Youthful volleyball firsts fall to defeat in opening BUCS fixture

UNIVERSITY OF YORK 0-3 NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY
BUCS Northern Conference 2B

Photos: Petroc Taylor

A young men’s volleyball first team succumbed to a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Newcastle in their first match of the season despite showing flashes of potential.

With most of the team having moved on from last year, there was an air of change about the men’s volleyball side this afternoon in the Sports tent, with three Freshers making their debut and a few other players being promoted from last year’s second team.

Stand-in captain Kai Chan led this inexperienced side with a real sense of maturity, but York were nervous from the off against a Newcastle side that were used to playing with one another other. Newcastle won the opening couple of points and though York managed to pull themselves back, it was not long before the White Rose was 10-15 down.

First year Luke Richardson showed immense athleticism at the net to bat over a number of wonderful smashes, giving those on the side-lines hope that he could be a star of the future.

However, in a set in which York lacked chemistry and cohesiveness, Newcastle ran out 25-16 winners comfortably.

The second set continued in similar vein, with Newcastle cruising into a comfortable 6-0 lead at the start. Mark Woodward got York onto the scoreboard soon, though, with a brilliant finish at the net.

From here York began to click, and they managed to bring the scores back to 12-9 with some great communication, but Newcastle reacted with some fearsome play and comfortably sealed the set 25-14.

The third set was a different story, however; with the Black and Gold showing moments of brilliance. As the team began to click, the game began to turn in York’s favour. Soon they had amassed a 17-10 lead and looking were good.

But now Newcastle made their experience count, picking up a few loose points to draw level at 22-22. York were fully aware they were only three points from defeat, and they responded fabulously, winning a lengthy rally. Anton Gospodinov saved a potential Newcastle winner to keep the point alive before Richardson slammed the ball down at the net to make it 23-22.

Newcastle were desperate now to make the points count, and so they did, in fabulous style, blocking a winner back into mid-court to bring it back to 23-23. Of the two sides, Newcastle showed the greater mental toughness and sealed the game 25-23.

Despite a straight sets defeat, the men’s side have much to take forward into the new season. Chan was upbeat despite the defeat. Speaking with Nouse after the game, he said “We started really late this season, with only two training sessions before the start of the season, so I think that is the main reason why we lost. Everyone is still trying to figure out how to play together but I am optimistic.”

Singling out Richardson as a key part of York’s future, Chan went on. “He’s a great player and will definitely be the star of the team for the future. I’m really happy to have such a good player among the Freshers.”

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