Other 2012/13 reports

Opponents: Tendring
Competition: Division 1
Date: Saturday 17th November 2012
Venue: Bacon's College
Result: W 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-20)
Headline: Docklands top the league
Author: Andy Hopper

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London Docklands moved to the top of National League Division 1 after a solid 3-0 victory over Tendring. Docklands' time at the summit of the league will only last one week with Wessex BU resuming their position at the top regardless of their result against Lynx 2 next weekend. However, it does guarantee that when Wessex visit Bacon's College on 8th December, we will see a tasty clash between the top two teams in the league.

With Docklands old boys Alex Porter and Neil Masters on the opposite side of the net the match was always going to have that extra edge and both sides knew the importance of the result. It was Docklands who settled down first with some impressive blocking by the whole team and stand-out displays from Platon Vogiatzoglou and Slawek Omlyski. Tendring looked nervous and numerous errors helped Docklands build a formidable 16-6 lead. A combination of Docklands taking their foot off the gas and Tendring finding more of a rhythm saw the visitors close back to within two points at 17-15. However, Docklands recovered their composure and a Nicolò d'Elia run of serves helped re-establish his side's advantage. Blocks by Mark Baechli and Vogiatzoglou kept the pressure on Tendring's hitters and Docklands took the set 25-20.

Two quick fire points off Baechli's serve gave Docklands a flying start to the second set and Tendring were chasing the game from the outset. Spaniard Raul Sanchez Galan's variety of serves caused problems on each of his service rotations and helped provide Docklands with a comfortable lead. The set ended on a controversial point which took the referees two minutes to decide upon. It was eventually awarded to Docklands but the set had already been beyond Tendring as Docklands secured it 25-16.

Tendring coach Masters tried to change the game with a new formation in set three. Porter was switched to the outside, Stuart Dove back to his favoured opposite position and Masters moved himself into an unorthodox middle blocking role. His side gained some success in their new set-up and were still in touch 8-7 down at the first technical time-out. But a run of tricky Baechli serves broke the deadlock and Docklands were suddenly 13-8 up. Porter then used all his experience to drag his team back into the set with some probing serves. Tendring were back to within a point until another Sanchez Galan run gave Docklands some breathing space. In the end, the 25-20 score line in set three slightly flattered Docklands but overall they richly deserved the 3-0 victory it brought.

Docklands coach Andy Hopper said afterwards, "Considering the pressure and importance of the game we played some of our most consistent volleyball of the season today. This was just the first part of our trilogy of big matches before Christmas and we want to carry on this good run for the rest of the year".

Docklands return to the KO cup in two weeks time with an interesting tie against old foes Polonia. The match will provide the Division 1 side with a good test against Super8 opposition before the top of the table clash with Wessex one week later.

Black Knight: Platon Vogiatzoglou

Docklands MVP: Raul Sanchez Galan

Tendring MVP: Jack Bruce

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