Athena's regional league team made a very strong start to their season by beating Lincoln Cannons 3-0.
The team had a strong resemblance to the team that finished last season with Sarah, Alysia, Kristy, Rhetta and Kamila forming the core, supplemented by debutants Rebecca, Adela and Michelle.
Athena started with Sarah setting, Alysia as opposite, Kristy and Adela as outside hitters and Kamila and Rebecca through the middle. Rhets was the libero.
From the start, Athena sprung into a commanding lead. Sarah dumped the first ball to put the Lincoln defence on the back foot and won the point. From there, Sarah served Athena into a 6-0 lead. With it being the first league match of the season, nerves and excitement were running high and that was evident in the first set. It was a case of people feeling their way into the season and making a few basic errors in the pass receive or in finishing the point. Evenso, the serving and the defence was strong enough for Athena to close out the first set 25-13.
The second set started a little closer but, pretty soon, Athena began to relax into the game. Great passes from Rhets and Adela in the back court meant that Sarah could create fabulous opportunities for Kristy and Kamila to finish off with superb hitting. Athena closed the set off 25-8 looking in really good shape.
For the final set, Coach Kaerger introduced Michelle for Adela. Lincoln began to come into the game a lot more and created a much closer contest. Adela came on for Kristy midway through the third set to make sure as the coach changed things up with later games in mind. Highlight of the third set was an athletic one-handed save from Rebecca which leads to a long rally which Athena won. That level of commitment augurs well for the rest of the season. Athena won the third set 25-17 to cap a very good performance.
The coach was well pleased with the focus and determination of the squad and with having the ability to give court time to all 8 players. A great start to the season.
Athena's local league team started the new season with a spirited performance against PVC.
Athena started with Hannah and Joy setting, Liza and Rebecca playing middle and Erin and Julia as outside hitters and they started really well, keeping pace with the much more experienced PVC side. The back court coverage and service receive were particularly good but errors in attack meant that PVC won the first set 25-15.
In the second set, Emma replaced Joy as setter and Athena continued their good work. Hannah's thumb injury meant that Joy was back on court midway through the set and the change knocked their confidence and they let the set run away 25-15 again.
In the final set, Kasia came on for Erin in her first match with us and Athena played really well to build a good lead. PVC came roaring back and coach Kaerger decided to blood Emily and Bethan for their first ever matches. PVC won a much closer final set.
Despite the 3-0 loss, the team work was excellent, the energy and enthusiasm was infectious and Athena did a lot of the simple things well. We played three 17 year olds, and Charlie, Emily and Bethan played their first ever competitive volleyball matches. As coach Kaerger said "The local league team is about player development and I was so pleased to see so many great performances".