East Midlands Regional League
Wednesday 21st March
Leicester Athena 3 Ashfield Vipers 1
Athena's regional league team overcame a dreadful start to beat a well-drilled and well-organised Vipers 1 team.
During warm-up, Kamila injured her knee and was left on the floor in considerable pain. She was taken to hospital for an x-ray as warm up continued, but the loss of one of our own in such a way affected the team.
With Kamila injured, Kristy moved to middle with Sam, Monika made her debut as outside hitter with Adela and Sarah set with Alysia as opposite. They started the first set slowly, making uncharacteristic errors but still kept pace with Vipers. Neither team managed to gain more than a 3 point lead throughout the set and with the score at 23-20 down, coach Paul called his second time-out and told his team that they were going to win the set. With solid serving from Alysia and Adela, Athena ground out the first set 27-25.
Faye came on to set with Sarah moving to outside in place of Monika. Vipers started the second set strongly and slowly eked out a lead to stand 13-7 then 16-20. But a superb round of accurate and damaging serving from Adela and a magnificent display through the middle by Kristy wrenched control of the set from Vipers and Athena won 25-23.
After such a tight set, Athena seemed to dip in energy and focus in the third set and Vipers took advantage with their MVP, Kenworthy, coming up with some excellent hits. The introduction of Monika for Sarah and Alex for Alysia did nothing to halt the slide and Vipers won the third set 25-13.
The fourth set was another tight affair with serves switching from side to side and neither team able to create an advantage. Once more the set went down to the wire, but Athena refused to be beaten and closed out the match 25-23.
It was a fabulous match, a clash of styles with neither team giving any quarter. Kristy deservedly won MVP for a performance of real power and effort.
All thoughts now turn to Kamila and fingers crossed that her injury is not serious.