Ashcombe Dorking 2 finish National League season with improved performance
Ashcombe Dorking 2 travelled to Bournemouth for their last two National Volleyball League Division 3 matches of the season. The first fixture was against league leaders Bristol 2 who had only lost 7 sets all season. It was a tough game as expected but Ashcombe started brightly and were not daunted by the strength of the opposition. However, Bristol’s experience told and they took the first set 25:17.
The following sets followed a similar pattern. There were some exceptional rallies, Ashcombe’s serving was strong throughout, particularly from Issie Russell. Edie Adams taking on the role of libero ably defended some tough hits allowing the setters Rachel Higgins and Lydia Goodwin to set up retaliatory attacks. Midori Koide showed how far she has progressed this year with an excellent performance at the net whilst Ailsa McDonald gave a fantastic all round performance. Both the second and third sets ended 26:16 giving Bristol a 3:0 win which did not adequately reflect the the tenacious manner in which Ashcombe contested many of the points.
After a short break the Ashcombe girls faced a strong Wessex team who had earlier taken a set off the excellent Bristol team. This was a fiercely contested game in which Issie Russell’s serving continued to be a defining feature. The first set was point for point and a joy to watch for the spectators with top class volleyball from both sides. Asia Perkins found her form and served well before unleashing a tremendous line shot after a perfect set from Lydia Goodwin. Despite a tremendous effort, the set ran away from the Ashcombe girls ending 26 :24. The second set started poorly for AD2 with Wessex running up a big lead. Strong serving from Russell, Goodwin and Rachel Higgins brought the girls back into the game but again they narrowly lost 24:26.
At 2:0 down coach Gordon Scott changed his line up and brought on young Pam Munsing who quickly settled into the fast rhythm of the game. With the set closely tied Munsing stepped up to serve and she did so brilliantly. Wessex found the fast delivery hard to deal with and their composure got lost in the onslaught. Nine straight points later, Munsing, full of confidence, was serving for the set and Ashcombe took it 25:17. Another tight set followed, Issie Russell was dominant at serve and Midori Koide continued to block superbly at the net and Ashcombe gained a slight points advantage. However, nerves set in and three set points were lost in a row before they finally managed to take the set 27:25 levelling the match at 2 all.
The final set was a similarly fast-paced and exciting. Excellent serving from McDonald, Goodwin and Russell gave the Ashcombe girls a strrong base. As always, captain Rachel Higgins was tireless and produced another noteworthy performance but despite the good defensive work, particularly from Adams, the girls lost the final set 15 :12 and with it the match.