A determined Birmingham took on a strong Loughborough side ending in a battle for the final fifth set.
The Munrow Sports Centre hosted a closely contested volleyball match between Birmingham 1s and Loughborough 1s with added pressure as the race for the top spot has begun.
The opening minutes of the first quarter saw Loughborough dominate with their slick set ups and rotations giving them a slight advantage on positioning and quick responses to the ball coming in any direction.
However, Birmingham did not delay with their response and began performing fake spikes on the front row to defer the attention of the opposition, a key tactic to their game play and securing the first set of the game.
After a little frustration from the away side during the team talk they came back strong into the second set as they delivered a creative front row for the finishes leaving Birmingham often diving for the ball. A comeback for Loughborough left the second set 27-25 making the score 1-1.
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Into the third set of the game both sides looked eager to maintain their performance leading to some tough rallies between the sides and little criticism of either team as they put in their strongest performances of the game. However, in the final few points of the game the Lions appeared to make the most of Loughborough’s mistakes and took a slight, but important, lead resulting in another winning set.
Another heated team talk for both sides as the pressure filled on saw both come back with added determination. Loughborough were diving at every given opportunity to keep the ball in play, perhaps proving their advantage in this fourth set. Loughborough took this set leaving it 2-2 and forcing the game into a fifth and deciding set, this time first to 15.
Birmingham pushed through the fifth set to try and maintain their streak of wins however a few mistakes in this smaller set meant Loughborough took the victory with a final set of 15-8. Overall this left the final score of 3-2 to Loughborough and a disappointing end for Birmingham.
After todays close defeat Birmingham remain 2nd in the league with 18 points, with Loughborough closely following on 15. The Lions will travel away to Oxford as next week sees the battle for the top spot as the Midlands 1A league comes into its final few games. These two rivals have previously met this season ending in a 3-1 defeat for Birmingham, they will look set to avoid history repeating itself. The top three teams will have a mighty battle on their hands to see who can secure a league win.