Record Crowd Witnesses Rebels’ Sweep Over Nottingham
Essex Rebels Women 3:0 University of Nottingham
In the biggest home game of the year, the Essex Rebels took on their long-held rivals Nottingham with a ground-breaking crowd spectating, the amazing 470 people in the stands made the pressure to perform high going into the first set. But with a close team of girls and thought-through game plan the Rebels soared from the start. Executing straight away with precision and spectacular side out plays at 72.3% efficiency, Nottingham wasn’t used to the speed of the Rebels game and couldn’t keep up their defence, giving away the first set 25-12.
With all the home teams cards revealed the Nottingham girls came into the second set with higher understanding of their opposition and started on an even level. With changes in their side out and a better serve receive putting the pressure missing from the first set on the Rebels. The home team fought back with a brilliant display of focus in defence as Lea Borovec and Madoka Weldon exampled beautiful serve receive with 2.1 passing ratings. However, the Rebels offensive power through Opposite and MVP Brianne Carmody, who led the attacking line up with a team high of 11 kills, drew the power back into the Rebels hands and led them to a late lead, finishing off Nottingham’s attempt for the set 25-20.
One more set to go for the Rebels, Nottingham came back into the game with a revised energy creating an even match up and tight score for the whole set. With tension rising in the crowd, a tough substitution was made for Captain and key player Kathryn Attar due to injury, seeing crowd favourite Emily Priestley step onto court. With a tight scoreline edging into the 20’s, Head Coach Alex Chinery made a risky tactical decision and subbed off powerhouse Carmody for setter Chelsea Simmons to head into a 6-2 system. This allowed a larger attacking opportunity for the Rebels as they displayed their setters diverse range of skills in offense as well. The tight point for point plays headed into the 30’s, with Attar anxiously watching on the bench she decided to play through her pain and come back onto court making two crucial plays with her smart thinking allowing a lead for Rebels, which added to her 0.313 attacking efficiency. This clever play-built pressure onto Nottingham to perform and they crumbled under duress of the Rebels emphatic offense, which allowed the home team to close match point, winning the game 33-31.
Head Coach Chinery reflected on the vital game, that it was “a special win on a special day. The crowd were electric, and the team responded in kind. Set 1 was our best set of volleyball all year. Credit to Nottingham who stayed in the game and made it competitive, but only one team looked like a winning team today.”
25-12, 25-20, 33-31
MVP: Brianne Carmody
Essex Rebels Men 3:1 University of Nottingham
Essex Rebels Triumph in Thrilling Battle Against University of Nottingham at National Super League
In a captivating showdown at the Essex Sport Arena, the Essex Rebels set a new milestone in volleyball history, boasting a record-breaking attendance of 470 fervent fans. The National Super League clash unfolded between the home team, Essex Rebels, under the temporary guidance of Women’s Coach Alex Chinery, and the visiting University of Nottingham, led by Head Coach Freddie Fairbairn.
Despite the absence of their regular head coach, Essex Rebels showcased a stellar performance, ultimately clinching a 3-1 victory against the University of Nottingham. The set scores reflected the intensity of the contest: Essex claimed the first set at 25-16, followed by a nail-biting second set with a scoreline of 27-25. Nottingham retaliated in the third set with a 25-16 triumph, but Essex Rebels sealed the victory in the fourth set with a commanding 25-18 score.
The standout players for Essex Rebels were the passers, Thomas Shatimehin and Lefteris Ioannou, who dominated the serve and pass battle with their exceptional skills. Shatimehin led the team with an impressive 16 kills, while opposite Kyle Vom Steeg boasted a perfect 1.000 hitting efficiency and contributed 5 kills in the set he played.
In the highlights of the first set, Essex Rebels demonstrated brilliant passing and impeccable performance in the side-out phase, securing a lead that they successfully maintained. The combination of strong serving from Shatimehin and precise sets from Euan Fraser created a foundation that Nottingham struggled to overcome.
The second set witnessed Max Norton-Steele replacing Vom Steeg due to a minor injury. Despite a tight finish exacerbated by Norton-Steele’s own injury, Rebels continued their offensive dominance through players like Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Wood in the middle channel. Nottingham fought back valiantly, levelling the serve and pass battle, but Rebels held their ground for the win.
Set three brought challenges for Essex as they had to shuffle their lineup due to injuries, with Ben Osborne coming in and William Ragland switching to opposite. Nottingham seized the opportunity to open a substantial lead, ultimately claiming the set.
In the final set, Rebels bounced back to their formidable passing and side-out game from the first two sets. Shatimehin’s offensive prowess, coupled with a strategic substitution and a powerful service run from Ben Osborne, allowed Essex to build a comfortable lead and secure the victory.
Thomas Shatimehin’s outstanding performance earned him the Most Valuable Player (MVP) title. Coach Chinery expressed his satisfaction, stating, “Today was a special day…we’re tough to live with when we pass that well.” The record-breaking crowd witnessed a pulsating battle, cementing Essex Rebels’ position as a force to be reckoned with in the National Super League.
25-16, 27-25, 16-25, 25-18
MVP: Thomas Shatimehin
BB Polonia London 3:0 Rebels Men
In a thrilling National Super League encounter at Northolt High School, Rebels fell to a 3-0 defeat by the powerful league leaders IBB Polonia London. The match, played in the unique and somewhat intimidating atmosphere of the Northolt venue, provided a stark contrast to the Rebels’ home ground, Essex Sport Arena.
IBB Polonia London, led by Head Coach Grzegorz Niski from Poland and Assistant Coach Mihail Stoev from Bulgaria, demonstrated their tactical acumen and powerful offensive play. Despite Essex Rebels’ Head Coach Alex Porter’s absence (with Women’s Coach Alex Chinery acting as Head Coach), the away team couldn’t replicate their recent National Cup Quarter Final success against IBB Polonia London, winning 3-2 in that encounter.
The set scores reflected the home team’s dominance, with IBB Polonia London clinching victory in set 1 (25-20), set 2 (25-21), and set 3 (27-25). The small and spartan facilities of Northolt High School contributed to the intense and intimidating atmosphere, with the passionate 20 fans in attendance creating a cacophony of noise.
IBB Polonia’s setter, Pearson Stiller, exhibited smart setting throughout the match, complemented by the former professional Opposite Dahmane Bentiti, who dominated with strong and strategic attacking plays.
In the highlights of set 1, Polonia applied pressure through robust serving, establishing an early lead. Although Essex Rebels fought back with their fast-paced offense, Polonia’s serving prowess proved decisive.
Set 2 saw Rebels starting strong, with notable contributions from Kyle Vom Steeg and Thomas Jefferson. However, Polonia’s veteran Andrea Maggio, a Super League icon, showcased his skills with impactful serves and offensive plays, leading his team to victory.
In set 3, Rebels altered their tactics, adopting a faster game that found success with William Ragland, Thomas Shatimehin, and Ben Osborne scoring frequently. Despite their efforts, Dahmane Bentiti’s relentless scoring and a remarkable display from Andrea Maggio, who made three phenomenal plays, secured the set and the match for IBB Polonia London.
Thomas Shatimehin, Rebels’ standout player, earned the Most Valuable Player (MVP) title for his performance. Coach Chinery acknowledged the challenges of playing in North London, stating, “Credit to the Polonia fans who made it an intimidating task and to Dahmane who was close to unplayable today. It is never easy coming up against the full force of Polonia’s playing and coaching staff.” Despite the disappointment of the loss, the Rebels remain a formidable force in the National Super League, with lessons learned from this intense clash against IBB Polonia London.
MVP: Thomas Shatimehin
25:20, 25:21, 27:25