Opponents: London Knights Competition: Division 1 Date: Saturday 5th October 2013 Venue: City of Wesminster College Result: W 3-1 (23-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-20) Headline: Karakoç begins new reign with a victory
London Docklands started their new National League season with an important victory over London rivals Knights. With new head coach Ercüment Karakoç at the helm Docklands produced a steady performance that ensured they started the season with a win. Karakoç commented afterwards, "At this stage of the season the quality of the performance is not important. The win is. We can and will get much better but I'm pleased to get past this potential banana skin. Knights will cause a lot of teams problems this year and I'm happy to get this one out of the way."
Docklands started confidently with Raul Sanchez Galan the standout performer on court. Marc Schaepertoens was running his offence with maturity whilst captain Mark Baechli, making his first appearance since December 2012 due to injury, put away some powerful attacks. Everything looked rosy for Docklands, 16-12 up at the second technical time-out. But Knights never gave up and they slowly clawed their way back into the set with kills by Jamie Hanratty and Lorenzo Pinzani lifting the hosts. Knights snuck into a 23-21 lead prompting Karakoç to call a time-out. Docklands levelled the scores at 23-23 but after Yavor Popov was called for a debatable handling fault a block by Stefanos Doukidis sealed the set 25-23 for Knights.
Set two couldn't have started better for Docklands with Schaepertoens producing a string of tricky serves to put pressure on Knights' passing unit. Docklands led 8-0 at the first technical time-out and despite a mini-recovery by Knights, Docklands strolled to a 25-16 second set win.
Knights enjoyed the better of the early exchanges in the third set and eked out a 12-10 lead through good work from Henry Mulhall and Hanratty. However, after a Karakoç time-out, Docklands stabilised their own play and slowly turned the pressure up on the home side. A service run by Yavor Popov helped take the score from 13-13 to 20-13 in Docklands' favour. Solid blocking by Baechli and debutant Piotr Majorkowski highlighted Docklands' dominance and a short run of thumping serves by Platon Vogiatzoglou finished off the set 25-19.
In set four Knights again managed to keep tabs on Docklands up until 12-12 but then a serving run by Sanchez Galan effectively killed off the contest at 19-12 to Docklands. Knights made Docklands work for the final victory but in the end a block by Popov closed out the set 25-20 and match 3-1.
the sixth time this fixture has been played and after Knights won the
first three, Docklands have now won the last three in a row. Docklands
now have two weeks to prepare for their first home fixture of the season
against Tendring. The Essex side are still waiting for their first win
of the season so will be keen to put that right on the 19th October. Then
on Sunday 20th October, Docklands travel to Beckton to face London Lynx
2 who, along with Docklands, are currently the only other undefeated side
in the division.
Black Knight: Marc Schaepertoens
Docklands MVP: Marc Schaepertoens
Knights MVP: Jamie Hanratty