The University of East London’s Men’s Volleyball Team maintained their perfect run in their 2017-18 Premier South season, after a straight sets victory over University College London’s First Team at the Sports Dock.
The victory was their fourth consecutive win of the season and their seventh consecutive victory against UCL, but despite the scoreline indicating the hosts were dominant, UEL were tested considerably more than they would have liked. Coach Jefferson Williams was not impressed by the performance, hinting that a lack of concentration contributed to their poor display.
“That was probably one of our worst performances of the season I am afraid. I do not think the guys were as focused as they should have been,” Williams said.
The Blues started the match in the ascendancy, acing the first point to set the tone for the first set. However, UCL fought back to briefly level the scores at 4-4 early on, before instructions relayed to the East Londoners by Williams, allowed the hosts to regain their lead. Some excellent play at the net created space for another big spike to then seal the set, which UEL won 25-19, in emphatic fashion.
UEL made another quick-fire start to the second set and initially led 4-2 with Captain Jackson Bantle making good use of his formidable spike. However their London rivals did their utmost best to stay within a point of the East Londoners and at one point took a 16-15 lead.
With this set proving to be a much tighter contest, Williams took evasive action and sent on Andrew Holgate to try and steady the ship, but with their tactics not working, Williams called a time-out with his team trailing 20-18 in a key phase of the game.
The time-out worked in favour of the hosts, who went on to tie the set at 24 points apiece, before eventually taking the hard-fought set 26-24, which would prove crucial in giving them the confidence to push on through what would be the third and final set.
This started off similarly to the second and was tied at 19-19 as the set drew to a close. Going in to the final phase, Williams spoke to his team one final time, and his words had a visible impact on his side, as they went on to win the next six straight points, taking the third set 25-19 to win the game in straight sets.
According to Williams, the contest was incredibly disjointed and had a negative baring on his team.
“They were missing serves and we were missing serves, so consequently we were not able to get any kind of rhythm on our offence, and our block defence were not able to find their rhythm either,” he said.
UEL will host 2016-17 Premier South Champions The University of Essex Men’s First Team, who defeated the side home and away last season, in their next fixture on the 8th November and asked how the team could improve from their performance against UCL, Williams highlighted that the side needed to be more attentive.
“We need to be a lot more focused, especially on our first contact. We need to get our serves in, to give our block defence a chance to establish rhythm and get into the game.”