UNIVERSITY OF YORK 3-1 UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER
25-23, 24-25, 25-10, 25-17
Images: Philippa Grafton
In a nail-biting encounter, the men’s volleyball firsts scraped together enough late-game momentum to win their fight against the Manchester firsts by 3 sets to 1.
The Manchester firsts got the first set underway, and York captain, Chris Stent, led by example with some great spikes, setting the tempo. However, the York team’s fluid classic three hit play quickly disappeared as frustration mounted, with the away team rarely ever more than a point behind.
Jonas Pollex introduced some elemental defence, working well with Harry Pampiglione, creating collective blocks to prevent the Manchester side taking the first set. The last five points were tit-for-tat, with neither side seemingly confident enough to grasp the set. Eventually, York claimed it, 25-23, putting them a set up.
The second set saw Pollex come into his own early on, dominating the Manchester side with some formidable spikes. The York side thrived off their first set victory, and looked to claim their second as they pulled away to a 17-13 lead. Despite some fantastic scoring, and a beautiful, if accidental, dummy from Pampiglione, the York side failed to drive on to 25, as their serving deteriorated.
The scores evened out, largely thanks to the actions of the Manchester captain, Alex Maximov, forcing his team onward, and the Manchester side came from nowhere to level things at 24-24. Captain Stent called for a big set spike, but went unrewarded, and Maximov’s side clinched the set with an impressive kill from mid-court, much to the frustrations of the White Rose.
Team mentality fell apart after the home side were apparently robbed of the second set, and it showed. It took decisive play from Pollex, positioned to the left of the net, and some superb jump sets from Brackpool to get the team moving and communicating again. York then found their footing, and shifted up a gear to move the score from 5-4 (to York) to, 13-7, with Stent dealing out most of the kills. The third set proved York had more to offer, as they provided a convincing win 25-10.
With victory in site, the York side took advantage of the tiring Mancunians. The opposition gave up ground bitterly, and some of the longest plays of the match were seen as both side pulled out some impressive dives and blocks to stay in the points. Having locked level at 15-15, the Manchester side ran out of grit, having shown their worth in the second set. They tired to the spikes from Stent, who, in one play, smashed the ball through a collective block from two waiting Manchester defenders to take the point. Before long, York had sealed the final set at 25-17, and won the game 3-1.
After a frustrating second set, the York Captain, Chris Stent, was pleased to see the calibre of his team overall. “The problem was service. In between the second and third set I threatened the guys with five minutes of service practice for each missed serve, and we didn’t miss any after that.”
“It was a good performance, following our slump in the second set. I think we proved our worth, and what a good team we are when we perform.”
The disheartened Manchester captain, Alex Maximov, said: “It was alright. We opened well, but they bought destruction in the third set. We were defeated then.”
York: Chris Stent (captain), Jonas Pollex, Ek Srichawla, Panos Ne, Tom Feakes, Harry Pampiglione, Camillo Cuddeford (libero), Tom Brackpool, Michael Galenianos.