The London Lynx Men’s Volleyball Super 8s were eliminated from the National Volleyball Cup after a 3 sets to 1 defeat against Team Durham at home at the University of East London’s SportsDock.
The Lynx found themselves trailing their opponents by two sets but were given hope of a comeback after they managed to win the third set and led by five points in the fourth.
However Durham capitalised on a handful of unforced errors to overturn the five-point deficit in the fourth set and go on to win the match.
“Lighting a Fire”
Austen Lovett indicated that the side’s lack of exuberance throughout the match contributed to the defeat, but was optimistic that the Lynx could get back to their winning ways.
“I think we kind of started off slow, we were building up from the game and it was just the little things. It just did not seem as though we had enough energy to get through each game. I do not think we played bad, but it is lighting a fire, we do not like losing so we are going to make sure that does not happen again,” Lovett said.
Taming the Lynx
The Yellows lost their previous league match against Richmond Docklands by 3 sets to 2 and were eager to bounce back with a victory against Durham.
However, their opponents had other ideas and asserted themselves from the off, initially leading by five points before taking the first set 25-19, despite the spiking-efforts of Niall Burton, Andrew Whitt and Lovett.
Umpire Strikes Back
The intercessions between sets allowed for Lynx Coach John Whitman to address his players, and his team-talk seemed to have a visible impact on his side, who started the second set with more vibrancy.
The hosts initially led by two points but just as they looked set to extend their margin, a number of unforced errors gifted Durham a way back into the set and the visitors capitalised to take the set 25-21, albeit in controversial circumstances as the umpire adjudged a spike from Lynx to have gone out, despite it appearing to catch the line.
Coach Whitman received a red card for his protestations at the contentious decision.
The Lynx were eager to prove a point to the umpire and started the third set on the front-foot, knowing that they had to win the set in order to stay in the contest.
The hosts led by five points, and although Durham managed to reduce the deficit to two points on separate occasions, Whitman’s side held onto their lead to eventually win the third set 25-20, and keep their Cup hopes alive.
The momentum was with the hosts going into the fourth set and it looked as though they were on the verge of running away with the set when they opened up another five-point lead at 11-6, but several unforced errors crept in, and Durham pounced, scoring seven consecutive points, before ultimately claiming the fourth set 25-22 to seal the victory.
Asked about what factors contributed to Durham overturning the deficit, Lovett suggested that it was the side’s errors, and not Durham, that had more of an impact in the fourth set, “To be honest I do not even think it was actually Durham, it was us. We started missing serves, easy free balls coming over and we just were not picking them up. It all just comes down to communication and executing and they got points in a row, pretty much and it kind of took us out of everything,” Lovett said.
Practice Makes Perfect
The Lynx next face TeamBU Wessex in the league on December 2nd at the LeAF Academy in Bournemouth, and asked how the side could try to eradicate the errors from the match against Durham, Lovett responded, “Practice, we have got a good squad and we play a lot of volleyball for UEL and for Lynx so we are practicing every single day, sometimes more than once. Keep practicing, go over those little things that we screwed-up on in the game and make sure it does not happen again.”