Ward Van Dyck faces a crucial diptych with Haasrode Leuven, starting with Aalst: “On a mental level, we really have to make a stand now.”
12 de February, 2024
Volleyball Lotto Volley League: Haasrode Leuven
Haasrode Leuven, currently sixth in the rankings, faces a decisive dip to ensure its place in the Champions’ Play-offs. Despite six defeats in a row, the people of Leuven still have their fate in their own hands. With crucial matches against Aalst and Borgworm on the programme, the pressure on VHL is intense.
Breaking that negative spiral, that really has to happen now for Haasrode Leuven, which almost no longer knows what winning is. What a stark contrast to the beginning of this season, when the people of Leuven were still considered among the challengers of big favorite Roeselare. And yet the calf has not yet drowned, because miraculously they still have their fate in their own hands – with two home games against Aalst and Borgworm ahead of them. “We still believe in it, especially because we had excellent preparation for this diptych,” says reception corner player Ward Van Dyck. “Now that key players Hendrik Tuerlinckx and Simon Peeters can train fully again, there is a good atmosphere and we are ready to compete. In the dressing room the cups are still looking up, even though we realize that it is five to twelve.”
Yet Van Dyck is not blind to the shortcomings of the past few weeks, in which VHL repeatedly lost a reassuring lead. “I especially think it’s bad that we make it so difficult for ourselves. Like against my ex-team Achel, when we threw away a 0-2 lead. This should never happen and we realize that. We have to show our best side against Aalst. On a mental level, we really have to make a stand sometimes.”
Seeing old acquaintances again
Still, the arrival of the Onions inspires quite a bit of fear. Agreed, they surprisingly lost to Menen last match day, but before that they recorded a series of nine victories in a row, resulting in a good second place. Moreover, with Berre Peters, Bert Dufraing and Lennert Beelaert, there are three players who were very popular with the Leuven team last year and without a doubt want to show themselves again. What a contrast with VHL. Van Dyck: “Aalst is strong, there is no discussion about that. I also remember the return match (3-0 defeat, ed.) right after our European trip to the Serbian Partizan Belgrade. We didn’t have it under the market at the time. But if our serve-reception is up to standard and we can keep their imposing center out of the game, we certainly have a chance. Of course we are under pressure, but we are playing at home and must finally believe in ourselves again and dare to go for every point. We still have everything in our own hands and that is important.”