to chase a large margin. Aus couldn’t gather their composure, allowing the Italians to comfortably secure the set 25-13.

Set 3:
T. Ryan, L. Skipper, L. Upitis, H.Shorter, L. Cory, B. Carey, K. Evans (Libero).
Australia began well with some solid passing by libero Kobi Evans. The Italian offence however proved too good with Australia caught on their heels, unable to pick up their powerful attack. Smart hitting by Aus outside Nikki Bishop, was well supported by strong blocking from fresh player Lydia Upitis. Holly Shorter contributed positively to the score line giving Aus hope. Passive play by Aus allowed the Italians once again to pull away and take the set, Australia losing 11-25.

Set 4:
C.Martin(s), L.Skipper(ph), J.Gordon(m), L.Cory(o), N.Bishop(ph), B.Carey(m), K.Evans (Libero)

Serve reception allowed Aus to set up attacks against the strong Gio Volley team. Lena Skipper and Kobi Evans with excellent defense keeps Aus still in the set. Gio with tough serving evens up the points pushing them in front point by point. Strong serving by Aus and fighting spirit keep them in the match.

Set 5:
C.Martin (s), E.Greenwwod(ph), J.Gordon (m), L.Cory (o), N.Bishop (ph), B.Carey (m), K.Evans (Libero)

Gio volley get away to a impressive start with drilled skills and touches on the ball. The outsides with most of the ball, aggressive hitting couldn’t find a way to beat the big block of Gio Volley. Jenelle Gordon up at the net got many touches on the block giving Australia points when needed. Australia went down 10-25.

Stats:
Passing: K. Evans (1.76) 18 perfect, L.Skipper (1.74)
Spiking: L.Cory, N.Bishop
Blocking: J.Gordon, B.Carey
Serving: B. Carey (2 aces), H. Shorter (2 aces)

Italy Game One: Australia vs. Riza Bologna (1/3/09)
Set One: #5 L. Skipper (OH), #7 H. Shorter (OPP), #1 T. Ryan (S), #2 N. Bishop (OH), #3 B. Carey (M), #4 L. Cory (M), #6 K. Evans (L)
Australia begins the set with a slow start, finding it hard to terminate the ball against the strong Italian defense. With a time out called by Jenny Becker, Australia finally get their rhythm with a run of points. Both teams then start to struggle to side out, leading to long rallies keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats. Riza Bologna quickly picked up their game, responding with a very structured offense, winning them a run of points. Australia continued to chase the Italians, but they rose to the challenge winning the set 25 to 18.
Set Two: #12 C. Martin (S), #8 E. Greenwood (OH), #7 H. Shorter (OPP), #9 E. Simson (OH), #10 J. Gordon (M), #11 L. Uptis (M), #6 K. Evans (L)
Set two begins with both teams playing point for point, Australia fighting hard to earn their advantage on the scoreboard. Despite Australia’s strong blocking, Riza Bologna still manages to put the ball away. Unfortunately, forced errors left the Australian side down, leaving Riza Bologna to win 25 to 13.
Set Three: #5 L. Skipper (OH), #7 H. Shorter (OPP), #1 T. Ryan (S), #2 N. Bishop (OH), #3 B. Carey (M), #4 L. Cory (M), #6 K. Evans (L)
The momentum in the end of the second set carried through to the start of the third, with Riza Bologna dominating from the beginning. Australia’s blocking continues to strive, winning a number of consecutive points. Strong serving by the Australians puts pressure on the Italian attack, but the Australians couldn’t find the rhythm to win the set. Riza Bologna wins 25 to 14.

Stat Summary: Australia’s blocking proved to be the strength of the match, with Captain B. Carey leading the stats with two stuff and nine control blocks. Passing improved throughout the game by L. Skipper, N. Bishop, E. Greenwood, and K. Evans, but it was the consistent serving of H. Shorter and L. Cory that kept Australia alive.

The team arrived in Venice late Sunday afternoon from London and travelled by train early the next morning to Bologna. We are staying just out of Bologna in Anzola Amelia, in apartments above the local police station. The village is quite small and we met the mayor this morning. The whole community is supporting our visit.

The matches in Italy are designed to prepare the team for the series of matches against the Sweden National Junior Womens team, and also show the Aussie athletes another style of volleyball. All the teams we are playing, train between three and five times per week (along with their competition match).

All the clubs we play here have what they call mini volley with squads starting at under 7, under 8, under 9 through to under 12. Between 300 to 500 kids dependng on the size of the club.

Then the clubs have teams representing in the junior volley competitions at  under 13, under 14, under 16 and under 18.

The clubs then compete at the provincial level in Div 1, Div 2 and Div 3; and then onto Regional Serie C and Serie D.

Some of the clubs we play have Serie B1 or B2 teams and of course the creme de la creme (I know it’s french) is the Serie A1 and Serie A2.

There are 16 teams in both Serie A1 and Serie A2; 66 teams in Serie B1 and 112 teams in Serie B2. You can imagine how many teams are competing at the Regional and Provincial Teams, let alone the Junior and Mini Volley around Italy.

The average Italian player starts at age 6 or 7 and belongs to the same club throughout their developing yeras, until they are picked up by a Serie A or Serie B club on salary.

We are training every morning and playing a match each afternoon/evening. We have travelled each day to training and matches. Each host team has agreed to play five compulsory sets, and our matches have lasted between two to two and half hours.

 The match reports will be posted shortly, but it is diffcult gaining internet access in little provincial Italian town and the people have been very generous with their efforts to make us feel at home.