UNIVERSITY OF YORK 0–3 LANCASTER UNIVERSITY
Images: Agatha Torrance
The volleyball mixed seconds team were frightfully unlucky as they lost in three straight sets in Roses’ first ever fixture of this kind.
Despite all three of the sets having a nail-biting finish, slow starts for York in the first and third set meant they would struggle to compete in the first half of each set, which ultimately led to their demise against a confident and assured Lancaster set-up.
Mistakes from the offset at the very start of the match meant York already found themselves 3-0 down as Lancaster built up a flow of points, increasing their lead to 7-2. Team captain Jack Munayer struggled to galvanise his team and it took and individual effort from him to spur his team into action as his block at the net finished a lengthy rally, pulling the score back to 14-16.
Our Lancastrian rivals kept between themselves three points ahead until the score reached 19-23 as Archer Ho missed a very tough dive on the floor to keep a rally alive. However, Trixi Haller kept York hopes alive courtesy of a well-placed smash, keeping York in the game at 21-24.
The set ended, however, in a prickly fashion when communication breakdown between Haller and Giannis Kaloupaklis cost York the set.
The White Rose’s emphatic form towards the end of the first set was, thankfully, carried into the second. Powerful play from Ho and Erick Eidy forced their opponents into a string of unforced errors, meaning the home side racked up a huge lead of 5-0, which soon became 8-1.
However, the visitors were not going down without a fight as they slowly crept back into the game. They have to be given the credit for having the mindset to level the score at 12-12. From then on, the teams could not be split and Lancaster finally took the lead at 17-18.
Now, both teams were riding their luck on which the ball would roll over the net; both sides were opting for closer shots at the net rather than cross-court smashes, which had proved an unreliable source of points for most of the match.
However, at 22-22, Lancaster forced errors from York as they sat one point away from winning the vital final set as Eidy fired wide. The Red Rose finally took the set when Lezlie Blaich unluckily lost out at the net, giving her adversaries a 23-25 victory.
A win for Lancaster in the final set would give them the win and 2 Roses points, and with this in their mind they gallantly took the start of the third set by storm. Excellent rallying from both sides was nearly ended by Ho with a smash from the net, but Lancaster were equal to him as they deflected it away to secure a 1-7 lead, which was later increased to 3-13.
At 6-16, York looked completely rattled and called for a time-out; perhaps the 10-point deficit was too much to grapple with. Yet signs of a York comeback started to emerge. Clever feet from Nikola Panayotov managed to keep a rally alive, which helped give the side the momentum to take the score from 8-20 to 15-23.
A cracking block at the net by Eidy added another point and York thought they might be about to achieve the impossible as the home side managed to creep up the score to 18-23. These dreams, sadly, were instantly smashed as an excellent Lancaster serve gave them the two points they needed to win the set and ultimately the match.
York’s team captain, Jack Munayer, succinctly summed up the match: “A couple of decisions didn’t go our way but that wasn’t the reason why we lost. I think we dropped the ball a bit and they were a good team so all credit to them”.
York: Munayer (C), Eidy, Panayotov, Dobrzycki, Ho, Arvanitidis, Kaloupaklis, Haller, Hoyie, Padora, Silleresi, Blaich.