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Malory Eagles volleyball club

13/14, Men's S8, Eagles Sharpen Claws

Malory Eagles
Super8s

Ernest Bevin College
Saturday 8 February 2014

Men
vs Coventry & Warwick Riga
Win
Former English champions, Malory, struggled to overcome relegation favourites Riga on Sunday at their Beechcroft home.  Malory needed 3 wins from their remaining three preliminary games to guarantee top flight volleyball next year so the win was welcomed by coach Jefferson Williams.

The 3-0 score was at first convincing but hid a huge mismatch between the teams.  Riga travelled light from Coventry with only six players including the young setter John Ballance and ex-international Matt Howe.  Against them towered twelve Eagles, sprinkled with international caps, including veteran Alex Bialokoz and Olympic star Kieran O'Malley.  It was, seemingly, boys against men.

Knowing that a clinical win was needed, Williams started with a strong line-up, adding the fire power of England juniors Leon Chambers and Jermaine Miles to the experience of Bialokoz, O'Malley, Mark Brown and Robin Miedzybrodzki.  In the first set, Malory drew first blood but couldn't pull away as Riga ex-pro Matt Howe, a David to Malory's Goliaths, repeatedly troubled the Eagles defence and put up a formidable block.  The teams level pegged to 23 but a final push from Malory saw them take the set, 25-23.

Set two was much the same with the teams staying close but for a two point lead that Malory were able to take early in the set and retain to the all-important 20 threshold.  With the Riga setter Ballance unable to find Howe consistently,  the Eagles edged ahead to take the set 25-20.

Set three, saw Riga take a slim lead which the Eagles clawed back before pushing ahead with strong serving from Miles.

Despite the less than convincing result, Williams can still preserve his 28 years at the top of English volleyball.  With this weekend's game against second placed Wessex and next weekend's clash with third placed Polonia, Malory will really have to raise their game to avoid the relegation play-off.

For more information on the Eagles both to support or to play whatever the level visit www.maloryeagles.org or follow on Twitter with @malory_eagles

 

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