UEL men fall just short

UEL's men celebrate a point during their volleyball match against Bournemouth (pic: Matt Parker)

UEL's men celebrate a point during their volleyball match against Bournemouth (pic: Matt Parker) - Credit: Archant

Volleyball squad lose five-set thriller

UEL Men’s Volleyball lost a five-set thriller to Bournemouth as they continue to blend and improve a their new squad.

Last year’s third-ranked team travelled to East London having beaten the hosts on the last three occasions, but after some back and forth scoring UEL pulled away into an 8-5 lead in the first set, thanks largely to some great points won by Lee-Preston.

However, some consistent scoring by Bournemouth changed the scenario and before you could blink they had amassed a 20-12 lead, and the rest of the set was history as they claimed it 25-13.

UEL would go on to win an action-packed second set to level, but after building up a 6-1 lead, the advantage slowly chipped away point by point as Bournemouth stole a 19-18 lead.

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The home side performed some clutch play, saving four set points before finishing with a pile driving strike to win it 30-28.

The third set began with a blitz from Bournemouth as they built a 7-3 lead into an 18-10 lead, but the fight never stopped from UEL, pulling the set back all the way to 24-20 before Bournemouth finally claimed it 25-21.

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Needing to claim the fourth set, coach Simon Loftus gave a rousing team speech, which was heard across the auditorium as the fans got behind the team and the chants of “UEL” began to take centre stage.

The set was an absolute belter, with both teams trading blows all the way until the score was 21-20.

Bournemouth then found themselves ahead 24-22, but the UEL comeback was swift and sensational with the game on the line as they won the next three points and forced a foul to clinch the set 28-26.

Although Bournemouth dominated the fifth set and took it 15-10, UEL proved they had fighting spirit, improved mechanics and a great team ethic in a perfect launch pad to start adding wins for a young team.

Coach Loftus was happy with the team’s performance, saying: “At the end of the day, the best team was able to win, but to take last year’s third-place team all the way, I think is fantastic.

“We can go back to training, work hard, improve our mechanics, the team’s still learning, but we’re getting there.”

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