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.