Ashcombe Volleyball finish season with five set thriller.
Ashcombe Volleyball Club finished their campaign in National Volleyball League Division 1 with a frenetic encounter against Oxford Students which went to 5 sets with Ashcombe coming off second best.
The Ashcombe side featured a number of players who were playing their last fixture for the club including Deirdre Wilson and long serving captain Carol Fogarty.
The first set showed how the match would be fought with the blistering pace of the early rallies forcing both sides to trade blows. Oxford had set up a strong block which the Ashcombe hitting unit initially struggled to penetrate. Both sides then made errors as the game grew increasingly scrappy before Oxford pulled ahead, in part thanks to Ashcombe giving up three net touches. The one bright spark for Ashcombe was 17 year old Katy Begley launching several quick attacks in a run of 4 points for the Dorking side however this was not enough to prevent Oxford taking the first set 25-18.
The fast pace from both teams was maintained into the second set as Deirdre Wilson got Ashcombe off on the right foot with some big serving and powerful hitting from front and back court. Ashcombe were then tested with many long rallies forcing them to scramble in defence. Carol Fogarty was able to lay a solid platform from which her hitters could attack as Wilson in particular profited from the veteran setters nous as Ashcombe powered their way to win the set 25-21.
Anri Saso provided a useful injection into the Ashcombe side in the third hit managing to send over several strong hits which Oxford struggled to deal with. Neither side could pull ahead however going blow for blow at the net. Begley and Wilson launched several devastating attacks to put pressure on the Oxford defence. Ashcombe then took the set 25-17.
The atmosphere ratcheted up a notch in an electric 4th set with both sides playing their best Volleyball. Noopat Willis produced some fantastic passing with Zuzana Resetarova blocking constantly forcing Oxford to hit over the top. Both sides were then caught on the wrong side of refereeing decisions which were hard to explain to the gathered spectators. Oxford surged ahead before Wilson produced a fearsome line hit which looked to wrestle the initiative back to Ashcombe however Oxford then brought out some massive hits to win 25-22 and take the game to a deciding 5th set.
Both sides continued the fast paced game in the 5th set with Katy Begley choosing her shots wisely to pepper the Oxford court. At the change in ends Oxford had taken a 3 point advantage before Wilson again inspired Ashcombe to battle back to 8-7. Oxford then managed to snatch the momentum back to win 15-10 in what had been a fantastic display of fast and open Volleyball.
Ashcombe Head Coach James Clow was pleased with the performance, if not the result ‘This was such a close game and a great last match of the season.’
Although finished indoors, Ashcombe will now switch focus to outdoor Volleyball with various grass and beach tournaments over the summer months including the Ashcombe Tournament held in Brockham in June.