Volleyball: Sunderland Predators boost promotion hopes with win over Darlington

Originally published by SportsByte on March 18th 2013.

Sunderland City Predators women edged closer towards promotion from Division 3 North as they beat Haughton Darlington in straight sets.

In a relatively comfortable win, the Predators were rarely troubled, apart from unnecessary mistakes of their own, as they won 25-18, 26-24 and 25-18 with ease.

Predators coach Keith Sowden said after the dominant win: “I thought it was more of a straightforward performance than in the last game.

“It was a tough game but I thought we played steadier than we did two weeks ago [against North Riding Eagles] overall.

“We don’t know how to give up on sets. In the second set we were 24-18 down and came back to win it.”

Houghton’s biggest threat was their height at the net but, Sowden said: “They weren’t so clever on back court. I thought that generally we always had the edge but sometimes it was difficult to get us over the line”.

Sunderland benefited from two strong periods of service from Paule Steikunaite and Abby Sowden in the first set and, despite some sloppy errors towards the end, did win the opening set with ease.

The second set was not so comfortable but just as impressive as the Predators came back from what looked like a sure defeat to win.

And in the final set, with the Predators in full control, Sunderland powered into a 25-18 win to leave them two points off top spot.

League leaders Manchester have two games left so are expected to go on to win the league given their dominant nine wins from 10 record this season.

The Predators are also supposed to play two games but RAF Hawks were unable to get a team together for this weekend and it’s unlikely that the game will be rescheduled due to lack of time before the end of the season, especially with the play-offs set to begin towards the end of April.

The Predators will be given a 3-0 win if the Hawks forfeit the game but that will be a league decision.

Even so, Sunderland can be confident of reaching the play-offs, as they are set to play Darlington again to finish the season on 14th April.

Sunderland City Predators: Eve Porter, Abby Sowden, Maria Spanou, Laura Cave, Alex Laws, Konstantina Spanou, Paula Steikunaite, Hollie Patterson.

Sunderland City Predators 3 – 0 Haughton Darlington (25-18, 26-24, 25-18) 

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