Volleyball: National Championship-Cascade pass SMB’s test, get ready for Arsu


SMB’s Esmée Toussaint finds no way through the Cascade three-player block

If the Cascadians had to dig deep into their reserves to stay unbeaten in the women’s division one league, men’s top-flight champions Premium Spikers brushed aside Racing Club in a match that failed to live up to its billing.

After 14-time league champions and six-time Indian Ocean Club Championship (IOCC) winners Arsu had earned a rather easy 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-15) 55-minute win over Roots Sisters – their fourth in as many matches – to top the standings with 12 points, Cascade had to win to stay in the title race.

On the other hand, SMB, who had already lost 0-3 (21-25, 19-25, 21-25) to Arsu, had to pull up their socks to avoid another defeat that could jeopardise their title run.

Coach Steve Zialor’s SMB looked good early in the first set as they led 20-15 and 23-19, but Cascade had the adrenaline boost to come back and tie them at 24-24, 25-25 and 26-26 before winning 28-26 in 27 minutes.

In the second set, skipper and setter Avrille Hoareau and company needed four points to level matters as they led 21-20, but once again the Cascadians denied them by scoring five consecutive points for a 25-21 win.

SMB had to react and Yvonne Legaie was unstoppable at the net with her rapid attacks, but Cascade were not helped with the assortment of mistakes they committed.  SMB easily won the set 25-14 and they maintained the momentum to capture the fourth 25-22 to force a decisive fifth set.

It was SMB’s turn to lose concentration and Cascade, coached by former Seychelles international Marie-Ange Bouchereau in the absence of coach Derrick Andrew, rushed to a 6-1 lead.

Coach Zialor took a time-out to check Cascade’s run and his team scored immediately after the resumption of play to bring the score to 6-2, but there was no stopping Cascade, who distanced themselves at 10-2 before winning the set 15-10 to put an end to 113 minutes of intense and good volleyball.

“We’ve passed a tough test,” Cascade’s skipper Nathalie Agnes told Sports Nation.
“We did not play consistent volleyball throughout and had to battle hard. We now have to get ready for Arsu,” she added.
The battle between Arsu and Cascade is on Saturday June 20 and one of them will lose their unbeaten run.
Like Arsu, Cascade have 12 points but are second in the standings after conceding two sets.

SMB and Roots Sisters are tied on eight points after two wins and two losses each, while BSA Sisters and La Digue, who are winless in four games, have four points apiece.

In the men’s division one, Racing Club have been vying to play on a par with the big guns, but until they can play consistent volleyball they will only be labelled title hopefuls at the start of every season.

Unable to maintain a two-set lead against Beau Vallon to lose 2-3 (25-20, 28-26, 20-25, 21-25, 9-15) earlier in the season, Racing Club wanted to turn the tables on champions Premium Spikers, but they did not know they were in for a rough ride.

With skipper and Seychelles international Tony Songor not playing at his best, Racing Club just could not challenge coach Bernard Denis’ boys, who beat them 3-0 (25-10, 25-18, 25-22) after 58 minutes of play.

Racing Club not only lost for the second time in the championship, they also lost veteran captain and rapid attacker Andy Ally with a knee injury after he slipped midway through the second set.

Spikers are unbeaten in four games and on Saturday June 20 they will meet an inconsistent Beau Vallon team, who have also won their four matches.

Six-time IOCC champs Beau Vallon dropped a set against St Louis on the way to a 3-1 (25-17, 23-25, 26-24, 25-21) victory.
In another men’s top-flight match, BSA Spikers rallied from two sets down to beat winless Roots 3-2 (23-25, 22-25, 25-19, 25-21, 15-5) for their first win in four games.

In the women’s division two, Santa West squandered a two-set lead but still won 3-2 (25-21, 25-17, 20-25, 23-25, 15-10) in 91 minutes to snap United Sisters’ unbeaten run of five games.

Although the two teams have 16 points each after five wins and one loss in six games,  Anse Boileau-based Santa West have now knocked United Sisters off their perch on the set difference rule – +11 against +8.

Cascade Youth collected their fourth win in seven games with a 3-1 (25-23, 25-12, 20-25, 25-21) defeat of former first divisioners St Louis Bombers and Mont Fleuri stopped a five-game losing skid with a first four-set victory – 3-1 (25-20, 24-26, 25-16, 25-22) – against Cadettes.

G. G.

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