Ashcombe race into National Shield Semi-Final with comprehensive victory over Dartford
Ashcombe Volleyball Club blasted their way into the Volleyball England National Shield Semi-Final with a comprehensive 3-0 victory against Dartford. 20-25, 22-25, 3-25.
Head Coach James Clow was forced to shuffle his pack once again with Louisa Lm moving into the Libero postion for the injured Evelin Potochik and played extremely well. This move meant Camila Fabiani took Louisa’s place on the right side and gave Ashcombe a mis-match against Dartford’s short left side hitters. Ashcombe’s new star player Deirdre Wilson from the NCAA played on the left in her favoured position and scored heavily.
Ashcombe were always ahead in the first set, and built up a comfortable lead before Dartford rallied in the second half of the set but it was too little too late for the Kentish side. Ashcombe managed to win comfortably without really playing their best volleyball, although they did show glimpses of what was to come as they won 25-20.
In the second set Saso Anri and Natalia Skachkova were brought into the Ashcombe lineup ans both slipped in seamlessly to show that despite a growing injury list, Ashcombe now have great strength and depth in the first team squad. Anri narrowly missed out on a hat-trick of ace’s serving two consecutive balls without reply to the right had corner of the court, the third narrowly being kept in by a diving Libero. Ashcombe rattled through the gears and showed their class as they ran out the set winning 25-22.
In the third set Deirdre Wilson switched to the right side with Camila Fabiani slotting back into her usual position on the left edge. The move immediately worked as Dartford struggle to block and defend against Wilson’s height combined with her sheet hitting power. Ashcombe sensed they could finish the game in three sets and turned up the heat on Dartford to deliver a devastating third stanza. Agnes Abraham came to the fore by serving hard and fast, peppering the Dartford Baseline. This was soon backed up by a powerful front line of Fabiani, Katy Begley and Wilson combining with setter Carol Fogarty perfectly.
Ashcombe raced to a 10-0 lead before Dartford cold register a point thanks to a service error from Ashcombe. Dartford continued to struggle to receive serve, mainly thanks to repeated kills from Wilson. Two more service errors from Ashcombe would give Dartford their only points from the set before Ashcombe cruised home 25-3.
Head Coach James Clow was delighted with the win and in particular the final set which he said was ‘the best score anyone could remember, and certainly the best single set all season.’ He also praised the contributions of all the squad, in particular that of Wilson who he said produced a ‘complete and dominant’ all round performance.
The win brings Ashcombe into the Semi-Finals of the National Shield where they will face Division 2 side Birmingham Volleyball Club at The Ashcombe Volleyball Centre on 1st March.
Ashcombe- Abraham A, Anri, S Begley K, Ebbers Fabiani C, Fogarty C, Lm L, Resetarova Z, Skachkova N, Wilson D.