Manchester women were unlucky not to come away with more from the match against a strong Liverpool team at the Sugden centre.
Manchester began the opening set well, dominating the opening exchanges with Kirk looking particularly impressive, picking up three of Manchester’s seven points as they took a comfortable 7-3 lead.
However, Liverpool soon began a fight back, dragging the score back to 7-6 through scorers Cook and Stroscher, with the aid of some Manchester mistakes. Manchester rallied after a timeout to cling onto the lead, holding onto a 2-point buffer, but unforced errors saw the scores draw level at 12-12. The lead changed hands after another Manchester timeout when Liverpool’s Davies hammered a shot through the helpless Manchester defense.
After taking the lead Liverpool started to control the game extending their lead to 17-14. A brief Manchester resurgence saw them bring the scores back to 15-17, but this was short lived as Liverpool began to expose gaps in Manchester defense, forcing ambitious shots from the purples before seeing out the set 25-19.
Despite the fact Liverpool ran out comfortable winners in the first set, none of this momentum would be carried through to the second. Both teams struggled in the opening exchanges as an array of mistakes meant neither got a foothold in the game until the deadlock was finally broken after continuous Liverpool errors, making the score 10-8 in Manchester’s favour.
After taking the lead Manchester began to put more points on the board through Strozik and Gurgul, who despite being ill had an impressive match. Liverpool endeavored to keep within two points of Manchester and it looked like they were going to level the scores before Manchester called a tactical time out.
After the short rest Manchester reasserted themselves in the fixture, and started to exploit Liverpool with a series of good serves, with Morrison, Franceshca and Magda all picking up aces.
Manchester looked to have been in control of the second set with the scores at 21-17, however, they found themselves in trouble again with Liverpool’s Astrid making a last ditch effort to snatch the set for Liverpool with an impressive spike and two aces. Manchester eventually saw out the set through Kirk, leveling out the game at 1-1.
The match remained extremely tight into the third set with neither team being able to pull away in the early exchanges. Manchester did manage to amass a three-point lead at 15-12 through Morrison and Kirk scoring, however, mistakes from Manchester led to Liverpool leveling the scores.
It took until the 20 point mark before any real difference could be made between the two, and with the scores at 22-21, Strozik, Kirk and Tamasi scored to seal the set for Manchester.
Liverpool managed to even the match out in the fourth set after particularly impressive performances from Astrid and Stroshcer saw them pick up the majority of Liverpool’s points. Mistakes again cost Manchester dearly as the set ended 21-25.
The fifth and final set was comprehensively won by Liverpool. Despite strong performances from AnnaLeez and Morrison, the half way point of the set of 15 saw Liverpool carry an 8-4 lead, a deficit which simply proved too much for Manchester to recover from.
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