HORNDEAN played in a National Volleyball League five-setter for the second week running – only this time they ended up on the losing side.
The Deans, who came into the weekend’s home fixture on the back of a hard-fought triumph at Bristol, were edged out 3-2 by Wessex M2 in a thrilling encounter that could have gone either way.
Wessex, through their precise serving and well-placed shots, took the first set 25-21 at the Mountbatten Centre.
‘We just need to sort out our start,’ said Horndean’s player-coach Nasser Ssemuwemba. ‘It’s like we cannot get going when it comes to the first sets.
‘And in games where we’ve made a brilliant start like in Bristol, we seem to run out of ideas when it comes to the final bit of the opener, letting ourselves down.’
But Horndean, under the stewardship of their new playmaker Stuart McCulley, responded with tight blocks from middle players Willard Hans Shongue and new signing Mark Harvey to win the set 25-20.
Buoyed by that, the Deans then carried their momentum into the third set, taking the lead twice before Wessex’s left-handed spikers started to find holes in to their defence to clinch the set 29-27.
Horndean made a few changes, bringing on outside-hitter Stoyan Yuriev in place of Maciej Kubis to refresh the team’s attacking options.
And it worked as Stoyan made a number of points for the home team with clever serves and calculated spikes that pierced through Wessex’s blocks, before capping a brilliant set performance with good back-court defence to level at 2-2 with a 25-22 fourth-set win.
The hosts were not as clinical in the fifth-set decider, though, making a catalogue of individual mistakes which allowed the visitors to storm into a 6-1 early lead.
Horndean tried to fight their way back but it was too late to stop Wessex from wrapping up the proceedings 15-11 to hand Horndean their second defeat in three division two games so far.
Horndean’s universal player, Stephen Metherell, said: ‘It’s so hurting to lose in the fifth set.
‘I know we’ve got a number of new players who are trying to find their feet in the team but we need to learn how to finish off games when we’ve got the chance.’
The Deans, will be hoping for better fortunes this Saturday when they travel to Brislington Enterprises College to face City of Bristol.