Men’s volleyball lose out to Northumbria in close encounter

The York volleyball men’s firsts fell marginally short of victory inside the chilly Sports Tent on Wednesday evening, as Northumbria’s men’s seconds team closed out a victory against the home side

BUCS Northern 2B

Images: Petroc Taylor

York’s volleyball men’s firsts fell marginally short of victory inside the chilly Sports Tent on Wednesday evening, as Northumbria’s second team closed out a comprehensive win against the home side in a game that could have gone either way.

Signs that the match was going to be a cracker were evident in the very first point of the first set after York won an explosive rally. However, Northumbria grew into the game and their pace in their build-up play and their shots meant they developed an early lead.

Thankfully, York began to turn their luck around when an excellent pike from Sven Sabas helped the home side to build some momentum as they built an impressive 17-14 lead, which soon became 20-18 as Northumbria sent too many smashes out of the court.

Several dazzling smashes from Joel Klassen dazed Northumbria from time to time, but each time they reacted well and managed to keep themselves in the rally – a trait of their playing style that gave them the overall victory in the match.

York fired out twice in a row as Northumbria clawed the score back to 20-21 before they went on the see out the set 21-25.

If the first point of the second set was anything to go by, York were going to have a torrid experience for the rest of the set after Sabas fired the opening serve into the net. On the contrary, the set turned out to be even tighter that the first as the teams remained inseparable for the rest of the set.

Northumbria developed a 14-18 lead at one stage courtesy of some excellent blocks and tips at the net, but some well-placed shots from Sabas kept York in the set as they clawed it back to 18-20.

The Black and Gold thought that they may have thrown away the set when Ryan Guillermo served into the net, giving the visitors four set points to win at 21-14. Regardless, York dug deep and, after some more exquisite blocks from Sabas and some excellent digs from Kai Chan and Klassen, they pulled the score level at 24-24.

Both sides played out a bitter stalemate until 27-27 when York’s luck ran out – Mark Woodward fired a smash marginally out of the court before Kai Chan couldn’t deflect away an unstoppable Northumbria spike as the visitors claimed the second set 27-29.

The third set was equally as close as the two that had preceded it and, after a string of Northumbria mistakes, York built up a 10-7 lead. Some excellent blocking from Woodward, Guillermo, Anton Gospondinov helped York maintain their lead up to 17-15.

Northumbria, on the other hand, had other ideas and, after winning a lengthy rally to level the score at 19-19, they grew in confidence as their quick build-up play helped them place some superb shots. They continued to see out the set 20-25.

After the match, team captain Kai Chan gave credit to the opposition: “Compared to other teams, they were really quick. They were setting lower than us so our middle couldn’t catch up. I think it’s something we can work on but overall I think we had a really good match; we had more energy and confidence.”

York: K Chan (C), Kelly, Woodward, Klassen, Gray, B Chan, Krzyszycha, Guillermo, Sabas, Gospondinov

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