It was tough luck on the women’s team as they lost a heartbreaking five-set game to Essex, as Anna Rota reports
UEL women volleyball team played their first home game of the season and welcomed old adversaries Essex amid an amazing atmosphere at the SportsDock. The crowd were entertained by a thrilling match, but the home fans saw their side succumb to a 17-15 defeat in the final set.
UEL ran the opposition close after beating Cambridge away last week. Essex came into the match after a highly successful games Sussex.
UEL showed a strong service game initially and great communication led the team to an early 7-3 advantage.
Essex roared back and proved to be a challenging side. With some hard earned points they clawed it back to 7-6.
The second set saw UEL slip back as Essex dominated in the first minutes and went on to win the set.
The match was reaching an exciting conclusion with both teams battling to seal victory. The teams deserve to be vying for top spot in the league, and were relentless in chasing each other down to take winning points.
UEL grabbed seven points in a row in the fourth set to make it 2-2. This led to a heartbreaking fifth and last set where UEL ladies were defeated after an extremely tough fight.
Even though the match did not go the way UEL had hoped, the team showed great teamwork and pride in representing the university. It came on the day they hosted a charity event to raise awareness of breast cancer.
Alex Porter, former GB player and head coach of Essex gave credit to UEL for the game they played and he identified the difference being the intensity of the training: “We have been training twice a day for the past three weeks (…) This gave us an extra element of trust”.
Porter added: “There was hardly anything between both teams today and all credit goes to UEL, pumping an amazing fight.”
Kelsey Blankerts, UEL number 9, admitted that they should have kept the intensity all the way through. “We dropped two of those sets just because we were a little on our heels,” she said.