Simon Loftus’ side had lost their last two consecutive matches against Bournemouth and Essex but a convincing display against Exeter saw them bring an end to a two-game losing-streak.
Captain Gary Slade was delighted with the team’s performance; indicating that the match helped to boost morale after two narrow five set defeats.
“It feels great, because it sucks losing. Today’s performance was more of a confidence booster because the two teams we did lose against were definitely in close games so it’s good to have a match like this to build your confidence back up, moving forward in the division,” Slade said.
UEL are currently fourth in the league, ahead of Exeter, in fifth, on set difference. UEL started slow and fell behind early in the first set due to a number of unforced errors. However, Exeter’s defence could not keep up the huge spikes from Slade. American International, Christopher Chappell’e closed out the set 25-18 with a big swing down the line.
Despite winning the first set, Slade wasn’t too impressed with the team performance.
“The first set was basically, ‘we have to play our game,’ we focused too much on the other team so after the first game we all sat together and said, ‘listen no matter how the other team is playing, focus on our errors and fix those in order so that we can be able to play at the level we know we’re capable of’,” Slade said.
”I’ll do my job”
UEL looked more composed during the second set with strong attacking from both Slade and Chappell’e. Having a confident team performance after a rocky start Slade said, “At the end of the day I just tell my team, ‘you do your job and I’ll do my job and if we all do our own individual portions then we’ll be a better team.”
UEL were cruising to victory in the third set and at 16-10, however the hosts took their foot off the pedal and almost became the architects of their own downfall. But this is common to the volleyball court as Slade explains.
“I think it’s typical for this to happen when you win two games back to back or two sets easily, (not saying it’s easy) but when you go into the third game you really need to focus and still play to the level you need to. We only started stepping it up about half-way through the set when we realised that there was a potential that we might actually lose this set,” Slade explained.
Second year scholar, Kamil Nowak entered the fray late-on in the third and final set and made an instant impact, spiking home to seal the victory as UEL won the final set 25-16. Despite not starting the match, Nowak was prepared for the role.
“Every time you come on, you have to stay focused. In training we usually go through the same stuff so I was ready for it and I knew what I had to do on the court to make the team win and come together for them to play,” Nowak said.