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UNIVERSITY OF YORK 1-3 LANCASTER UNIVERSITY
Luck was not on the men's firsts volleyball team's side as they were edged out by a score of 1-3 by a spirited Lancaster side. York had levelled things up in the second set, but it was not enough to stop the Red Rose train from rolling on to victory.
Despite the eventual score-line, it was York who drew the first courtesy of Chris Stent; the club's president scored the first two points with a trademark smash along with a well-timed block at the net.
However, Lancaster responded not long after and the scores were hard to separate for most of the first set. At 6-7, York began to string points together as score became 9-7, but too many faults at the net was costing the home side as Lancaster pulled away with a 15-11. York rightly called for a time out.
The time out, however, came to tactical avail as Lancaster continued to add to their lead at 20-13. Although York were now starting some of their own luck around the net as they pulled the score back 20-23, it was not enough for Lancaster to edge out the set 22-25 after a dubious decision went against them.
A sloppy Lancaster start to the second set gave York a comfortable 4-0, but all this did was instigate a game of cat-and-mouse for the first half of the set. Strong service play from Lancaster meant they sailed past York's early lead, taking the score to 4-7. But York weren't going down without a fight as they fought back to take the lead at 8-7.
From then on, the scores were almost inseparable until 15-15 when Lancaster found their old momentum to stretch ahead to 15-18. At 18-20, York looked like they may have thrown away their chance of winning the set, but a lengthy series of Lancaster mistakes meant York found themselves back in front at 22-20. Rory Kelly was exquisite in the final points of the set before a failed Lancaster serve eventually gave York the set at 25-21.
With both teams fired up, the third set was destined to be an entertaining affair, whilst also proving to be the most pivotal set in the match. At 3-3, the teams were inseparable once more, but York were firing too many into the net and Lancaster found themselves with a handy 6-11 lead.
York kickstarted an excellent attempted comeback shortly after. After a lengthy rally, Kai Chan dived magnificently to keep the point alive. Two Stent smashes were defended by Lancaster, but Mark Woodward brilliant finished off the point with a clever tip at the net.
Nevertheless, continued to be more consistent as the set went on; Woodward had been strong at defending by the net were still able to a 17-21 lead. With some help from Woodward, York soon closed the score to 20-21. Once again, sadly, York's luck was not on their side as they lost out at the net, closing out the set at 21-25.
Knowing that they had to win the fourth set to stay in the match clearly took its toll on the White Rose's players as an unfocused start allowed Lancaster to build an early 2-5 lead. Despite the smashing efforts of Stent and Harry Pampiglione, York struggled to close up a 4-goal deficit for most of the set. Although a dramatic end did have some potential at 18-22, a Lancaster shot off the net epitomised York's luck as they took the set 19-25, winning them the match.
After the match, a downtrodden team captain, Kai Chan, told Nouse: "I think there were some unlucky points. But I think, most importantly, is that we weren't very clear on what we were meant to be doing...and we weren't really doing what we were supposed to be doing".
York: Chan (C), Krzyszycha, Kelly, Gospodinov, Nearchou, Gray, Stent, Woodward, Fandis, Pampiglione, Polenciuc