The first BUCS South Eastern 3A fixture of the year for UEL’s Second Volleyball Team ended in disappointment. The Blues were comfortably defeated, 3-0, against Buckinghamshire New University’s First Team at SportsDock.
UEL Women’s First Team player, Beth Gunter, coached the side, which included several players making their debuts, against a well-drilled and experienced side. Unfortunately, UEL’s lack of experience proved to be costly on court.
Despite the result, Gunter was impressed with the side’s performance, and said she is pleased how the side have steadily improved since the start of the season.
“I thought the performance was good, the players have come a long way since they first started back in September. Only one person had picked up a ball before September so they have done really well in such a short time-frame. New Bucks have some very good players but the girls managed to win points on their own accord and not just through mistakes, so I was very proud of them today,” she said.
Gunter also suggested that the side need to refine their tactics, but claimed that this will develop through experience.
“It’s mainly all about communication. Spatial awareness is a big thing in volleyball and it’s also a lack of experience. It will come over the next few weeks. They will continue to get better,” she said.
The hosts took an early 3-0 lead in the opening set, before the visitors came back to overturn the deficit and take the set 25-13. UEL struggled to keep up with the fast play and ultimately succumbed to defeat in the third.
Asked whether the side could work on holding onto their leads in the future, UEL’s Kristine Ofori cited a lack of experience. The team train together twice a week, and play matches, but having only started in September, they still have lots to learn.
“It was alright, we tried our best but BNU have more experience… we tried our best and had fun. I think if we just keep training more then we’ll be good,” Ofori said.
Team Captain Shelby Hague is one of the side’s most experienced players, and was upbeat about the performance despite the outcome of the match, and echoed Gunter’s optimism.
“[The performance was] really good actually, compared to our first game that we played together. In that one we only got a few points because everyone was very inexperienced. Compared to today, the girls are really getting into it now and they are really enjoying it and I have seen a lot of improvement,” Hague said.
Hague also explained how the side grew into the game, especially in the third set in which, she claimed the side played their best volleyball.
“The final set, I thought, was our best set. Sometimes it takes the girls a bit [of time] to get into the game and it was around the third set [that] we were all on top of our game, that’s why we played our best. So we just need to work on keeping that mentality from the beginning so then obviously we can look to the future of winning games.”
Big Blue Wednesday
Second-placed UEL face sixth-placed Queen Mary University of London’s Second Team on Wednesday 1st February at 1:30 at SportsDock. This match is part of 13 home matches during the day as part of Big Blue Wednesday.