UNIVERSITY OF YORK 1 – 3 LEEDS UNIVERSITY
BUCS Northern 2B
Despite winning the opening set, York’s volleyball men’s firsts crashed out to an impressive Leeds firsts side, whose sheer power allowed them to eventually shrug aside the home team.
Leeds’ huge power in their serving and set play was eminent from the start and York were initially slow to react. However, some very effective piking at the net by Sven Sabas kept York on the straight and narrow as they built up an 8-4 lead, forcing Leeds to call an early time-out.
Unfortunately for the visitors, their time-out was to no avail as York continued to build on their lead, mainly through the work of Sabas at the net and from smashes from the left side of the court by Luke Guillermo.
York steadily built up a to 21-14 lead but, in a bid to slow the gathering momentum of Leeds, captain Kai Chan called for a time-out. This, however, allowed Leeds to regroup and begin to string together points as York began to make too many unforced errors.
Nevertheless, York’s determination shone through and they eventually saw out the first set 25-20 when Leeds missed what became the final serve of the set.
Leeds were now looking for a way back into the game and both sides were almost inseparable in the opening few points as errors crept into Leeds’ service game.
However, York’s luck at the net began to fade as the set went on and well-placed smashes from Leeds, as well as an improved serving game, meant they notched up a 14-8 lead.
When Leeds’ 18-11 lead was reduced to a 18-14 courtesy of a neatly-placed Anton Gospondinov smash, York were hopeful of a resurgence. But York were still not finding any luck at the net and 21-14 to the visitors soon became 24-17 through a corker of a cross-court smash from the opposition. Leeds claimed the set through an unfortunate foot fault from Joel Klassen.
The home side started the third set brightly, developing a 5-2 lead as Leeds sent too many shots long and outside of the court. Sabas was, once again, impressive at the net and an ace from Ryan Gray put the score at 10-4.
But the tables then began to turn as York then began to struggle to keep their shots within the court and the visitors crept the score back to 11-11, which quickly became 16-11 in their favour.
Chan called for a time-out in a bid to settle some nerves, but once more it was to no avail. Leeds went on build up a 20-13 lead as York struggled to defend the huge power of the Leeds smashes. York held off two set points at 24-16 but the third set was eventually handed to visitors when Gospondinov’s shot went wide of the court. Overall, Leeds now led 2-1.
The opening half of the fourth set played out similarly to the second set, where both teams were almost inseparable up until 19-17 to Leeds. With a win in their sights, the away side turned up the heat despite gallant efforts at the net by Sabas and Klassen.
Leeds’ cross-court smash came into play once more and, showing true credit to their exemplary service game throughout the match, Leeds took the match point courtesy of an ace at 25-17.
After the match, team captain Kai Chan assessed the serving of both sides: “I think the weakest point in our team is our service receipt… the Leeds team have really good servers, so it was their strongest part versus our weakest point. But we had a really good energy”.
York squad: Sabas, K Chan (C), Kelly, Krzyszycha, Gray, Guillermo, Gospondinov, B Chan, Klassen