England teams reach semi finals at NEVZA U19 Champs
28th October 2017
It was double delight for England as both the Men and Women reached the semi-finals of the NEVZA Under 19 Championships.
Hosted at the National Volleyball Centre in Kettering, England made the most of home advantage and a noisy home crowd to beat Faroe Islands in both the quarter finals.
England's women showed they have taken confidence from two closely-fought defeats in the pool stages and added a new level of composure to their performance.
The first set of their quarter final began evenly with Kaite Keefe giving England an 8-7 lead heading into the first time out. England slowly wrestled the initiative and began to stamp their authority on the contest. Lauren Huggins was excellent in defence, while Leah Blight used the block as an effective weapon. An opportunistic spike from Georgia McGovern gave England set points, and although the first one slipped away, they sealed set one at the next attempt to take the opener 25-18.
Faroe Islands started the second set on the front foot and edged into the lead 8-7 at the first time out. England were going for their shots though and pulled away in the set, forcing errors and making it difficult off the serve. The second set was soon wrapped up by the same scoreline as the first (25-18) as England took a 2-0 lead.
The momentum clearly with them, England started the third set in blistering fashion and raced into an early lead. The women were chasing every ball, epitomised by the industry and commitment of England libero Katy Mumanis. Faroe Islands were just as spirited though as chased England back to reduced the deficit to two points, as England lead 8-6 at the first time out.
England came back on court even hungrier and a series of unreturnable serves by Anna Keefe gave them control. They continued the match in a relentless mood and ran away with the set to win 25-15 and take victory in the match. England will face Denmark in the semi-finals, at 5pm this evening.
The England men meanwhile were as equally impressive and made their intentions clear from the outset of their quarter final versus Faroe Islands.
England raced away with the first set reaching the time out 16-5 up. A good run of serves from Joaquin Bello helped established the lead, while some powerful hitting from Jack Williams and Joe Palombo saw England pile up the points. Faroes Islands battled hard but England made few mistakes, defending bravely and recycling the ball well, taking the first set 25-12.
The start of the second set was much tighter with the Faroe Islands forcing their will on the game, buoyed by vocal support from their women’s team in the stands. After the first time out, England took control again and well-lead by captain Ashley Toomey, established a five point lead by the second time out. England kept up the intensity and took the second set 25-18.
The third set was close run before England again took control. The bench was used effectively with all the replacement having an impact throughout the contest. England dominated the rest of the set and won the set 25-16 to wrap up the match and their semi-final berth.
England men will take on Sweden in the semis at 3pm today.
You can watch the games on pay-per-view.