Ashcombe enjoy shield success by winning first match of 2015
Ashcombe Volleyball Club’s first team, AD1, qualified for the quarter finals of the Volleyball England National Shield as they beat Coventry and Warwick Riga in a five set thriller, winning 3-2. Ashcombe Academy product Rachel Higgins starred in the win with a brilliant all round performance.
The Midlands side came out strongly and showed this would be no easy fixture as they came out with a tough attack which would prove troublesome to the Ashcombe defence. Rachel Higgins crisp passing laid a fine platform which Setter and Captain Karen Rossi could use to bring her many hitting options into the game. Ashcombe had built a steady lead before Riga battled back late on. Ashcombe Head Coach James Clow introduced Celine Rudd who’s serve helped steady Ashcombe before going on to win the first set 30-28.
In the second set Ashcombe struggled for fluency. Both sides were on the wrong end of carrying calls from the referee which disrupted their rhythm. Katy Begley shone for Ashcombe with her hitting and blocking proving difficult for the opposition as the Ashcombe front court helped them keep touch with Coventry and Warwick before Riga won the second set 25-19, largely thanks to the strong hitting of their number 16.
Noopat Willis gave Ashcombe some much needed energy in the third set with her clean passing and hitting. This was backed up with Begley once again intelligently picking the gaps in the opposition court. Karen Rossi once again showed control at the net to give her side the best possible chance in what proved to be another close set which Riga rode out 26-24.
The forth set would prove decisive in swinging momentum the way of the Dorkins side with Rachel Higgins providing a strong serve which chipped away at the Riga defence who struggled to cope with her nagging accuracy. This was coupled with Noopat Willis and Evelin Potocnik’s determined defence of the Ashcombe back court before Agnes Abraham serving Ashcombe to the set 25-11 and taking the match to a deciding 5th stanza.
Zuzana Resetarova powered Ashcombe to a 5-0 lead in what looked like it would be a continuation of the forth set before Riga edged back, giving Ashcombe an 8-4 lead when the teams changed ends. Rachel Higgins and Katy Begley were again superb keeping the initiative with Ashcombe who took the set 15-12.
Head Coach James Clow was pleased with the result. ‘It was great to get over the line today against tough opposition. I was delighted by the performance of Rachel Higgins today who had a great game. I look forward to more of the same in our next league fixture.’
In the Quarter Finals Ashcombe will be faced with an away trip to Dartford. The tie is scheduled to be played on the 1st February. Ashcombe will return to National Volleyball League action next weekend with an away trip to Essex to face Tendring Volleyball Club.
Ashcombe- Agnes Abraham, Katy Begley, Rachel Higgins, Evelin Potocnik, Zuzana Resetarova, Karen Rossi (Capt.), Celine Rudd, Anri Saso, Louisa Tsz Shan,Noopat Willis. Coach- James Clow.