Ashcombe fall short in Friday Night Thriller
Ashcombe Volleyball Clubs Surrey Volleyball League team travelled to The Kingston Arena on Friday night to take on Richmond Volleyball Club and despite battling throughout the fixture, fell short in the final set. It was an unusual lineup for Ashcombe with a mix of players but provided a useful opportunity for all the players.
In the first set Ashcombe got off to a slow start as the struggled to find a rhythm. Captain Carol Fogarty produced some fine setting however Ashcombe struggled in defence before producing a late rally to lose the set 16-25.
In the second set Pam Munsing came into the Ashcombe lineup and her passing and strong outside hitting bolstered Ashcombe’s attack although once again the Dorking side handed their opponents an early lead before clawing their way back in to the contest, partly thanks to brave blocking from Natalia Skachkova who produced a fine display as middle hitter throughout the evening, stealing several points at the net. Ashcombe couldn’t quite keep up with Richmond and lost the set 21-25.
Set three began with Skachkova serving up 7 straight points with a mix of intelligent placement and strong serves which proved unreturnable. Rachel Higgins lifted Ashcombe with much needed spark helping to get Ashcombe moving by finding lots of holes in the Richmond court. Carol Fogarty was then able to utilise all her hitting options with Noopat Willis providing some strong line hitting from the opposite channel. Ashcombe did not relent to win the set 25-13.
Ailsa McDonald once again showed her versatility in the forth set by switching to Outside Hitter and she soon showed her quality there by launching some booming attacks down the line. The front court provided much of Ashcombe’s points with Higgins and Skachkova in particular proving to be very effective as Middle hitters and blockers. Ashcombe took the set 25-22 to take the match to a deciding 5th set.
In the 5th set Ashcombe again gave up a head start to their opponents. Some strong serving from Richmond proved hard to answer by Ashcombe despite Ailsa McDonald in particular fighting hard Richmond soon held a 10 point lead. Erika Barbato refused to give the match to Richmond with some superb serving and hitting to give Ashcombe hope. However Richmond soon closed the match with Ashcombe losing the 5th set 8-15.
Acting coach Tim Griffiths said after the match. ‘I was very proud of the fight we showed tonight to battle back from 2 sets down. Despite having to play some players in unfamiliar positions, everyone gave a great account of themselves. Our three young players (Ailsa McDonald, Pam Munsing and Rachel Higgins) in particular showed how they have improved recently. ‘
Ashcombe- Barbato E, Fogarty C (Capt), Higgins, R, McDonald, A, Munsing P, Skachkova N, Willis P