The University of East London’s Men’s Volleyball Team got back to winning ways after a straight sets victory against an underwhelming Oxford University side at UEL SportsDock on Wednesday.
Having lost their previous game, their first loss of the season, a 3 sets to 2 defeat away against 2016 Premier South Champions Bournemouth University, the East London side were looking to bounce back with a victory against Oxford to extend their lead at the top of the league.
UEL Coach Ian Legrand was delighted with the result, suggesting that the victory kept them on course to attaining a first ever Premier South league title.
“After dropping a game last week, we are definitely still in with a shout of the Southern Premier, and that is of course our first target. Then we expect to be ready for the play-offs,” he said.
UEL took the first set by a convincing 25-13 margin, asserting their early dominance in the game, with Legrand influencing his side from the side-lines.
The second set turned out to be more evenly contested for the hosts, who were pushed all the way, as a result of several unforced errors. However the East Londoners persevered to seal the set 25-21.
Legrand was critical of his side after the performance in the second set and believed complacency contributed to the team’s below-par display.
“We have got high expectations of these guys, so it may sound like I am being a little bit negative, the good bits were very good, but in that second set we drifted out of it a ‘wee’ bit.”
The third set turned out to be more comfortable than the first, with the home side running away with it, compounding the victory with a 25-11 win in the final set. Legrand struck a very happy figure immediately after the game and praised some of the ‘fringe players’ who made an impact off the bench.
“That third set was certainly very emphatic, with a couple of the guys coming on to add to what we were doing, which was good for the team, and I think this is an indication of just how good this group of players can be.”
The team will be hoping to replicate their near-perfect form going into 2018 and asked how the side could improve over the Christmas break, Legrand responded, “We’ve still got a couple of weeks of training, so we can start working on what needs to be looked at. It gives us a kind of debrief period, and past that we expect for them to keep themselves in good shape over Christmas, ready to come back and prepare for what we have ahead.”
UEL will return to league action in the New Year, with a fixture away against University College London on the 31st January.