The crowd was crammed in, unintentionally huddled together from the winter wind. It spoke a language of drumbeats and collective movement. Peru was in the audience today. The national anthem was a cohesive love song, and it began the trend of screaming Spanish words and chanting country names. We were not in our own house, or anywhere near it for that matter. We had to create our own home + comfort.
The first set felt foreign, and we as a team struggled to be cohesive. Passes that should have been dimed were shanked, and hits found their way to the magnetic field of the outside of the court. There was a clear struggle that killed the energy and and hinted at showing the white flag of surrender. The score finaled at a total of 25-15.
The next set, however, we held our heads up and snubbed off the memory of any unforced errors we had. The crowd no longer held our confidence in their hands; we decided to take it back and hold it in our own hands. It was a game of tug-of-war between our white jerseys and the Peruvian flags in the crowd. There were fights at the net, as we began to respond to their heavy-hitting offense with some massive blocks; Perrin getting us 17 touches and Royal blocking 13. As our hands were pushed into their faces over the net, our aggressiveness began to get pushed onto them. We ended the set with some unfortunate missed serves over 20, and the score finished in Peru´s favour at 25-21.
The second set continued with the same energy, and both teams brought in momentum from the previous set to feed their desire to win. During this set I believe Team Canada achieved its motto of playing free. Our ability to sideout during this set is what kept us alive and challenging both ourselves and the home team. Kelci French ran our offense like clockwork, using the precision and confidence she brings to ensure every hitter was playing at their best. Nearing the end of the third set, the match was point-for-point volleyball; even the concession men stopped their sales and were only concerned about the game. Despite the battle, Peru stole the set at 26-24.
The fourth set was the same story as the past two sets. There was fight; there was desire; there was drive; but ultimately we made just a few more mistakes than the opposing side. Our job of representing the country was done well as we continued to bully Peru into playing their utmost, put up blocks the size of Cuba, and played an incredible match of volleyball. Kristen Moncks in all her defensive glory shone with 12 digs, and limbs that simply flew in any direction the ball was going. During this game we truly proved to ourselves that we as a team can compete at an international level and that Canada is not to be underestimated. The fourth and final set landed in the Peruvian´s laps, at 25-22. The crowd, of course, left the building dancing. We know our time to dance will come soon.
Also - I´m trying to post pictures so please have patience with the internet here!