By Yash Mudgal/Doha
Three times they were denied, but Al Rayyan are not bridesmaids anymore.
Emir Cup champions Rayyan, who wore the Tamim Al Majd mural on their shirts, rallied to beat QVL champion Police 3-1 to lift Super Cup volleyball yesterday.
“It’s a good beginning for the new season,” Rayyan coach Carlos Schwanke said.
For three successive years, Super Cup, the season-opener, featured domestic powerhouse Al Arabi against Al Rayyan and on all the three occasions, the former did not allow latter to win the title beating them 3-0, 3-1 and 3-1, respectively.
It was Rayyan’s hard work which paid off yesterday at the renovated indoor hall of the QVA headquarters and Schwanke gave full credit to the boys’ preseason hard work.
“We were determined to make it to the finish line this year and for that we have put in hard work in the preseason. Our preparations started in August for the title which was eluding us since last three years,” the Brazilian said, while celebrating with his boys.
Schwanke also admitted his team had some chinks in their armour and they have to repair them before the league starts.
“I know we have some issues to deal with before we are fully ready for the season. We are lacking in the skill, but I hope this win will boost our belief and we will be ready for the competition soon,” he said.
Police won the first set 25-20 in 30 minutes, but Rayyan regrouped and came back strong in the second. Rayyan started off the set on a positive note, and after staying neck and neck at 19-all, they inched forward to a one-point led at 22-21, before clinching it 25-23.
In the third set, Rayyan took the three-point lead for the first time in the match at 17-14 and from there on gave no chance to the cops by winning third and fourth sets 25-22, 25-23 respectively.
For Rayyan, Marcus scored 18 points, while their professional player Ivan Borounjak added 17.
Borounjak hailed the morale-boosting victory ahead of the QVA league, which starts from November 20.
“It is a very big win for us. I am happy to be part of the title win,” Ivan said.
But he also echoed his coach’s opinion that they need to improve a lot for a good result in the season.
“We won our first title today. But we should not be overconfident as we know we have to address some issues urgently to get better results,” the Serbian said.
Police coach Damian Arredondo also gave credit to Rayyan players.
“We were playing the Super Cup for the first time and we knew it will be a tough one for us. As we all know Rayyan is a big team with so many titles and they played well at the crucial points and won the title.”
For Police, Mads scored the match-high 22 points.
The one-off Super Cup was played with new rules. Earlier, the teams were allowed to field one professional and four resident players, apart from the locals. Starting this season, the number of resident players is being reduced to three and it is expected to be two in the next term, with an aim of grooming more local players.
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