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London Volleyball : IBB Polonia fall in Final
Posted by Media Team on 2019/4/29 9:50:00 (85 reads)

Finals results (National Cups and Shields)
Four trophies for Richmond
It was a weekend of eleven cup finals only three of which did not feature a London side and five of which, all the age specific ones except under 16 boys, were contested by a team from Richmond Volleyball Club. Richmond managed four victories. None of the others was to taste success.

The opening morning had got under way with the Sitting Grand Prix which was eventually won after five close sets by Sheffield who got the better of East London Lynx, 24:26 25:18 20:25 26:24 15:11.

The under 15s followed them. First the under 15 Girls' competition featuring Urmston Grammar School in Greater Manchester and Richmond VC, the grammar school making its first appearance in a cup final. The team showed few nerves and with the first set delicately poised at 15:all, found another gear and polished off the opening set 25:17. Richmond responded well and took control in the middle the set with a five-point advantage at 10:15 but Urmston closed and then saved a succession of set points to make it 24:all, but Richmond steadied to level the match at 24:26. The third was the decider for this age group and. the Londoners raised their game to dominate, racing into a lead and winning the set 15-8. Richmond's captain Nina Erminio was awarded MVP.

Richmond boys faced another strong centre of junior volleyball, Boswells School in Chelmsford, Essex in the under 15 boys' final. The first set was even until mid set but from 16:all, Richmond raised their game and dominated, scoring eight points to Boswells' three, to win the set 25:20.
Playing with more confidence as a result, Richmond boys dominated the early stages, racing to a 16:6 lead. Boswells tried to respond but were unable to keep pace as Richmond eased away to win the set 25:12. As in the preceding final, the winning captain was awarded MVP. For this game, Enrique Bello.

Richmond Volleyball Club had strengthened its reputation for producing brilliant young players by winning both the girls' and boys' under 15 Cups.

After Durham had defeated Northumbria in a three set women's final that they always seemed to control despite the close scores, IBB Polonia faced Durham, in the Men's Final and the club from the north-east achieved a double cup triumph while at the same time denying the pride of London the league and cup double.
Polonia started well moving to a first set lead of 20:14 with Seain Cook's attacks inflicting most of the damage although it was a scorching ace from captain Rupert Scott that finished off the set. Durham looked much sharper in the second and played with more variety and eased further in front before reaching 22:17. Polonia matched Durham for the rest of the set but could not reduce the gap.
Polonia had a two point lead at the first technical time out of the third and with Andrea Ivanov and Seain Cook's hitting ruthlessly, Durham lost form under the pressure, were 16-8 down at the second time out and could find no way back into the set.
Durham were not going to give up and produced an amazing performance to storm into the lead and keep themselves in front. 10:16 at the second technical time out, they retained the advantage to force a fifth set.
Both sides looked rather cagy in the early part of deciding set but Polonia were finding it difficult to score as Durham wore down their resistance. They failed to return a serve on match point and the day was Durham's.
MVP, Durham's Kevin Owens.

Sunday morning began with matches on adjacent courts with two London sides on of them as Richmond took on Graveney and Malory Eagles in the under 16 girls' final and Richmond added another trophy to their collection. Although Graveney and Malory Eagles played with a lot of spirit especially in the third set, Richmond put on a demonstration of well prepared young talent and hit hard from the first rally, racing to a 10:2 lead. Chloe Danno's blocking had caught the eye while Maddie Monteiro produced a brilliant run of serves. Graveney recovered their poise and played well for the rest of the set but the deficit was too large and the teams changed ends at 25:14..
Graveney' team-work improved in the second set and they began to challenge but half way through the set, Richmond raised their game and raced to finish it 25:16, inspired by captain Katie Keefe who was to prove the top points scorer of the match.
Despite this display, Graveney never gave up and continued to challenge the favourites in the third. They produced their best volleyball of the morning but eventually lost 25:23. It was the third set of third gold medals of the weekend for Richmond as they lifted the cup.
MVP was Richmond's inspirational Katie Keefe.

