THE New Forest Volleyball Academy Girls showed their progression this season in the latest set of SADVA league matches.
Starting with a tough match against the Solent University ladies, Emily Pepin and Robyn English set the tone in the first set with some excellent serving.
Although the first set was lost 21-8, the girls’ confidence was growing, and coach Simon Golding’s work with newer players Ola Michalowska and Izzy Prusa was paying off.
In the second set, captain Tara King and libero Sophie Reeves got a grip of the backcourt receiving and passing. This enabled Amy Webber to set up the attacks, with Gabriella Jerusevicute showing her versatility, coming on and hitting with both right and left hand.
The NFV girls had Solent worried at 15-14 in the second set but faded against a strong serving run to lose 21-14 and the match 2-0.
The Forest academy girls’ confidence started to show as they went into their second game against Roke. Despite losing the first set 21-13, English was beginning to win the battle at the net with her blocks and hits, and Prusa again made some excellent hits from outside.
In the second set, King’s leadership and organisation stood out and Reeves made some lovely passes to the setters.
Michalowska made good hits through middle and Jerusevicute came on and showed her development at both hitting and digging.
Amy Webber, whose enthusiasm always creates a great team atmosphere, got the team up and running with a four-point serving run with her distinctive underarm style.
MVP Pepin then took over with a fantastic nine-point serving run that brought high praise from the opposing coach. The brilliant serving saw the girls win the second set 21-17.
With time running out, the deciding set had to be shortened with the winner being the team with the most points when the clock stopped.
Despite Emily Pepin serving them into a 4-1 lead the girls were agonisingly 6-5 down at the final whistle and robbed of what would have been a great win.
The league organiser recognised the girls’ continuing development and increasing competitiveness.