Close Call at Volleyball: Lady Hawks vs. Panthers
The EABH Lady Hawks faced the EARJ Panthers at an intense match of volleyball this afternoon, starting at 12:45 at the Gávea Campus' lower court — an open space with a beautiful view of the green, dense mountains of Rio de Janeiro. It was a long game; two hours, five sets, two of which EABH won, and two of which they lost by two points. It was a really close match, one that the Lady Hawks beautifully dominated and only lost track of at the very end.
The first set started with a serve by EARJ, but we were the ones who scored. It started with 1x1, then 2x2, but eventually the Panthers took a far lead off the scoreboard. Though Annie (12) was serving beautifully, and Brunna Gontijo (16) was showing her fierce in attacks, EARJ's team was more organized and won with a 12 point advantage (scoreboard 12x21). In the second set, the Lady Hawks started scoring yet again; they were much more attentive and managed to get into the Panther's heads, resulting in many serves directly into the net or out of the court. Marcela Borlido (5) stepped in with a borderline uncatchable serve — her first, but not last of the game — and, suddenly, the scoreboard was at 6x2. The Lady Hawks managed to make the Panthers constantly run across the court, and in their exhaustion the point disparity between the teams only increased. The set was closed at 21x12, with yet another amazing serve by Marcela, making the game a tie.
The third set started with a controversial point by the Panthers: the player's hand had allegedly crossed the net in her attempt to ace, but they still scored. Regardless of the situation, EABH showed much more determination and passion for the sport than EARJ; the opponents were in their nerves, missing easy plays. Brunna Gontijo, for the lack of a better word, destroyed the other team in this one. As the score was 18x13 for our girls, they started to have more fun; the audience was chanting, very supportive, and many hugs were being thrown around. The final score was 21x16, giving the Lady Hawks an upper hand. The tranquility made them loosen up, most likely unconsciously, and the following set was more complicated. EARJ took an advantage of four points right at the start, 4x7, and it was difficult to recover. Through Lydia Pfile's (13) assertive serves, Annie's educated cuts, and an ace by Marcela, they managed to approach the scoreboard. Unfortunately, EARJ tied the game yet again by closing this set at 19x21.
The highest moment of the game, the tie-break, had arrived: the fifth and final set. Julia Ribeiro (3) was the first player to touch the ball, in a serve that became a long play, and ended with Brunna Gontijo scoring for EABH, 1x0. Both teams were undoubtedly more focused than ever, making this set the most intense out of all. The scoreboard remained very equal throughout, not showing a difference of more than two points at any time. After it was marked 10x10, everyone was, and showed themselves to be, extremely nervous; both teams started serving into the net or out of the court quite frequently. It was 12x12, and 13x13, until EARJ got their advantage at 13x14 and won the match point. This loss was harsh on the Lady Hawks because of how well they played, arguably much better than the Panthers. Nonetheless, they are still in fierce pursuit for the bronze medal, and will definitely give their best tomorrow.