Leicester Athena rounded off the season with a fabulous night out in Leicester.
We started off at Zizzi's on Belvoir Street where we had our AGM, awarded our end of season awards and then had food.
After a wonderful first season, there were a lot of things to celebrate.
Regional League Award
Sarah Booth won the Player's Player of the Season for the regional league squad. Sarah has led the team with great distinction and determination and this award reflects her hard work and skill.
For the regional league squad, Samantha Zabanyana was named Most Improved Player. She has really developed as a middle player and has turned into a dangerous hitter through the middle. She has worked very hard all season and her award is well-deserved.
Kristy Logan was also awarded for being voted our MVP on the most occasions by our regional league opponents.
Julia Golinska has had an outstanding season and has made it into the East Midlands U17 squad, so it was no surprise that she was awarded the Player's Player of the Season award for the local league team.
Liza Anickina was awarded Most Improved Player for the local league team. She has built on her solid technical skills by learning her role as a middle hitter and she showed leadership qualities by taking over the role of captain after Annabel's unfortunate injury.
Well done to all of the winners, it is a testament to your hard-work and dedication.
After our AGM and after eating, most of us headed out drinking and dancing the night away. What a great way to finish off the season!
This time last year, Paul and I were unsure of what this club was really going to be like. With hopes and dreams, we started the season with some help from our partners, buying much-needed equipment, venue hire, kit and more.
Pre-season: good signs
The regional league team started our competitive matches on the 4th November, winning the LVA Autumn Tournament to introduce ourselves to all those within the LVA and showing to everybody that we are a force to be reckoned with.
We then organised a friendly vs the DMU Men’s Volleyball Team on the 2nd December to give test ourselves and gives us a hint to how our season would go. The game versus DMU showed us that, although we were all pretty rusty and required a lot more training, we were excellent players and could go on to do great things in the league.
Starting the season with a bang
We decided to start matches later, taking up until Christmas to train with each other first. This meant that all our games had to happen between January-May, leading to a very busy few months for everybody! However, we won the first 5 games of the season, 3 sets to 0, disposing of Loughborough, Nottingham Rockets(x2), Ashfield Vipers, and Lincoln. We were on fire and getting better as players and teammates every game.
It wasn’t until we came up against last year’s league winners and last year’s runners-up, Darkstar and Ashfield respectively, that we conceded a set! In our first match against Darkstar, we were under-par and lost 3-1, but in our 2nd match we were considerably better only losing out by 2 points in the final set against a very strong Derby team. This didn’t dampen our spirits though and we finished the rest of the season winning 3-0 again vs Hermitage(x2) and Loughborough Students.
That all means that we only lost 3 games throughout the whole season, winning 9 of our 12 games with a score of 3-0, which was astonishing for a brand new team who had never played together before.
A huge thank you to all the players
Throughout the season we had a variety of players playing for the Regional team. An overwhelming 13 players played for this team and all those who played contributed fantastically, So thank you to everybody for your time, enthusiasm, and commitment.
From here on out, we plan to take a much-needed break from the hectic madness of games, trainings, and socials over the past few months. As for next season, we plan to continue our winning streak throughout the year and, with the likelihood of a few more players joining us to add to our amazing squad, we are setting our aims for first place next year.
Our biggest asset is our friendliness
Although we’ve had great successes throughout the season, the best and most fantastic part of this team is how friendly everybody is and how well we all get along together. Although we are losing 2 of our teammates over the summer, we’re hoping we can all be reunited next year with a team trip to Italy to visit them.
This has been, by far, the best and most welcoming team/club I have ever been a part of – and everybody is to thank for that – from the players, club members, families, and friends: a massive thank you to you all. I’m very happy Paul and I decided to go on this adventure, and hopefully this atmosphere continues to grow next year and the years after that, as we have some great plans for the coming seasons!
by Sarah Booth
FF* = Forfeit
10 - Sarah, Alysia, Kristy, Sam
9 - Valentina, Kinga
6 - Rhetta
5 - Elisa
4 - Erica (J), Joy
2 - Kamila
1 - Petra (J), Julia (J)
J = Junior