Less than two hours after a loss to arch rivals Bournemouth University, with the winner progressing to the semi-finals, the blues had to return to court for their 5th place decider against last year’s runners-up, Durham University.
American Scholar, Gary Slade, was pleased with the team result, “Seeing as this was my last university volleyball match, to finish top 5 in the country is such a great way to end my uni career.”
UEL came out all cylinders firing with big blocking from Niall Burton, and swinging from Chris Chappell’e. The boys piled on the pressure in a straight forward set to win 25-12.
Durham responded with a strong start and forced UEL to make simple errors. After a blood injury to Slade at 24-23 down, following a medial time-out, the boys rallied to fight back but fell short, 27-25.
With UEL Women cheering from the side-lines waiting to take the court for their own semi-final, the boys pulled out a 10-7 lead which they capitalised on to take the final set, and fifth place, 15-13.
After the win Slade said, “It was bitter sweet, for one it wasn’t the result I wanted from the National Championship, but they were a fun team to play against. The match was consistent with the level we played throughout the season so I was pleased with the performance.”
Speaking on his injury, “It just happened so fast I didn’t even have time to process anything but to clean the blood, wrap the cut, and come back to win.
The 2016/17 BUCS League came to an end for UEL men with a fifth-place finish nationally, and ranking second in the Premier South division, improving on last year’s national ranking.
The blues have one more match to play in a UEL jersey, before heading back overseas, on May 3rd when the whole of UELSports head to Angelia Ruskin University for the Challenge Cup.
Below are streams and commentary from the pool matches, and play-offs, provided by UELSports LIVE!
More detailed results from the weekend are posted here.