Friday, 22 September 2023

International Volleyball

What. A. Comeback. Flint-Scoles stun world No. 1 Ana Patricia and Duda

What. A. Comeback. Flint-Scoles stun world No. 1 Ana Patricia and Duda

Throw away the script, Mr. Director. These stories ought to be believable, you know? And this one, well, it’s not exactly the believable sort, is it? Ana Patricia and Duda Lisboa, the world champs, the top-ranked team on the planet, the one with four straight podiums and two consecutive wins, giving up a 14-9 lead in the third set?

Well, that’s just a bit ridiculous.

Only two people in the world might buy that type of storyline. Their names are Betsi Flint and Julia Scoles. And even they might not have bought the script, in all honesty.

“Definitely some disbelief at the end,” Flint admitted.

And yet we better all believe it, for that’s exactly what happened in Montreal on Saturday afternoon. Flint and Scoles engineered the comeback of the year, if not the decade — and pardon the hyperbole, but if you know a better comeback, we’re happy to field all nominations — extending their timely Cinderella run even further, into Sunday’s semifinals, where they’ll get two cracks at their first medal of the season.

How, it begs asking, did Flint and Scoles mount a five-match-point comeback against a team that doesn’t allow such things?

“Honestly,” Flint said afterwards, “I blacked out. I need to go re-watch it.”

For those of you without a Volleyball TV subscription, or for those of you who also happened to black out during the madness, it goes something like this.

First, you spot the best team in the world leads of 5-2, 8-4, even 11-4. You suffer from trickle aces, blocks, bump kills. You see the other team laughing, giggling. They get lackadaisical at times, Duda attempting three over-on-one kills in a span of two points. Flint chases one down and gets an accidental over-on-one kill of her own.

The score is 12-5 and nobody, least of all Ana Patricia and Duda, seem all that concerned. Ana Patricia chuckles, shrugs. Flint goes over on one again, this time on purpose, to draw it to 12-6. Again, Duda and Ana Patricia laugh. They have double Flint and Scoles’ total points, after all, and are just three away from sealing the match. The threat is not a serious one.

There are aces and swings and errors and the match sort of moseys on, to 14-9. It is only a matter of time. But she’s a gritty one, Flint.

“We know sets aren’t over until they are over,” she said, sounding very much like the fine coach she once was for Loyola Marymount.

So she pops a high line and sneaks an ace on Ana Patricia to draw it to…

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