Giants grab title - and two more The women's first team has just beaten Wapping Wildcats at Clapham LC in four sets to set them up for the big challenge of the season, a game on 28th April against second place, Malory Eagles. Two points behind; each team with one game to play. It looks like a decider. No so. Sets differences 28 against 21 will mean Giants win the title even if they lose 3:0. No wonder there is rejoicing in Clapham!
It has been a wonderful season for the club. Championship and promotion to the Premier Division for the women's first team. Unbeaten with all the league games of the season complete, the men's first team were divisional champions before them and play in Division One next season. The second women's team have lost only once: to Divas in five sets who cannot now overtake them having lost to SQUAD so will also be promoted as champions.
Club secretary, Cisel Ormanci enthused, "Giants teams have all secured promotion to upper divisions this season which is a rather significant achievement. Every player in each team has brought valuable skills to their team and the end result is success. Congratulations to team members and coaches. We are very proud."
The women's first team had the toughest task, of course, and wins against Inter in five sets and in four, away and home respectively and SQUAD, in four sets and three, were particularly significant. Their only defeat has been by Malory Eagles away and they are eager to reverse the result in two weeks' time.
Preparing for the game, their coach, Anestis Kales summed up the successes so far saying, "First of all, congratulations to the girls and the club for achieving for the second year in a row, promotion in the first two years of the team's existence. I have been blessed to coach this great company of athletes for the past two seasons and doing so in an environment that was well organised by the club which allowed all of us to focus only on delivering our goals - to play good level volleyball and get promoted to upper divisions. From the beginning of the season, our goal was to finish first and that makes the ambition even harder and the achievement more satisfying because it is always more difficult to have the pressure of winning and be able to do it than to say, 'We play and hope for whatever comes.' What makes it even greater an achievement for the team is the fact that although they were in a very competitive group with another three very good teams with some of them having more league experience in the division than us, Giants' women's first team secured the leadership with one more game to play before the end of the season. So I would like to thank the girls for showing determination, devotion and faith in me throughout the season and the club for giving the opportunity to coach the team for two consecutive seasons and achieving championship once more. They made me look like a good coach. To be continued next season."
The women's second team has finished the season top of its division and will replace their first team in Division One next year. Their only defeat came in mid February, away to Dynamo Divas who pulled away in a 15:9 fifth set, Giants having beaten them in three sets in October.
Orhan Colak, the team's coach, reviewed the season saying, "The women's second team won thirteen games and lost just one this season where we were in a relatively challenging division with some passionate and strong teams. Our team was very strong and the players demonstrated their experience in a sportsmanlike manner. Everyone in the team has different skills and technique so we were able to combine all of these together and succeeded leadership in our pool. It's not easy to manage a group of people as well as achieve what we've achieved as a team but also as a club. There is a lot of work goes on in terms of administration and management that's not always obvious. We have been lucky to have a supportive club and management throughout the season so that we can focus on our team training and playing our games: and these only. We will definitely have a good team next season and se are ready for that. I believe that we will have another brilliant season in the upcoming 2019-20 league season and I look forward to it."
Playing in the London League second division, the men's team not only went through the entire season without losing a match but it dropped only two sets in the ten games they played. Thunderball and VPS Galaxy were the successful sides, the latter in the first match of the season.
The squad were coached by Giulia Ponti who was full of praise for the team. He said, "Coaching in London is challenging. You arrive on the court and you find players with different volleyball backgrounds and stories. People work a lot and keeping the commitment is not always easy. But I feel lucky. I had an amazing group! We worked together to become a team, finding a balance through absences, injuries, pressures and everyday life problems. Our goal was clear: promotion. And we nailed it. We won the league losing only two sets. This means that everyone had played at 100%, believing in the group and this was amazing. As a coach, I can say that a lot of them can still improve and they will do it because no one has never given up and never will. Unfortunately, I cannot continue to coach them but I wish the best for all my players and hope to see them soon. I will keep the memories of this season always with me."