The volleyball players of Samen Lycurgus from Groningen lose in a titanic battle against leader Dynamo in Apeldoorn with a 3-2 loss

The volleyball players of Samen Lycurgus delivered a titanic battle against leader Dynamo in Apeldoorn. After five sets, the Groningen team just lost 3-2

There was a lot at stake in Lycurgus’ away match against Dynamo from Apeldoorn. It was a battle between the numbers one and two of the championship pool. With a 3-0 or 3-1 win by Lycurgus, the Groningen team would take over the lead from Dynamo. The men of coach Arjan Taaij were something in the first set, which resulted in a 21-25 set win for Lycurgus.

Few things mattered. The concentrated playing Groningers served better, were more effective offensively and had the initiative. But the difference in strength between the two teams was not great. As a result, Dynamo, with former Lycurgus player Erik van der Schaaf in its ranks, was able to fight back after falling behind.

The first set after referee decision to Lycurgus

With the score 20-20, it came down to the important points. In the final phase of the first set, Geoffrey van Gent, who started again in the base, was important with hard placed services. The American Kyle McCauley made a smashing difference. But it was game distributor Markus Held who then brought Lycurgus to the set point with a nice action with 21-24. He stuck out his arm in a strange way during a hard smash, returning the ball hard over the net, unreachable for the Dynamo defense. The set was then won by Lycurgus, after the referee had noted a net error by Dynamo.

Dynamo took it a step further in the second set for its own audience. The Apeldoorners, who had their best and most dangerous players in diagonal player Martijn Brilhuis and passer-runner Ramon Martinez Gion, were the parent for a while. That forced Lycurgus coach Taaij to intervene. For example, he replaced the somewhat slumped Van Gent with the Canadian diagonal player Jacob Kern. He immediately showed himself with a service ace.

At 22-22 it could still go either way, but Dynamo won the set. Lycurgus reached the set point 24-25 through his American captain Ryan Coenen, but the score was equalized again by a net service. The home team then fought their way to set point 27-26. That was redeemed by Dynamo because McCauley smashed outside the lines. With 28-26 for the home team it became 1-1.

The third set is also fought on the cutting edge

The third set was also fought on the cutting edge between two teams that did not give each other any presents. Even now it went to the hole again. At 20-19 for the Apeldoorners, Lycurgus coach brought in another game divider with Tieme de Jong. But it was Van der Schaaf who hurt his old team with some devastating blows. With a 23-22 lead for Dynamo as a result.

The team from Apeldoorn came to the set point with 24-23 and coach Taaij called his players together for a time-out. Kern beat the Groningen team to 24-24. The well-playing middle man Niels de Vries brought Lycurgus to a 24-25 lead with a beautiful block. But the exciting duel was not decided yet. That only happened with a 25-26 lead for the visitors. The strongly blocking Luuk Hofhuis was once again impossible to pass: 25-27 and 1-2 for Lycurgus.

Canadian Core important in the final phase, but the fourth set is still lost

The fourth set was also exciting. Lycurgus came a few points couldn’t prevent Dynamo to come alongside and then lead 16-14. Reason for Taaij to call the Groningen team to the side again for a time-out. The coach also brought passer-runner Maarten Bartels into the team. That could not prevent the home team from entering the final phase with a 20-17.

Dynamo fought for what it was worth to avoid a 3-1 loss. Thanks to a strong service series with an ace from captain Coenen, Lycurgus regained the initiative. Through the strong blocking Kern, the Groningen team led 21-22. But the battle was not over yet. Via 23-23, 25-25, 26-26, 27-27 and 28-27. Dynamo won the set with a touched smash 29-27. With a 2-2 tie, the fifth set had to bring the decision.

Coenen started a bit unlucky for Lycurgus, so that Dynamo took a 3-0 lead. Partly thanks to a hitting Kern, Lycurgus tied the score at 4-4. The Groningen team then steamed on to an 8-10 lead and already smelled the victory. But in style, the home team leveled the score at 10-10 and even led 11-11 via a net error.

It was again ‘too close to call’. With 13-13 there was no winner yet. With 14-13, Dynamo reached match point after a touched smash. That was then used with a hard blow by former Lycurgus player Erik van der Schaaf. The Groningen team has at least one point left after the 3-2 loss and remains second in the championship group.