Just because the indoor season is over, doesn't mean that the volleyball has to stop. Whether it is Ashcombe outdoor tournament, Bristol outdoor tournament, the East Midlands Beach series or just playing on Victoria Park as part of pre-season preparations, we are there having fun.
Thanks to Sam for the great photos!
Here at Leicester Athena, we are committed to finding ways to promote and develop our sport, so we are really excited to be hosting our very first indoor volleyball tournament.
The tournament will take place on Saturday 17th August from 10 am until 6 pm at the Danielle Brown Hall at the University of Leicester campus.
Entries are open for both Men's and Women's teams and we already have had a lot of interest. We will have two courts available so we anticipate a lot of volleyball. Entries are priced at £50 per team.
Please get in touch with Charlie (see picture above) for more details.
Twenty-four players and coaches met up at Peter's Pizzeria in the centre of Leicester to celebrate the end of their third season.
It was a chance to review the season and reward some outstanding achievements. It was a season that saw the National League team be crowned champions of Division 3 Central in their first NVL season. It was a year that saw the regional and local league teams grow and develop and it was a year that saw over 50 girls and women come to train over 30 girls and women play in matches.
Congratulations to the Award winners from last night:
On the 19th May, seven players (Sarah, Kristy, Alysia, Charlie, Aleksandra, Kamila and Petra) from across all three teams, undertook a 10 mile challenge as part of Tough Mudder.
The idea of doing a full course Tough Mudder came about after successfully completing the Half Mudder last year. Our Bunnies trained all year not just to be better at Volleyball, but to be able to conquer all 26 obstacles.
See the map of the obstacles (orange line):
This is a taste of what the girls did in 5 hours on this course. It all started with a little Kiss of Mud, whereby the Bunnies needed to crawl through mud (obviously). After a few obstacles, they were in muddy water turning blocks around in the Blockness Monster obstacle (PERSONAL FAVOURITE), and then after Tight Squeeze they had some distance to run. After some moaning (obviously from Petra) they made it to Overtired.
Artic Enema – this is the obstacle they will not forget. Sliding into ice cold water, a short swim below a wall and jumping out of the water proved to be unforgivable. There were different reactions to this experience from all seven ladies – but one statement was the same; “it was tough.” Kristy however was in a different frame of mind, stating; “I am actually warm after this obstacle.”
Mud Mile – not sure there is much to say. It was an obstacle where the Bunnies climbed little hills of mud with help from strangers and teammates. After climbing the hills, walking in the sticky mud proved to be fun (nobody lost a shoe this year).
After conquering the Muderhorn, the tallest obstacle of the course (well done to Charlie who is not a fan of heights) they faced Electroshock Therapy. We ran into the obstacle together and had mixed feelings about it. Some of us got zapped only a bit , whilst some a bit more, however, the important thing is we did it.
In the same way as last year, we ran into the finish line together, holding hands and with smiles on our faces because WE DID IT. We worked as a team the entire run, we had fun, we supported each other and we enjoyed it.
End Of Season Tournament.
Regent College Ball Hall.
12th May 2019.
This year Athenas’ end of season tournament saw an array of new and old players from all three teams taking part. It was an opportunity for all of the members of the club to get together and have fun doing what we all enjoy – volleyball! (And eating, of course!)
This year's tournament had a theme - Superheroes ... and we had a number of Bat-people and Captain Americas turned out to play.
We had Evie, Maria, Nikki and Charlie from local league, with this being Evie’s first tournament under official match conditions. Eli, Ioana, Marta, Emma, Julia and Sam joined in from the regional league. And Sarah, Kristy, Alysia, Petra, Tereza, Paulina and Algi from the national league were there too.
There were three teams in the tournament, and coach Gordon split us up trying to keep each team balanced in ability. Team 1 called themselves “Bat-don’t assume our gender!” and had Petra, Maria, Paulina, Eli, Tereza and Nikki. Team 2 decided on the name “Super Bunnies!” and had Kristy, Evie, Julia, Ioana, Emma (with a substitute player on court when they played their match). And the third team went with “MIB (Mission impossible Bunnies!!!)” and had Sarah, Alysia, Algi, Charlie and Marta and Sam.
