Onyx lost to Giants (Men’s D2B - London Volleyball League) 21:13 14:21 19:21 21:16 12:15 Titanic battle for honours These teams are vying for promotion to our first division next season and, although both were under full strength, gave us an exhibition of volleyball worthy of the higher level helped, though initially hindered, by the referee's recognition of the situation and insistence on quality ball handling to which the teams responded. A thrilling match resulted.
With Anton Romalijsky at a wedding in Romania and a midweek injury to Ioannis Theocharopoulos, Giants were down to a single setter, Rafael Jovanelle, and hastened to sign a reserve just the day before. The outcome was Paolo de Grazia signed 24 hours earlier from first division Wapping Cheetahs although they played him as a second libero and, in the end, he was little used. Notable absentees from the Onyx line up were Teodor Monsteanu and Timothy Ver Bohoist. The result: a very close contest.
Close, even though Onyx swept through the first set and Giants the second. Onyx were much the tidier side in the opening stages quickly opening up a first set lead and, although Giants closed to 7:9 in mid set, the tenth point won with a magnificent block by Lorenzo Bartolim and Marco Rossetti seemed to knock Giants' confidence and they quickly fell further and further behind. I though Onyx were straining rather too hard for their best shots in the first few rallies of the second and they were soon 3:7 down and taking a necessary time-out. From that point Giants started to play safe and were punished as their hosts closed to 8:9. However, they then raised their game again and swept swiftly through the remainder of the set.
The third set started with a joust won by Onyx's Jezy Jurgelianecas and the noisy, supportive and largely female crowd recognised things were getting serious. A great set followed. Worthy of mention are a clever half-paced hit by Marco and cross-court spikes by John Tangen and Lorenzo for Onyx and two hits through the middle by Dimitrov Radostin from short sets by Rafael and a smash off the block by Federico Cifuentes for Giants. The visitors had led from 3:4 but it was so close there was still only a single point in it at 19:20 when Lorenzo struck again, this time hitting cleanly down the line on the left. Giants were one set ahead.
The next set started in a similar way with Giants taking a small early lead. However, this time they stretched it to 4:8 and looked threatening. Onyx had taken a time out at 2:5 but not until things had moved to 5:8 did they start to recover. then, in a spell of excellent play, they drew level at 9:all and slowly, and electrifyingly moved further ahead. It was soon two sets all.
Giants were never behind in the deciding set although in both the early and later stages, they had to fight hard to stay in front. From 6:7 Giants moved two points ahead when the teams changed ends and then raced to match point at 10:14. Excellent play kept Onyx in the game including a service ace from Lorenzo that made it 12:14 so it was a huge anti-climax when a desperate and speculative punch at the ball caught the Onyx defence off balance and the match was won.
Both teams are still vying for promotion, first and second in the table with two losses apiece. However, Lionhearts Pride, with matches in hand and just a single loss have loads to contribute to the situation. They are due to play Giants in Battersea on 8th March and at home on 10th April and have a return fixture at home on 27th February against Onyx who beat them in three sets in their fixture in Harrow earlier in the season.
This is the volleyball division for excitement.
Jewish Free School, Kingsbury, 4th February.
Players: Onyx Starting Six: Emanuel Amariei, Lorenzo Bartolim, Jezy Jurgelianecas, Ilias Nanas. Marco Rossetti, John Tangen (captain). Libero: Russel Sandoval. Other players: Edson Rizzo. Coach: John Tangen.
Giant Men Starting Six: Federico Cifuentes, Simon Granger, Rafael Jovanelle, Dimitrov Radostin, Francesco Rigante (captain), Krasi Zhechev. Libero: Paolo de Grazia, Ibrail Khan. Other players: Guiseppe de Mosa, Marcin Tkaczuk, Coach: Y Petrosdis.