Straight sets cup exit for women’s volleyball

(17-25, 13-25, 23-25)


Images: James Hostford

An understrength women’s volleyball side were knocked out of the BUCS Cup this afternoon, beaten in straight sets by Northumbria.

With only seven players to choose from, York were unable to rediscover the form that has seen them win three games so far this season, including their previous league meeting against the visitors.

Northumbria started impressively and had the look of a very well-drilled team as they raced into an early five point lead in the first set.

Despite some heroic defensive play from York’s Elsa Meserliam, Northumbria were controlling the tempo of each rally, prompting the hosts to call a timeout at 4-11 down.

York’s Achilles heel throughout the match was their inconsistent serving and that prevented them from establishing any kind of momentum in hope of getting back into the opening set. They did improve as the set wore on with Odile Auberson’s serve providing a platform for the White Rose to claw back the deficit, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Northumbria closing out a 17-25 win.

A more even start to the second set saw York captain Christina Sechel hitting the mark with a couple of useful smashes, but 3-3 quickly became 3-9 in favour of Northumbria.

From then on, the set followed much the same pattern as the first; York producing the odd moment of inspiration but being kept at arm’s length by the opposition.

A few moments of miscommunication did nothing to aid York’s cause, and even two beautifully placed shots from Rita Manso to lift the home crowd only postponed an inevitable second set win for the away side, 13-25.

In the final set, though, York upped their game. A tight start saw them neck and neck with Northumbria at 8-8 and, had it not been for some more poor serving, then York could concievably have built up a decent lead.

Unfortunately, Northumbria had a knack for picking up points when they needed them and they pressed ahead midway through the set. At 12-17, it looked as if the visitors would go on to close out another reasonably comfortable set, but York then mounted a stirring comeback.

Again it was Auberson’s serve that provided most encouragement and it had Northumbria rattled. For the first time, the Tyneside outfit were being forced into mistakes as York dictated the rallies.

When a ruthless smash from Maya Vadapires levelled the scores at 22-22, York’s hopes of finding a way back into the match looked promising. But a Northumbria timeout allowed them to regain some composure, and they ultimately saw out the final set 23-25.

The result leaves the Black and Gold to focus on their league campaign, starting with a trip to face Northumbria again next week. Afterwards, York captain Sechel told Nouse, “We certainly played a lot better towards the end, it was just a shame we didn’t have all the girls here today. We had no subs, then picked up an injury, and we missed quite a few serves on top of that. We’re playing them again next week so hopefully we’ll do better.”

York: Sechel (C), Meserliam, Gibson-Smith, Goodsell, Vadapires, Auberson, Manso.

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