DENISE AUSTIN, the Academy of Beach Sports head coach, was pleased to see her South West Volleyball Association League team put through a tough day.
The Academy hosted Royal Wootton Bassett and Plymouth Marjon at Braunton Academy.
Austin's side beat Wootton Bassett 3-2 but lost by the same score to Plymouth.
They are second in the women's table, two points behind Plymouth.
Austin said: "It was one of the toughest, most demanding and physical days of volleyball for a long time."
The Academy were 2-1 down – 25-19, 17-25, 25-23 – against fifth-placed Wootton Bassett but came back to level by winning the fourth set 25-12 and then took the tie-break 15-8.
Pip Malek's enthusiasm and pinpoint execution were added to the Academy side against Plymouth Marjon, who had beaten Wootton Bassett 3-1.
She was joined by Sophie Watts, aged 13, and 11-year-old Ellie Austin, who is the youngest player in the league.
With Denise Austin on form, Plymouth were unsure how to stop the home team in the first set and lost 25-19.
The visitors went ahead by taking the next two sets 25-20 and 26-24, only for the Academy to beat them with tactical serving and defence that saw the ball scraped off the floor numerous times to take the fourth 25-13.
The Academy went 14-11 up in the tie- break but Plymouth's tough serving tied the scores. Both teams had two match points and it was Plymouth who were successful, winning 19-17.
Austin said: "Winning 3-0 is good but the experience is limited. Playing ten sets of tough volleyball, not knowing which way the match could go, makes the focus so much keener.
"Winning key games, and also losing them, teaches the young players more about themselves than any walkover."
In the men's league, the Academy of Beach Sports' under-18 team won 3-0 in both their fixtures in Sherborne.
After losing a close first set 25-23, Torexe Topgun were no match for the Academy who thrashed them 25-13 and 25-11 in the second and third sets.
Even though the Academy also won 3-0 against Yeovil, it was a far closer contest.
They got off to an uneasy start but they upped their game to win the first set 25-16.
With Marcio de Menzes and Will Hartnoll finding their firing range, along with Haydn Lawson's consistent setting, they took the second 25-22.
The third set saw a comeback from Yeovil, taking an 11-4 lead, but with Harry Constable rotated to serve, Academy scored 11 points in a row before taking the set 25-16.
Academy of Beach Sports – women: Claire Fallow (capt) Denise Austin, Pip Malek, Elise Powell, Immy Dawes, Millie Constable, Anaya Evans, Sophie Watts, Ellie Austin. Men: Sam Dunbavin (capt), Will Hartnoll, Marcio de Menzes, Gwyn Roberts, Harry Constable, Haydn Lawson.