Close Encounter with Stirling Students

The Scottish Cup round 1 was the scenario for Dundee’s Ladies team last Saturday.  They faced a tricky game against the students from Stirling University at Craigie High School.   The Stirling side was a ‘multi-national outfit’ with players from Greece, France, Holland, Spain and Scotland!  The home side had their own foreign nationals with Danila Gasperini, Agnes Bednarek and Natalia Stopowska all starting for the home side.  A player crisis, with their playmaker leaving to play for Dundee University, was solved with Lucy Wishart stepping into the breech.

Neither side could establish any sizable lead with Sarah Driscoll and Natalia Stopowska both scoring well from the sides of the court.  The Stirling side were relying on Martha Masrati and Nico Constantino to score their points but strong defence from Agnes Bednarek and Lana Edgar allowed the home side to counter attack.  It was a score block from Gasperini and Driscoll that gave the first set to Dundee 25/23.  Claire Pollock made the switch to play as a left side hitter and she was quickly into action as Dundee took an 11/4 lead.  A run of points from the big Stirling servers caused the home side to lose control of their attack and it was Stirling who snatched a lead at 16/15.  Lucy Wishart was revelling in the setting role and set up several big hits for Driscoll and re-kindled schoolgirl glory as Lana Edgar scored two quick attacks to set up set point at 24/23.  Gasperini hit a serve error, Stirling had set point at 25/24, Driscoll hit big winners to lead 27/26.  There was then a long rally with both side attacking strongly and the ball crossing the net 8 times before a net fault by Stirling’s ‘Scotsman,’ Rhona Johnston,  gave the set to the home side 28/26.

The visitors then raced to a 5/0 lead in the third set.  Another run of points gave them a 14/9 lead but Dundee’s defence was brave and controlled the ball allowing the hitters to haul the team back into the game. The students had a 21/19 lead but Sarah Driscoll stepped up and scored 3 serve aces to give her side a crucial lead.  They held on to win 25/22 to secure a fine 3/0 win.