Super 8s Round Up
22nd November 2016
Super 8s Round-up - 19-20 November
Back in action following a weekend of mostly Cup fixtures, Super 8s teams around the country played some superb volleyball, the top teams continued with their winning streaks and there were two brilliant 5-set mid-table clashes in both the mens and womens divisions.
Saturday 19 November
Sheffield Hallam 3 v Solent 1 (25-22, 25-21, 20-25, 25-17)
London Docklands 1 v Wessex M1 3 (16-25, 25-22, 17-25, 15-25)
London Docklands Volleyball played their final match of 2016 at the weekend and their last one at Sobell due to the north London venue having renovations in the New Year. Up until Saturday Docklands had enjoyed a 70% win record at Sobell but the visitors Wessex proved too strong on this occasion and went away with a 3-1 victory.
Set one started disastrously for Docklands with Wessex's Olly Batt producing a probing run of serves whikst Docklands' hitters made errors from the unbalanced positions they found themselves in. Wessex were ahead 8-2 in a flash and Docklands found themselves already chasing the set. Docklands captain Andrew Pink started to have some success at the net with Bruno Lusic and Flavien Hias also making points but it wasn't enough to close the gap and Wessex took the set 25-16.
The second set proved to be Docklands' highlight with some controlled power hitting and exceptional blocking to take the game back to Wessex. Docklands led 13-9 when Wessex coach Andy Jones took his first time-out of the match. His side responded with some excellent power hitting of their own, Miguel Espinzoa and Andrea Ivanov standing out. Docklands were 16-12 up at the second technical time-out but Wessex recovered to 16-15 with Matt Hunter applying pressure on from the service line. The game then entered its most competitive period with neither side able to gain the upper hand. But after a Docklands' time-out at 22-21 down, Hias killed the ball and then found his serving head to help his side to a 25-22 second set win.
Docklands sprinted into a 3-0 lead at the start of set three with the serving of Jean-Baptiste Arzounian causing the Wessex passing unit problems from the get-go. However, Docklands couldn't maintain the pressure and a beguiling run of serves from Harry Jones helped Wessex go 8-5 up. Wessex continued to dominate, not allowing Docklands any foothold in the set. In the end Wessex cantered to a 25-17 third set win and left Docklands with a mountain to climb.
The fourth set started well for Docklands, again taking a three-point lead at 4-1. But another run of Jones' serves was the catalyst for another Wessex recovery. It was during his run that disaster struck for Docklands. At 5-4 Wessex, Lusic landed awkwardly with a suspected calf tear and without a suitable replacement on the bench, coach Andy Hopper was forced to rejig his side's set-up, making Kieran O'Malley an emergency opposite hitter. Wessex took full advantage and before Docklands were able to adjust properly, the visitors were 15-6 ahead and on their way to a comfortable victory.
The win meant Wessex leapfrogged Docklands into fourth place in the table. Docklands now have almost two months off before their next match on 15th January against London Lynx. Pink commented, "It's hard to put your finger on what went wrong today. Wessex played well but we just didn't get going and that's disappointing. We now have plenty of time to think about it and must come back stronger in the New Year".
Black Knight: Jean-Baptiste Arzounian
Docklands MVP : Bruno Lusic
Wessex MVP: Miguel Espinoza
London Lynx 3 v Malory Eagles 1 (25-20, 20-25, 25-18, 25-14)
The East London club took all three points against London rivals Malory Eagles in a close match that saw the experience of the home team paying off in the crucial moments of the game.
Malory started well the first set and went in front at the first technical time-out (8-6). Some good defences from Van Den Bogert helped Lynx taking the lead at the second technical time-out (16-14); then hits from Taylor Wilson, Yassir Sliti and Niall Burton gave Lynx a five-point advantage (21-16) that they kept till end of the set (25-20).
The second saw the two teams neck and neck throughout the entire set. Malory went in front thanks to outside hitters Ryan Poole and Scott Wening (21-19) and with Lynx failing to side-out and Malory working well in defence, the visitors won the set 25-20.
Malory started the third set as they ended the second and two pipes from Poole took Malory in front at the first technical time-out (8-6). Lynx however responded with composure while Malory started to make several unforced errors and were three points behind at the second break (16-13 Lynx). Hits from Gary Slade and Yassir Sliti for Lynx took the home team to 21-17 and then a block from Wilson and a hit from Van Den Bogert closed the set (25-18).
