Kirk and Jason where the highlight of day 2. Thanks to Josh and Shachty beating Canada, and Germany also beating Canada, there was still a chance for our Kiwi friends to sneak through as third in the pool (by beating Canada – Cadieux-Lelliott CAN). Unfortunately we missed the game, but they won 2-0 (22-20, 27-25). This win put them into a play off with Austria’s Gosch-Horst AUT  to get through to the quarter finals. And of course, being in Austria, this was a center court affair.
Center court in Klagenfurt is packed. Always. There is no morning period where the stands are mostly empty as the fans slowly rock up. These guys camp 50 meters from the entrance and stand in queu from 5 O’clock in the morning to get a seat. Luckily, this game was last game of the day, and a few people had started to leave, so Alisa and I got in.
It was ugly. Eight thousand screaming for Austria, and me and three other blokes, (who I bumped into outside the stadium afterwards) screaming for New Zealand.
The first set went to plan. 21 – 15. Second set was a lot tighter. For a while the Austrian’s where up, but Jason made a few great servers and transition plays, and Kirk got a block, and they were back. Finally, the Austrian served, at 19 – 20. Match point for NZ. Jason made a perfect pass, Kirk put up a nice set, and Jason hit a half paced line shot which hit the sand at about the same time that a foam seat pad, thrown from the crowd, did…
Jason was, not surprisingly, pretty pissed off and for a moment looked like he might be about to pick a fight with 8,000 Austrians. They settled down for the serve again, this time things went pair shaped, and for a moment I had a very bad feeling. An ugly pass became a crappy set, the shot got half shanked by Gosch, and ended up on the net in a joust between Kirk and Horst, and thanks to Karma, the Austrian went fishing. Net touch, Game set and match, New Zealand. Sweeeeet!!!
Because Willie and Stein finished top of their pool, by finishing off Babich-Mykhaylov UKR (21-11, 16-21, 20-18), their only real test in pool play, they got a direct entry into tomorrows second round, so I guess they spent the afternoon watching Inspector Rex and eating cheese filled sausages.
Josh and Schachty pulled out and forfeited their last pool match and their second round game against GEO. That will send GEO to meet Kirk and Jason in the quarter final tomorrow.