With music to get people moving, there was lots of fun, laughter and good volleyball throughout – but I have to give MVP for the day to Evie, who despite being with us for such a short time and also being one of the youngest players in the club, she showed good improvement and got stuck right in, playing alongside national players.
The winners of the Tournament and taking home the gold were “Team Bat-don’t assume my gender!”, taking the silver was team “MI Bunnies” and the bronze medals went to “Super Bunnies”.
After the matches we all enjoyed some food and drink brought in by the players and had a good natter. What a fantastic way to end the season, well played to all!
Thank you to Charlie for the words and Sam and Kristy for the pictures
A number of the NVL squad went to Kettering at the weekend to be awarded with a trophy and medals for winning the National League Division 3 Central title.
From left to right are: Coach Gordon, Alexandra, Paulina, Kristy, Captain Sarah, Kamila, Petra and Karolina.
What a fabulous photo and what wonderful smiles!!! Welldone all.
Leicester Athena Volleyball Club's NVL squad won their last two matches of their inaugural season in the National Volleyball League become champions of Division 3 Central.
Athena first beat Coventry and Warwick Riga and then second placed Norwich Spikers in todays double header to finish the season with an 15-1 season. Athena’s precise defence matched with their powerful attack proved too much for Coventry and Warwick Riga as Athena started their day with a 3 sets to 0 victory. After a short break, they then took on Norwich Spikers and played magnificently to win 3-0 and clinch promotion to Division 2 North.
This is an impressive achievement for a club that was formed only 3 years ago. After winning the East Midlands league last year, the first team entered the National League and have dominated the division with some impressive displays finished with the highest number of points scored and least number of pints given up. In 16 matches, they only lost 9 sets which shows how their performances have dominated the league.
Next season, Division 2 North!!!!
That's what it meant to Athena's National League squad to win against Norwich and it was a phenomenal performance against excellent opposition.
For the last home match of the season, Athena played their best volleyball. They started with Paulina setting, Adela opposite, Karolina and Tereza middle, Diana and Kristy outside with Petra switching to libero.
Athena's strong start
Once again, they started strongly, buoyed by their earlier win and by the chance to pit their wits against a team that had only lost one match all season. Karolina's and Kristy's serving, Karolina's monster hits opened up Norwich so many times and some terrific blocjking blunted Norwich's dangerous attack. They sped into a big lead winning the set 25-13.
But Norwich showed why they are top of the league coming back in the second set. They put on an awesome display of fast-paced attack and committed defence that had Athena all at sea. Two sets in and the match was level.
Close rallies and fabulous skill
From then on, both teams played their A game and it was tight all the way through. In the third set, Sarah came onto set and her nous made Athena a little more street tough. Adela's passing, coverage and hitting through opposite were excellent, and Kristy and Karolina continued to show why they are two of the best attacking players in this division. Athena kept their noses in front to win the set 25-21.
Athena started the fourth set brightly, playing with confidence and commitment. There were some excellent long rallies with both teams recovering the ball time and time again. Norwich seemed to be able to hit from anywhere and put the Athena defence under constant pressure, but Athena held firm right through to the closing points of the set .. until Norwich fought back to win the set 27-25.
Athena shows true resilience to win
It was a heart-wrenching feeling to miss out the fourth set when they had been ahead for so long, but Athena showed true resilience to burst into a 6-2 lead in the fifth and deciding set only for Norwich to fight back once again. But Athena kept their composure and sealed a memorable and fabulous 3-2 win 16-14 in the final set.
It was a high quality match where both teams played great volleyball and it showed how far Athena have come in such a short time to take on the table toppers and beat them ... it showed great technique, great togetherness, great resilience.
Training today saw a lot of new faces, some brand new! Today was Bethan’s’ first day, with Jelanshi, Sue, Ann, Adele and Sabine’s second or third training session with Leicester Athena. This meant we had a very mixed bag of players of all abilities. We also had players from our Regional and National Squads join us in this practice session!
To start off and to warm us up, we did some fitness drills with some cones and small hurdles to work on agility. We then we moved into our usual warm-up that we do at each and every session, whether it’s before training or a match.
Then, Coach Paul took the newcomers to one side to practice some of the basics. They started with hand-eye co-ordination by passing the ball back and forth, and then moved onto some volleying and digging practice.
