Gritty York battle past Northumbria

UNIVERSITY OF YORK 3 – 1 NORTHUMBRIA UNIVERSITY
BUCS Northern 2B

A determined, gritty performance from York’s women’s volleyballers saw them beat their Northumbria opponents three sets to one in their opening fixture of the season. An excellent performance from captain Christina Sechel kept York well in the game despite some nervous moments and a plucky come back from the Northumbria team.

The first set started in incredibly dramatic fashion when York failed to hear the whistle blow to signify the start of the match and as such, were yellow carded for taking more than eighty seconds to serve. This gave Northumbria the first point of the set and York were immediately on the back foot.

There were some early errors from the York team which allowed Northumbria to gain a foothold on the game, but York were determined not to let their opponents get away from them. Jessica Goodsell served an ace to keep York in touching distance of their rivals and some poor service from Northumbria kept them ticking over.

The first proper rally of the set saw some excellent interplay between Esther Lim and Sechel, Lim laid it up for Sechel who spiked it over the net to make it 6-5 to York. Northumbria continued to make a litany of unforced errors but the set was far from over, despite York powering to a 11-6 lead, their opponents fought back impressively. The set became horrendously tense as the score stalled at 24-24 after Northumbria rallied themselves.

They took the lead for a brief moment but York hit back straight away to win a phenomenally tense rally to surge ahead 26-25. It was left to Maja Vodopivec to seal the set for York with an unplayable shot that left the Northumbria players scrambling.

The second set was one that York would have wished to forget as Northumbria surged ahead 13-6. Both Sechel and Vodopivec were having an exceptional game and were single-handedly keeping York in the second set. Despite the significant lead Northumbria held, York continued to battle resiliently but it was to no avail as Northumbria took the set 25-14.

The third set proved to be vital to York, but it started in nightmarish fashion as they went down 6-0. But they dug deep and fought hard through their captain, Sechel, and Cherrie Wong who produced some magical aces to claw York back into the set. Vodopivec proved her class by holding her nerve during a tense rally and produced a fantastic smash to gain York the lead. From 6-0 down York had fought back to take a 10-8 lead. Silvia Albina found some electric form when she blocked the ball powerfully at the net as the scores drew level at an agonising 18-18.

But York held their nerve and they finished the set off in style as Wong served an ace to win them the set 25-19. One set now stood between York and their first victory of the season.

The fourth set began with some enthralling rallies and once again, Northumbria took an early lead. But York found a rich vein of form and began serving magnificently. Georgina Gibson-Smith blocked well at the net and Albina was serving imperiously to take York to a 15-8 lead.

Once again, Northumbria refused to lie down as they clawed their way back into the set and eventually drew level with the score poised at 18-18. But Vodopivec was on hand to finish off yet another epic rally with a glorious spike, this seemed to give York the momentum they needed to win the fourth set 25-19.

It was an impressive display from the York team in their opening fixture, while it was far from perfect, they proved resilient and cool under pressure which will serve them will in the rest of the season.

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