Ashcombe Sparkle against Diamonds
A young Ashcombe Dorking 2 side came from behind to defeat Dorking Diamonds in a dramatic 5 set game in the Surrey Volleyball League.
Coach Tim Griffiths, in his last game for the club, was able to name a strong side ably lead by captain Midori Koide. The team also featured two players who were squaring up against their mother’s playing on the opposite side of the court. The Dorking Diamonds side had won last season’s Surrey Volleyball League Women’s division 2 and would prove to be stiff opposition.
The match began well for Ashcombe with Ilona McDonald using her serve to test the Dorking Defence. Sophie Bushe ensured that Ashcombe could use the ball to their advantage by calmly asserting control at the net. With Ashcombe striding ahead, Captain Koide then hit smartly both down the line and cross court to push the ball at the opposition. This helped power Ashcombe to win the set 25-19.
In the second set Griffiths brought Ellie Kim into the attack who soon proved her value to the side with strong blocking and hitting. Dorking managed to string together a run of hard serves to give them the initiative but the younger side would not give up easily, thanks to the pin-point setting of Gillian Quinn which allowed Ailsa McDonald to put in a monster hit before embarking on a run of her own serves. Despite pushing them close with the late rally, Ashcombe couldn’t prevent Dorking levelling the match by winning the set 25-23.
Ashcombe struggled for rhythm early in the third set however Issie Russell was able to launch some searing middle hits whilst also putting up a fearsome block which the much shorter Diamonds front court struggled against. Midori Koide then served an ace before Dorking embarked on a fine run to take the set 25-15.
Ashcombe rallied in the 4th set thanks to a run of serves from Midori Koide. Sophie Bushe exerted control as setter and cleverly brought her hitters into play. She showed her Volleyball brain again when she took a brave swipe at a second ball to send it straight down on the opposite side of the net. Issie Russell then served two aces in a powerful display which took the set for Ashcombe 25-17 and meant the game would go to a deciding 5th Set.
A tense opening to the final stanza ensued as the two teams matched each other and were neck and neck at five points all. Molly Fownes-Walpole then blocked a promising Diamonds attack to give Ashcombe the initiative. Ashcombe were then thrust into the box seat thanks to a string of accurate serves from Ilona McDonald. A fiery middle hit from Issie Russell sealed the match point for Ashcombe to win 15-11 and the delighted team jumped for joy in celebration.
Coach Griffiths was proud of the hard fought victory and the performance shown by the team. ‘Tonight was the culmination of a long season of hard work. I’m immensely proud of all the girls who played tonight who have all contributed to this fantastic finish to our season. Dorking were a well organised side packed full of experience and they made it a tough test for us. I hope all of the girls go on enjoying their Volleyball and applying themselves in the way they have in the future.’
The result means Ashcombe finish top of their Surrey Volleyball League pool finishing ahead of The Diamonds, Spelthorne Panthers and British Airways JetSet.
Ashcombe Dorking 2- Amy Antonio, Sophie Bushe, Molly Fownes-Walpole, Emily Hill, Ellie Kim, Midori Koide (Capt.), Ailsa McDonald, Ilona McDonald, Gillian Quinn, Issie Rusell. Coach- Tim Griffiths.