HORNDEAN slumped to a painful 3-0 defeat at the hands of Essex Estonians in the National League division two south.
The Deans, who had a flying start to the season with victories over favourites Wessex BU and Guildford International, have since looked a shadow of their former selves.
Before the encounter at Chelmsford’s Boswells School, the Deans had already suffered two losses to both Cardiff Celts and Richmond.
‘Its frustrations all around the club at the moment,’ said Horndean’s head coach Nasser Ssemuwemba.
‘Individually, we look good.
‘But collectively, we are not yet playing like a team.
‘I’ve brought in a couple of new foreign players to bolster our team.
‘Although the new lads are trying to find their feet in the British League, its no excuse for our dip in form.
‘We need to quickly try to gel as a team and get back to winning games.
‘Our season will now be defined by the way we recover from this hat-trick of losses.’
It was a catalogue of individual mistakes, mostly in the service reception unit that led to Horndean’s 21-25 loss in the first set.
‘They kept us under a lot of pressure with the serve,’ said Dean’s outside-hitter Maciej Kubis.
‘They targeted our weak receivers and gained a lot of points,’
However, Horndean’s passing improved in the second set which helped their new Greek setter Leandros Tsikras to begin finding his attackers.
The Deans’ good spell in the second set, saw them storm into the two mandatory time-outs on top.
But Essex, through their hard-hitting outside spikers, started to find gaps in the Dean’s blocks, to eventually snatch the set 25-22.
A combination of erratic hits, poor back court defence and reckless serves in the third set, handed Essex a clean sweep over the Deans after a 25-19 triumph.
But the silver lining was Horndean’s Norwegian ace spiker, Haakon Lie, who continued to impress after collecting his fifth MVP.
The Deans host Volleyball England’s elite league Super 8 top flyers Solent 1, in the second round of the National Cup at Highbury College on Saturday.