Opponents: Malory Eagles & Lynx Competition: Super8s Date: Saturday/Sunday 24th/25th October 2015 Venue: Ernest Bevin College & Sobell Malory Result: W 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 27-25) Lynx Result: W 3-1 (23-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-21) Headline: Docklands back on top after wins over old friends Author: Andy Hopper
London Docklands Volleyball returned to the top of the Super8s after another double winning weekend. Ercüment Karakoç's men took on some old friends on both days with five Docklands players facing their old teams. First up were Malory Eagles, Docklands' oldest and fiercest rivals. This combination is the most common Docklands' fixture (35 matches before Saturday), followed by Sunday's opponents Lynx (33). Lynx coach Dan Primus (former Docklands player and coach) also fielded three ex-Docklands players so a weekend of greeting old acquaintances was the order of the day.
Saturday's victory over Malory was looking comfortable after sets one and two followed similar patterns with Docklands getting on top early on and closing out the sets to 20 and 19. Robin Miedzybrodzki was particularly affective in his first full outing of the season. Will Roberts, another of the four ex-Malory players facing their former club was also having a good game under extra scrutiny from his old team mates. Meanwhile, Christian Kanty, playing in his first Docklands match, was making an impact at the net and from the service line.
However, after taking a two-set lead a combination of a Docklands lapse and some extra fight from Malory saw the home side go 5-0 up at the start of set three. Led by some clinical serving by Ashley Trodden, Malory were back in the game and making Docklands earn their third win of the season. Docklands slowly clawed their way back into the set. Their quest was helped by eight Malory serving errors as Jefferson Williams' side failed to take advantage of their early lead. The match culminated in a Miedzybrodzki kill down the front of the Malory block to take Docklands back to the top of the Super8s table.
The Sunday match was Lynx's first Super8s fixture of the season but Primus had prepared his team well and with the two power points of Taylor Wilson and Jermaine Miles they took the game to Docklands. However, Docklands withstood the early barrage and would have backed themselves to close out the first set when they led 22-19. But a powerful run of jump serves by Miles turned the set on its head and it was Lynx who earned the first set point at 24-23. Then a Docklands' rotation error gifted Lynx the first set.
Set two followed a similar pattern to the first with neither team able to open up a significant lead. However, Docklands gained a three-point lead at 15-12 with the help of a Flavian Hias block and his side retained control, taking the set 25-21 with a kill by Kieran O'Malley.
Docklands maintained the momentum into set three and led 8-4 at the first technical time-out. Lynx closed the gap to two points by the second enforced stoppage but a smart run of serves by Miedzybrodzki took the set away from Lynx. Aces by Hias and O'Malley extended Docklands' lead and the set was rounded off with a block by Raul Sanchez Galan on Miles, 25-18.
As on Saturday, Docklands were guilty of taking their foot off the gas at the start of what proved to be the final set with service pressure from former Docklands setter Nicolo D'Elia helping Lynx take an 8-4 lead. However, a cluster of five unanswered Docklands' points in the middle of the set took the home side from 16-13 down to 18-16 up and took a big dent out of Lynx's spirit. Docklands clinically closed out the set - it was again Sanchez Galan who delivered the killer blow with a hit off the Lynx block.
The two victories take Docklands six points clear at the top of the Super8s table after playing two more matches than second placed Team Northumbria. The season couldn't have started much better for Docklands. Next weekend they begin their KO Cup campaign against the leaders of Division 1, Tendring, in a second round tie rearranged from earlier in October.
Malory Black Knight: Kieran O'Malley
Lynx Black Knight: Raul Sanchez Galan
Docklands MVP v Malory: Andrew Pink
Malory MVP: Toby French
Docklands MVP v Lynx: Raul Sanchez Galan
Lynx MVP: Taylor Wilson