Neither Richmond nor any other London side was represented in the under 16 boys' final along side in which Oxford Cherwell beat Black Country, 22:25 25:17 15:11

Then the adults returned to the courts with London represented by Inter in the final of the women's knock out Shield, the competition for early round losers in the Cup. They had to face Leeds RGA and went down in a very tight match and after coming singularly close to forcing a fifth set.
Inter began well and it looked as if they would win the first set leading until the very last stage, even leading at 19:22. However, Leeds showed great character to overturned the deficit and take the set. Inter responded by raising their game and, if anything, played even better in taking an early lead and maintaining it to win the set and level the match.
In the third, Leeds began to get on top in the middle of the set with a variety of precision and power. but Inter played themselves back into contention and looked the more likely to take the set when they increased their advantage to 20:23. Sadly, it was a case of déjà vu and a long, hard-fought rally at 23:all went Leeds' way. A service error and they took a 2:1 lead. The great contest continued in the fourth with Leeds just holding a tiny lead until late in the set. After closing to 22:all, Inter failed to maintain their pressure and Leeds had two match points at 24:22. Inter saved the first but a great final attack proved too good and the Shield was on its way to Yorkshire.
The MVP went to Leeds RGA VC's Alessia Garnero.

The third and last match without a London competitor tool place alongside where Nasze Manchester lost in three sets to the Essex club Tendring in the men's knock out Shield final.

The weekend finished with the two senior age group finals. A stalwart of north-western volleyball, Tameside played London's Richmond in the under 18 women's final on one court and Tameside set the early pace opening a comfortable lead in the first set. Richmond managed to cut the deficit but was unable to take the lead and lost the first set by three points. It was almost the opposite picture in the next set as Richmond found their rhythm and, led by their captain Aurelia Braguglia, levelled the score..
In third, Tameside played at their best and put huge pressure on Richmond by taking a lead of over ten points and the London side never looked like finding their way back into the set. However, they came out for the fourth clearly determined to show they were much better than that and swept Tameside away by a massive fifteen points and force a long afternoon at the National Volleyball Centre.
It looked almost like a new match and Tameside showed greater composure, and starting well with a run of good serves, earning a 6:2 lead. There was a partial recovery by Richmond but, perhaps with nerves playing a part, a few errors appeared and Tameside regained control to have seven match points at 14:7. They in turn showed a little nervousness but after losing three rallies, a well-placed tip secured the trophy.
A brilliant final had demonstrated the value of a tradition of sound volleyball coaching at both Richmond and Tameside and it was sad for Londoners that it ended as the only final this weekend that the club had lost.
Tameside's Maria Forson took the MVP award.

While this match was being played, Wessex were playing Richmond in the under 18 men's final and Richmond's players were to get more gold while their female team-mates were narrowly missing out,
With many players from the England talent pathway, Richmond were favourites from the outset and the team displayed some wonderful volleyball.
They immediately stamped their authority on proceedings, opening a lead that Wessex, struggling to cope with the hitting power of Ben Lucas and Jonathan Anderson could not match. That added pressure on Wessex who made several errors when they had an opportunity themselves. The set was quickly over with Richmond nine points to the good. Wessex recovered admirably and battled well for much of the second set and equalling Richmond's efforts until the score reached 10:all. Ben Lucas' rotation to to serve then allowed Richmond to regain the initiative as his booming serves earned a five point advantage. With Farren, Green and Kuzmanov all playing very well too and with Jonathan Anderson's hitting unmanageable, Richmond took the second set to18 points.
There was an air of inevitability about the third set with Richmond again dominating the early rallies. Superb in attack, they were also outstanding in defence. Picking up what appeared to be lost causes throughout, libero Enrique Bello proving a solid foundation, Richmond opened up an 8:16 lead before cruising to the title in three sets.
Wessex had shown examples of quality but Richmond had played at a higher level and won a fourth title for their club.
The MVP was their huge hitting Jonathan Anderson.

