Horndean outclassed National League division one outfit Tendring in straight sets to cruise into the second round of the National Shield.
Although the Deans were the underdogs, they dominated the Mountbatten Centre clash.
Tendring outplayed Horndean for majority of the opening set but could not close up after building a substantial lead.
The hosts remained focused, shrugging off the visitors’ big blocks and spiking prowess to fight back from 20-13 down to win the set 25-23.
Key to the fightback was Marcus Russell.
He was introduced by play maker Leandros Tsikras and enjoyed a lot of success in the middle before closing out the set with a ferocious back-court hit.
‘It was a superb show of character, especially Marcus,’ said Deans player-coach Nasser Ssemuwemba.
‘To come from behind against a team of Tendring’s quality was really pleasing. They are a strong team in a division above us and we had to be cautious.
‘There were always going to be some nerves but I’m so proud the team managed to fight back.’
Tsikras again showcased his exceptional abilities in the second set.
The Greek setter found his attackers with ease and kept troubling the Tendring defence with pesky tip overs to ensure a comfortable 25-17 win.
The Deans’ third set – a 25-18 win – belonged to their skipper, Stephen Metherell.
He showed his composure at the service area to unleash a flurry of drifting serves that plagued Tendring’s receivers.
Horndean face Essex Estonians at home in the second round of the shield on January 11.
They host Bristol 1 in National League division two south at Highbury College on Saturday.