News24

SA beaten in volleyball

2004-08-16 16:33

Athens - Argentina (Mariano Baracetti and Martin Conde) beat South Africa (Gershon Rorich and Colin Pocock) 21-14 and 21-15 in the men's volleyball.

There are as many teams ranked between the South African pairing of Gershon Rorich and Colin Pocock and their Argentinean opponents Mariano Baracetti and Martin Conde as there are states in America but the game between the two was as often as close as the American Presidential election race.

In both sets they matched the sixth ranked pairing blow for blow in the opening stages. In the first it was until 12-9 before the experience of the Puma's showed and they closed the set out on 21-14, in the second it was until 13-10 until the Argentineans surged ahead to finish the match on 21-15.

The larger than life difference between the two teams was the service of Mariano Baracetti who bolted 85km/h shots across the net with regularity, forcing the South Africans onto the back foot on every occasion.

"They whack that ball hard, especially with a little wind which makes the serve dip quickly; it is difficult to pick up. Look, Gershon is the biggest server back home but out here is one of the slowest, that's the difference", explained Pocock.

Not bad for beginners

"You can't ask for more than this, we have played the world circuit for just thee months, they have been out there for twelve years, they won the World Champs in 2001. Before we started the world tour we where ranked 140th we then got it down to the thirties and based on our last results against Greece we should end up close to seventeen, not bad for a bunch of beginners.

"We went into the Olympics with one goal in mind, that is to do South African Beach Volleyball proud and I think we have achieved that goal. When we played Greece, it was in front of 8 000 spectators and prime time TV back home, you cannot buy that sort of exposure.

"This is the most marketable sport of any of the Olympic sports and it is cheap, all you need is a ball and a net, enthused Pocock.

In their next match against the sixteenth ranked Portuguese team on Wednesday they need to win or at least take one set off them to make it into the next round of sixteen.