AZTEC Ladies won the Northern Ireland Volleyball Women’s National League for the first time in their history after a nail-biting match at Queen’s PEC.
In this much anticipated match on Wednesday 24th April, whoever won on the night would take the league honours. The Craigavon based ladies whether through nerves of sheer terror at what was at stake, lost their first two sets to a better tactical team, much to the dismay of the many Aztec supporters who travelled to Belfast.
However, Aztecs believed in themselves and never really gave up coming back slowly point by point. Winning the last two sets both teams went into the final set two sets a piece and it was game on.
In a thrilling display, the now much more vocal Aztec team, displayed their superior fitness and sheer strength with each individual player playing their best. They blocked, they served ,they spiked and they got points on the board.
Lead by their captain Chloe Walkingshaw, Aimee Nixon displayed great point-winning quick hits through the middle. Amy McCall showed intelligent distribution of the ball while Melissa Traynor had some acrobatic defensive pickups. Claire Dowey showed dominant blocking forcing Queen’s to stop hitting and use softer attacks instead while Captain Walkingshaw displayed booming kills and clever placement of tips.
Charlotte Wilson consistently put the opposition setter under pressure with cross-court spikes. Brave Sorcha Maguire showed good passing and hitting, playing the last set and a half with a suspected fractured bone in her wrist.
“It was a great match,” said coach Alan Dowey. “That’s the best comeback I’ve seen in any sport. As my players walked on court for the last set I could tell from the intensity in their eyes they were going to fight harder than ever before to become champions. We’re all delighted that Aztecs have won this league for the first time in history. It bodes well for volleyball locally.”
Captain Chloe Walkingshaw agrees, “I was so pleased for all of us who showed real courage and determination on the night. It was a real team effort that finally saw us coming through on the final set. Our thanks must also go to all of our coaches who week in week out turn out and give their best to the club.”
MVP for the match was Chloe Walkingshaw.