Other 2016/17 reports

Opponents: London Lynx
Competition: Super8s
Date: Saturday 18th February 2017
Venue: Ernest Bevin College
Result: W 3-2 (25-17, 17-25, 21-25, 25-22, 15-11)
Headline: Wysocki strengthens the Eastern block to lead Docklands to crucial win
Author: Andy Hopper


London Docklands Volleyball maintained their play-off hopes with a battling five-set victory over London rivals Lynx. They now face old rivals Malory Eagles in two weeks time in another must win fixture. Docklands, playing at new home Ernest Bevin College, started confidently and caught Lynx off guard in set one. Captain Andrew Pink was back to his best, enjoying the challenge of facing old Great Britain team mate Yassir Sliti. Their duels at the net were one of the highlights of the match and later in the game would be a key aspect of Docklands' ultimate victory. Pink scored the final point to take the set 25-17.

Set two was virtually a mirror image of the first with Lynx turning up the heat from the service line and playing with more confidence at the net. Their talisman Taylor Wilson came to the fore and with Mohammed Sliti joining his brother on the scoring charts, the visitors stormed to a 25-17 second set win.

Set three looked to be going to the wire when Lynx led by just one point at the second technical time-out. But a couple of ill-timed Docklands' errors gifted Lynx a three-point cushion and Docklands were chasing the set with time running out. Lynx kept their cool to take a 2-1 lead with a 25-21 third set win.

Docklands' coach Andy Hopper rang the changes in set four, introducing Tomek Wysocki and switching Julian Marcon to opposite. Docklands took some time to adjust to the changes with Lynx taking an early 8-4 lead. But helped by some subtle service pressure from Kieran O'Malley, Docklands' blocking game returned with Wysocki, Pink and Flavien Hias producing a string of clinical blocks to frustrate Lynx's attackers and tie the scores at 12-12. The momentum was all with Docklands and another service run by Hias, including a service ace off the net, took Docklands two points up and in control of the set. Docklands managed to see off a mini Lynx recovery and it was left to Pink to seal the set 25-22 with a hit off the Lynx block.

The lottery of the deciding fifth set is often settled in the first few points. And on this occasion it was Docklands who started the better, racing into an 8-3 lead at the change of ends. Hias was again tormenting the Lynx passing unit from the service line and Docklands' blockers were doing the rest, time and again putting up an impenetrable wall that Lynx's attackers could not overcome. Docklands closed out the match with a smash by Marcon to seal a 15-11 fifth set win.

The victory sees Docklands remain in seventh place but crucially they close the gap on Lynx and Malory. Docklands' focus moves to Malory in two weeks time, another must win match for Docklands. The battle to avoid finishing seventh is so tight that Docklands probably need to win in under five sets to avoid missing out. But the final outcome is still in their hands with two more games, both against Polonia, after the Malory fixture.

Black Knight: Tomek Wysocki

Docklands MVP : Andrew Pink

Lynx MVP: Yassir Sliti

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