Tonight saw Ballymoney Blaze Ladies play their first match of the new season at their home of Dalriada Sports Hall against PVC Syrena; a newly formed team playing in the NIVA Women’s League for the first time.
Ballymoney had a young team with the oldest girl still at school and PVC were all new players to the NIVA league. It was PVC who started the match the brighter of the 2 with strong, effective serving and they had a 19-11 lead when Blaze called a time out. This proved effective as Blaze fought back hard with good passing from outside hitter Caroline Goodliffe and some smart play from setter Kerry Kirkpatrick. PVC were forced to take a time out of their own at 22-18 as Blaze had pulled back a few points, but PVC had built up too much of a lead and took the first set 25-20
PVC made a strong start to the 2nd set, gaining a 4-0 advantage through good serving from Karolina Mackiewicz. Both teams played some good volleyball forcing errors from both sides, but PVC were able to win a few more rallies. Blaze called a time out when PVC were up 14-6 to try and turn the set around but they were only able to gain a couple of points as strong serving from PVC extended their lead to 19-8. Blaze worked hard for every point with some excellent pickups from libero Alice Quinn, but PVC’s Anna Sidoruk served out the set, finishing it with an ace.
After a tough 2nd set the Blaze team refused to be disheartened and came out fighting in the 3rd. This set was in the balance right up until the end with some great rallies. The Blaze hitters found some gaps in the PVC defence with middle players Nicola Cochrane and Clare Scott getting a couple of kills. Consistent hitting from the Blaze outsides Caroline Goodliffe and Naomi Lee meant Blaze pushed PVC all the way. The scores were level at 18-18 but then PVC started to make better use of their serves and won a couple of decisive points. PVC won the set 25-20 and with that the match 3-0.
The final result was 3-0 to PVC Syrena 25-20, 25-10, 25-20.
Setter and Captain Kerry Kirkpatrick was upbeat after the match saying, ‘It was great to see the supporters there for our first home game and along with the cheering of the players on court it made for a great atmosphere. We are a young team and don’t have much experience playing together yet but that will come and if we can cut down on some of our errors I believe we can cause a few upsets in the league before Christmas!’
Big thank you to the supporters and especially to Callum and Richard for refereeing and Matthew and Hannah on the scores.
Blaze team: Anita Cupples, Clare Scott, Caroline Goodliffe, Nicola Cochrane, Kerry Kirkpatrick (c), Caitlin de Jode, Naomi Lee, Alice Quinn (l)
PVC Syrena team: Agata Socha (c), Anna Sidoruk, Sylwia Superson, Karolina Mackiewicz, Paulina Poplawska, Malgorzata Woloszyn, Natalia Cyran