Saturday 27th April
Under 15 Girls' Final
Urmston Grammar School lost to Richmond, 25:17 24:26 8:15

Under 15 Boy's Final
Richmond beat Boswells, 25:20 25:12

Women's Final
Northumbria lost to Durham, 26:24 25:21 25:21

Men's Final
IBB Polonia lost Durham, 25:14 21:25 25:15 19:25 7:15

Sunday 28th April
Under 16 Girls' Final
Richmond beat Graveney and Malory Eagles, 25:14 25:16 25:23

Under 16 Boys' Final
Oxford Cherwell beat Black Country, 22:25 25:17 15:11

Women's Knock out Shield Final
Leeds RGA beat London Inter, 25:23 19:25 26:24 25:23

Men's Knock out Shield Final
Nasze Manchester lost Tendring, 8:25 22:25 16:25

Under 18 Women's Final
Tameside beat Richmond, 25:22 17:25 25:12 10:25 15:10

Under 18 Men's Final
Wessex lost to Richmond, 16:25 18:25 16:25

Contributor, Douglas Barr-Hamilton

Source, Volleyball England

From the side lines

The last match of the 2018/19 season took place on Saturday 27th April at the National Volleyball Centre in Kettering. The Cup Final was between the reigning Champions of England and Durham Palatinates who were runners up in that competition. After an emotional and tough match, the eventual winners were Durham, who took the "topsy turvy" game 3:2
The start of the match was strongly in favour of the London based team. From the first whistle, the match was in control and IBB Polonia dictated the tempo until the end 14:25. Durham Palatinates took an early 3:0 lead in the second set forcing Simon Loftus to take an early time-out. Soon the game was level at 7 points each until at 20:16 Durham has re-established their early lead which they maintained until the end of the set 25:21. The third set began in a tit for tat manner until the first technical time-out which gave IBB Polonia an 8:6 advantage. Their lead was extended throughout the set which once again resulted in an emphatic ten point winning margin. The fourth set was a reverse of this with Durham coasting through to a five point winning margin. This levelled the match at two sets each. The fifth set produced some very strong volleyball, with both teams fighting with everything they had, but it was the northerners who kept their nerve a little longer winning the last set.
The defeat in the final is the first loss this season for the team from London. Despite this loss, the season can be declared as a huge success. It was a historic season, with the team winning the very first European trophy in British volleyball, the 100% record in the Super League and the National title. There was also the signing of the Olympic and World Champion – Giba who has officially become a long-term partner of The Club, and not to forget the selling out of the National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace to continue Volleyball 2.0. Just like in 2017 during the CEV Challenge Cup match, the arena was packed to the rafters with over one thousand fans.
"I want to congratulate Durham Palatinates with their victory and our team for the hard fought game until the very end. Despite finishing with a loss, the season has been amazing and we can rest with a big smile on all of our mouths achieving so much on court and off court. I am very proud of our accomplishments and work of the players, coaching staff, management, sponsors – IBB Builders Merchants – and the supporters." said IBB Polonia London Chairman Bartek Luszcz.
That is confirmed that the Head Coach will remain as Simon Loftus for the following season. The very experienced coach, of Scottish heritage, worked as Assistant Coach for Team GB before joining the team in 2018. For the moment however, the coaching staff will enjoy a well-deserved break following nine months of hard work. Everyone has different plans for the next few weeks. Some start beach volleyball training right away, others will enjoy time at home with their loved ones whilst others are planning on some travelling. The break will allow everyone to rest, relax and to re-energise before the next season starts again.
"It is a total pleasure working with Simon Loftus. Following a number of years away from club volleyball and only coaching the National Team, he has returned to working in a club. We appreciate his method of working and the results he achieved over the season. We are still hungry for success and want to improve our own level, and because of this can't wait until next season! But now it is a time for everyone to have a break and a rest, to reflect on the season and to start planning the 2019/2020 season. As usual, we are aiming for a number of exciting surprises in the future." concluded Luszcz.
Katarzyna Strag

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