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Men's Volleyball Straight Set Victory

Men's Volleyball Straight Set Victory

UEL men’s volleyball 1st team achieved a comfortable straight set victory against the University of Exeter at the Sports Dock on Wednesday afternoon. Both sides came into the match on identical form winning one and losing two so far this season, only UEL’s better set difference separated them.

It was a real team performance from the hosts, but on an individual level UEL’s Gary Slade stood out with his brilliantly executed spikes that won them some vital points which contributed to this 3-0 victory. It was the visitors who came out of the blocks quickest in the opening set taking a 9-5 lead courtesy of some inconsistent serving from the home side. Exeter then became the victims of their own downfall with two violations in quick succession allowing UEL to get back on level terms. Until the midway point of the set, this was too close to call and early signs showed the potential for a five-set match. However, the dynamics of the match swiftly changed as UEL found some consistency and stormed into a 24-18 lead. Quickly, Christopher Chappell’e scored set point with a strong spike to give UEL a 1-0 lead in the match.

Much like the first set Exeter opened the scoring, this was due to a net violation given against UEL. Up until 15 points it was a close contest, before UEL developed a healthier lead via Slade’s spikes and some good attacking and defensive work from John Whitman. Chappell’e then caught the Exeter team out with an intelligent tip over the net when it looked as though he may set the ball for a teammate. Slade was very influential in getting UEL into a 24-18 lead, before his serve was deflected onto the ceiling for match point which gave UEL a 2-0 lead.

This was clearly UEL’s game to lose at this stage, the hosts had the momentum but there could be no room for complacency. In both sets, Exeter drew first blood in point scoring but tailed off at the midway point causing them to lose sufficient grip on the game. This time, in the final set, it was UEL who started on the front foot and before too long found themselves with a 15-7 lead. Niall Burton scored a good spike and made the brave decision to let a shot go out and it paid off. Unsurprisingly, Slade continued his excellent scoring tally with further powerful spikes before Kamil Nowak got his name on the score sheet. At 18-10 it was looking increasingly likely that UEL would complete a straight set victory, but Exeter were not done yet and   briefly narrowed the score margin to five
points. Eventually, match point arrived and the UEL players huddled together to celebrate a convincing win.

UEL should be pleased with their overall performance, they didn’t allow complacency to creep in and stayed focus for the duration. Exeter also have reason to be positive despite this defeat. Although the score looked crushing, for the most part of the opening two sets they kept the game very tight and looked at times as though they could cause UEL problems. However, it was the few violations given against them may have cost them points at crucial moments. Next up for UEL they welcome the University of Cambridge to the Sports Dock on Wednesday, whilst Exeter must wait until next weekend before hosting University College London.

March report by Sam Few.