Docklands deliver opening-day win
PUBLISHED: 14:30 05 October 2016
Volleyball squad serve up success
London Docklands Volleyball began their Super 8s season with a solid four-set win over old rivals Malory Eagles.
Ever since Docklands were formed out of the old Malory II team 22 years ago, both clubs have had a fierce rivalry.
The fixture is the most played in Docklands history and although Malory still lead the 38-match series 25-13, Docklands have now won four of the last five encounters.
Captain Kieran O’Malley said: “That was a good start. Nothing too flashy, but a great win. There’s definitely more to come from us, but we’ll take that and move on. I’m proud of the guys.”
Andy Hopper, returning to the position of head coach after three years, added: “I’m obviously very pleased with the win and impressed with how the guys performed.
“We played some clever volleyball and did what we needed to do to win. We’ve got plenty of things to work on, but it’s great to get off to a winning start.”
The first two sets followed a similar pattern with Docklands opening up an early lead and doing just enough to close things out.
Julian Marcon enjoyed a mature debut on the wing and Bruno Lusic, playing his first game for Docklands since 2012, provided a great power outlet for O’Malley.
Libero Jean-Baptiste Arzounian laid a solid platform for O’Malley to run his offence and was able to dictate play, releasing Flavien Hias to great effect as Docklands took the first two sets 25-21, 25-19 as a Hias block gave his side a 2-0 lead.
Malory coach Jefferson Williams has been involved in every Docklands-Malory match and mixed up his side to try and find the winning formula.
Gary Slade delivered four jump serves in a row at the start of the fourth set to put pressure on Docklands’ passing unit, with two aces putting Malory 4-0 up.
Hopper took a time-out to try and stem the flow, but Malory maintained their four-point lead for the majority of the set until a mini-rally by Docklands narrowed the gap at 22-20.
Another surge by the visitors saw the set tied 23-23 and all the momentum was with Docklands, but Malory dug in and took the set 26-24.
Malory carried on in confident mood in set four, but Docklands turned an 8-6 deficit at the first technical time-out into a 9-8 lead with clever hitting by Piotr Majorkowski and Hias, who took the Black Knight award.
O’Malley cajoled his team-mates to up the tempo and they responded with some tenacious defence to frustrate Malory.
Docklands then went on a run of scoring two points each time they went back to serve and Malory had no response as an ace by MVP Majorkowski closed out the set 25-18.
They now face a tough road trip to take on Sheffield and Team Northumbria this weekend, but will be buoyed by a good away victory at the start of the season and will travel in confident mood.