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Arena Edge Past Melton in 5 Tough Sets

posted 26 Feb 2012, 14:14 by Luke Vanhegan   [ updated 27 Feb 2012, 12:24 ]
For the second week running, Arena take the honours, beating Melton VC in a five set thriller, filled with quality volleyball from both teams.

Nottingham Arena take time out to pose
With Super-Matt back from self-imposed quarantine due to a nasty bout of Madagascan Avian Man-Flu (I'm sure that's what he said - it sounded very serious anyway...) the change in first six line-up served only improve on Arena's victorious visit to Lincoln seven days ago.  The 'serving at match point down' pressure was avoided this week, and Arena were fortunate to finish off the deciding set rather more comfortably.

Arena opened the first set strongly, and with some good serving, passing, setting (of course!) and hitting, somewhat surprised themselves by taking the first set by 6 points 25-19.  The good momentum was carried into the second set, until Melton started to come back strongly with some solid hitting and good defence.  Arena held their nerve at the end of an increasingly tight set to take it by 29 points to 27. 

After the agony of losing the second site despite scoring 27 points, Melton hit back hard in the third set.  Strong and accurate serving put Arena under pressure, and although the passing held up, the hitting turned into a crock of s**t.  Melton comfortably closed out the set 25-14 to get themselves on the scoreboard.  Arena performed slightly better in the fourth set, but that meant only losing by 4 points.  Melton levelled the match by taking the fourth 25-21.

Nerves started to jangle as for the second week running Arena had to face a deciding fifth set.  Strong serving at the beginning of the set from Manzur helped Arena race into a 4-0 lead.  Must have been something to do with an inspired selection of the starting rotation...

Melton quickly recovered valuable points with equally strong serving, making it 8-7 to Arena at the change of ends.  From then on, traffic began to flow one way despite increasingly hard hitting from Melton.  Arena kept their heads in the home straight, leaving the visitors with just too much to do. 

The pressure told as there was a slightly tame end to the match, which was in stark contrast to some fine hitting and tactical play from both sides.  The game was played in the right spirit (as games should be when there's only one ref!) and was probably a very good game to watch!

It's a shame there could only be one winner.  Unfortunately for Melton, it was Nottingham Arena.