Women’s volleyballers enjoy win over Sheffield

25-17, 25-10, 25-18

Images: Agatha Torrance

The result the performance deserved won out today, as York’s women volleyball team comfortably outplayed their Sheffield counterparts in a straight sets victory. Although Sheffield played nicely in spells, they were far too inconsistent to offer York any real threat. This was a vital win if York are to entertain hopes of promotion this year, but achieving two victories on the bounce in this early part of the season shows promise.

The game began in the worst possible circumstances for York, as captain Alexa Mittelhϋber had to be taken to hospital after a fall in warm up. Regardless of this York started the better of the two teams, steaming into a 9-3 lead. This was gained through their ruthless capitalisation upon Sheffield’s many mistakes, primarily caused through poor positional play.

Although Sheffield did manage to reduce York’s deficit, the team in black and yellow were able to pull away again, primarily due to some excellent spiking by Katarina Wiederhofer and Joanne Lee. The most incredible shot, however, was achieved by Cristina Sechel, who somehow managed to reach an unstoppable spike by Sheffield and send it back over the net to a stunned opposition, winning a vital point. The final set score of 25-17 to York was completely justified.

The second set gave Sheffield a chance to relax and start again. Unfortunately for them, York had other ideas, as they again motored into an early 8-1 lead, with the pivotal moment again coming from Cristina Sechel after an outstanding block at the net in the first point. Sheffield were continuing to suffer from the same problems: sloppy play was rife, and it was no surprise to anyone present when they called a time out.

The team from the Steel City were beginning to look a little frustrated, which culminated in a player smashing a ball out of the court after a play had finished. The referee reprimanded her.

The rattled Sheffield team continued to look listless, and the second set of 25-10 to York was again a fair reflection of the game. York were stifling any attacking chances that Sheffield were given.

This changed at the beginning of the third set, however, as Sheffield came out of the blocks with a new found grit. It was York that were beginning to look a little unnerved, as they were failing to deal with Sheffield’s suddenly powerful serve. The score of 12-6 to Sheffield meant that York were certainly going to have to show character to close out the match quickly.

Fortunately, after the biggest test so far in the game, York came out on top, winning six points in a row to neutralise the match. York had been coasting through the match to date, but they finally hit their stride, backed by some extraordinary serving from Lilyana Tchukovia. Her serving was impossible to handle, changing the game, the margin turned around to 20-14.

York remained calm and composed until the last, winning the last set 25-18, and closing out a dominant victory.

Stand-in captain Katharina Widerhofer was happy with the performance her players showed, stating ‘It was a hard game, especially because we lost our captain so early. But we showed a great team spirit to win’. York now play bottom of the table Sheffield Hallam in their next fixture, and, if they play to this high standard again, they can be almost assured of victory.

York Team: 2. Sitka Jizenova. 4. Elena Goss. 5.Selena Yeung. 6. Cristina Sechel. 8. Laura Irvine. 11. Lucia Linares. 12. Katharina Widerhofer (C). 15. Lilyana Tchukovia. 18. Joanne Lee.

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