Team GB women’s volleyball coach Audrey Cooper has hailed her side’s performance despite going down in straight sets to Russia in the Olympic Volleyball Tournament at Earls Court on Saturday.
In front of an excited home crown, GB went down 25-19, 25-10, 25-16 to Russia, whose Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was watching.
Great Britain made a good start in the first set, going 2-0 and 3-1 up, and staying level with the Russian side thanks to the spiking of Savanah Leaf, Grace Carter, Rachel Bragg and captain Lynne Beattie.
But the Russians’ quality began to show, with Ekaterina Gamova and Nataliya Goncharova scoring several huge spikes from back court and blocking well at the net as they took the set 25-19. Russia dominated the second set from the start, while Great Britain made a series of mistakes. Despite some good moments from Beattie they couldn’t keep pace.
GB started better in the third set, keeping the scoring tight with Beattie and Ciara Michel hitting impressive spikes. But Gamova and Goncharova were dominant, and Perepelinka grounded spikes as well as contributing excellent blocks and sets and went on to win 25-16.
“I asked the girls to come out of the blocks straight away, particularly how we came out and took on the big blocks,” said Cooper. “The girls performed very, very well and we now look forward to the next match.”
And Beattie added: “I can’t describe the feeling of walking out in front of 15,000 fans, it’s a historic moment. We made it tough for Russia at times and I’m very pleased with our performance. “We never gave up, we kept fighting and we showed the character of the team. We were up level with them midway into the first set.”
Photos Courtesy of FIVB