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NVL Super 8 : Good week-end for Northumbria
Posted by Douglas Barr-Hamilton on 2018/2/12 14:20:00 (28 reads)

Mixed results in London matches (Men's and women’s Super8 - National Volleyball League)
Lynx cause disintegrates
With two teams travelling south each to play and win twice, Northumbria will be the happiest super8 team but there was some joy and some sadness for London's sides.

The Lynx jinx remains very much alive and once again they went down in a tight game: indeed the smallest margin possible in a three set match. Malory Eagles will be happy, though, at having completed the double against their rivals. 23:25 23:25 23:25 this time.
Lynx remaining matches will be against Sheffield at home on 17th February, away to Essex next day, then home games against Northumbria on 18th and Wessex on 24th March before winding up their league season at Brentford Fountain the following day.

On Sunday, Malory Eagles were at home as Northumbria men's second opposition of the weekend and, despite a wonderful effort in the second set, went down in three.

At the same time, Northumbria women were playing in Battersea and Orcas, despite producing some of their very best volleyball in the second set, went down in three sets while securing a finish in the top half of the league table.

Completing their regular season Super8s home fixtures in front of a boisterous home crowd Richmond Docklands, despite a strong opening, could not secure a surprise victory over league leaders Team Northumbria.
It all started so well for them with a confident first set performance keeping Northumbria to just 16 points, their lowest return this season. A service run by Flavien Hias helped turn a 3:5 deficit into an 8:5 lead and the momentum was all with the home side. After Matteo Veggian returned to Italy, Panos Karagiannis stepped into the Libero role and provided a solid platform for Javier Bello to run his offense. Blocks by Dan Westphal and Andrew Pink drove Docklands on as they steamrollered their way to the first set win.
With the long journey from Newcastle out of their system, Northumbria set about turning the match around. Their block started to operate more effectively with American Daniel Kingstad proving to be a tough obstacle to overcome at the centre of the court. He ended the match with eleven kill blocks and was often the key difference between the two teams.
For Richmond Docklands the last three sets followed a horribly similar pattern, with Northumbria opening up an early lead and dominating play. Docklands captain Pink showed glimpses of former glories and some quality serving by Vuk Kosanovic proved a useful weapon but Northumbria simply had too much.
Northumbria went on to beat Malory Eagles 0-3 on Sunday and therefore guaranteed top place of the regular season table and a home semi final in the play-offs. They have finished top of the regular season table five out of the last six seasons but have only converted this dominance into one Super8s title, a stat coach David Goodchild must be desperate to improve upon.
Pink commented after the match, “Considering the resources and training time we have compared to Northumbria we over-achieved today and can move on and learn from the match. We still have a lot to give this season and I’m proud of how the boys battled against the odds”.
Richmond Docklands now have two weekends off before they travel the short distance to Brentford to take on IBB Polonia on Saturday 3rd March.
Black Knight: Andrew Pink
Docklands MVP: Vuk Kosanovic
Northumbria MVP: Federico Pagalria

London did enjoy of a couple of further victories, though. In a "double header" in Colchester Polonia Sideout overcame Tendring, becoming increasingly dominant after being made to work very hard and produce their very best in the first set. The win ensured that Orcas hold onto third place, a spot they look like losing to Sideout making the fixture between the two clubs at St Benedict's on 4th March a "must watch" game..

They were followed onto court by IBB Polonia who proved the stronger of two sides that have both been improving as the season progressed as they overcame Essex Blaze in front of a noisy crowd of both teams' supporters. It was a close game throughout with Polonia's experience proving the decisive factor in the late stages of all three sets.

Results
Saturday
Women
Tendring lost to Polonia Sideout, 24:26 17:25 14:25

Men
Richmond Docklands lost to Northumbria, 25:16 17:25 17:25 14:25
Lynx lost to Malory Eagles, 23:25 23:25 23:25
Essex Blaze lost to IBB Polonia. 22:25 24:26 21:25

Sunday
Women
Orcas lost to Northumbria, 14:25 24:26 16:25

Men
Malory Eagles lost to Northumbria, 18:25 24:26 17:25

Caius House Youth Centre, Ernest Bevin College, Kingston College Arena, UEL SportsDock, 10/11th February.

Contribution gratefully received from Andy Hopper

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