The more experienced team practiced a drill involving blocking, receiving, serving, setting and spiking the ball. The drill involved the team having more precision in their technique. Due to the sheer volume of players, people weren’t keeping warm and the accuracy of the volleyball wasn’t up to scratch ~ so Paul switched things around. We moved onto a drill involving digging which warmed up the team a lot more! We built up a good sweat practicing our receiving!
Paul then ran some positioning drills including where on court each player is meant to cover during the rally. When the attack was through the outside (position 4), the middle (position 3) or through the right side (position 2), players had to move fast into their defensive positions.
After all the drills were done, we then had a couple of practice matches to put the positioning into action. Anna enjoyed working on our positioning on court the most this week, since it’s something that will keep the ball in play for longer.
Sue said “There were a lot more continuous volleys this time! Made it good fun!”
Some of the new players feel that training this week will leave them aching, and I know that will make coach very happy. ☺
With a bit of time left afterwards, we played “Queen of the Court” and some of the newcomers participated to have a small taste of how fast things move during play.
All in all it was an amazing turn out, with Charlie, Ioana, Alex, Anna, Eli, Paulina, Jelanshi, Emma, Edyta, Ann, Adele, Beth, Sabine, Sue and Nikki at training ~ 15 players!
Let’s keep it going team!
Charlie ~ Local League Captain
National League Division 3C
Sunday 20th January 2019
Leicester Athena 3 Telford 0
After an already hectic morning playing against Loughborough Students in the first game of our home triangular fixture, Leicester Athena had to prepare again for another match against Telford Ladies for the 3rd fixture of the day. At our last home game, the pause in between games turned out to be detrimental to our own mentality – meaning we were slow to get our heads into the match before. We weren’t going to let that be the case again for this match.
Athena makes a strong start
In the first set, Athena started with: Paulina setting, Alysia opposite, Diana and Petra outside, Kristy and Tereza through the middle with Algi as our trusted libero once again. The girls rocketed off to a great start, with pressure coming from our service, Telford struggled to get their first pass to the setter meaning a lot of their attacks were coming from off the net and weren’t as powerful as they had wished. By far the most outstanding moment of the set was the constant serving, receiving, and hitting by Tereza. She served for 7 points and every receive she took during this round of service was beautifully passed right to the setter. This meant that Athena could do what they do best – dig, set, hit, and Telford just couldn’t keep up. Athena won the first set 25-6.
Athena take control
The line-up for the second set was kept the same by Coach Gordon, who decided it was best to keep the momentum from the first set going. At this point, Telford raised the level of their game, and although they tried to place the ball in the corner of our court to catch us out – this didn’t mean much as majority of the time it was covered by Kristy or Algi anyways. With every pass that came in, Paulina was able to beautifully set it to exactly the right place so it could be killed with style and Telford definitely underestimated the hitting power of both Diana and Petra. The end of the set finished with an absolutely cracking shot from Diana – hitting the ball straight through the blockers hands and right onto the floor before anyone had the time to blink. The second set finished 25-22.
Three and out!
The 3rd set was once again kept the same, though Adela did come on for Alysia during the middle of this set. Athena were fighting hard, running on motivation and adrenaline, wanting to end the game then and there, and therefore taking the 3-0 win for themselves. Our passing unit once again were doing fantastically, picking up every ball that wasn’t already covered by the block, making it an easy job for Paulina to set so one of the hitters could kill the ball. A fantastic moment (though maybe it shouldn’t have happened in the first place!) was when a miscommunication happened between Kristy and Petra, meaning Petra had to dive “for her life” across the front of the net and still managed to get the ball back up so Paulina could set it (but luckily not to Petra again who was still on the floor!), which of course became Athena’s point. The set went quickly, with Athena squeezing out every last point they could. It really showed as Tereza was libero’d off in the backcourt for Algi at point 8, and only returned front court again at point 24! Of course, Athena won the set 25-12.
Tereza's MVP award
Massive congratulations goes out to Tereza, who bagged herself her first MVP vote of the season! It really was well and truly deserved.
Once again it was another double home victory, and even better than last time as both games of the day were 3-0. These 2 wins mean that we are now placed 3rd in the W3C League, with 2 games in hand on the teams in 1st and 2nd place. Our next game is on the 10th February in Coventry – a game which should put us into 2nd place if we win both.
Match report by Sarah