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Women's Div. 1 A : Willesden down Lionhearts
Posted by Douglas Barr-Hamilton on 2015/5/10 10:30:00 (390 reads)

Willesden Divas beat Lionhearts Cats (Women’s D1/D2 play-offs - London Volleyball League)
20:25 25:21 29:27 27:25
Divas spring from nowhere
An enthralling match and a very long one: so long that it outlasted the five set men's match on the adjacent court. Not until the final two rallies did it look as though Willesden were likely winners but those two rallies, as much as the entire match, proved them worthy of the higher division.

The first set was a rather scrappy affair with Lionhearts, showing greater consistency and accuracy, looking as though they ought to retain the first division place without a lot of difficulty. Willesden slipped four points behind early in the second and, at 14:18, the improvements made did not suggest they were about to prevail. Yet suddenly they were level 19-all and it was as if a new side was on court and the unexpected flash of form that took the scores level continued until Daniela Popovici produced a delicate dump to flummox the first division defence and take the set.
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A battle on attrition now ensued yet the entertainment was marvellous. Defensively, Lionhearts Cats were superb with a wonderful back court built around the impeccable libero, Vickie Chiu. In attack, they were feeble, rarely troubling the Willesden defence which, libero Zonnie de los Reyes apart, struggled throughout. In contrast, their attack was superb. It all made for long rallies, loads of excitement, wonderful watching and a long afternoon. Either side (perhaps, better, neither side) looked like winning the third set but, the volume of the shouts "Diva!" outblasting "Lionhearts!" being the only difference, Willesden suddenly grabbed a twenty-ninth point after fifty-five had been almost equally shared. Set four: very similar. Surely Lionhearts' experience would see them through. For a while it looked as though it would but, with coach Stuart Fullerton urging his side one, they stayed in contention and, eventually, their persistence took them to promotion.

Copper Box : QEOP, 9th May

Referee: Alice Chabelova.

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