/ Author: SPF

SPF Men’s Volleyball Match Report 

27th November 2021 vs Mojitos 

SPF won 3 sets to 2; 27:29, 25:23, 25:14, 23:25, 15:8

SPF Most Valuable Player: 14 Matt Ashworth

In a five set thriller against top of the table Mojitos, SPF Private Clients Men won by the narrowest of margins to keep their title dream alive in the Mens Volleyball League heading into Christmas.

With both teams knowing how much was on the line, they came out swinging from the first whistle. Block defence was key for Mojitos, with Luke Archard and Stanley N’gang’ge putting up a big block to deny SPF Captain Robbie Le Messurier twice early on in the set. SPF’s super summer signing Jack Nurdin provided both stability in passing, and points in his clever spiking, which kept the set close. Mojitos, however, capitalised on an early lead and took the first set in overtime 29 to 27.

SPF found their feet in set two, with Joe Baines setting the ball smartly throughout. A tactical change in which opposite hitter Ryan Martel switched in to set for a couple of rotations worked well, and SPF spread their offence out with new middle hitter Pete Guilbert connecting nicely with the setters. The set was close, but SPF ground it out to take the set 25 to 23 and level the match at 1-1.

Set 3 was far more straightforward for SPF who were now hitting their stride. It’s said that when they’re on form, their noisy celebrations can be heard in the next parish. Guilbert pinned Mojitos in a tough rotation with excellent serving which forced SPF setter Josh Martel into the only option of setting Archard a high ball to the left; Matt Ashworth anticipated this and put up a huge block on the big hitter. Now reading his opponents like a book, Ashworth followed this up with 2 more blocks in a row, in his MVP performance. SPF won the set 25:14 to lead 2-1.

A great team never goes down without a fight, and despite going down 5-0 in the 4th set, Mojitos came roaring back. Credit must go to Ashley Gordon who passed excellently throughout, and Allan Bernas who provided a reliable source of points. Neither team wanted to give an inch in a display of thunderous hitting and brutal blocking, but Mojitos eventually took the fourth set 25:23, taking the match to a deciding set.

In a short decider – first to 15 – an early lead is key. SPF refused to let a ball drop, with Nurdin and Baines displaying acrobatic floor defence, and after a shanked pass, Baines sprinted to the back right of the court, spun in mid air and delivered a fast flat set to the front left position where Le Messurier slammed it sharp cross court for a kill. Momentum was now on SPF’s side and someone needed to put the result beyond doubt. Ashworth was the man to do it. He added two more morale-breaking blocks to his tally before Nurdin put the final kill down off a set from Ryan Martel, and the match was won.

SPF are now third in the table but have a game in hand on Mojitos and Spike Tyson, so it looks like it’s going to be a three-way battle until the end of the season. Don’t miss out!

 

SPF’s Jack Nurdin winning a point with a spike. 

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