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Malory Eagles volleyball club

Men's 1 home to Middlesbrough College
Saturday 28 November, Ernest Bevin College, Wandsworth London

Following last month’s loss to league leaders Sheffield, Malory re-started their challenge for silverware with a 3-1 win over division newcomers Middlesbrough College.

Missing outside attacker Yassir Sliti and middle blocker Dan Westphal, Jefferson Williams decided to exercise some of the less established players.  After a spirited warm-up, setter Ashley Trodden and his opposite James Cooper started the game along with outside attackers Luciano Pinter & Marc Richardson and middle blockers Mark Brown & veteran Andrew Omoshebi.  Steven Fee, still recovering from injury, once again took the spot as libero (defensive specialist).

Through set one, the teams traded points evenly with thumping outside attacks from Richardson and Pinter finding the plucky Middlesbrough defence.  Neither side could establish a lead until a spell of strong serving from Cooper helped edge the Eagles to 20 points.  Middlesbrough’s late substitution of Harrison for McLaren failed to arrest Malory’s progress and the Eagles stayed strong to close the set; 25 to 21.

Coach Williams kept the same six for set two and was encouraged when his team notched up the first five points without answer from Middlesbrough.  Malory maintained a comfortable buffer as the set progressed but a run of four points spearheaded by excellent defensive work brought Middlesbrough back into the set.  A double substitution, replacing Cooper and Trodden with Richard Dobell and Dave King, failed to re-start Malory’s stalled progress.  As the visitors drew even at 23, a time out from Williams could not upset Middlesbrough’s momentum and they pushed on to win the set; 27-25.

A frustrated Williams reminded his squad of the importance of this game for their league challenge with some stern words at the change-over.  He kept faith with the game’s starting six who began steadily; keen to keep control of the newly confident Middlesbrough team.  Malory gradually edged ahead with Williams cleverly using substitutions to exploit weaknesses in the Middlesbrough team.  Attacker Darius Setsoafia and Setter Dobell joined the fray at 8-9 down in a substitution aimed at maximising attacking options.  6’6” middle blocker Alex Bialokoz later entered court replacing a tiring Omoshebi.  In spite of spirited defensive work from the Middlesbrough libero Ross Enfield, Malory turned around a slight deficit to comfortably take the set by 25 points to 17.

After claiming the first points of set four, Malory maintained an edge over the dogged Middlesbrough side and established a convincing lead at 18-9.  The Northerners refused to give up and dragged themselves back into the set with a six point serving run from setter Kieran Sowden.  A timeout from Williams at 23-19 helped the Eagles regain their composure, allowing them to resist Middlesbrough’s challenge and take the set 25-23.

Malory remain 3rd in the league, two points behind leaders Sheffield but with a game in hand.  Three of the division’s four London clubs sit in the top half as we approach the Christmas mid-point.  This coming Saturday sees the Eagles travel to London neighbours Docklands (currently second).  As well as “local derby” spoils, the winner will take the division’s second spot.

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

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