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UEL men edged out by Essex

PUBLISHED: 15:00 21 October 2016

Action from UEL men's volleyball match (pic Alice Davies)

Action from UEL men's volleyball match (pic Alice Davies)

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Defeat for volleyball squad

UEL men’s volleyball team took on the University of Essex in a thrilling BUCS Premier League encounter, but fell to a 3-1 defeat.

With a smaller squad than last year, UEL only had nine players registered to Essex’s 13, they were trying to build on their straight sets win over Cambridge, but lost 18-25, 25-19, 26-28, 17-25.

The match began with UEL serving and they opened the scoring with two early points, but Essex came back to score four on the trot.

UEL got back on level terms after two mistakes by Essex, hitting the ball into the net in quick succession, but a strong block by an Essex player landed on the UEL side, putting them 5-4 ahead.

UEL responded after the brief interlude with a point of their own after a block bounced straight out of bounds, but a few moments later Essex were back ahead in similar fashion.

Essex then went on to score a further point through a strong serve but UEL won a point off a great block, followed by an ace by Christopher Chappell’e to make it 7-7.

UEL used an unconventional method when on serve, with their players straight in a line in front of the server, but after a short rally, an attempted light tip over bounced out of play giving Essex the lead once more at 8-7 before a timeout.

Essex moved 11-7 up after the resart, but UEL hit back with a great spike by Niall Burton and the sides traded points to make it 15-10, before Gary Slade’s spike helped UEL close the gap to four at a third timeout.

Slade scored another great spike immediately after the restart, then Chappell’e did the same, getting UEL to within two points at 16-14.

But Essex got the next two points, before hitting another long spike straight out, then pulled even further ahead with another three points, before an over hit serve from both teams made it 22-16.

A net violation gave UEL the next point after an Essex player failed to avoid hitting it and the teams produced a great rally, with Slade’s attempted spike blocked out, but Essex went on to score three unanswered points to win the first set 25-18.

Points were traded at the start of the second set, with Daniel Schmidtke producing an ace for UEL as they moved 5-3 up before the first timeout.

UEL scored with an ace from Chappell’e, the serve just clipping the net prior to hitting the ground, and the teams combined in a thrilling rally won by Essex.

Slade saw another spike blocked out to make it 7-7 at the next timeout but UEL’s serve was too powerful after the restart, gifting Essex the lead once more.

Another long rally ensued before Chappell’e hit a spike over that Essex couldn’t stop giving UEL a 10-8 advantage but Schmidtke hit a spike at the wrong angle, straight out of play.

Slade continued his good form with another spike to make it 11-9 and more rallies ensued as UEL maintained a two-point lead.

Essex drew level at 12-12, but then served into the net, and UEL pulled ahead again as John Whitman’s block set up his team-mates to move 16-13 up at the next timeout.

UEL extended their lead as Slade showed his fitness and reaction time with two spikes in a matter of seconds to score at the second attempt, with Essex committing a net violation on the next point to make it 18-13.

That was UEL’s biggest lead of the match and the gap grew to six as the sides continued to trade points before they took the set 25-19.

The third set was tight, with the first 12 points shared before Essex edged 8-6 up at the first timeout.

But Slade’s spike halved the deficit and a net violation by Essex made it 11-11, only for UEL to fall two points behind again.

More good work helped UEL draw level at 14-14, but a serve into the net gifted Essex a 16-15 lead at the next timeout.

A spike from Burton and ace by Whitman put UEL 17-16 up after the restart, with Slade adding two more spikes to make it 19-18, but Essex levelled, then edged 20-19 ahead before the next timeout.

Whitman’s spike through two attempted blocks put UEL 21-20 up, before an Essex player was shown a yellow card and UEL opened up a two-point gap before the next timeout.

Essex drew level at 23-23 after the restart and UEL were unable to capitalise on a poor serve into the net as their rivals took the set 28-26.

Buoyed by their heroics in that set, Essex took control in the fourth set and ran out 25-17 winners for the overall win.

UEL’s Burton said: “I’m a little disappointed, we didn’t start strong and throughout the first set we were inconsistent. When it came to the second set though, we came together as a team, started playing better than the other team and we really took pride, we deserved better.

“We should’ve done better, so hopefully next time we will bring our game.”

Asked what he would do differently when UEL visit Essex for the return fixture, he added: “I think we need to prepare better, we need to start the game a little stronger because this time we looked a little bit cold.

“We didn’t look like we wanted to win and then as we got into the game we showed a lot more heart. And whenever they started taking it easy it just looked like we didn’t care anymore, which is unfortunate because we did want to win, we were just down and in the dumps.

“But next time we will come stronger, knowing what we’re going to expect and what we’ve got to do to win.”

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