Volleyball team finish off with defeat
August 6, 2012 18:46 pm
Great Britain's men were left to reflect on their Olympic volleyball campaign as Argentina whitewashed them with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-15) win in their final group game.
There are still positives to take from their campaign. Star man Dami Bakare eventually arrived at the party after a slow, nerve-riddled start - he was as brilliant here as he was against Poland on Saturday - while the likes of libero Dan Hunter and Nathan French also end in credit.
Beating Argentina had never been coach Harry Brokking's aim before the tournament - Australia and Bulgaria were the sides he had targeted - and so it panned out, with the South Americans overhauling Australia for the final qualifying place in Pool A in the process.
GB went 4-0 down - Mark Plotyczer committing two errors - when Brokking hauled them off. Argentina then got out to 9-3 and 12-5 before Britain started a fightback, with Bakare twice finding the ground and Chris Lamont also shutting down the dangerous Pablo Crer at the net.
And although Argentina always had it in their arsenal to pull back away from their hosts - Facundo Conte taking it to them - Britain remained competitive, with Bakare inspired off the floor. Luck was not on their side either, with Plotyczer's block on Crer inching out, but Argentina did not need fortune and, despite towering spikes from Jason Haldane and Mark McGivern, took the set 25-18.
Brokking's men started the second set better than they had the opener, leading 2-1 when a Crer serve went long, but they were quickly 7-3 down when Conte's serve knocked Andrew Pink off his feet and Hunter made a reception error.
But Bakare got his arm moving again to spike twice back to 6-9, although Argentina always retained the ability to rack up points on the reel and, thanks to their brilliant libero Alexis Gonzalez, they were soon 13-6 ahead.
But a Chris Lamont block started a run of five straight British points which included brilliant retrievals from McGivern and Joel Miller and when Pink rose to tip a winner, it was 12-14. Bakare got wild, though, and spiked wide and another long run of Argentinean points followed.
Even then McGivern and Pink refused to give in and touched the floor with more power-hitting, although their efforts were ultimately in vein as Rodrigo Quiroga spiked to 25-18. Having not won a set all Games it was almost improbable that GB would recover three of them and they started the third as though they knew, sloping to a 7-11 deficit despite a Kieran O'Malley spike.
The majority of their points were coming from poor Argentinean passing, though, and when a Sebastian Sole serve was allowed to land a yard inside the line, it summed up the last nine days for Brokking and his squad. Bakare offered some resistance up high but whether it was he, McGivern, Pink or Jason Haldane who leapt above the net, they found Crer, Sole and Ivan Castellani waiting for them as Argentina saw it out 15-25.
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