essex rebels volleyball group huddle
essex rebels volleyball group huddle

FINAL FOUR Playoff Match Report – Essex Rebels NVL Women

April 30, 2024

Final 4 Playoff vs Polonia SideOut

This weekend the Essex Rebels faced a tense playoff for the Maree Super League Women’s Final 4. In their playoff game against Polonia SideOut on Saturday a test of strength and adversity in play was demonstrated by both teams. The Rebels went out with force and displayed fantastic offensive skill, matching the years of experience in the opposition’s players. Both teams matching blow for blow the set score stayed tight, Saskia Freitas a middle blocker, shut down multiple attacks from SideOut with her formidable blocking. Whilst Brianne Carmody, the Opposite, showed her true killer instincts front court with four kills in the first set alone. Unfortunately, the SideOut team displayed their true knowledge of the game and managed to close a tight set down 25 – 23.

With one set through both teams knew their opposition and had tested their game play. With heads held high the Rebels went back out with a renewed energy and went point for point again. However, SideOut had tasted the win and used this to get an 8-point lead early on leaving the Rebels to start climbing the point difference back through the teens. But never without fight the race to catch up began for the Rebels players and the middle Freitas and Catherine Tolley were unstoppable as they closed the score difference, heavily aided by the impressive defence of their teammates. With strong serving displayed by captain Kathryn Attar and serving specialist Emily Priestley, the gap started to seem smaller and smaller for Polonia adding the pressure. But with this they turned up the gas and started firing again not allowing Rebels to ease back into the set with a 20-25 finish on set 2.

A little despondent they couldn’t close the gap the Rebels went into the third ready to fight off a ramped-up Polonia. With their energy and 2 sets they went into straight attack on the service line and caught the Rebels in a rotation early on setting them back. Lea Borovec undeterred by this kept swinging on every opportunity beating the Polonia defences and demonstrating her attacking skills. Despite that valiant effort Rebels couldn’t hold off the formidable Polonia offence with a big crowd supporting them as well they’re energy was undeniable, giving them the last set 25-11. Despite their best efforts and big swings, the Rebels couldn’t match the experience and energy brought by Polonia, Head Coach Alex Chinery shared his thoughts on the matter – “to push the clear best team in the division in the way did is really pleasing. The development in some of our home-grown athletes has been immense, and it showed today. The team fought hard throughout a tough match up and played some incredible volleyball. Credit to SideOut Polonia who are a phenomenal team, I would be immensely surprised if they didn’t run out dominant victor’s tomorrow.”

Final 4 – Bronze Medal Playoff

In the Bronze Medal playoff in the Maree Super League’s final 4 weekend, we saw Essex Rebels face Malory Eagles on their last game of the season. An intense battle of strength and endurance we saw a long game ensure for both teams. The Rebels came out in the first set with all heads high and calm composure over themselves. Their knowledge of it being their final game with the team keeping their determination strong. Ellen Floyd (MVP) displayed her unrivalled skills in the league by leading an unbreakable offense and led the team swiftly through the set 25-23. This confidence bled into their serving to back this offense up and Malory simply weren’t able to hold their own against such a impenetrable team. With this performance put on by the Essex Rebels we could see the full display of their offensive power. Floyd displaying Brianne Carmody’s offensive strength and ran combo’s that Malory simply couldn’t stop. With this energy under their wings the Rebels took the second set as well 25-15.

With too much energy to handle the Revels suddenly felt the pressure of what they were about to achieve and drew back into themselves. But Malory were ready to fight and seized this opportunity to start scoring against the Essex girls. With a tactical decision of putting ex Essex alumni Mechell Daniel, her height and extremely powerful swing tested the Essex girls and scored points. With this huge change in their offense the Essex offense started to slow down, and Malory began to steal some of their energy away. A hard-fought battle continued into the 20’s until Malory stole the points away winning the set back 25-21. The fourth set followed a similar pattern with this change of momentum and Malory attacked the Essex serve receive gaining a big score difference. A few blocks against the Rebels also shut down their offense and they stole the 4th set 25-13.

With a fifth set meaning a bronze medal the pressure was on for both teams, a big crowd watching added masses of energy into the arena as well. Malory wasted no time and from the first point gave huge pressure to the Rebels girls placing them in an 8-1 deficit. But with no more chances they were not deterred by this point difference and fought back with impressive determination. A quick change in the service pressure from captain Kathryn Attar the score levelled, and we saw a tight 9-9. However, in a turn of unfortunate events bad decisions made by the referees despite a consensus of crowd, commentators, and argument from Attar against the calls. The Rebels were placed into a 14-9-point deficit again and were very much playing against things out of their own control. Unfortunately, this meant a feat of impossible strength was needed from the Rebels who had already given it all to get rid of the prior difference and they lost the fifth set 15-10. Despite a heavily disappointed team and unjust final set of their season the Rebel girls all fought valiantly and displayed amazing skill and power in their season. Head Coach Alex Chinery commented on the last game – “this is an incredibly tough game for the girls to finish their season. They’ve been incredible all year and had their best performance of the year today and came up just short in a thrilling game that showcased the best of British volleyball.”

A huge season the Essex Rebels team with their true power unleashed ahead of their future. It truly put a mark stone in the volleyball world for their team and hopefully they can get a just ending to next season and truly see through the Super League how they would’ve liked.

Congratulations to a tough season of injuries, sweat, and hard work for them all!

Written by Tara King
Essex Rebels Team Huddle
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