Having finished 2012 in pole position, Exeter Storm began the year with a routine 3-0 victory against Yeovil.

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Yeovil put up more of a fight than in the previous meeting between the two sides, but had no answer to Storm’s aggressive offence. ‘Most Valuable Player’ was awarded to Exeter Storm’s Vamshi Parvathaneni, who impressed while playing out of position as a middle blocker.

Exeter Storm then faced a far tougher challenge against City of Bristol. The Bristol side put out their full-strength National League team, which is currently second in Division 2, while Storm were missing several key players.

A display of attacking prowess, the like of which the SW League is unaccustomed to, ensued.

City of Bristol utilised their experience to take control early on, but Storm kept battling to claw their way back into the set. At 23-24, a disputed decision from the referee handed the set to City of Bristol.

Storm’s defence fell asleep in the midst of the second set, allowing Bristol another 25-23 win. Storm rallied in the third set, taking it 25-19, but ran out of steam in the fourth.

The Storm captain, Vlad Zloy, took the ‘Most Valuable Player’ award for his consistency in both attack and defence.

Despite suffering their first defeat of the campaign, Exeter Storm can take many positives from the fixture.

There is no shame in losing to a team of such superior experience, even when ignoring the unprecedented number of contentious decisions from the referee that went against them.

This performance serves as yet more proof that the Devonians can not only hold their own in the National Volleyball League, but will be looking to progress through the leagues rapidly.

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