This double header match against Norfolk Men and Canterbury City started badly when Norfolk had to pull out at the last minute. Some frantic calling round meant Juniors didn’t have to wait around long for the second planned match started.
The match against Canterbury was a classic with many changes in momentum evident during the match. However, TEVC Juniors did prevail, ending up 3-2 winners. With the automatic 3 pts gained against the aborted match vs Norfolk, TEVC Juniors find themselves catapaulted from 10th to 6th in Mens Division III.
Back Row: Cameron McLeod, Joe Houlihan, Ryan Poole, Sean Poole, Will Ferrier
Front Row: Ross Meldrum, Adam Mitchell, Mahlon King, Lewis Fenech
Coach Sean Poole was aware pre match that clashes with Volleyball England commitments meant his squad was depleted. Indeed Sean needed to get on court and do a little setting himself. Sean did a good job too, particularly early on providing good hitting opportunities for Ross and Lewis to score off. Juniors played few errors and some great scramble defence. The score reflected a good Junior performance and although Canterbury closed a little towards the end of the set, Juniors won the first set comfortably 25-19.
Canterbury’s good form carried over into the second set and they quickly established a 8-4 lead. All of a sudden their outside hitter were finding form and finding the floor with increasing accuracy and penetration. The set was over in double quick time at 25-10. Juniors needed to regroup.
In set 3 Ryan Poole, who has been nursing an injury to his hand, came off the bench and took over setting duties from his father. This change brought immediate success and helped Juniors edge out the lead to 18-14. Some good blocking from Canterbury though brought them back in the match and they took the lead 22-20. Juniors saved a match point but could have won the set themselves but eventually succumbed 25-27.
During the 3rd set Joe Houlihan had arrived after finishing a football match. He started the 4th set and made an immediate impact hitting some timely winners. Juniors were up 8-5 at the first technical and 16-10 at the second technical. There was some strong defence played with Juniors normally getting the upper hand after long exchanges. Good blocks from Cameron and Will made sure we kept ahead. Although Canterbury made a late rally but Juniors saw the set out 25-21.
Set 5 was your classic “nail biter”. Junior took an early lead but once again Canterbury came back. With the scores level at 8-8 each point took on huge significance. Both sides were playing well. Points were exchanged all the way to 13-13 before some good serving by Juniors forced the issue and we were able to claim the match win at 16-14 in the 5th.
This was a great team performance with all the team putting in a shift and playing a key roles at different times in the match. Everyone stood up well in a highly competitive match. Congratulations to Ryan Poole who was nominated Juniors MVP.