HORNDEAN earned the perfect pick-me-up ahead of their shield final against Flaming Aces on Saturday.
The National League division two side secured two vital victories last weekend to secure fourth place in the league table.
It took all manner of tricks for the Deans to emerge victorious from both encounters, which were settled after five sets of thrilling action at Highbury College and the Mountbatten Centre respectively.
But their experience served them well as they set their sights on shield glory at Kettering’s National Volleyball Centre.
‘The way the team performed in both games was absolutely fantastic,’ said player-coach Nasser Ssemuwemba.
‘All the players seem to be tuned up for the final and look sharp.
‘These are games we would normally lose.
‘But the players coped well with all the pressure and also managed to endure going through both long matches without injuries.
‘I just pray that we can replicate this weekend’s performance in the final.
‘If we play the way we played against Bristol, then I’m optimistic we shall win the shield because Flaming Aces play similarly to Bristol.’
Horndean’s battle for fourth spot started against former division one outfit Richmond.
The London side travelled to the south coast knowing only a win would save them from relegation.
But the Deans were not ready to do them any favours, as they took the first set 28-26.
Richmond took the second set 25-23.
Horndean then sprung ahead 25-21, before the visitors levelled terms 25-18 to take the match to a decider.
Horndean’s playmaker Benoit Royer, however, was on top of his game as he inspired the Deans to a 15-11 win.
Then, 24 hours later, Horndean were back in action against Bristol.
And although Bristol looked unbeatable, it was the Deans who took charge of the first two sets – 21-5, 25-18.
Bristol reclaimed their orientation and clawed back to win the next two sets 25-20, 25-21 and push the game to a decider.
But the Deans quickly bounced back to snatch the win 15-13 in a tense and hotly-contested game.