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Super 8s Finals Weekend; Day 2

29th April 2013

Super 8s Finals Weekend; Day 2

Super 8s Day 2

Team Northumbria v Polonia IMKA London (game 2)

Game 2 of the women’s Super 8s saw Polonia needing a win to take the tie to a golden set. It was going to be a tall order though, as Northumbria always looked to have the edge throughout game 1.

Polonia started well, staying in touch with Northumbria, and only finding themselves 3 points behind at the first technical time out. Ropiak piled on the pressure with some big attacks on the outside, taking the next 5 points to move 8 points ahead. Both sets of supporters were offering huge support, willing their teams on at every opportunity.  Northumbria looked to have the first set as good as sewn up, with a massive ten point lead at the second technical time out. A couple of quick points form Polonia made it 16-8, but the 10 point gap soon reappeared at 20-10.  It seemed to be business as usual for the unbeaten Northumbria girls, closing out the first set 25-11.

Polonia fared a lot better in the second set, staying in touch with their opponents through to the technical time out where there was only one point in it. Some good scrapping and accurate setting saw Northumbria increase the advantage to three points, forcing Polonia coach Kontopoulos to call a time out. At 16-12 down, the set looked to be slipping away from them, causing another time out to be called by Kontopoulos. The teams traded points but Northumbria kept their lead, and took the second set 25-18.

It was now or never for the Polonia girls. They started the third set well, taking a 3-1 lead. Something seemed to have clicked as they rattled off a further four points, leading 7-3. For the first time over the weekend, Polonia led at the first time out, 8-5. Northumbria hit back, channelling their attacks through the ever-effective Philips. She turned the scores around as Northumbria progressed to 14-10. A big block and another smash straight to the floor made it 19-11, with the title surely all but sealed for Northumbria. Polonia kept plugging away, but just didn’t have the attacking threat that Northumbria carried in Philips and Ropiak. Northumbria took the third set 25-15, and with it, the 2012-13 Super 8s Championship

Final Result Team Northumbria beat Polonia IMKA London 25-11, 25-18, 2-15

Team Northumbria win the Finals 2-0.

MVP: Whitney Philips (Team Northumbria)

Team Northumbria v London Polonia (game 2)

Closing the weekend of Volleyball at Kettering was the men’s Super 8s final. Polonia took a set yesterday so their confidence may have been increased going into the second leg.

Seain Cook got things underway with a big jump serve. Welsh followed suit with his own jump serve as Northumbria started well. They led 8-4 at the first time out but Polonia hit back to bring the scores closer at 11-9. A 2 point gap remained for the majority of the set as Polonia refused to let their opponents move away from them. It was only at 23-21 down that Polonia slipped up, allowing Northumbria to take 2 quick points and the opening set 25-21.

The match seemed to be following the same trend as game 1, as Polonia opened up a second set lead 5-2. The were up at the first technical time out 8-4, maintaining their form to lead 13-10. Northumbria came back at them with renewed impetus, but Polonia held firm and took a small three point lead into the second time out. The scores were levelled at 19-19, both teams still in the race to 25. Polonia were first to reach 24, earning themselves 2 set points in the process. Northumbria saved one, but were unable to keep their block in court on the second, handing the second set to Polonia 25-23.

Polonia hitter, Saller, fired long at the start of the third, although that error was matched by a mishit from Dawaele which kept the teams neck and neck. It was Polonia once again who led at 8-6 at the time out, as Northumbria were struggling to find a way to capitalise on any Polonia errors.

Dawaele and Cook were doing their best to knock off the lead, but a world class pick up from libero Andrzej Saller allowed the ball to be fed to Mizerak who made no mistake with the smash. The gap was a single point at the second time out, but with Paeglis on court, Polonia had a huge middle hitter they could turn to when they spotted a gap down the centre. A cross court hit from captain Michas Saller, followed by a long smash from Cooke gave Polonia a 3 point lead at 19-22. The third set proved to be crucial in game one, where Northumbria won it 30-28 and went on to win the match in 4 sets. Both teams could sense the same may happen in game 2, and put everything they could into winning the third. Northumbria crept back to within a point at 22-23, and gave themselves a set point after Mizerak hit the floor. Big hitter Peter Bakare saved one, which Sinclair followed up with a safe serve. Mizerak put his smash in the net, tying the scores at 24 apiece. Sinclair served long which seemed to increase the noise coming from the Polonia crowd. Polonia's third set point looked done and dusted, until an unbelievable sliding pickup from John Chapman rescued the point for his team. Mizerak earned another set point for Polonia, but dumped his serve in the net as the pressure was starting to grow. A cool head from captain Michas Saller saves the Northumbria set point, as he tips into the space when everyone was looing for the big hit. Another set point came and went for Polonia as Paeglis joined the growing list of players to serve long on set point. Andrzej Saller somehow stopped a smash and kept the ball alive after it rebounded of his chest, however not one to be out done, Cook came up with an equally impressive retrieval, diving full length, keeping the ball in play with a one handed hit back into court. At 29-29, it was anybody’s game. Bakare slammed the door shut at 30-29 down, but a block that fell the wrong side of the lines gave Polonia the third set 32-30 in what was the best set of the weekend so far.

A huge hit from Bakare, landing it in front of the three metre line got kept Northumbria in touch at 3-1. Polonia still led at 6-5, as bakare showed another side to his game, reacting quickly to keep the ball alive when it looked destined for the floor. Northumbria took the lead for the first time in the fourth set at 7-6, however Polonia were back on top at 9-8. Bakare probably couldn’t have hit his smash any harder at 12-10, but Paeglis was ready and waiting as he came up with a huge block to give his team a three point lead. Polonia were looking the better team at 18-14 as Northumbria seemed to be out of options. The adrenaline was clearly still fllowing from the third set, as Polonia accelerated on and found themselves with several match points. They only needed two, as they took the set, and the second game, 25-17.

The series was tied at one set all. This provided what the Polonia crowd had been waiting for; a the golden set- one set to 15, two clear points, winner takes all!

Polonia were still looking the stronger team, surging into a 6-3 lead. Goodchild called a time out for Northumbria to try and re-energise his players, ordering one last push for the title. The score were levelled at 7-7, but it was Polonia who were ahead as the teams switched sides at 8-7. The two sets of supporters lined the advertising boards, trying to get as close to the action as possible. A change of serve from Dawaele, caught Polonia off guard as he dropped it into the open centre of the court when everyone was expecting the big jump serve. Bakare followed it up with an awesome tip, floating it over the top of the Polonia blockers. Goodchild called a time out at 11-12 down, as Polonia only needed three more points for the win. A big swing from Mizerak made it 13-12 and a smash long from Sinclair gave Polonia 2 Championship points. Anderson was ice cool as he saved the first with a hit through the middle, but a time out from Polonia coach Hykiel made Berndt wait to hit the all important serve. Northumbria produced block after block as they threw everything forward to stop the Polonia attack, but they were finally broken as Mizerak found a way through. Polonia fans stormed the court to congratulate their team on what was a great advert for volleyball in this country.

The best was definitely saved for last, as both teams produced superb performances on the day.

Final Result: Polonia London beat Team Northumbria 21-25, 25-23, 32-30, 25-17

Match tied 1-1

Golden set: London Polonia beat Team Northumbria 15-13

MVP: Michas Saller (London Polonia)

Super 8s Finals Weekend; Day 2