Super Saturday thrills with 13 sets in 3 matches
First game up on Super Saturday was Wessex Men 2 for their first home game on the season on the back of a 5 set defeat to Bristol. The preparation wasn't ideal due to a last minute injury to opposite Ryan Stout. This meant a reshuffle to the team and players having to play out of position with Libero Lewie Lett having to play opposite and setter Tom Allen swinging through 4.
The first set started well with the team making a fast start and leading 8-2, however Exeter picked up some momentum and were able to get their powerful middle hitter into the game and he was becoming the difference. Poor serving and led to Wessex downfall losing the set 25-21
Wessex made a change in the 2nd set bringing Tom Macarthur on in the middle, this wouldn't make the difference for now though as the pass was struggling and unable to let Austin Pearce use all his options, the team became too dependent on Alex Clare to win the points, Exeter went on to win the 2nd 25-18
Coach Richard Collins made some tactical changes in the 3rd set bringing himself on to pass and swing through 4 and moving Tom Allen on the opposite, this steadied the pass and let Austin use the middle more and Sam Reid started to hit winner and leaving Alex with more room in the block to play with. The blocking became more apparent and Wessex went on to win the next 2 sets 25-23, 25-18.
Into the 5th and with all the momentum Wessex started off strong and a block from Tom Allen gave the team what they needed, changing ends ahead and Wessex never looked back and pushed on with some great hitting from Alex leading Wessex to the win 15-8.
MVP went to Richard Collins.
Up next were Wessex Women 2. Wessex started the first set well, focusing on their serve and pass they put pressure on Orcas from the outset. It was evident from the start that it was going to be a close game. Orcas attack was consistent, however Wessex stayed strong on their defence. The set was there to be taken, however Orcas stepped up their game and took the first set 25-21.
The second set looked much the same. Morrison and MVP Smith kept the pressure on Orca’s defence with their front court attack. Both teams fought hard, however Orca’s slide attack was proving difficult for Wessex to defend, and with a run of serves from Orcas, Wessex were put on the back foot. However, Wessex were in no mind to give up, they kept blocking and defending and tried to claw the set back, however it was too late and Orcas took the second set 25-16.
Wessex made sure they started the third set in a positive mindset. They put pressure on Orcas from the service line and backed it up with a strong defence. Orcas stayed consistent front court and the set looked like it could go either way. Wessex were showing no signs of giving up, with the score at 26-25 to Wessex, they had the set in their grasp, however a couple of unforced errors saw Wessex back at set point down, that was all Orcas needed to take the third and final set 30-28.
To finish off the day, Wessex Men 1 were in action against Malory Eagles looking for their first win of the season defeating Mallory in a 5-set showdown.
The first set saw Wessex start slowly with Malory Eagles putting pressure on with their service; despite some strong hitting from outsides Andrea Ivanov and Dan Hunter it was not enough to stop the Malory onslaught with Wessex losing the first set 17-25.
A team talk from Andrew Jones, head coach of Wessex gave the team the kickstart they needed as they rushed into an early lead with strong hitting from Miguel Espinoza and good defence from liberos Tom Allen and Austin Pearce. They took the second set 25-21.
From there the Wessex team took momentum into the third set; Wessex setter Olly Batt made good choices in distribution, setting strong options to capitalise on the Wessex defence. Wessex won the third set 25-16 to lead to lead 2-1.
With his team struggling, Mallory head coach, Jefferson Williams, turned to his bench bringing on experienced players and changing the rotations of his side. Such changes proved difficult for the Wessex side who traded points with Malory thanks to terrific defence from both teams. At 20 all it was Mallory who seized the initiative to take a run of points that saw them win the fourth set 21-25.
It all came down to the fifth set. Wessex were to start strongly with some strong play in transition, leading 11-7 after the end change. However some errors from the Wessex team tightened the score to a one point margin. Despite this Wessex were able to side out and take the sat 15-13, winning the match 3-2.
The Wessex side of what happy to take their first win of the season will now enjoy a weekend off before playing their next match against London Lynx away on 5th November.