Melton Lions volleyball team made their bow in a tight battle against Derby Darkstar at Brooksby Melton College last week.
The opening National League Division Two match of the season lasted two-and-a-half hours and ended with defeat in a close-fought fifth and deciding set.
From the outset Melton players struggled to find their rhythm, making several mistakes in the first set, and Darkstar took advantage to open up a 15-7 lead.
The Lions fought back, closing the score, but it was too little, too late as derby closed it out 25-21.
Having recovered their concentration and focus, Melton started the second set flat out, showing great defence and swing-hitting, with Darkstar unable to respond.
Melton tied the match up at one set apiece with a 25-21 win.
The third set was a disaster for Melton as tiredness and a lack of alternatives on the bench cost them dear. In the blink of an eye Darkstar took the set 25-12, to nudge ahead two sets to one.
But in the fourth set, the under pressure Melton players found the energy to fight back.
With good serving and massive blocks, they opened a five-point advantage which Darkstar were unable to recover. Despite the visitors’ coach ringing the changes, the set finished 25-12 to the hosts to set up a deciding set.
The fifth set was approached positively by both teams with great energy and desire to win.
The score was always very close, and Melton had the chance to win the match with two set points, but Darkstar served up great blocking and defence to overturn the deficit and win the set 17-15, and claim the match.
A disappointing result for Melton, but there were encouraging signs for coach Bushell against a side coached by two former British Olympians.