MATCH REPORT
Other 2004/05 reports


Opponents: London Polonia YMCA
Competition: National League Division 1 Date: Sunday 12th December 2004 Venue: St Benedicts Result: 3-0 Win (25-19 25-22, 26-24) Headline: Docklands end year on a high Author: Andy Hopper

 

London Docklands Volleyball ended 2004 with a crucial win over west London rivals Polonia YMCA. A loss against the same opposition had robbed Docklands of their first ever division one title last year and before the match coach Ian Legrand emphasized how crucial this London derby was. His team responded well and were quickly into their stride at the start of the first set. Docklands' captain Andy Vincett punished some slack Polonia defending and a further Polonia error and a kill from Mohammed Sliti saw Docklands go 3-0 up. Vincett was able to release all of his hitters early in the set with Sliti, Aaron Stolberg and Vaclav Petricek all despatching winners to put early pressure on the home side. But with kills from England international Michas Saller, Polonia were able to stay in touch. However, a run of deceptive jump-float serves from Martin Blake caused disarray in the Polonia passing unit and Docklands stormed into a 12-6 lead. Despite Docklands gifting Polonia two consecutive hitting errors, the east London side stayed in control and an ace from Vincett restored their six point lead. Docklands were able to maintain their lead to take the set 25-19.

Docklands started the second set in a similar vain to the first, with service pressure from Vincett and strong blocking from Sliti and Stolberg. Polonia were struggling to break down Docklands' defence and Petricek was producing another confident display at the net. However, after a Polonia time out at 13-18 down Docklands seemed to lose their concentration and gave Polonia a chance to get back into the match. Two consecutive Docklands errors gave Polonia a 21-20 lead. But kills from Blake and Sliti followed by a block from Halatchev put the pressure back on Polonia. Two Polonia errors duly followed and Docklands won the set 25-22.

Coach Legrand introduced Flavio Luciano for Sliti at the start of the third set but it was Stolberg who starred for Docklands, winning three of the first five points. But the wheels started to fall off the Docklands bus with four mistakes in a row gifting Polonia an 8-5 lead. A kill from Petricek stopped the rot but Polonia's confidence was up and three kills from Andrzej Saller helped his side into a 16-11 lead. Legrand brought on Jesse Kaptein to try and power his side back into the set. However, it was a run of Kaptein's deft float serves that helped Docklands back into the set. After six serves a block by Vincett on Michas Saller forced Polonia into a time out - Docklands were 20-18 up. Saller made amends with a kill in the next point but a kill from Blake and subsequent error from Saller saw Docklands go 22-19 ahead. But Polonia are renowned for their fighting spirit and strong service pressure closed the gap. Some extraordinary defence helped Polonia survive two match points and they recovered level the scores at 24-24. A kill from Halatchev re-established Docklands lead. Docklands' third match point proved to be the most controversial of the game. Petricek thought he had won the match with a block on Michas Saller but Polonia's protests forced the referee to replay the point. Docklands held their nerve but were relived when Saller put his attack out the back to give Docklands a 26-24 third set win.

Coach Legrand was pleased with the result commenting, "If at the start of the season you had told me we would have a 90% win ratio at Christmas I'd have taken that. We must keep the pressure on Malory as the league has now effectively become a knockout competition as one slip up would be very costly." Man of the match Vincett added, "We must use the Christmas break to recuperate but be ready for a tough New Year when we will face some important battles."

Docklands now have to wait until January 8th for their next match against Aquila Lynx who are trying to rescue their season after being penalised for fielding an ineligible player for four matches.

Docklands: Kaptein 0 kills (3 attempts), Vincett 2 (2), Halatchev 4 (10), Stolberg 10 (34), Blake 6 (9), Luciano 3 (7), Sliti 5 (18), Petricek 15 (26), Ruh (Libero).

London Polonia YMCA: Masduros 2 (9), M Saller 7 (22), Starkel-Johnson 1 (1), Lams 0 (0), Fetters 0 (2), A Saller 10 (24), Hykiel 1 (2), Wilson 2 (8), Pinter 5 (24), Brian (Libero)

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