Malory tried to hold on to the match in the fourth (8-6 for Lynx) but the home team was now in full control. Two pipes from Wilson and a block from Slade took Lynx to 16-11 in front at the second technical time-out and then two aces from Machowicz (19-11) killed all hopes for Malory. An ace from Wilson and a hit from Burton in the middle close the set 25-14 and the match.
At the end of the match, Lynx captain Taylor Wilson said: ‘We came together and played our best volleyball as a team in this match. Malory is a competitive opponent and provided a strong attack against our defence, but a few timely blocks and digs allowed us to to maintain or regain momentum at the important points of the match.’
Sunday 20 November
Sheffield Hallam 3 v Wessex 2 (25-20, 26-24, 18-25, 22-25, 15-11)
IBB Polonia 3 v London Lynx 1 (25-19, 23-25, 26-24, 25-19)
IBB Polonia London lined up once more against local rivals London Lynx in the National Super 8 Division. On this occasion it was a home match, attended as usual by a large number of faithful supporters. The title holders only lost a single set during the match. The MVP was awarded to Michas Saller, his prize being presented to him by the match sponsor: Greenmark.
"I had a few players on my shortlist for MVP, but in the end Michas Saller was the winner. I loved his total commitment throughout the whole game, and how he fought for every ball. As a libber he really defended and received serve excellently. I'm delighted I was able to sponsor the game" said the overjoyed Wlodzimierz Witkowski from the Greenmark Joinery company.
"Lynx were on a high, after beating London Malory and tried to spoil our party" said coach, Piotr Graban "The microcycle on which we are working involves peaking for the CEV tournament and so I am pleased with the win and that despite the best efforts of our opponents, we could still win the 3 points for the victory. After the points split between Sheffield and Wessex, the league is starting to break into two sections".
The match was attended by two special guests, celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary, our guests aimed to attend 25 sports matches during the year. "It was our first volleyball match" said Emma, who with her husband Graham, were in the stands with the drummers and flag wavers. "I loved the atmosphere. It was lively and fun. It was our first time at a volleyball match and I'm certain we will be back".
The next two weeks will be a "rest" for the players of IBB Polonia London. There will be no matches, but they will not actually be resting! They play a scrimmage match in Portsmouth. At the week of the 6th December will be the first leg of the CEV Challenge Cup match. The next league match will be against Malory Eagles on the 10th December 2015.
At the end of the match, Lynx captain Taylor Wilson said: ‘Although we came away with a loss, there were a lot of positive points that can be taken from this match and it's safe to say that we are capable of competing with the top teams in the league. There is no doubt they are a tough opponent that require an "A game" to beat.’
Team Northumbria 3 v Solent 0 (25-10, 25-15, 25-17)
Team Northumbria men’s volleyball remain top of the Super 8s following a straightforward win against bottom-of-the-table Solent.
The hosts went into the match on their guard due to a series of injuries affecting the squad. However, basement club Solent offered little resistance against a depleted TN.
Head coach Dave Goodchild said: ”We’ve had quite a few injuries lately and we only had eight players. We didn’t know what to expect.” TN pulled away strongly to finish the first set with a win. And the hosts maintained their consistency and focus to take a 3-0 victory overall. Goodchild added: “We had two different gameplans for today just in case. One was to run up the middle as much as possible. “Nathan Fullerton had about 10 kills and Seain Cook and Dan Starkey had about 20 between them so we had a lot of shots on target.”
By the end of the second, TN had forced their way in front again to lead 2-0 on the back of a 25-15 set.
During the third set the gap tightened briefly Solent’s play became more fluid but the hosts wrapped up the clash in style to take the third set 25-17. Fullerton said: “Overall this was a really good game. Our competition wasn’t at their strongest but we still played well. We varied our offence a lot giving us a solid game and a solid win.”
Saturday 19 November
Tendring Ladies 3 v Pulsepoint London Orcas 2
(23-25, 21-25, 25-17, 25-12, 15-7)
It was a game that I feel both teams had been looking forward to for quite some time. It would be played at Tendring’s venue and it was a cracking match of volleyball.
With a big crowd to support the home team, it wasn't enough to help Tendring start well, as Orcas came out flying and showed their ability by gaining an 8-1 lead through strong serving. Tendring were never able to claw back the disadvantage and Orcas kept hustling and playing impressive block defence and transitional play which Tendring couldn't find an answer for. Orcas deservingly won the set 25-23.
The second set was another good set of volleyball in which Orcas dominated proceedings through solid serving and consistent volleyball. Tendring were able to compete for vast amounts of the set until one rotation caught them off guard and Orcas pounced with some strong offensive play and very solid back court play to take a comfortable lead and win the set 25-21.
