One win was all that separated us from the 7th and 8th seed so we needed to win against Monthey. If we finished in the 8th position we would play 1st place Lugano. After the Monthey victory, a reported asked me if we were trying to avoid Lugano. I was a little bothered by the question. As an athlete and as a person, I never try to avoid any challenge put in front of me. Also, as a competitor, I always want to finish in the best possible position. I would never try to avoid anything if it meant winning or losing. We came in to Monthey to win and secure the 7th seed and that was what we did.
With the 7th seed secured and the match ups set, we had to prepare for Vacallo. The league schedule allowed us to have 2 weeks off. Coach took it easy on us in practice by having the conditioning coach came in so we could run and stay in shape without any contact. He also gave us a 3 day weekend so we could rest up and heal any injuries. During that time span we also played a friendly game against Lugano so we could shake the rust off and try some new things out.
Playing against Vacallo meant that we would have a derby for the first round of the playoffs. A derby is the Euro word for cross town rivalry game. The atmosphere at the derbies are always exciting. The fans are always banging drums, blowing air horns and singing. It is pretty cool to be a part of.
We started the best of 5 series on Sunday at Vacallo. Going into the game we knew that it was going to be tough without Dan but our awful play did not help the situation. Vacallo is a well coached team and they were ready for us. They disrupted our offense by ball pressure, getting into the passing lanes and double teams. It was probably our worst game of the year. Nothing went right for us.
The good thing though is that it is not a 1 game series. We have another shot at them on Wednesday and we had a great practice last night with a lot of intensity. I think we will come ready to play for Game 2.