Gardians got their National League Premier Division title defence underway with a 3:1 win over newly promoted Net Force Cork (24-26, 25-22, 25-14, 25-12).
The champions didn’t have their own way though, as the Rebels stormed out of the traps buoyed with confidence from last year’s D1 title. They raced into a 9-3 lead to shock the home team, who were missing influential setter Giedre Guobyte. Middle Sylwia Gomes was hard to deal with at the net.
The Dubliners regained their confidence and showed what a tight unit they are coming back into the set, before Net Force held their never and clawed themselves over the line to win the first by 2points.
The second set was even throughout with Eliska Cechova and Indre Simkute bringing their All Star form into the game, and their experienced proved decisive to win out by 3pts and gain control of the game.
Veteran Middle Edyta Jozwiak McMullan was showing her class, and despite the introduction of Ukrainian teenage setter Vika Bykova, Gardians were now in their rhythm and cruised the third and forth to get their campaign off to a winning start.
It was a positive showing from Net Force, who look likely to cause a few upsets on the road and at home this season.
Gardians’ Indre Simkute was named MVP.
Elsewhere in the Women’s Premier UCD were routine winners in the Dublin College derby at Trinity, while Santry had mixed results. Calypso cruised to victory over Naas and Premier lost to the impressive DVC Lions – who featured a number of new signings.
Net Force Men fell to a similar fait away at Galway in the Men’s Premier (1-3) whilst UCD mirrored their women’s team 3-0 at Trinity. Aer Lingus were too strong against DVC Abu (3-0).
The tie of Game Week 1 across all divisions was undoubtedly UCD’s away win at Dundalk IT. The students, making the D2 debut came twice from behind to edge a nailbiter 12-15 in the deciding set.