Sitting volleyball season reaches knockout stages
20th February 2018
Main photo: Phil Smith.
The semi-final line-up of the Sitting Volleyball Grand Prix was confirmed as the curtain came down on the regular season at the weekend.
After five Grand Prix, reigning champions East London Lynx, Help for Heroes A, Lincoln Imps and Sheffield all progress to the knockout stages and will battle it out to make it to the Sitting Volleyball Grand Prix Final on May 6.
The final sitting volleyball Grand Prix of the season at the National Volleyball Centre on Sunday saw South Hants join East London Lynx, Help for Heroes A, and Lincoln Imps in the top tier following their promotion at the last Grand Prix.
Lynx ensured they went through to the play-offs in form and as number one seeds as they won all of their matches to top the group. South Hants pushed them hard in the first set taking 21 points, before getting overpowered in the second set. Lincoln Imps were also brushed aside by Lynx in straight sets.
Help for Heroes A had also defeated Lincoln and South Hants, both in final set deciders, leaving them to battle Lynx for top spot. In a thrilling match, HelpforHeroes A edged the first set 25-23. Lynx battled back to level the match, winning the second set to 20 points. In the final set, Lynx showed their experience and exactly why they are the reigning Sitting Volleyball champions, getting their noses in front and fending off HelpforHeroes A to get over the line 15-10.
East London Lynx will face Lincoln Imps in the semi-finals and the Imps will go into the knockout stages with a win under their belt after they defeated South Hants. The Imps notched the first set 25-21 but a determined South Hants side displayed their resilience to force a deciding set by snatching the second set 26-24. The Imps took back control of the match in the third to get a comfortable lead which helped them see the set out 15-8.
South Hants can take heart from some good displays in individual sets as they stepped up to the top tier but are relegated to tier two for the beginning of the 2018/19 season.
Sheffield VC bounced back immediately from their relegation last month to win tier two this time out and secure their semi-final berth.
The team from the Steel City won all their matches in straight sets. They defeated Essex Pirates (25-18, 25-18) and Pink Panthers (25-11, 25-21), as well as holding off their nearest rivals in the tier, Help for Heroes B. Sheffield took control of the first set against Heroes and cruised into the lead taking it to 14 points. Heroes B came back strong in the second set and forced their way into the business end of the set. Sheffield stayed firm though and took the match by winning the set 25-23.
Sheffield sealed promotion to the top tier for the beginning on the 2018/2019 season and their resounding victory also saw them finish third in the overall standings, meaning they will face second seeds, Help for Heroes A in the semi-finals.
Heroes B finished second in the tier. Despite losing to Essex Pirates (25-23, 25-19), their straight sets win over Pink Panthers (25-21, 25-20) and bonus points saw them claim second spot.
It was a good weekend for Essex Pirates, who registered two victories. On top of their victory over Help for Heroes B, they also defeated Pink Panthers in straight sets to condemn the Panthers to finish bottom of the tier.
The season finale
While the top four in the overall Grand Prix standings will compete in the semi finals on Sunday March 25, 2018, which sees East London Lynx vs. Lincoln Imps and Help for Heroes A vs. Sheffield VC, the sitting volleyball season is not over for the other teams either.
The Sitting Volleyball Cup takes place on April 22 and is open to all teams – no prior experience is required to take part. Individuals – with or without a disability – can even enter and form scratch teams on the day.
It is expected most of the Grand Prix teams will enter and the Cup also features a Shield competition for the teams knocked out in the early stages. For more experienced players, it is a shot at glory and for newcomers it is a chance to try the sport too.
Entering the Cup may also encourage new teams to join the Grand Prix competition. It’s been another great Grand Prix season and the sitting volleyball community is always looking for new teams and players.
If you’re interested in getting to know more about Sitting Volleyball, email firstname.lastname@example.org