Wirral A vs LJMU Vipers
Tuesday, 7 February 2023 18:00
MVL WD1 away match
Venue: LJMU Student Life Building, start time: 6:00pm.
Team: Nina Hofmann, Gina Nuttall, Lois Watson, Eloise Duncalfe, Lucy Pitman, Izzy Parr
Result: Wirral won by 3 sets to 2. @5-22, 25-23, 19-25, 13-25, 15-8
We weren’t able to make the (unreasonable) start time of 6:00pm as Nina and Gina were working til 6.00pm. The match eventually got started soon after 7:00pm and it turned out we needed every minute of the remaining 2 hours of court time until Wirral won the final point in 5th set with 2 minutes to spare.
Wirral took the first two sets without ever putting together much in the way of attack but Vipers serve receive wasn’t great and we scrambled much better than them. Our serve became more unreliable in the 3rd set and we let Vipers into the game, you could see their confidence building up they were putting together a lot of decent attack with our 4/5 defence combination unable to deal with their cross-court hits and by the 4th set when they began to throw in some middle attack to support their outside hits we were really struggling. We got a better start in the 5th and Lois put a stop to all that hitting nonsence with two killer blocks, Eloise put a lovely winner down the line into the corner at 1 and Vipers threat evaporated. They had played well for a University team, good on ‘set’ plays with some strong hitters and decent servers but they couldn’t cope with anything unexpected and our team’s ability to chase, scramble and recover was the differnce betwen the teams.
Shot of the match - just turned round at 8-4 up in the 5th set - receiving serve, Lois sticks out an arm, the ball ricochets high into back court, Nina retrieves with a high cross court dig coming down perilously close to the net at 2 and Gina finishes off with a strong cross-court spike - all Vipers could do was watch in bemused amazement.