THIS CRUCIAL MATCH saw the Men’s Volleyball 1s facing off against the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in the semi-final of the Volleyball Northern Conference Cup.
Immediately from the first whistle, York’s superior quality was on display, the first serve being an excellent ace from Matteo Albino to get York on their way. The early lead was compounded and built on with strong hits combined with convincing blocks from the home team allowing them to dominate the scoreboard early on. The pace was set, and York followed it dutifully, ending the first set 25-17 to take a 1-0 lead overall.
UCLan came out in the second set meaning business, delivering a strong serve to take the first point of the second set, attempting to lay down a marker for a revival. Nicholas Muyimba came to the fore with an excellent block that allowed York to regain their momentum and win the next few points, establishing an early lead in the second.
York were earning each and every point, working good moves as part of long and gruelling rallies. There was a clear discrepancy between York and UCLan in terms of team organisation and communication, York’s movement on the offense being much clearer and more fluid, particularly when backing up smash opportunities in the event of overly weighted passes.
Their organisation led to a surge near the end of the set which, barring a mini-resurgence from UCLan taking three points on the bounce, led to a 25-12 win in the second set for York, putting them in a highly advantageous place for the potential remaining three sets.
The third set started with a slither of hope for UCLan as they took four of the first five points, being gifted points by York moving illegally on one serve and a York service into the net. York stepped back into the fold with a well worked smash point at a crucial moment early on in what was a tight opening stage, the scoreboard reading 7-7 after 14 points.
York began to turn the screw from this point with a flurry of points stretching their lead to 15-7. The domination was so worrying to UCLan that a time-out was called where substitutions were made by both sides. Two of the first three points post-time-out went to the home side, which rattled the ranks of UCLan.
The away team’s poor communication was abundantly clear again in the closing stages of the third set, teammates bumping into each other going for the same ball – a far cry from the loud and clear shouts from York. The time-out proved fruitless for UCLan as York romped home losing just one more point to take both the third set and the match in astonishingly quick fashion, ending the match with an ace from Kristians Butins, finely book-ending the first and last points of a heavily dominant York display.
As a result of their victory, York Men’s Volleyball 1 now face the University of Sunderland 1s in the final tomorrow (Wednesday 6th March), who sit one place below York in the Northern 2B table.