Match 1 – Oxford Ladies 2 (lost 0-2)
Basingstoke Lionesses, Oxford Ladies 2 and Maidenhead Ladies teams met in a triangular fixture at Queen Mary’s College on Nov 4th.
It was a nervous start for the Basingstoke Lionesses against Oxford Ladies 2, the Lionesses lacked co-ordination and were struggling to find consistency. As a result, the Oxford Ladies 2 were able to score freely against a rather dazed and confused Basingstoke team and unsurprisingly took the first set 25-9.
The second set saw a much better start from the Lionesses who managed to keep up with Oxford Ladies in the scoring stakes. The team’s cohesion and confidence seemed to grow, supported by accurate setting from Annette Bickle and excellent hitting by Caroline Bolognesi and Olgunn Tunheim, accompanied by Jan Ngiam’s strong serve.
However, the Lionesses promising start faded and Oxford Ladies 2 regained the upper hand to secure a victory at 25-21 and take the match.
Match 2 – Maidenhead Ladies (won 2-1)
Having put their shaky start behind them, the team began playing to its strengths against Maidenhead. The first set proved challenging as the Lionesses fought hard for every single point.
Caroline showed good speed and received well at the back of court to save points and set up good attacking opportunities. A further session of accurate serving by Olgunn Tunheim brings the Lionesses to a narrow lead of 20-19. The Lionesses step up their defense with excellent passing to the setter, accompanied by accurate setting by Catherina Dimmock and powerful spike by Jan Ngiam and Sarah Aspray.
Whilst Maidenhead were unable to convert scoring opportunities into points because of the Lionesses excellent defense, they contributed to some thrilling rallies ensuring the Basingstoke side earned every point. However, it was Basingstoke Lionesses who wrapped up the first set 25-23.
The Lionesses continued to edge ahead in the second set, but without achieving the dominance secured in the first set. A couple of fantastic dives and pick-ups from Olgunn Tunheim and good receiving defense by Annette Bickle and Sarah Aspray were some of the high points together with Jan Ngiam who identified the right part of Maidenhead’s back court which was poorly defended and exploited the weakness with perfectly placed scored hits. However, instead of securing the set and the match, the Lionesses lost their concentration and Maidenhead took the set by 25-18.
The third and deciding set saw Basingstoke Lionesses having poor receiving form at the start and losing 4 straight points at the start of the set. The powerful serve of Jan Ngiam brought the team back on track to 4-4 and Basingstoke regained their confidence and began to re-assert it. Sarah Aspray and Olgunn Tunheim produced an excellent performance close to the net, saving numerous points with some good blocks.
Unable to counter the Lionesses excellent team work, Maidenhead could find no way back. A well placed short serve by Jan Ngiam seals a Basingstoke victory 15-12.
Jan Ngiam was nominated the Lionesses MVP for both matches.