UEL volleyball men serve up success
PUBLISHED: 10:15 11 November 2016
Exeter beaten in straight sets at SportsDock
UEL men’s volleyball team achieved a comfortable straight-sets victory against the University of Exeter at SportsDock.
Both sides went into the match with identical form, winning once and losing twice so far this season, with UEL’s better set difference separating them in the BUCS standings.
And the hosts produced a solid team performance, as Gary Slade stood out with his brilliantly executed spikes to win some vital points which contributed to their 3-0 victory.
The visitors ame out of the blocks quickest in the opening set, taking a 9-5 lead courtesy of some inconsistent serving from the home side.
But 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 before Christopher Chappell’e clinched the set with a strong spike.
Exeter opened the scoring in the second set, after a net violation against UEL, and it remained close until the 15-point mark, when the hosts 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 and Slade was influential in getting UEL into a 24-18 lead, before his serve was deflected onto the ceiling on set point for a 2-0 lead.
It was clearly UEL’s game to lose at this stage, as the hosts had the momentum, but there could be no room for complacency.
Exeter had drawn first blood in the first two sets, before tailing off at the midway point and losing their grip, but in the final set, it was UEL who started on the front foot and found themselves with a 15-7 lead.
Niall Burton scored a good spike and made the brave decision to let a shot go out, which paid off, as Slade continued his excellent scoring tally with further powerful spikes before Kamil Nowak also got his name on the scoresheet.
At 18-10 it was looking increasingly likely that UEL would complete a straight-sets victory, but Exeter were not done yet and briefly narrowed the margin to five points.
Eventually, match point arrived and the UEL players huddled together to celebrate a convincing win after a solid overall performance, where they didn’t allow complacency to creep in and stayed focus for the duration.
Next up for UEL is a visit from the University of Cambridge to SportsDock on November 16.
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