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Weymouth excel against the elite
WEYMOUTH Ladies competed superbly against two of the top-ranked teams in the country.
The squad travelled to Poole where they took on National League Super 8 team Wessex and the 2011 English champions London Polonia in a pre-season friendly.
Against Wessex, Weymouth battled point for point in the first set with Claire Greenwood and Nicola Schmidt having a lot of success through the middle for the seasiders, but with the scores at 16-16, Wessex’s experience cut in.
A devastating run of serves from Phoebe Jeffery swung the set the home club’s way, 25-16.
Set two was another closely fought affair early on, this time with Weymouth gaining a slender lead.
An advantage they were to hold on to until the later stages of the set.
Wessex introduced GB international Vicky Palmer into the match and her height and power allowed Wessex to claw back and take the second set, but not before Becky Gymer had produced a brilliant line smash to keep Weymouth interest alive.
In the third set, Weymouth changed their line-up in an attempt to combat the powerful Wessex middle attack.
The move worked and Weymouth again started brightly with setter Karen Rossi finding both her outside attackers and the opposite attack of Rosana LoGiudice on a regular basis to keep the ball away from Wessex’s middle block.
The set proved to be almost a carbon-copy of the first though, with Weymouth leading 17-16 before a run of explosive serves beat the visiting defence. The away side finally went down 25-18.
Weymouth saved their best until last when they took on the might of London Polonia.
Polonia travelled with a squad containing many of their 2011 Championship winning players, including former Wessex and Weymouth player Katja Gless.
Despite making a disastrous start to the first set, with Weymouth going down 25-6, the seasiders regrouped and played some of their best volleyball of the day.
In the second set, Daisy Haynes scored several times as the Polonia block could not get to terms with her strong outside attack plays.
Backing this up, the tall Schmidt began to read the Polonia attack and she scored consistently through the middle with a series of powerful blocks.
Weymouth pushed Polonia all the way before finally conceding 25-22.
Set three was another tight affair with the teams matching each other at 15 apiece. Polonia then produced another fine run of serves and the game looked lost when the score reached 24-15.
Weymouth then called a time-out and the disruption worked. Polonia served out and handed the momentum to Weymouth. Against all the odds, the seasiders started to claw back point after point.
Brilliant backcourt retrieves from Gymer and Haynes kept Weymouth in the match, with Polonia visibly waivering.
And with the scores at 24-22, Wey-mouth were in reach of causing an upset.
However, a great set from the Polonia playmaker tied up Gless, and she made no mistake this time, closing out the set 25-22.
Coach Ian Loke said: “To get so close to two of the top teams was a remarkable achievement for the girls who have only been together since the beginning of June, and the future looks incredibly bright.”
Weymouth cannot enter this year’s National League, but the plan is for them to take on further Super 8 clubs during the Christmas break.
Weymouth: Karen Rossi, Rosana LoGiudice, Nicola Schmidt, Claire Greenwood, Daisy Haynes, Becky Gymer.