East Midlands Regional League
Wednesday 7th March
Leicester Athena 3 Nottingham Casualties 1
Without head coach around, Athena’s regional league team prepared to play Nottingham Casualties, a new team to the regional league this season. This meant that Captain Sarah and Co-Vice Captain Kristy were in charge for the evening, putting more on their plate then ever before.
The first set started with Sarah setting, Kristy and Julia outside, Sam and Kamila middle, and Petra as opposite. In true Athena style, they started the set off slowly, making mistakes in the back court which meant it was more difficult to put out a decent attack. However, after some words from Sarah, everyone started to pull together as a team, but it seemed a little too late as Athena lost the set 26-24.
In the second set, Alex replaced Petra as opposite so that Petra could move to the outside. Athena seemed more determined and better prepared this set and, with a more solid first pass, they really started to get into the swing of the game. After some great support and cheers from the sidelines, Athena won 25-22.
The third set was smoother sailing compared to the others. With the same lineup as the second set, Athena pulled away from a defiant Casualties team, including the play of the match, where Petra managed to save the ball off the side of the court and win the point from it. At one point, they were leading 18-9, so Faye replaced Sarah for the setting duties: the first time playing in a one-setter rotation with this team. The team did well, and they won the set 25-12.
With little time left to play, Athena were motivated to win this set. With the same lineup as the end of the third set, Athena were met with a strong comeback from Casualites, meaning we had to fight hard for every point. Both teams eventually got to 24-24 and after a couple of points, Athena were ahead 26-25. The game winning point started with a great block from Sam from Casualties hardest hitter, which set the ball up to be received, set, and killed. All of the squad erupted with joy as they won 27-25.
Thank you to the Nottingham Casualties for being such great competitors. But more importantly, thank you to our substitution players, scorers, and ref for supporting us throughout the game.
Match report by Sarah Booth