Young Ashcombe Dorking 2 beat Team Southampton in 5 set victory in National Volleyball League Division 3 South.


Young Ashcombe Dorking 2 beat Team Southampton in 5 set victory in National Volleyball League Division 3 South.


Ashcombe Dorking 2, featuring a young squad with an average age of 17,  travelled to Eastleigh on Sunday to play Team Southampton in one of their last matches of the season in National League Division 3 South. Traffic problems meant that some of the team were delayed leaving a depleted Ashcombe to start the game.


Ashcombe started the game poorly making several serving and hitting errors which allowed the dominant Southampton attack to score heavily. Setters Rachel Higgins and Edie Adams were not getting the passes they needed to set up the Ashcombe attack and too many passes close to the net led to a flurry of net touch errors that cost Ashcombe dearly.


Team Southampton ran away with the set taking it 25-11 and a disappointed Ashcombe team knew they had to make changes in players and performance if they were to come back in the game. Coach Freda Bussey bought on Asia Perkins to the attack and moved Ailsa McDonald to play opposite and the whole tempo of the game changed. Perkins and McDonald showed great maturity in their attacks and put the Southampton team under pressure in defence, finding weaknesses in their block and ground cover. Fiona Cotterill and Midori Koide kept the Ashcombe block tight in the middle and kept the Southampton team from winning straight attacking points. Freya McDonald again had a great game as Libero, defending and passing with growing confidence. Ashcombe took the second set 25-20 and the game was wide open.


Lydia Goodwin had arrived during the second set and National League rules did not allow her to start playing until the third set so Ashcombe were allowed to unleash their England junior player at last. The set followed a similar pattern to set 2 but Team Southampton started to hit good line and length to put Ashcombe’s defence under pressure, especially in deep defence and Team Southampton took the set 25-19. 


Ashcombe got into their stride at last in the fourth set. Accurate setting by Rachel Higgins meant that all spikers were able to find the gaps on Team Southampton’s court.  Accurate and penetrating serves by Ailsa McDonald, Pam Munsing and Lydia Goodwin were key to Ashcombe’s success and a dominant Ashcombe won the fourth set 25-17 and the fifth set 15-5.


Ashcombe face two more fixtures in the National League where they travel to LeAF Academy in Bournemouth to face Wessex and Bristol 2.