U18 Girls Grand Prix Round 2
Sunday, 6 February 2022 12:00
VE U18 girls Grand Prix Tier 2, Round 2 Pool B
Venue: Madely High School, Newcastle Road, Madely, Crewe.
Teams involved: Newcastle Staffs, Wirral, Sheffield, Stockport.
Team: Beth Douch, Lauren Parker, Nina Hofmann, Lois Watson, Eloise Duncalfe, Ella Overall, Lily Hogan
Wirral vs Sheffield - won 2-0, 25-14, 25-20
Wirral vs Newcastle Staffs - lost 1-2, 25-12, 26-28, 5-15
Wirral vs Stockport - won 2-0, 25-20, 25-20
It was great to have Lauren back and she showed her worth immediately with a storming performance in our first match against Sheffield. Unstoppable hitting from 4, strong serving and solid cover - everything she touched seemed to get us a point. Ella’s serving, followed by Lauren’s swept Sheffield aside in the first set. They played better in the second but it was still an easy victory.
The serving and hitting combination carried through into the second match against Newcastle and gave us a 25-12 first set route, but early serving errors in the 2nd set and a big improvement from the hosts kept them in the game until clever hitting from Newcastle, scrappy cover from our girls, and some dubious refereeing decisions gave them the set 28-26 despite the fact we’d had 2 set points. Newcastle now had their heads up and started the deciding set with some really strong serving and then began to find some confidence in attack finishing the set with a run of points through four hitting around, over and off our block. In the end they deserved their victory although they needed the rub of the green to take the second set.
Stockport were down in the dumps having lost to Sheffield in their previous game, so when they faced Wirral in the last match of the day they didn’t offer a lot of resistace. Our team was operating well below the standard we’d reached earlier but we were never really threatened and came out with a 2-0 win.
Overall a slightly disappointing day, three straight wins were achievable but we couldn’t keep our standard of play up when it mattered.
Now the first two rounds have been completed it will be interesting to see what Volleyball England does with the third and final round of this tier 2 competition. It may not be possible to resolve the national standings given the results of the first two rounds and the geographical distribution of the teams.