Mixed fortunes for London Docklands
- Credit: Archant
Volleyball squad win, lose in Super 8s
London Docklands experienced mixed fortunes on a busy weekend of Super 8s action, beating Solent on Saturday but losing to leaders Team Northumbria the following day.
Andy Hopper had his strongest side available to face Solent, with Raul Sanchez Galan returning after six months away from the sport.
Galan provided a stable platform in the service receive unit alongside captain Andrew Pink and libery Marcel Sivak against a struggling Solent side, who are coached by Docklands old boy Adam Phillips.
Without talisman Jacek Szafranski after an horrific cycling accident, Solent have failed to win this season and are set for a quick return to Division One after one year in the top flight.
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Docklands capitalised on unforced errors to claim a straight-sets win, with Kieran O’Malley serving up seven successive points in a 25-8 second-set drubbing, their best set score since October 2012.
Having claimed their first win since October, without using too much energy, Docklands took on a Northumbria side who had eased to victory against London Lynx.
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The first set at Cauis House was a tight affair with only one point separating the two sides at the second technical time-out.
The enforced delay briefly interrupted a run of deceptive serves by Northumbria’s Matt White which Docklands’ passers struggled to control and the hosts found themselves 21-15 down and seemingly out of the first set.
But blocks by Pink and Bruno Lusic, backed up by strong net play by Mathieu Ras, helped Docklands fight back to 22-22, before visiting captain Seain Cook produced a smash and a block to clinch the set 25-23.
Docklands charged into an 8-5 lead in the second set and stayed in front to move 17-13 up, with Tomek Wysocki producing some probing serves and contributing good defence to make it 21-15, before a kill by Ras sealed it 25-19.
But Docklands never got going in sets three or four with the power and subtly of Cook and American opposite Dan Starkey proving too much to handle.
The dynamism of Londoner Darius Setsoafia also came to the fore, particularly from the service line, and his run of eight serves took the third set from a close 5-5 to a 13-5 scoreline, leaving no way back for Docklands.
The defeat leaves Docklands in seventh place knowing their next two games against Lynx and Malory are must-win matches.
Coach Hopper said: “We again showed how well we can play and that we can compete with all the teams in this league. We just need to do it more consistently.
“ However, I feel that we have some momentum now and we can take this into our big match next weekend against Lynx.”