Al Rayyan begin season with Super Cup triumph
Defending League champions Police falter in season opener against superior rivals, go down in straight sets.
Al Rayyan sent out strong signals of what their rivals could expect when the 2019-2020 Qatar Volleyball League gets underway from Friday. In the Super Cup encounter at the Al Arabi Sports Club on Saturday, Al Rayyan scored a thumping 25-21, 30-28, 25-22 win over Police.
The set scores might look close, especially the second, but that did not really capture the dominating performance of Al Rayyan on the day.
While Al Rayyan coach Carlos Eduardo Schwank was happy with the win, he was keen the team maintains the momentum for the duration of the league.
Al Rayyan bt Police 25-21, 30-28, 25-22
“Our blocks and counter-attacks were good but we made too many errors. We can’t afford to do that during the league. But we’ve been together for just two weeks and I’m sure we can work on our mistakes during the season”.
Police coach Damian Arredondo said his players were just beginning to build a rapport.
“I have six players on the court and three of them are new. We need to play together more to develop that understanding. Al Rayyan had the edge as the players have been playing together for the whole of last season and they had just one new player on the court.”
Arredondo was spot on with his analysis and right through the match that was what made the difference.
Milos, who has been exceptional as the national team’s setter, did not have to try too hard at the net for Al Rayyan. He had Bilal Abounbout and Ahmed Jalal for company. Both the players are also part of the national team and they knew exactly how and where Milos would set them up for the smashes. That advantage almost killed whatever hope Police had of staging a comeback.
Police’s best chance was in the second set. Silly errors by Al Rayyan allowed them leeway and they fought back from 22-24 to level at 25-25. Poor serves and rare lack of coordination at the net by Rayyan allowed Police to draw level at 27-27. But Police were also hit by nerves and they could not hold on as Rayyan, helped by Ahmed’s smashes and Bilal’s clever placements, won the set at 30-28.
The third set saw Police trying their best to stay in the match, but Rayyan’s foreign recruits came to their aid. Marco Ferreira, who did not have a great first two sets, saw his smashes and serves winning Rayyan points in the third. Marco Vikasinovic, who played a key role right through the match, defending and coming up with clever placements, unleashed fierce smashes as well and Rayyan trooped out 25-22 winners.