York teams go to battle in Volleyball

Image: Will Palmer

A competitive game between York’s top two women’s volleyball teams ends in victory for 1s

LAST WEDNESDAY SAW York’s two women’s volleyball teams fight it out against each other. Since the start of this year both teams have been coupled in the same league following a fantastic campaign by the 2s last year in which they came second in a league of nine. Both the women’s 1s and 2s had been victorious in last week’s away games, beating Durham 2s and Leeds Beckett 1s respectively.

The first set saw York 1s with a clear edge over the 2s team. The 2s played a lot less aggressively in comparison, often passing the ball back over the net instead of attacking and struggling with the hard hits dealt mostly by 1s captain Julija Guobyte and Irene Kramer, pushing 2s’ receivers way back to the baseline.

The 2s did gel well as a team, but struggled to really conquer any of the rallies for themselves, mostly scoring when the 1s made mistakes. The first set was over pretty quickly with the 1s winning 25-7 but was nonetheless enjoyable to watch, the performances of the two teams were as competitive as expected, most likely fuelled by the fact that this was, after all, a fiercely competi
tive derby match.

2s’ captain Jessie Li, herself unable to play due to an injury sustained during training on the day before, and interim captain Ilaria Remotti used the break to encourage their team to take more risks. Attacks, the team agreed, were all that was missing. With renewed courage they entered the second set. And the new strategy seemed to be working, with hitter Christiana Kouloumpi gaining in strength and setter Eloise McMinn Mitchell placing the ball reliably in the air for outside attacks, while also scoring a few points with cheats, taking the 1s by surprise.

For a moment, it even looked as though the 2s might have been able to make a brief comeback on their compatriot rivals, catching up on the 1s 24-17 lead, scoring five times in a row and gaining momentum, with the captain and coaches cheering even louder from the sidelines. But in the end, the 1s won the second set 25-22, though arguably they were slightly shaken by the 2s’ strong showing in the dying moments of the second set, with their coach stressing discipline and staying on the offensive during the break between sets.

After a strong start by the 2s into the third set, the 1s team seemed to put their coaches advice into practice, especially during the second half, making few mistakes and serving unfailingly. The last few points were scored by quick hits, placed to bounce in the middle of the 2s’ court. The third set ended 25-13, giving 1s a 3-0 victory in what their coach described as a “professional performance”. “It’s hard to play against people you know”, he said, laughing. 2s’ captain Jessie Li, too, was happy with her team’s performance. She said it had been a good experience and emphasised how hard they had fought in the second set.

The two teams are currently scheduled to face each other again in Spring term and while 3-0 is a comfortable victory and a deserved one too, the 2s’ encouraging performance this Wednesday promises an interesting rematch. Both teams are due to play home games again this Wednesday. York 1s are facing Sunderland 1s next, who are new to the league, having achieved promotion along with York 2s after a very successful season last year.

The 2s have a challenge ahead of them as well, as they are pitted against Sheffield 1s, currently at the top of the league table. The two York teams are now seperated by three points with the 1s sat in 2nd place in the table and the 2s in 4th, having played three games each.

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