Date: Sunday 26th January 2014
Team: Sarah Mayes, Kirsty Green, Maria Pereira Ambrosio, Rachel Bohannan, Sidonia Andronescu, Claudia Lambert, Maelle Niederquell, Pauline Sands, Leasa Williams, Amanda Pollard, Irina Cervantes
Essex Trinity dropped off the promotion pace with a second loss to Tendring in a week but were consoled with a gutsy win against Plymouth.
Essex Trinity v Plymouth: 3-2 (22-25, 27-25, 12-25, 25-16, 15-10)
In Match 1 Trinity took on Plymouth. From the start the two teams were evenly matched and it looked as though it was going to be a tight match. Trinity matched Plymouth point for point in the first set with some great hitting by Pereira and Williams but Plymouth edged ahead to take the first set 25-22.
In the second set the battle continued with both sides creating some great points. Plymouth struggled to deal with the killer Bohannan serve winning 7 points on the bounce. Trinity had the first opportunity at set point but were denied by a shocking referee error – c’est la vie. Plymouth then pulled it back to tie at 24-24 all. Both teams dug deep but Trinity had the edge and squeezed through to win the second set 27-25.
Plymouth then improved and Trinity dropped off the pace. Plymouth played good volleyball and Trinity were in a generous mood gifting points through as many unforced errors as they could think of – rotation errors and sloppy cover all featured in the poor 25-12 3rd set loss.
Trinity now needed to take the match to 5 sets to win the game and Trinity do not give up without a fight. With some fantastic setting by Green, Cervantes and Niederquell scored some powerful line shots through the outside position. Team spirit was fantastic, helped by their vocally-superior subs and support team. Trinity chased down every ball with Lambert putting her body on the line to ensure that no ball touched the floor. Trinity dominated this fourth set to take it at 25-16.
In the deciding fifth set Trinity started with a bang racing to a 6-2 lead. Supporters were hopeful. However, the Trinity demons of unforced errors in clusters reared its head and inexplicably Plymouth led 8-7 at the halfway stage. Thankfully Trinity decided to play in the second half of the set. Solid serving by Niederquell and solid team play set the base. Then it became the Cervantes show as she walloped 3 uber-clean spikes from the wing – as one of the spectators said – ‘wow – when did she come on court?’.
And so Trinity got the win and poor Plymouth took the long trip back to the West Country still winless.
Tendring v Trinity: 3-0 (25-13, 25-10, 25-18)
Match 2 saw a tired but spirited Trinity take on undefeated Tendring for a second time that week. Tendring dominated the match from the start with some killer serving by their whole team. Trinity gave everything and even with some good defending Trinity’s wing hitters were blocked by Tendring’s towering middle players. Trinity fought bravely and Cervantes over-powered the Tendring defence. Andronescu was not intimidated by the 6ft middle players and dominated in the block and cleverly hit into the few spaces left on court by the tight Tendring defence. Green also showed quick thinking by following a crafty second touch winner by the Tendring setter with her own perfectly placed winning shot. Unfortunately Tendring did not allow Trinity to get into the game and they were quickly defeated 3-0.
Trinity showed great spirit and the team pulled together throughout the match for a gutsy team performance. A special mention must go to Trinity middle Andonescu, who stepped into the big league and played an amazing game – superb blocking and reliable, dynamic hitting through the middle gave Trinity a new defence and attacking dimension.