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Monday, 21 March 2016 09:13

Women impress and sense safety

Written by Jon Chetham
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Riga faced Leeds for the second time in a week, with both teams amongst a group of four still fighting the threat of relegation. The stakes were high – a win for Riga would seem them safe barring a run of exceptional results, whilst defeat for Leeds would see them favourites to join Nottingham Rockets in division 3 next year.

 

The first set opened with both teams playing very well – winners rather than errors saw the teams within 1 point of each other at both the first and second technical time-outs. Riga’s passing worked well and Clare got Sylwia and Mim hitting powerfully. Three serves from Hannah kept it tight at 22-22, and then the teams began a gruelling run of alternate points up to 25 and beyond! Riga saved 5 set points as both teams blocked and defended back court brilliantly, then at 30-31 the Leeds outside hitter, Nicola, was injured and had to be substituted. After the injury delay, Mim made a block and then a tip winner to level the scores once more, and eventually it was Mim again who served an ace to claim the set for Riga 34-32.

Riga then got a rude awakening at the start of set 2, as the Leeds #9 served the visitors into a 9-2 lead. A kill from Hannah through the middle finally broke the run, and then on the back of good serving from Hannah and Sophie, Riga closed to within two points. Both sides continued the high quality of play until 15-16, when a couple of errors from the home side allowed Leeds to press on and level the match 20-25.

Lesson learnt from set 2, Riga took the initiative at the start of set 3. Great movement from Netti and Jules back court enabled Clare to dictate the play at the net and Sophie and Mim obliged with a series of kills. When Sylwia’s serves created a 20-12 lead, the home side began to think of set four … and were quickly punished by Leeds #9 again at the service line. The score narrowed to 20-18 before Jules’ serves and Mim’s attack won vital points and Riga took the set 25-19.

Into the fourth set and the high standard of play began to wane as the players tired. Riga had the edge in passing from back court and when Hannah served behind a formidable front row of Sophie, Mim and Sylwia, Riga moved into a 10-3 lead. From here, it was a game of least errors until two powerful spikes from Sylwia and one more float serve from Sophie finally ended the Leeds resistance, 25-15.

MVP - Sophie

Read 1642 times Last modified on Monday, 11 July 2016 19:16