Jersey Women ‘were just superb’ in volleyball inter-insular

Jersey star Andreea Gabriela nails a spike against Guernsey during their epic inter-insular win Picture: ANDREW LE POIDEVIN

JERSEY Volleyball are “moving in a totally positive direction”, accordingly to player/coach Ed Parslow following a jam-packed weekend of inter-insular and Hampshire Volleyball League action.

Across three days of intense play, the men’s and women’s senior sides, as well as an U18 mixed team, travelled to Guernsey to take on their Channel Island rivals in the inter-insular competition, before the men went to Hampshire for their final round of HVA league action.

Up first was the men’s senior inter-insular Friday evening. The Guernsey men play in the same Hampshire League as Jersey, with the Sarnians in Group B while Jersey compete in Group A.

The contest was, as described by Parslow, a much closer affair than in recent years, despite both Jersey’s A and B teams going down 3-0.

“The Guernsey men’s teams are really strong,” said Parslow.

“They have generally had the upper hand over us in recent years, but we have worked incredibly hard, particularly in the last year, to level the playing field.

“Although they got the better of us this year, both our teams put in outstanding performances and the games were closer than the scoreline shows.

“After last year, we knew the areas we needed to work on and the guys worked hard and listened to all our advice. It was a very positive performance overall.”

The women’s side rounded off the contest in fantastic fashion. Both the A and B teams battled back from a set down to deliver 3-1 wins, an impressive feat on away soil.

“The ladies were just superb,” added Parslow.

“They have had such an impressive season, both in the Hampshire league [where they sit top of the table] and now in the inter-insular.

“To come from a set down for both teams to then dominate and win shows how much character they have and how closely they all work together.

“Other teams might have got on each other’s backs and crumbled, but our ladies rose to the pressure magnificently. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Ladies A team player, Andreea Gabriela said: “It was an exhilarating experience.

“Putting all our hard work in over the last 12-24 months into a dominant performance was extremely satisfying.

“The pressure was intense, especially with the home crowd against us and both teams going a set down.

“It’s testament to Ed [Parslow] and all his hard work. Without his dedication to us, we wouldn’t have been able to come back the way we did.”

The U18 mixed were also in action, but would succumb to more Sarnian dominance, going down 2-0.

Parslow continued: “We have a really promising junior section, with players already making the step up to training and playing for our senior sides.

“Jessica Cadiou is a good example. She has been our shining light for the junior set up and has regularly been playing for the women’s senior side.

“Coaches Paul Adamson and Nicky Appleton deserve a massive amount of credit, the juniors are improving enormously and have bright futures in the set-up.

“Again, although the scoreline didn’t go our way, we are rapidly closing the gap on Guernsey.”

As the junior and ladies teams departed Guernsey for home, the weekend was far from over for the men. They travelled directly to Hampshire for their final round of HVA league fixtures and ended the weekend on a resounding high.

Needing to win their three matches to secure the group, the men did just that, winning 2-1 against Aldershot Volleyball Club and 2-0 against both Roke NG and Winchester.

The sweep of victories meant they qualified as group winners for the South East Volleyball Association finals, set to be held in Dorking in mid-May.

Parslow added: “We were all pretty cooked by Sunday.

“We knew our energy levels were a bit low, but we all pulled together to produce a brilliant day’s play.

“We have shown everyone in this league and the women’s league as well, that we are not here to mess about.

“The men have won their group and the women look on course to be right in the hunt for qualification as well.”

Both of Guernsey’s men’s and women’s teams are also in the hunt for the SEVA finals. The men’s side have already qualified, winning Group B and the ladies team are currently unbeaten in their league.

“Knowing we could be playing against Guernsey again in the SEVA knock-out finals is exciting for us,” Parslow said.

“We have shown them we have improved massively and, if the opportunity presents itself in the finals, we welcome that challenge with open arms.”

Gabriela concluded: “Volleyball has truly shone this year. We have achieved some outstanding feats and represented our Island with honour.

“With the lack of sponsorship and funding, this has proved extremely difficult at times.

“But we are hopeful we can find the right fit to aid our programme and help us represent Jersey more and more.”

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