USC Münster can finally plan for a season extension again. The volleyball Bundesliga team had recently missed the playoffs twice, but with the 3:1 (17:25, 25:21, 26:24, 25:18) against Dresdner SC, the independents booked the ticket for the round of the best again eight. Balm for Münster’s volleyball soul. “It feels so good. I’m just happy for the team that deserves this,” said coach Lisa Thomsen and gave a little party order. “We have to enjoy moments like that too.”
A week after winning the point against SSC Palmberg Schwerin, Elena Kömmling was given another mandate for the starting lineup by Thomsen, who saw her team falling behind. The DSC had gained a little breathing space right away and was the more consistent team at the beginning. Munster tried to keep up, but kept getting in the way. Like at 6:8, when first Iris Scholten and then Elena Kömmling missed the field. The gap fluctuated between two and seven points (12:19), after the winner of Dresden’s US blocker Kayla Haneline it was eight at the end of the sentence.
First guided tour through Scholten
No, USC wasn’t really in motion yet. But that changed with the first rally of the second section. Scholten, until then still quite inconspicuous by their standards, gave the independents the first lead of the game. A small initial spark, now Münster took off. Juliane Schröder made it 4:3 with all determination, Scholten completed the 7:4 after a strong defense by setter Katerina Valkova – and let Thomsen jump up on the sidelines. The USC really got into the duel with the DSC, who, like Münster, kept getting closer in the first round (10:12, 17:19), but ultimately couldn’t overtake them. Also because Juliane Schröder was there with two important blocks to 23:19 (against Agnes Pallag) and 24:20 (against Lara Berger) to then personally equalize the set.
Best vibes with La Ola
The 2,200 spectators – so many had never seen a USC home game this season – were enthusiastic and provided the best atmosphere with La Ola. Even the false start of the Independents (0:4) did not let the crowd and the team get down, Münster gradually reduced its deficit. Scholten, who has long been at maximum temperature, reestablished contact with the 12:13, the Schlegel, who also reliably scored, pushed the host past the DSC for the first time in section three (18:17). At least now it was a gripping, balanced encounter, in which Münster also put away the Pallag ace to 20:22 and a little later fended off Dresden’s set ball by Daniela Öhman.
Fleck saves, Berger fails
Now it was getting exciting: Referee Enrico Immig ended a mega rally with a whistle, he had seen a Dresdener reach over – and thus got coach Alexander Waibl storming onto the field in a rage. But the decision stood, set ball Münster. And that was converted by DSC blocker Lara Berger for USC, for whom Libera Zoe Fleck had previously kept the ball in play.
The Thomsen squad also secured a point in the last main round home game, only in the games against Aachen and Stuttgart did USC go away empty-handed. With this feeling in their backs, Münster continued to show strength and were not willing to back down. Schlegel let it rip with a jump serve (6:3), then Kömmling, who played well again, hit twice (10:6) – now the independents were unstoppable.
Schlegel scores, Kömmling blocks
First and foremost Schlegel, who just added three points to her account up to 14:7 (there were 15 in total). But it wasn’t just the Spaniard or top scorer Scholten (25 points) that carried USC to victory – it was the collective that pulled through consistently and as one. The attentive Valkova got her team six match points, Kömmling used the first one with a block against Haneline. Münster is back in the playoffs and can spare itself a tremor on the last main round matchday. And was allowed to enjoy the moment on Saturday evening. At the behest of the trainer.