Sunday, 19 February 2017 18:00

A Riga Winning weekend

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This weekend saw Riga host four NVL games at Alan Higgs Centre.  Saturday both teams played Darkstar Derbyshire and on Sunday Riga ladies played Tameside and Riga Men Sunderland City Predators.  It was a weekend with all to play for at a crucial point in the season.


The ladies took to the court first v Darkstar Derbyshire.   Early in the set the teams traded points and it was neck and neck.  The return of Jules as libero following a hand operation saw Riga start to build again from an effective pass.  Strong attacking from Alex and, new signing, Enrica through four saw Riga continue to put the pressure on an experienced Darkstar side.  Jules commanded the passing unit giving Clare options to distribute the attack with Mim killing the ball in the middle and Mafalda showing dominance through the opposite position.  Riga took a commanding lead following a run of 8 serves from Mim as Riga took a 21-14 lead.  Darkstar showed their experience though and fought back hard but it was too little too late as Riga took the set 25-20.

Riga showed the same dominance in teh second set.  Clare used the options as well as a few cheeky second balls!  Enrica defended well and converted attacks through four.  At 22-12 Karolina came on for Mim and helped a confident Riga side finish the set 25-15.

The third set started well for Riga and they gained a good lead, but Darkstar fought back recycling the ball well and putting the Riga passing unit under pressure.  Sophie Z came on and used hitting options well but Darkstar edged ahead with some strong serving.  Darkstar finally took the set 25-20.

Nervous of a repeat from their earlier meeting in the season which saw Darkstar the victors, the Riga girls were keen to get a win under their belt and finish off set four.  A run of serves from Sophie Z and continued strong passing from Jules enabled the team to really display their strength and depth in the attack.  However, Darkstar rook a lead of 14-8.  Coach Jon called a timeout and the ladies returned to court with renewed determination.  Mafalda took to the service line and didn't want to leave it!  9 point in a row and Riga were back in the tame and back in the lead.  From there the girls didn't look back and they took the set and the game 25-22.

MVP - Mim Anderson

The boys then took on Darkstar - hoping that some of the ladies winning feeling would rub off on them.  Riga started confidently with new signing Miguel playing well as libero and keeping the ball alive.  Lewis was able to make use of all options and Kiwi Chris attacked strongly through the outside.  Tom put the Darkstar side under pressure on his serve and Riga took the set 25-16.  

The second set started with more of the same for Riga.  Armands and Chris kept the Darkstar attack at bay with strong middle blocking.  Superb passing from Miguel saw Chris and Tom able to kill the ball time and time again through four while Lewis and Edvin's attacks and tips kept Darkstar guessing.  Riga let a 5 point lead slip away through and soon Darkstar were back in the game and each team were fighting point for point to the end.  Robert game on and served well to take a point and as the spectators bit their nails Riga took the set 29-27.

In the third set and all round team spirited performance saw Riga keep control and take the set and the game 25-23.

MVP - Tom Young

On Sunday the ladies first took on Tameside.  Tamside are second in the table and a strong side.  The encounter earlier in the season had most definitely not gone Riga's way!  But the women were on a roll from Saturday and determined to play their best.  Tameside started strong and took an early lead through some strong serving.  Jules commanded the pass giving Clare lots of options and allowing her and Sylwia to run a fast attack winning points.  Enrica was on fire sweeping up the ball across the back court and keeping Riga's hopes alive time and time again.  Sophie L showed strong blocking and provided excellent cover to the hitters.  Riga served strong putting the Tameside team under pressure and Enrica served out the side to take it 25-20.

Into the second and Riga matched the Tameside team point for point.  Riga communicated through the difficult times and continued to apply the pressure when it mattered.  Alex's strong hitting through four won her point after point and Riga took the set 25-21.

The third set saw more of the same strong play from Riga as they were determined not to let Tameside back into this game.  Strong support from the bench (and from Bella, now returned from hen do!) saw Riga's team spirit lift even higher.  Jules provided a great pass, Sophie found the hitters and they all (Alex, Enrica, Mim, Sylwia and Mafalda) put them away.  Riga took the set and the game 25-21.

MVP - Sophie Zillmann

The men next played Sunderland City Predators.  Despite a strong all round team performance Sunderland proved too strong for the men and they couldn't quite make it four from four this weekend losing 3-0 (26-24 in the third showing just how close it was).

MVP - Chris Anderson


Read 1936 times Last modified on Saturday, 09 September 2017 11:32