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Monday, 20 April 2015 08:11

Road trip provides fitting season end for NVL women

Written by Jon Chetham
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Having drawn a veil over last week’s aberration, the Riga party bus (well, two small cars) travelled to the North East for the weekend, and the final two games of the season. After sight-seeing the North York Moors during a 4 hour drive, the team arrived at lunchtime in Whitby to take on North Riding Eagles. After gifting the home team the first four points, Riga’s serve took over, with Sylwia and Claire in particular causing problems for the home team.

 

With good possession, Clare used Mim and Sylwia through the middle to claim the set, 25-17. The second set was again dominated by serving. Riga took charge after the first technical time-out. Netti served accurately and Bella hit crisply through the outside to open up a 17-11 lead. Eagles then picked-up their own serving potency, and, incredibly, from 21-16, the visitors failed to return 9 points in a row and NRE won the set 21-25!

The start of the third set didn’t bode too well either, with the visitors again losing 4 points due to errors stemming from poor serve receive. Fortunately, Riga responded to some clipboard banging from Jon at the first technical time-out. Jules sorted-out the receive, Sylwia and Claire made block-kills, and Riga’s attack found it fluency again to race away with the set 25-12. And that should have been that. However, it appeared that Riga wanted as much volleyball as possible in return for the weekend away, and they allowed NRE back into the match. The home team played well with some good back-court hitting to shade the fourth, 22-25.  

And so for the 9th time this season, the would-be party goers entered a 5th set. Bella and Sylwia’s serves quickly gave Riga a 5 point advantage but a disputed line-call, followed by a barely-believable decision against Clare for playing the ball above the height of the net (yes, you read that correctly!), rattled the visitors. The answer was a stinging opposite hit from Claire, and the fight from the home side was finally extinguished. Set 15-10, and a 3-2 win! On reflection, a great match which both teams enjoyed! MVP – Sylwia

 

Not content with a 5-set match, the Riga schedule continued apace with a 2-hour time-trial treasure hunt around Whitby! The squad is nothing if not competitive and this wasn’t for the faint-hearted. It was, however, a tortoise-and-the hare affair. Jon and Bella led from the start and stretched-out such a lead that their nearest competitors were nowhere in sight. So much not in sight that the two leaders decided that the others had given up and gone to the pub! So corners were cut, and clues ignored as the leaders returned to base for a smug hot chocolate and considerations on how to share-out the inevitable first prize.

Meanwhile, Clare & Mim, and Jules & Netti steadily made their way around the course, talking each other to death along the way. The fourth pairing, Sylwia & Claire, were having more than just navigation issues. The idiosyncrasies of the English language make even less sense when translated into Polish and French, so bewilderment was a serious added handicap for them! In the end, Sylwia & Claire took the plaudits for making it round, and Netti&Jules took the prize for winning!

 

And so to Sunday and the finale v Team Durham. The wine was doing a lot of talking on Saturday night … “we can win”! it said, “we can take a set”! it said. But in the cold light of the warm-up, everyone settled on beating the points tally from the first encounter (31)!  

The result may have been inevitable but Riga impressed with the capability of their attack, and their fight for every ball in defence. “Victory” was achieved not just with a 37 point tally, but because these points were won rather than relying on Durham mistakes. Bella and Claire frequently hit spikes which left the Durham defence sprawling, and Mim and Sylwia both claimed impressive block kills. Netti used all her experience to embarrass the students with at least two clever tips at the net, and Jules’ pass was so good they never served at her! Clare did a fantastic job to create the number of attacks she did from not many 3-point passes!! A great effort to finish a great weekend.

MVP – Claire.

Read 1770 times Last modified on Sunday, 12 July 2015 20:53