Guernsey Sitting Volleyball Beat Team GB’s Women Squad
10th October 2016
Guernsey’s sitting volleyballers have claimed the most notable scalp of their short history – beating Team GB’s women’s squad.
The island squad travelled to the second round of the Hampshire sitting volleyball mini league keen to test themselves against GB’s best after training hard over the previous months. But they hadn’t dreamed that they’d come away victors.
‘It was an amazing squad performance,’ said coach Jo Turville. ‘When we were told that Team GB would be using this tournament as a warm-up for their forthcoming international competition in Germany we knew that we’d have to be at our best, but to come away with a straight-sets victory was better than we could have ever imagined.’
Following an early start to travel over, Guernsey faced Team GB in their first match. After settling their nerves, Guernsey started to find their form and edged ahead to 13-8 when Team GB coach, Ian Legrand, called a timeout. This didn’t unnerve Sam Loveridge who then served on to a 18-8 lead. It was Linda Stobe who had the unenviable task of serving at set point, but she didn’t falter and Guernsey won 25:14.
Set 2 was a tighter affair as the Guernsey team made three changes to ensure all players had early court time. Great net defence from Hannah Riley and Loveridge would be a recurrent theme throughout the day. It certainly helped the team gain confidence, so again Guernsey found their rhythm and edged to a small advantage and finally took the set 25:22 to win in straight sets.
During the day-long tournament, Guernsey also faced two teams from South Hants volleyball club: the established sitting volleyball team formerly affiliated with Portsmouth volleyball club, and a side who were transitioning from the standing game.
The second match went in similar form as Guernsey took on South Hants 2. Having met them once before in April, Guernsey thought they might know their opposition, but some new players in the South Hants team had certainly bolstered the side.
But Virginia Alcoba helped the team to take a comfortable lead in the first set, with 8 points from her consistent serving.
It was a closer match all round, but Guernsey captain Lev Kayacan provided stability to the squad, setting up Jon Burrows for some well-deserved points through the outside. The greens finally took the match 25:19, 25:22.
Given the sitting game is so much faster than the standing version, the setters worked hard all day, aiming to produce consistent sets for the attackers through the front- and back-court. The hitters were called on from all areas of the court, which suited the enthusiasm of Carla Marley and Jo Turville, who have never shied away from the opportunity to attack. This was never more evident than in the third match against South Hants 1, an experienced sitting volleyball team that included GB-player Maurillia Simpson and Georgia national team coach Richard Osbourne.
Guernsey first encountered this side in April 2015 and were soundly beaten on that occasion. This meeting was clearly the closest yet. Yet again it was a scrappy start to the match and could have gone either way at 13:12 to South Hants 1. After going behind by 4 points, Riley brought Guernsey back into the side with strong serving to level it at 20:20. South Hants finally edged ahead 25:23. Tiredness and lack of experience showed in what was to be the final set of Guernsey’s day, with the team losing form on a number of occasions. Although working hard, they were simply no match for the side that regularly competes in the Grand Prix and South Hants pushed ahead to 25:19, taking the match 2:0.
The next round of matches is planned for April 2017 and it’s hoped this will take place in Guernsey. The Guernsey team is also hoping to compete in other events during the year, following contacts made at this tournament.
If you are interested in finding out more about the sport, and perhaps giving it a go yourself, visit the Sitting volleyball Guernsey page, or email coach Jo Turville at email@example.com