Lady luck continued to evade Horndean in their fight for National League division two south survival last weekend.
The Deans suffered a double blow in their away match against Wessex M2.
Not only did Nasser Ssemuwemba’s men go down 3-2 to their rivals – they were also rocked by an injury to Stuart McCulley in the dying seconds of the match.
The skipper – and setter – sprained his ankle when a Wessex spiker landed on his foot as he attempted to block.
McCulley is now likely to be sidelined for six weeks – further hampering Horndean’s efforts to avoid relegation.
‘We’ve been dealt a double blow,’ said player-coach Ssemuwemba.
‘Losing the game is one thing but our captain as well – that’s quite devastating.
‘Without our first-choice setter, its going to be very hard for us.
‘We’ll now have to make some adjustments – and probably sign another setter before the transfer window closes this Friday.’
The Deans looked shambolic in the opening set at Oakmead College in Bournemouth.
Wessex M2 took just 15 minutes to wrap it up 25-11.
Horndean made some attacking changes, freeing up opposite player Stephen Metherell to flourish in set two.
But his efforts were not enough to prevent a 26-24 loss.
A mixture of tough serves from Metherell and Stoyan Yuriev – plus concrete blocks and hard hits from outside spiker Haakon Lie – helped Horndean to bounce back, though.
They won the next two sets 25-23 and 28-26 respectively, to force a decider.
But Wessex, buoyed by the presence of a setter and middle player from their division one outfit, quickly took control of the fifth set.
They sprinted into a 6-1 lead and, while Horndean rallied to level at 14-14, went on to win it 16-14.
Man-of-the-match Lie said: ‘We were very unlucky.
‘It was really a good game, we just need to stop using the first set as a warm-up!’
Horndean host Guildford International in the league’s shield quarter-final at Highbury College on Saturday.