Archived 2016 News
Wessex U15s reach National Cup Last 6s
After winning the South West round of the National Volleyball Cup the Wessex Leaf u15 boys were in action on Sunday in the Southern round. Although the some of the competition favourites were the opponents Wessex had high hopes of progressing.
Exeter Storm were the first team to feel the force of the Wessex attack. Blocking by Johannes March- Ludick and Iraj Safaee put a stop to the initial Exeter attacks whilst Ben Lucas benefited from accurate sets from Josh Green. With the passing unit in full control the set was won 25-17. The second set followed in the same vein with the power of Jamie Harwood, Safaee and Lucas too much for Exeter. A nice tip and penetrating serving from Owen Turner plus the inclusion of Chris Turner and James Scott sealed the win 25-17.
The second match against Ernest Bevin, London saw an excellent all round first set performance from the Wessex Leaf boys. Good backcourt work from libero Jon Donnelly kept the ball alive for the hitters to smash the ball home. Callum Blaver was subbed on to set and did well but overall it was the tough serving and controlled passing from the team that saw them win the first set 25-9. The local boys dropped their level in the 2nd sets o much that Ernest Bevin started to look the better team. After a time out the team got back to basics and won 25-19.
Greenhouse Malory were next up and with such good players on both sides it had all the promise of a great game. A stuff block and then a run of serves from March- Ludick gave Wessex a flying start. Harwood, Safaee and Lucas dominated the attack and with Luke Honeybun scoring points on serve the set was won 25-19. This time Wessex maintained their performance level especially in the backcourt where Harwood and Lucas excelled. Michael Bryan served a winning point under pressure and the set was finally secured in a comfortable 25-14 win.
The other top team were Richmond and Wessex knew they had to win this match to become Southern Champions and go through to the National Cup Last 6’s. Tom Nicholas started as setter and saw his first 5 serves score points. He set good balls to the middle and the defended well in the backcourt. However the Richmond middle attackers were strong and the Wessex block struggled to cope. James Scott came on to help the backcourt and with Lucas, Harwood and Owen Turner passing accurately the set was won 25-12. Richmond responded in the second set and built up a big lead despite some dominating net play from March-Ludick and a couple of good backcourt pick ups from Donnelly. A few heads dropped on the Wessex team due to the pressure but inspired serving from Jamie Harwood saw Wessex start to reduce the Richmond lead. With Harwood dominating in the backcourt and Green setting up Lucas who put smash after smash on the floor Wessex drew level and then inched ahead to win 25-22. Great stuff from a great squad.
Wessex Leaf now go to the Last 6’s in May not only remaining unbeaten this season but also having not dropped a set. There is no over confidence though as they are well aware that much work needs to be done in the next weeks.
Squad – Jamie Harwood, Ben Lucas, Iraj Safaee, Josh Green, Owen Turner, Johannes March-Ludick, Tom Nicholas, Jon Donnelly, James Scott, Callum Blaver, Chris Turner, Michael Bryan, Luke Honeybun, Rufus Morgan, James Eaton
Wessex on course for Double-Double
Wessex Leaf Under 18 Volleyball Men and Women confirmed their place at the top of English Volleyball qualifying for the final of the National Under 18 ‘Grand Prix’ tournament. This follows on from success in getting to both Mens and Womens National under 18 cup finals.
The men eased into the final after a long and hard fought five set match against Richmond. The momentum swung back and forth throughout the match, however the superior hitting power of the Wessex Leaf team shone through. Richmond were always playing catch up in the final set as Wessex pulled into a 7-2 lead and went on to win the set and the match.
The Wessex Men will play old rivals Greenhouse Malory Eagles from London in the final.
The Wessex Leaf women secured there place in the final slightly easier fashion against Ashfield, Nottingham recovering from a shaky start to seal victory in the fourth set.
The Leaf women will also play Malory Eagles in the final on May 7th.
Prior to this both teams will have National Cup Final matches, the men v’s Boswells School, Essex and the Women against Devon based Academy of Beach Sports on Sunday 3rd April.
Wessex Volleyball have two teams in the National League ‘Super 8’s, the top division in England and two more National League feeder teams. The club has a large junior section with girls and boys teams in all age groups. Many players are in England squads.
On Saturday 19th March Wessex Volleyball Club are offering youngsters in year 6 and upwards the chance to be ‘coached by an Olympian’. London 2012 Olympic player Dan Hunter will host a session aimed at getting youngsters into volleyball. The session is free and no previous experience is required. It all takes place at LeAF Studio School, Duck Lane, Bournemouth, BH11 9JW between 1200-1430. Please contact if you would like to attend.
Following the training/tournament you can watch the Wessex Men’s 1st team take on London Lynx in a National League Super 8’s match, 1430 onwards.
Wessex LeAF U16s at Last 8s
The Wessex Leaf u16 boys exceeded expectations as their young squad gave some good performances to finish joint 5th in the National Volleyball Cup.
First opponents were Newcastle. Niral Kerai's serving caused them all sorts of problems and this gave Wessex confidence. Jamie Harwood and Iraj Safaee hit winning smashes while Johannes March-Ludick caused all sorts on problems on the right on his debut. As the impressive Wessex serving continued Owen McNeil and Niko Gleed took their turn to score with a mix of tips and smashes. Gleed, Harwood and Safaee kept the pass feeding into Kerai until the set was won 25-17. The same pattern followed in the second set with Wessex maintaining the pressure so that Newcastle couldn't get any momentum. John Donnelly did a good job as libero while young setter Tom Nicholas got some valuable match experience at this level. The set was won 25-16.
Next up was one of the favourites, Richmond. Wessex immediately fell behind as their serve receive couldn't get to grips with the Bello serve. Gradually they got back into the game with some impressive middle play from Harwood and McNeil. The serving from Kerai and Harwood caused Richmond problems but despite Gleed's consistency Wessex fell behind again. Ellis Phillips gave the team spirit a lift when he came on but the set was lost 25-17. The second set was a different story. The strong Wessex serving was the same but Harwood, Safaee and Gleed were hitting well and with McNeil and March-Ludick putting in some stuff blocks the score remained close. James Scott came and he scored a number of points with aggressive serving to give Wessex a lead. Owen Turner added to the passing unit as Wessex went ahead 19-15. Richmond responded as favourites do but at 23-21 Wessex still held the lead. Two missed serves cost them though as Richmond took advantage to kill the game 25-23.
Old rivals Boswells were next. They showed more aggression than Wessex and overpowered them from the start. Harwood, Gleed and McNeil continued to fight but as tiredness and inexperience took its toll the first set was lost. Youngsters, Donnelly, Turner and Nicholas all got court time in the second set while Michael Bryan got in a good jump serve but the set went 25-13 to Boswells.
Niko Gleed was selected as one of the MVP's.
Squad - Niral Kerai, Owen McNeil, Niko Gleed, Ellis Phillips, Jamie Harwood, Iraj Safaee, Johannes Ludick-March, James Scott, John Donnelly, Tom Nicholas, Owen Turner, Michael Bryan