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Malory Eagles volleyball club

Men's First vs Newcastle Staffs (National Cup, semi-final)
Saturday 27 February, National Volleyball Centre, Kettering, Northamptonshire


Malory Eagles will be contesting their 9th National Cup final in 10 years following a 3-1 victory over Newcastle Staffs.  The final, to be held at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, will see the event’s return to the Capital in an all London final; Polonia having beaten current champions, Sheffield.

In a weekend of volleyball, the Eagles were suitably charged up for the semi-final and brimming with confidence against a Newcastle team they had beaten 3-0 in both league encounters this season.  Warm-up aggression spilled over into the first set as attackers Marc Richardson and Darius Setsoafia delivered the ball to Newcastle’s court with maximum power.  The dogged Newcastle side, facing almost certain demotion to division two next year, played excellent defence and soaked up the pressure heaped on them by Malory’s superior attack.  Faced with this resistance, the Malory attack began to falter.  Seeing their opportunity, Newcastle continued to return Malory’s thumping attacks and eventually saw the Londoner’s initial dominance ebb away.  A little late, Malory responded to the threat posed by Staffs but more unforced errors saw the set slip to the underdogs, 27-25.

A calm but stern Eagles coach Jefferson Williams sought to control his “over-revving” team during the changeover and dispatched his players with more measured and controlled heads for the second set.  Malory quickly established a lead having reduced attacking errors and replaced their arrogance with a muted confidence.  True to form, Malory comfortably took the set; 25-14.

Sets three and four followed a similar pattern with the now stable Malory attacks backed by a dominant middle in the form of Mark Brown and Alex Bialokoz; and continued setting mastery from Richard Dobell.  Showing clearly why they top the league, Malory took both sets by 25 points to 15.

The second semi-final was a more balanced affair with Polonia taking the first set but relinquishing sets two and three to Sheffield before stealing the fourth and then grinding out victory in a tense fifth set.  Malory enter the finals having won the Cup 11 times in the last 20 years, overshadowing the single cup title won by Polonia.  However, there’ll be no resting on their laurels for the Eagles as they know that Polonia will be determined to lift the trophy this year, their only chance for silverware as they can no longer win the league title.

This coming weekend, Malory travel to Sheffield in a must win match for the league leaders.  Both teams have four matches remaining but Malory will face third placed Docklands later this month while Sheffield play only bottom half teams.  The form book suggests a win for Sheffield who have beaten Malory once this season and won all of last season’s encounters, league & cup.  Williams will be hoping that Brazilian middle attacker Dan Westphal has fully recovered from his broken foot.

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

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