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Volleyball men courageous in Leeds Met defeat

The men's volleyball firsts produced a brave display, but couldn't overcome a talented Leeds Met side.

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BUCS Northern Conference 1A

Images: Agatha Torrance

It could have been a fairy tale story. Leeds Met Carnegie, one of the country's strongest volleyball outfits, well drilled and featuring a pool of players currently undefeated not only in BUCs competition, but in the English National League, faced a York side struggling against the threat of the drop and suffering from severe squad depletion.

The stage was thus set for an upset, but unfortunately for York the form book held true, with Leeds Met strolling to victory in straight sets.

Leeds set the tone for the match soon into the first set, building a justified 10-4 lead. Their composure on the ball was exceptional, taking the time to smoothly build a play and find space. This was complemented by the power of both their serve and smash, with the serve especially putting York under pressure at the start of every point. York could find no answers to this threat, looking a little stunned at the task that lay before them. The set score of 25-10 to Leeds was a fair reflection of the balance of play.

The second set saw York looking more comfortable with proceedings, matching their rivals point for point in the early stages. Leeds soon began to use their most potent weapon to full effect, their serve battering the York team time and time again. Again, it looked as though Carnegie were going to waltz to a consecutive set victory, particularly at the imposing score line of 18-10.

However, York attempted to change the rhythm, showing some presence in the final stages of the set. The team showed moments of flair, a particularly well won point featuring a Chris Stent smash leading to a Carnegie scramble, finally finished with aplomb by Sven Sabas at the net. Though the set finished 25-16 in Leeds' favour, York's performance was nothing to derive shame from.

The third set saw continued York improvement. Rallies were longer, and a more incisive side seemed to have walked out onto the court. However, for all their effort, York failed to match the quality of their opponents. Carnegie's well organised smash showed an incredible level of fluidity, virtually unplayable when timed well.

York's Sven Sabos continued to impress at the net, however, with some vital point-winning blocks and smashing, whilst Stent's influence from deep allowed York to build patiently. Again, the Leeds serve proved decisive, their No. 5 swinging in a series of swirling smashes from the baseline. York continued to play well, but today, it was not enough, with Carnegie running out deserved winners.

Captain Chris Stent was proud of his team's display despite defeat. He told Nouse : "It was a gutsy performance; the odds were against us from the start. We'll definitely take positives from the way we played and move on, because we've got some big games coming up."

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