Positive start for newly formed Panthers

Wildcats versus Munster Thunder

Wildcats versus Munster Thunder

First Division Women’s National Volleyball League

Last weekend Newbridge Volleyball Club hosted three games and showcased their newest team the Panthers. Made up predominantly of secondary school students, the young, enthusiastic Panthers took to the court, albeit nervously.

The nerves were palpable as the Panthers began the match. This was the Panthers first experience of league volleyball, and for some, their first competitive match.

They played against Garda, a well-versed team with many years experience in volleyball. As expected, Garda won the game 25-8, 25-10, 25-8.

Despite the nerves and the low score on the day, it was a very positive display of volleyball for the Panthers, who individually displayed great key skills, and will use this coming season to build on these skills and develop the team. Big congratulations to the Panthers! Scores: Smyth (C) 2, Hayes, Quinlivan, Hilliard 2, Davis, Manning, Coleman 1, Ilie, Ward, Zajac, Prior 2.

The second match of the day saw the Wildcats take on Munster Thunder from Limerick. Despite a win last week for the Wildcats there was no room for complacency against this team, and expected a tough match against Munster who were relegated from the premier league at the end of last season.

Munster were first to notch up points on the scoreboard. However this didn’t seem to faze the Wildcats who remained steady in their game-plan.

Initially Munster’s hitting appeared impressive but the Wildcats were quick to react, picking up whatever the Limerick girls hit. The Wildcats drew on their skills of attack and service, creating a lead in no time. Once this lead was established, it was a very comfortable set for the Wildcats. Munster Thunder lost the first set (25-12).

The Wildcats were under pressure to maintain this consistency of play in the second set, something which they struggled with last season at times. Attacking by Winders and Pimairam was superb, but it was very much a team effort as backcourt retrieval was accurate and setter Labudda created a varied attack, leaving the opponents guessing. The Wildcats won the second set 25-14, and finally the third set 25-9.

It was very consistent performance by the Wildcats, setting themselves a standard which they will have to work to maintain and improve upon as the season goes forward. Scores: Winders (C) 15, Miley, Goulding 4, Labudda, Ditrich 7, Pimairam 13, Flis 1, Cioara 1, Low, Lalowicz.

Cheetahs versus Dalkey Devils

Second Division Women’s National Volleyball League

Cheetahs took to the court against the Dalkey Devils in the Second Division National Volleyball League. The Cheetahs were confident after their win last week and took the lead early in the game with service from Higgins to put them at a 2 - 0 advantage.

With excellent cover by Doherty and blocking from Whyte they maintained their lead for four rotations. It wasn’t long before the game turned and the Devil dominated the rallies, leaving the cheetahs under pressure for the remainder of the set. Cheetahs lost the first set 25-15.
The Cheetahs returned determined in the 2nd set and sided out almost immediately. Power serves from Langrell and Cummins soon put them back in control. The Dalkey team weren’t long catching up and the game was level at 12 - 12. Both teams battled it out and the set was played point for point almost with neither team able to finish it off. Cheetahs finally took hold for long enough to complete the set 27-25.

Devils came back fighting fit and despite some great attacks by O’ Donnell and Brady Cheetahs fell into the same pattern as the first set with some silly errors and lost the set 25-15 again.

Loosing was not an option for the home side and with a combination of serves from Cummins, blocking from Whyte, clever dumps by Herbert, the Cheetahs took the set 25-13.

Despite being down at change of ends in the 5th set the heads never dropped and the Cheetahs fought hard to level the game. Reliable server Higgins took to the end line and with strong serves and great team play the Cheetahs took the set 15-12 and the game 3-2. Another won for the club, and two out of two for the Cheetahs.

Next game Friday 9th November in St Marys Naas against their A team, first serve 8pm. Scores: Cummins 5, O’Donnell 5, Langrell 4, Higgins 8, Herbert 9, Doherty, Brady 2, Whyte(C) 12.