London Orcas 3-0 Tendring Ladies

25-20, 25-23, 25-23

Report by Chris Frost

Game day for the quarter final of the playoff, was to be against Pulsepoint London Orcas, a team that we had played numerous times over the season. Both teams knew a lot about each other and it promised to be an exciting playoff game for a place in the Semi-finals against Northumbria. With more additional injuries unfortunately the squad for the game was only 6 players, in which we departed for the game in high spirit for the game on what was a beautiful day.

The first set started off slowly with a 5-0 deficit which put Tendring on the back foot, some strong serving from Laura Hodgkinson helped the side get back on track with the game plan, and Tendring slowly showed their character and got back into the match. With Fran Smith-Daye, Amelia Smith and Laura Hodkinson leading the team with strong, intelligent wing hitting when out of system. Unfortunately the deficit couldn’t be overturned and the team lost the first set 25-20.

The second set started far better, good passing from Tendring, helped Molly Van Essen to run the middles Karis Watson and Jacqueline Skeen who took Tendring to the first technical timeout up. Some far more improved blocking through zone 2, helped to slow Orcas down, whilst great defence allowed Tendring to stay in rallies and have the chance to gain momentum. The game was tight, unfortunately some strong serve and block defence by Orcas allowed them to gain the advantage at 23-23 and they finished the set 25-23.

The third set was another very tight and well fought set; the girls of 6 did a brilliant job, sticking to what had been planned out. Molly Van Essen continued to distribute the ball well, and was blocking better as the game progressed, which helped Tendring to stay with Orcas throughout the set. Some fantastic blocking by the normal libero of the team Amelia Smith constantly helped to maintain the great team atmosphere present, with every player picking up kill blocks, the set once again came down to the minute differences when in the 20s. Failure to side out at 23-23, gave Orcas their opportunity to take the set and unfortunately they didn’t waste the opportunity finishing the set and game 25-23.

Final score 0-3 (20-25, 23-25, 23-25), a last game for a lot of the squad who will be moving back to America and retiring. A big thank you to Captain Laura Hodgkinson, who’s input, attitude, leadership and professionalism for many years at the club will be sorely missed next season!