York surged back from two sets down to collect four precious points in the mixed volleyball, as Roses Saturday started with a bang. In a game which had pretty much everything, it took the White Rose a long time to acclimatise, but when they hit their stride they were irresistible, combining boundless spirit and flashes of terrific skill.
Maintaining the same sextet of players throughout this five-set contest, York overcame the disadvantages of a long, early morning journey and limited preparation since the Easter holidays to stun Lancaster. The hosts started brightly, exposing York’s rustiness in many areas of the game as unnecessary points were ceded. With their female players doing the groundwork, it was left to the accomplished male trio to finish the opportunities, which they did with a clinical touch. For York, Jonas Pollex regularly displayed characteristic power, launching the ball down the centre of the court, but his influence was muted and Lancaster took the set 25-15.
The second followed much the same pattern despite some signs early on that York had awoken from their stupor – there was much more commitment and the net play of Janis Koknevics was an encouraging sign. However, Lancaster had a knack of finishing points efficiently and built an imposing advantage which proved just too much for York to crawl back, eventually winning 25-16.
At two sets down, York should have been dead and buried, their thoughts set on a quick and painless return journey. But not a bit of it. In the third set, they rediscovered some of their best form – Pollex leading by example as they matched and then mastered Lancaster’s endeavour. A phenomenal ace serve by Chipman at 12-8 signalled that the tide was turning and York closed out the set 25-18.
Lancaster were rattled but the fourth was fought tooth and nail as the atmosphere peaked. It was the unerring serve of Alexa Mitterhuber which proved influential as York took it 25-23 in a gripping finale, bringing the game level. The race-to-fifteen fifth brought the best out of York, by now psychologically in control, and it was the triple whammy of Mitterhuber’s deadly serve, the finesse touch of Koknevics at the net and the unrestrained power of Pollex which delivered a famous, and unforgettable, triumph.