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Malory Eagles volleyball club

Men's 1 away to London Polonia
Saturday 16 January, St Benedicts Sports Centre, Ealing London

Malory Eagles remain second in volleyball’s National first division after containing a spirited challenge from their neighbours London Polonia.  Denied a post-Christmas workout against league minnows Oxford University last week, the Eagles arrived in Ealing needing a win to stay in contention for the title.  Although Malory comfortably beat Polonia at home in the first half, Polonia remain tough opponents and this London derby always has the potential for a surprise.

Malory coach Jefferson Williams started with captain Richard Dobell setting, Mark Brown & Alex Bialokoz middle, Marc Richardson & Darius Setsoafia at wing, James Cooper opposite and Stephen Fee as libero.  Polonia lined up with Jean Le Sausse, Michas Saller, Michele Donolato, Jakub Jablonski, Dominik Maslach, Patrik Selep and libero Bjorn Karstens.

The teams started set one cautiously but Polonia quickly stole a small lead as setter Le Sausse used Maslach and Selep to challenge Malory’s defence.  Williams’s timeout at 7-12 down failed to turn-around the set and Polonia pushed on to widen their lead.  However, dogged work by the Malory side brought the visitors close but weak back court play allowed Polonia to stay ahead.  Williams’s desperate time-out at 21-24 down served only to delay Polonia, who went on to take the set 25-23.  Williams took heart from the shoots of reasonable play by his men towards the end.

The second set began with similar hesitancy, this time Malory establishing a small lead which they maintained almost to the end.  In a last ditch recovery, continued probing from the Polonia attackers gave the hosts an edge at 20-19.  A timeout from Williams snapped the Eagles back into gear as they first turned around and then took the set 25-23; a mirror of the first set.  Set three initially followed a similar pattern but as it progressed, Dobell was able to release his primary attackers, Richardson and Setsoafia, to penetrate the Polonia defence.  The ever strengthening link between Dobell & Richardson has seen young Marc become increasingly effective throughout the season.  Malory took set three by the wider, but still close, margin of 25-20.

Polonia emerged for set four clearly disappointed with their good start being turned over by a luke-warm Malory side.  Coach Chris Hykiel made good use of his sub’s bench bringing on Andrzej Saller for Maslach, Alexandru Gaitan for Donolato and  Gregorz Niski for setter Le Sausse.  However, the muted but irresistible Malory march continued to rack up points.  Eagles coach Williams kept interruptions to a minimum allowing his Eagles to stay focused and close out the set by a comfortable 25-16.

This coming Saturday sees the Eagles at home, this time against their bogey team, Newcastle Staffs.  Although Newcastle are currently in the division one relegation zone, only Malory and Polonia have defeated them with a clean sheet so far this year.  As league leaders Sheffield don’t play this weekend, a convincing win by Malory will take them to the top of division one on set difference.  Saturday’s match starts at 15:30, preceded by the women’s match against Ashcombe Dorking at 13:30.

South London Press - Download
London Volleyball Association - Link
Wandsworth Guardian - Link

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