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Women's Volleyball 1st eases past King's

Women's Volleyball 1st eases past King's

UEL Women’s Volleyball 1st team made it four wins out of four after a powerful shutout victory over King’s College on Wednesday afternoon.

Fellow students gathered in groups for support at SportsDock for the team’s fourth match of the season. They went into the #BigBlueWednesdayevent without the absent Ashley Rose Fantazia, who was still in rehabilitation from a shoulder injury. However, they were focused on the game, and with Ashley still present on the side-lines, they were ready to go.

UEL commenced the action with some powerful serving from Captain Alex Vajdova early in the first set where their height advantage was immediately apparent. The rallies were short and sweet as the home team romped to a 11-0 lead. King’s College seemed to have no answer to the dominant aerial exchanges early on.

The away team managed to get a bit of success pulling it back to 12-2 with a couple of unforced errors from UEL, but a focused team mind set and good positioning from UEL got back on top, failing to drop a point for the rest of the set finishing 25-2.

The atmosphere from the team seemed confident as they huddled for a talk after a dominant and swift first set. But a couple of errors early on in the second saw King’s College ahead for the first time. UEL stuck together and stormed back into a heavy lead with some consistent serving by ‘opposite’ Luca Toth who also linked up well with Alex Vajdova in an enthralling team point to make it 10-6.

The rallies started to pick up and the second set became much more competitive, due to the growing moral of King’s College who were very loud after winning points. However, UEL’s communication was intact as they stretched their lead from 12-8 to 17-9 with fast pace back and forth play. King’s College managed to tighten the gap, gaining confidence from an unlucky serve from Luca Toth which just hit the top of the net.

Towards the end of the second set the King’s ladies were at their best turning it up with good link up play from the outside and the setter managing to pull it back to 23-18, however UEL nicked the next two points to win a close second set.

The third set was still close but UEL always looked in control failing to fall behind at any stage. Towering smashes from the captain again, proved her class and why she is so highly regarded. UEL were winning the meaningful rallies which seemed to sway the confidence levels back towards the home side. As we reached the midway stage of the third stanza, UEL’s setter, Beth Gunter played a smart switch shot over the net, much to the confusion of the opposition who were rooted to the spot at 15-10. UEL stretched their lead to win the finale 25-16 fending off a gallant effort from King’s College.

UEL coach Simon Loftus credited both teams’ character after the match, “We are training more often than them and I think we are starting to see the capabilities of the team. King’s College are a Premier League team for a reason. After that first set it would have been easy for them to ‘chuck it’ and stop playing altogether, but they didn’t, they showed good character.”

He went on to comment on how they worked on things from training, “After winning the first two (sets) gave us a chance to practice some of the things we were doing in training, and I think we did OK with that.” We play King’s again next week then we aren’t out until January so hopefully we will be five and zero going into Christmas which isn’t bad for our first year in the Premier Division”

UEL currently stand in second position in the BUCS Premier South with four games in hand over leaders Bournemouth, and hope to continue their unbeaten form into the New Year.

Report by: Conail Gallagher

Image: Taylor Kearney