Netherlands v USA – 1989

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The following clip is from a friendly match between The Netherlands and USA in around July / August 1989.

After winning the second Olympic Gold Medal in 1988 the USA changed their staff and had a pretty big turnover of players.  Marv Dunphy returned to Pepperdine and Doug Beal’s 1984 assistant Bill Neville took over as Head Coach. Craig Buck and Doug Partie finished their careers.  One of the first friendly series they played in the new constellation they played The Netherlands in USA winning the series.  At the end of that series, Karch Kiraly and Steve Timmons also left the team.  The remaining Gold Medallists Jeff Stork and Bob Ctvrtlik led a team of new players who immediately flew to Europe to play a return series.  They lost all matches.

After reaching a surprisingly 5th place at the Seoul Olympics, the Netherlands core group led by Peter Blange and Ron Zwerver and coached by Arie Selinger stayed together with a view to 1992, where they would win an even more surprising silver medal. The core group played in this match.

I saw one of the matches in this series, although not this one.  Among my recollections of the match and the VIP experience I had of it were:

…Adam Johnson’s uncanny ability to hit really hard and always find the block for a point to The Netherlands.  For example in the first action of this video.

…Bob Ctvrtlik’s uncanny ability to hit so soft you had no idea how he could score a point except he always found his way past the block and onto the floor.

Arie Selinger was due to finish his role in the next few weeks and the air was full of talk about his potential successor.  The names in play, at least in public, were Doug Beal, the Swede Anders Kristiansson and Selinger’s assistant Harry Brokking.  I remember clearly one local official telling me it would probably be Brokking, but that it would be a bad idea because Dutch players are difficult to work with and they needed another foreigner to get the best out of them.  Brokking became the coach.  Selinger returned to lead the team to the silver medal in 1992.

Click for more Matches From History

Tagged: Doug Beal, USA Volleyball, Dutch Volleyball, Peter Blange

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