I had a close call in a social tournament a few years ago. We played against a pair of young girls who were playing in the men’s draw. They were national Champs the following season, so they were both decent players.
We went in pretty casual assuming it would be an easy win, and decided to peel on every ball, because they were not big enough to hit on the mens net. Surprisingly it was harder work than I thought. They were slicing and dicing and we just weren’t making good enough digs.
To cut a long story short, we got to about 12 – 12 and it finally dawned on me… “Why did I think we should thrash these girls?” Answer: “because we were bigger than they were.” Our advantage was our net game, not our back court game. I started blocking everything I could, and stuffed just about every shot they tried to play. I think we won about 21 – 15. The truth is that they were training just about every day, and I was training about once a week. They were fitter and faster than us, and their skills were probably better than ours.
The moral of the story is: Don’t play small against a small team. If you have an advantage on the net, use it, even if the other team never hits, don’t peel unless the set is off. Blocking a shot is always on if you slow down your timing, jump late and watch the attacker carefully.
When siding out against a team like this, set tight to the net and blast away high and deep.