In the penultimate game of their inaugural season, Athena drew from the local league team to give some hints of what next year's squad could look like.
A week ago, a full-strength Athena team convincingly beat Hermitage in the away fixture but, for the return fixture, we were missing Valentina, Sam, Elisa, Joy and Rhetta and Erica. Athena called up two players from the local league squad, Kamila and Julia. Kamila joined us only recently and had not played for over 10 years but has shown glimpses of the player she can be in training while Julia is a very talented junior player who is part of the East Mids U18 squad.
Athena started strongly with both Kristy and Sarah putting in strong serving blocks which quickly built a 9-1 lead. Another strong block of serving from new girl, Kamila, helped to put Athena within touching distance of the first set. Athena claimed the first set 25-8 but it wasn't just the serving that won it, the first pass and the hitting were clinical as well.
Hermitage rallied in the second set and their first pass was much better allowing them to mount good attacks.. A lack of precision from Athena's attacks meant that Hermitage were neck and neck for the first round of serving but Kinga's hitting started to find the gaps and Alysia's off-setter hitting began to repeatedly hit the corner for clear winners. Athena won the second set 25-18.
Athena started the third set with the same sort of focus that they showed in the first and Alysia's serving, in particular, was devastating. Athena secured the third set and match 25-10.
What was particular satisfying was how the more senior players helped the new players, the care and precision of the volleyball and the way the new players grew in confidence. It is clear that we have an excellent new middle hitter in Kamila and Julia showed tremendous personality and skill in her regional league debut.
Well done to Sarah,MVP Kristy, Kinga, Alysia, Julia and Kristy.