The Lisburn Lynx played their inaugural match in the NIVA League tonight at their home court in Laurelhill Community College. After months of planning and training, it was great to see everything fall into place with a relatively comfortable 3-0 win.
Opposition for the day were Aztecs Warriors, a youthful side which included 3 of the N.I. U17 UKSG Champions team who were eager to prove they could carry their national team form into the League. Lynx had several new players in their squad and were determined to start their campaign, and the life of the Club, with a bang.
This indeed turned out to be the case, and some powerful wing attacks from Pilch and Oshoke and blocking from Borowiecki and Brettschneider allowed Lynx to take the first set 25-13. Young setter Callow started the set and was also successful in finding Crooks on the behind set on several occasions which helped to keep points mounting up on the board.
The second set was a closer affair up to the 10 point mark when Warriors defensive specialist Clarke proved his credentials with numerous attack pick-ups. His tenacity and defensive aggression kept the Warriors in the game for the first third of the set, but then Lynx setter Abdulhamid began mixing up his attacks allowing powerful attacking from Crooks and Oshoke to rack the points up. The set ended 25-14 to Lynx.
The third set followed a similar pattern to the second, with the two teams trading points to the mid teens as Lynx allowed new players Stryszyk and Dzhadzharow to get into the game. Pilch had more aggressive attacks and with Oshoke back into the game adding height and speed, Lynx again pulled away in the last third of the set to win it 25-17. Crooks added numerous point-winning jump serves and with young setter Callow able to find his middle attackers, Lynx were not going to be beaten in their first home game.
Coach Grant said after the match, “I’m glad we got this win under our belts. We are a strong, tall team and I was amazed at how well the Warrior defence held up when we put them under pressure. There are still lots of things for us to work on, but this gives us a solid base upon which to build.”
Thanks must go to Laurelhill Community College, referees Vicent Ramirez and Mark White and scorers Irena Mihneva and Claire Dowey.