UNIVERSITY OF YORK FIRSTS 3–0 HULL UNIVERSITY (25-10, 25-16, 26-24)
BUCS Northern Conference 2B
The women’s volleyball firsts team will enter Varsity this February with an air of confidence after they defeated Hull in straight sets to advance to the next round of the cup.
Despite starting each set slowly, York took the first two confidently. The final set, however, was a much closer affair but the team’s fighting spirit eventually meant that they came out on top.
Hull won the toss, opting to serve first and immediately took control, opening up a 3-1 lead. But York continued to fight back and impressive smashes from Kovacova and Widerhofer, the captain, eventually grew in to a 7-4 lead.
York carried their tight service game over from last week to continue to push their lead to 12-5 as their communication improved along with their belief in each other. Cracks began to show in the visitors play as they continuously played balls into the net or miss-hit them completely as they trailed to an enormous deficit of 23-9.
Jitka Jizerova eventually finished the set off at 25-10 as she smashed the ball towards a Hull player, who could only divert it into the net.
Much like the first set, York took their time to find their rhythm in the second. Hull had improved their serving as well as their blocking, and they eventually built up a 4-1 lead before extending the score to 7-3. York were rattled and called for a time-out.
The time-out worked to the home team’s advantage as they went on to score nine points on the trot as Hull failed to deal with York’s power. Kovacova took the score to 14-8 with a precise smash onto the by-line.
York continued to string points together until 20-9. A brief Hull comeback did look on the cards as they pulled the score back to 20-13, but they eventually dropped all the cards in their hand as Sechel produced a tidy smash into the corner. Sechel’s smash was the point that gave them the momentum to take the set 25-16.
Once again, the third set started poorly for York. However, Hull knew that winning this set would be their only chance to survive in the cup and they gave the set a very good go.
The score remained almost level for the entirety of the set. Both team had spates of spectacular play, but equally both teams had spells of shakiness that lacked communication; Hull continued to make shoddy mistakes, whilst Hull began to find holes in York’s positioning as they lost their shape.
At 23-23 the set was in the balance. Principal setter Lucia Linares was brought on and York began to construct their play again as they took a 25-24 lead, needing just one more point.
The final point came in a move that epitomised Hull’s performance as a whole, miss-hitting the ball into the net.
Katie Widerhofer, the captain, was pleased with her team’s performance and the new things the team were testing out: “I thought it went well. We made some changes and used lots of substitutes. It was interesting incorporating them and still winning.”
York: Widerhofer (C), Kovacova, Linares, Jizerova, Lee, Yeung, Gibson-Smith, Rubini, Sechel, Guan