Heading into Week Two of the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Nations League, there was a lot of buzz and excitement about how the reigning Olympic champion France would perform in the Philippines.
The Roosters were scheduled to face such fine opposition in China, the Netherlands, Japan, and Germany.
After being awarded the China victory on forfeiture due to the Asian sides’ COVID-19 problems to start off the week, the volleyball fans, particularly the Filipino fans, finally saw such world-class athletes in action.
France stamped its class against European rival the Netherlands and fan-favorite Japan both in three sets before they shrugged off Germany in the final assignment in four frames.
Despite the sweep of the Quezon City leg, Olympian and outside hitter Stephen Boyer admitted that they have a lot to work on heading into the final week of pool rounds and, of course, the final round in Bologna, Italy.
Boyer said, “It’s always good to win, but this is not really a good one. What is important, though, is the victory and we’re going to rest. We travel and then start the next games in Japan.
“We always have to improve in everything, including how we focus maybe. It’s hard. Sometimes when you win two sets and in the early morning like in this game, it is important to win to start strong in the first set as we did,” the Jastrzębski Węgiel standout shared.
Complacency is something Boyer and the rest of the French team will look to avoid in their next matches in Japan.
The 26-year-old national squad veteran added, “We have to regroup and restart like what we did in the fourth set for the team to win.”
It was not an ideal week for France, but a sweep is a sweep and the volleyball powerhouse are savoring this experience in front of a very appreciative Filipino crowd in a very historic venue like the SMART Araneta Coliseum
He ended, “It was nice to play here in this gym as this is famous around the world. And the people here in the Philippines are very fond of volleyball.
“It was a great feeling to play here.”