Jasper Verhamme from first national to cup final: “Menen is stronger than last year”

VOLLEY-BALL

Jasper Verhamme is doing well this season at the highest level at Menen after his transfer from Marke-Webis. — © Bart Vandenbroucke

I’m going

At Decospan Menen they clearly have a nose for young volleyball talent, because on Saturday (3.30 pm) there will probably be two teenagers in the starting team for the second consecutive cup final against Knack Roeselare, with opposite Eliot De Vleeschhauwer and center man Jasper Verhamme.

Last season Basil Dermaux went from provincial to the cup final at Menen, but the unfortunate opposite is now out of action after he tore the anterior cruciate ligaments in his left knee during training with the Red Dragons in August. Yet this time we also find an equally young revelation in the team of trainer-coach Frank Depestele. Jasper Verhamme will only turn 20 next month and played in the first national team for Marke-Webis last season, but has already been in the spotlight several times at the highest level.

“Last season I led the training at Marke-Webis once a week on Wednesday evening,” Jelle Sinnesael, now assistant coach at Decospan Menen, explains Jasper Verhamme’s switch from the first national team to the league club. “I immediately noticed his potential. Barely 18 years old at the time, but physically very strong, volleyball intelligent, driven and eager to learn. I persuaded Frank Depestele to let him train with Menen a few times and our coach was also convinced. The rest – taking the step to a higher level and making a lot of progress to where he is now, in the starting line-up at Menen – Jasper did himself.”

“I learn a lot from an experienced ex-middleman like Jelle Sinnesael,” Verhamme returns the compliments of his mentor. “He helps me enormously with numerous tips, especially in the block organization. When he sees that I am having a more difficult time, he reassures me. You can’t get better extra guidance.”

“We will have to achieve a high level and try to maintain it”

Jasper Verhamme

middle man Menen

And then the recurring final and key question: will the cup final be one? mission impossible for underdog Menen against the all-powerful Roeselare? “If we only reach 99 percent of our best level,” Verhamme concludes realistically. “But I think the current Menen is stronger than last year. We are better equipped in the reception area with Gilles Vandecaveye and Marin Dukic, both serving and attacking. Constant becomes the key word. To have a chance against the top favorite, we will have to reach a high level and try to maintain it.”

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Simon Plaskie (Knack Roeselare) is looking forward to the cup final with much more interest than last season: “Hopefully this time on the field”

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After fifteen years of fruitless trying, now second cup final in a row for Jelle Sinnesael and Menen: “Different function, completely different experience”

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