The RC Cannes girls can!

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13th September 2015

The Copper Box Arena in London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park does not appear to be French in any way, but for French sports people it is the best venue in the world. RC Cannes became the latest Gallic side to taste success at “The Box that Rocked”, following in the footsteps of the French men’s handball team who claimed gold at the London 2012 Olympics. Though Stratford today was overcast and not at all like the sunny Mediterranean coast where they normally play, RC Cannes could not have found themselves more at home. Their game was superb right across the court and their quality and big match experience shone through in a thrilling four set encounter against German side Schweriner SC; to enable them to claim the womens' prize in the inaugural London Legacy Volleyball Cup. The final set had seen Marika Bianchini's aerial dominance and powerful serves guide Cannes to within touching distance of the podium. When gravity took its course, enabling the Cote d'Azur side to claim the spoils by 25 to 21, they hugged and congratulated each other on a job well done.

 

RC Cannes occupied the centre ground on their way to claiming the first set in their Polish Pilots Cup Final against Schweriner SC. After getting off to a slow start and trailing their German opponents 2-6, they repeatedly profited from a series of blocks and aggressive shots from near the middle of the net. Myriam Kloster and Rachel Sanchez Perez were involved in most of RC Cannes finer points of play and they helped the French ladies to establish a 14-10 lead. The German GPS system seemed to have developed a malfunction, as their shots frequently landed beyond the baseline. They did save one set point, but it was only delaying the inevitable, and RC Cannes settled it 25 to 20.

 

The second set followed the same pattern as the first with the Germans establishing a 13-10 lead, before again succumbing to a catalogue of errors. Far too many times they gifted the Mediterranean side easy points through wayward shots and miscommunication around the net. The French team, by contrast were not in charitable mood and remained rock solid throughout the set. Nadia Kodola powering through the centre, on the rare occasions when the French thought it prudent not to rely in German generosity. Cannes once again had the luxury of being able to waste a set point, before finally prevailing by the exact same margin as the first set.

 

It was a familiar look to the scoreboard as the third set again finished 25-20. However Schweriner breathed life into the match by being the ones to claim the majority of the points. The set boiled down to a personal dual between Sanchez Perez and Ariel Turner. Turner's influence had not really made a difference to the game until this point. However the American's frequent incursions from the right hand side of the court, saw her garnish eight points for her adopted German team.

 

The fourth set once again saw Turner excel, with the scores tied at 12 apiece Schweriner harboured genuine hopes of forcing the deciding set. However, the errors crept back into their game. A succession of aces and RC Cannes were at match point, this time there would be no temporary reprieve. The Southern European side had once again established a French connexion with the Copper Box Arena.