Rebels NVL Men and Women Triumph and Advance to the National Cup Semi Final
National Cup Quarter Final: Essex Rebels NVL Women vs Darkstar Derbyshire
In a tense repeat of last week’s Super League match up, the Essex Rebels faced up against last week’s competition Darkstar Derby for the Quarter Finals of the National Cup. With the action underway the Rebels faced strong service pressure from their opponents, however fell quickly into a strong receiving unit and were able to use their heavy offence early on. With the Rebels setter and MVP Ellen Floyd utilising the strong attack of our opposite Brian Carmody and middles Saskia Frietas and Catherine Tolley, the Rebels quickly shut down the Derby girls and gained the first set 25-19. Into the second set we saw a very similar and formidable attack on the Darkstar team. The Rebels not letting up from their emphatic offence and sub Grace Igbokwe coming in for Frietas due to injury we saw a fierce attack on their opponents, gaining the second set 25-21.
Heading into the third set Darkstar were able to claim back the pressure on their serves and battle to gain a lead in points. With this newfound energy the Derby girls started to utilise their crafty offence and cause chaos in the Rebels defence which lost the team momentum for the win. In a close turn around the Darkstar team took the third set in a repeat of last week’s sets 19-25. With the fourth set up in the air a stern team talk and grab of attention for the Rebels meant they needed to shut this set down now and safely secure their place in the semi-finals. With their winning mentality the Darkstar team remained strong with their service and placed immense pressure on the rebels, who with their renewed determination held fast in serve receive. The Rebel girls managing to side out at key moments with their diverse attacking squad and took the set into the twenties. With the pressure on the Rebels managed to defeat the Darkstar girls with their best servers coming in at vital moments.
They won the set tightly 30-28 with Head Coach Alex Chinery commenting, “playing an opponent back-to-back is always tough. Darkstar had nothing to lose and gave us a great game. I’m proud of the way our team battled through against a spirited opponent. We targeted getting to this stage at the beginning of the season and now we can go to Durham for the semi-final to play with freedom.”
Rebels Women 3:1 Darkstar Derbyshire
National Cup Quarter Final
25-19, 25-21, 19-25, 30-28
MVP: Ellen Floyd
National Cup Quarter Final: Essex Rebels NVL Men vs Polonia London
In a riveting encounter at the Essex Sport Arena, the Essex Rebels emerged victorious against the formidable IBB Polonia London in the National Volleyball Cup, securing a hard-fought 3:2 win. The clash showcased the resilience and prowess of both teams, with standout performances from key players and strategic manoeuvres that kept fans on the edge of their seats. Despite facing the challenge of being without head coach Alex Porter, who was recovering from surgery, the Rebels, led by assistant coach Alex Chinery, proved their mettle against a team boasting an undefeated record in the Volleyball England Super League this season, guided by the experienced Grzegorz Niski from Poland.
The match kicked off with IBB Polonia London taking the first set 25:23, displaying a solid side-out game and securing an early lead. However, the Rebels, fuelled by the impressive wing attackers Thomas Shatimehin and William Ragland, fought back in the following sets. The duo capitalized on the opponent’s defensive lapses, earning the Rebels the nickname ‘Colchester Roofing Company’ as players like Ben Osborne and Euan Fraser dominated with effective blocking throughout the game.
In set 2, substitute Ben Osborne made a significant impact, contributing two phenomenal stuff blocks on IBB’s Andrea Maggio. The Rebels continued their offensive onslaught, with Ragland and Shatimehin scoring at will. Setter Euan Fraser orchestrated a dynamic offense, allowing Andrew Wood and Thomas Jefferson to shine and secure a 25:19 victory for Essex Rebels.
Set 3 witnessed a tight battle between the evenly matched teams before a stellar service run from Fraser tilted the advantage in favour of the Rebels. Lefteris Ioannou’s exceptional service reception paved the way for Wood and Jefferson to capitalize on middle offenses, while Shatimehin’s massive roof blocks on IBB’s Mihail Stoev propelled the Rebels to a 25:18 triumph.
IBB Polonia London fought back in set 4, with Stoev’s strong serving providing them a lead that they managed to retain. Despite Osborne’s powerful serves, the Rebels fell short, conceding the set 25:22. The stage was set for a thrilling decider in set 5.
Essex Rebels raced into an early lead in the fifth set, with Ragland’s excellent serving and Jefferson’s solid blocking. Although IBB Polonia London made a comeback, the Rebels reached the crucial 8-point mark first during the change of ends. The teams traded points in a nail-biting exchange, with Fraser serving the crucial break point that forced an IBB mistake, securing a 19:17 victory for the Rebels.
Euan Fraser’s outstanding contributions earned him the MVP title for the match. Reflecting on the incredible performance, acting Coach Chinery expressed his pride in the team’s resilience, execution of the game plan, and their ability to rise to the occasion against a formidable opponent. The Rebels’ 3:2 triumph over IBB Polonia London showcased the depth and determination of this special team.
Rebels Men 3:2 IBB Polonia London
National Cup Quarter Final
23:25, 25:19, 25:18, 22:25, 19:17
MVP: Euan Fraser
The next Volleyball Doubleheader at home is on Saturday, 3 February, at 2.30pm as both teams will be taking on the University of Nottingham in the Nations Unite Special.
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