Athena’s last game of the season was a home win against an under-strength Loughborough side.
We started the game slowly, as it took us several points to really ease into what we were meant to be doing – a recurring theme throughout this season. However, after a few sterns looks from Coach Paul, we really started to hit our stride. Some great shots from Kristy and Alysia, varying the placement of their attacks, meant we won the set 25-18.
In the second set, we replaced Kinga with Elisa as outside hitter and Sam with Kamila through the middle, and this proved to be a wise decision as we comfortably strode away from Loughborough’s attempts of an attack. With some great defending from Joy, Sarah was more equipped to set the ball compared to the previous set, leading to some powerful and tactically driven hits from all players. Point of the match was a long rally which saw every hitter on court receive a hit. After more solid play, Athena was able to pull away for a 2-0 lead.
During the third set, Kristy and Valentina were given a much-needed break as it was very warm and stuffy in the sports hall. This allowed Kinga and Sam to join the others back on court. With a series of attacks and a sneaky block from Kamila, Athena were successfully able to win the 3rd set 25-9 to win their last game of the season 3-0.
Thank you to everybody who played: Alysia, Sarah, Kinga, Sam, Elisa, Valentina, Joy, Kamila, and MVP Kristy.
An extra special thank-you has to be awarded to Elisa and Valentina, for your dedication, commitment and friendliness throughout this season. You have contributed vastly to our success on court and for generating the welcoming nature of this club. You will both be missed greatly next year.
by Sarah Booth
In the penultimate game of their inaugural season, Athena drew from the local league team to give some hints of what next year's squad could look like.
A week ago, a full-strength Athena team convincingly beat Hermitage in the away fixture but, for the return fixture, we were missing Valentina, Sam, Elisa, Joy and Rhetta and Erica. Athena called up two players from the local league squad, Kamila and Julia. Kamila joined us only recently and had not played for over 10 years but has shown glimpses of the player she can be in training while Julia is a very talented junior player who is part of the East Mids U18 squad.
Athena started strongly with both Kristy and Sarah putting in strong serving blocks which quickly built a 9-1 lead. Another strong block of serving from new girl, Kamila, helped to put Athena within touching distance of the first set. Athena claimed the first set 25-8 but it wasn't just the serving that won it, the first pass and the hitting were clinical as well.
Hermitage rallied in the second set and their first pass was much better allowing them to mount good attacks.. A lack of precision from Athena's attacks meant that Hermitage were neck and neck for the first round of serving but Kinga's hitting started to find the gaps and Alysia's off-setter hitting began to repeatedly hit the corner for clear winners. Athena won the second set 25-18.
Athena started the third set with the same sort of focus that they showed in the first and Alysia's serving, in particular, was devastating. Athena secured the third set and match 25-10.
What was particular satisfying was how the more senior players helped the new players, the care and precision of the volleyball and the way the new players grew in confidence. It is clear that we have an excellent new middle hitter in Kamila and Julia showed tremendous personality and skill in her regional league debut.
Well done to Sarah,MVP Kristy, Kinga, Alysia, Julia and Kristy.
It has been a fascinating, fun, enjoyable and mad-cap first season. Here is our look back at the highlights and the lessons we learnt from the local league team.
If we are honest, we hadn't planned to create a local league team, but we got so many juniors and beginners that we embraced it and began to share the weekly three-hour training sessions between the regional league team and the local league team.
This meant that we started the season late and had to pack a lot of matches in after Christmas. As new people arrived, we tried to give them court time meaning we rarely had a settled side. However, the aim of the local league has not been about winning matches, our aim has to been to develop payers, give people court time and to have fun.
So here are the stats:
Next season, the local league team will have their own dedicated training night. We will focus on junior development and try to play as many young players and beginners as possible. We want the local league team to be the start of their journey but we definitely want to have players develop into regional league players.
That's the aim ... let's see what next season brings. I want to thank everyone for coming to training, for playing, for bringing their fun, for coping with the challenges, you made this season memorable. THANK YOU!!
Season 2016-17 results
*FF = forfeited match
7 -Julia (J), Joy, Liza
6 - Erin (J)
4 - Olga, Rhetta
3 - Annabel, Amanda, Hannah, Erica (J), Monica
2 - Antra (J), Danusia, Valentina (R)
1 - Kamila, Kinga (R), Samantha (R)
J = Junior, R - Regional
Athena showed their ruthless side to dominate their final Regional league road trip. Sporting their strongest line-up of the season, Athena showed too much skill, commitment and nous for a Hermitage team suffering injuries and late drop-outs, forcing them to play players out of position.
Athena started the match with Sarah setting, Alysia opposite, Valentina and Kristy through the middle and Kinga and Elisa as outside hitters. Rhetta played libero.
After exchanging the first few points, a strong serving set by Valentina created an early 10-4 lead. Alysia then twisted the knife with a series of hard serves that swung away from defenders arms at the last moment to take the lead to 19-6. Athena finally wrapped the first set 25-10 but coach Paul demanded more from his side.
Paul brought on Sam for Kinga and moved Kristy to outside in the second set. The second set was closer in terms of rallies as Hermitage pressed hard to get back into the match but the outside hitting of Kristy and Elisa, some great work through the middle by Sam and a much improved first pass from Elisa and Rhetta meant that Athena pushed through to win the set 25-9.
Elisa sat out the third set, replaced by Kinga, and Athena showed no mercy to a Hermitage side that was now clearly flagging. Joy came onto replace Kristy with the scores at 8-4 and provided great cover in back-court as Athena went through the gears to attack from a wide range of positions. Alysia's back-court hitting was a particular stand-out. Athena sealed a dominant victory 25-4.
Well done to the team who played at a really high level of intensity and execution. Well done to Alysia, as well, as she secured her first MVP of the season, well deserved too.
Did you know that we have a Twitter account? Or a Facebook page?
Here, at Athena, we are trying hard to promote ourselves and develop "brand Athena". We want to attract people from as many different backgrounds as possible and social media is part of that mix.
We have 56 followers on our Twitter page (click this link to see it), so please follow us and retweet our stuff.
Our Facebook page (click this link to see it) reaches across the world as friends and family of players all follow the page. It is a great way for friends and family to see what our players are achieving. Facebook has proven to be a very useful recruitment tool as a number of our players have found us through Facebook!
We use both Facebook and Twitter to promote news and events and articles from this site. We see it as an integral part of attracting more players, developing a fanbase and promoting volleyball in Leicester.
So, please follow and repost and help us spread the word.
Athena are delighted to announce that they will be running 3 open* volleyball sessions throughout the summer.
We will be running the three sessions at our home venue of Leicester Community Sports Arena on the following dates:
All session will start from 7 pm sharp and finish at 9 pm.
We will set the nets up, go through a warm up and then have a bit of fun playing volleyball. So, if you are in Leicester over the summer and want to play, come along to the Arena.
*It will cost £6 per session and it is open to girls and women only.