New Forest Volleyball U18s impress in National Cup
NEW Forest Volleyball U18 girls took on some of the best teams in the country and held their own in tier one of the U18 National Cup hosted by Richmond VC.
It was always going to be a challenging contest, with all four opposition sides having several England juniors in their squads.
In the first match, New Forest’s own England junior and captain Tara King, accompanied by libero Amy Webber, provided leadership, organisation and encouragement as the team won 2-0.
Against a team with four England players, New Forest’s team play showed through.
The following two matches pitted New Forest against the top two teams in the pool, Cardiff and Richmond.
Against Cardiff, the girls initially seemed overawed and quickly found themselves 20-7 down. However, Sophie Hillman and Kate Fundafunda then produced two impressive serving runs. Coupled with powerful play from the rest of the team, it appeared they might pull off the impossible, but Cardiff eventually won 25-21 before taking the second convincingly.
In their match against Richmond, a side who had won every match 2-0, New Forest never gave up and gained some momentum in the last few points of the final set.
New Forest faced off against Black Country in what was effectively a third-place play-off. Sophie Hillman produced an excellent serving run in the first set, only for the Black Country to fight back to win the set 25-20.
New Forest battled well in the second with Emily Pepin having a great game, Gabby J making essential blocks and Tara King producing one hit which nearly bounced into the ceiling for Forest to win 25-22.
Another good serving run from the opposition captain in the deciding set swung the match away from Forest, eventually losing 15-9. However, the girls have proven they can compete with England’s best.