The third set was now or never for the team. They would either lose 3-0 or get back into the game. The team started well, communication improved and belief increased with the team being able to start shutting out the Orcas account. Molly Van Essen then helped the team tick over with another solid performance making the right decision at the right times. Fran Smith-Daye helped with some big and also intelligent swings, as did Channel Nelson and Fernanda Guimaraes. The team functioned more fluidly in block defence which allowed for momentum to be built and they took the Third set 25-17
The team was encouraged to not let the concentration slip, and the girls delivered by starting the set very positively leading to the first technical timeout. Amelia Stamp helped keep the team calm and focused and Karis Watson and Jacky Skeen were able to swing through the middle and build confidence. Tendring cut out the errors they made in previous sets and took the set 25-12.
This took the game into the 5th set in which anything can happen in such a short space of time. Tendring were pushed hard and the points were long and tense. Tendring were able to gain the advantage at the change and managed to shut out any hopes of a comeback late in the fifth. A very good game in which Orcas severely tested our girl and big credit goes to them. It was a good spectacle for the crowd and they played very well. We look forward to the return fixture at their venue and hope for another good game second time around.
MVP was awarded to #10 Chaniel Nelson
Wessex 1 V Team Durham 3 (19-25, 20-25, 25-16, 17-25)
Wessex started their double header weekend by facing Team Durham. For the first time this season Wessex had a full squad and were feeling positive about the game ahead. The match started well for both sides, Durham dominated the net with their wing attack but Wessex stayed strong on their defense. Wessex did their best to get past Durham's block, however Durham showed their strength and took the first set 25-19.
The second set looked much the same as the previous, Wessex still struggling to get past Durham's block but some tough serving kept Wessex in the game. Wessex concentrated on their serve and pass and put pressure on Durham's passing unit. The second set was there for the taking for Wessex, however once again, Durham stepped up in the second half of the set and took it 25-20.
A change of game plan from Wessex allowed them to take the lead early on in the third set. They switched up their serve and backed it up with a consistent attack. Durham were on the back foot from the outset and Wessex were not going to let up. Wessex took the third set with a convincing score of 25-16.
In the fourth set Wessex were determined not to lose the momentum they built in the third, however Durham stepped up their game. It was looking like quite a close competition. Wessex kept pressure on Durham with their serve, however Durham's attack remained consistent and they took the fourth and final set 25-17.
Polonia SideOut London 3 v City of Salford 0 (25-12, 25-9, 25-16)
Another home game for Polonia Ladies that took over City of Salford in a very confident, less than an hour game. On Saturday the 19th of November the home team hosted City of Salford for their 2rd home league game of the season.
In the first set, the scores were quite even in the early stage, but after the first technical time out Polonia went up very strongly with an 8 point lead thanks to the service of their Capitain, Koleva #11. City of Salford tried everything to come back, but could not find their way and Polonia closed the set 25-12.
The second set saw an even stronger and more confident Polonia SideOut that started off with a 9 points lead being up 13-4 thanks to their Capitain’s serves once again. The opponents could not find a solution to the offense of the home team and the set was closed 25-9.
The third and last set saw an improved City of Salford, as reflected by the score (25-16). Polonia SideOut were very confident about their win, but City of Salford still did not say their last word. The home team was however always leading the set by 9/10 points. Polonia closed the game 25-16 and 3-0 and took another 3 points in their pockets.
Next weekend will be a free weekend for the ladies, before facing New Forest Ladies in the third round of the National Cup! A huge thank you to the Polonia Supporters that came to support our ladies once again!!
Sunday 20 November
Wessex 3 v City of Salford 0 (25-15, 25-15, 25-17)
Wessex started the first set well. Dominating from the front court and keeping consistent on the pass they were looking unstoppable. A few service errors from Wessex and some tactical tips from Salford gave them some points on the board, however Wessex remained disciplined and took the first set 25-15
In the second set Wessex focused on their serve and pass. Some tactical substitutions from Wessex switched up the game and gave Wessex the upper hand. Wessex stayed strong in the front court, with a consistent attack from MVP Grimson through 4 and a steady defense from Jeffery back court they took the second set 25-15.
Wessex allowed Salford to take an early lead in the third set, some service and hitting errors put Wessex on the back foot. However, they switched up their game plan and put pressure on Salford's block and defense and regained control of the set. Wessex showed their determination in the second half of the set and took it 25-17.