Lancaster complete victory in both men’s and women’s volleyball games

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Both games were played at the Heslington West Sports Centre and a sizeable crowd from both universities came down to cheer on their side to victory. The women’s match was first up, and Lancaster started the first set strongly, using their set-up play effectively to produce well placed, point-winning shots. Smashes from Tse and Buttol for Lancaster particularly stood out, and in combination with Stoyanova right on the net to attack, they raced into a 19-7 lead. York had some decent attacking play of their own, but found it difficult to block and stop the powerful smashes from Lancaster. Keeping the points ticking over, Lancaster won the first set 25-8, a dominant performance which set a precedent for the remainder of the match. Lancaster found a good rhythm to their play in the opening stages of the second set, but York matched this and gained a 6-5 lead. Knowing that this score line could be overturned if they stepped up their game, Lancaster did just that and regained parity by advancing into a 11-7 lead. Buttol made some excellent dig shots, but again York fought back, making this set a little close for comfort for the away side. Lancaster still won the set 25-21, making to overall score 2-0, but York ramped up their efforts in the final few points to just throw a slight element of doubt into Lancastrian minds. If anything though, this seems to motivate Lancaster even more, and they worked hard to reassert themselves at the start of the third set. Maintaining a decent gap in terms of the points, when Harley made an enormous leap and smashed to make it 16-7, the crowd realised that Lancaster were surely not far from victory. Some extended rallies from York came too little, too late to stop Lancaster, and Lancaster took a fully deserved victory, winning their third consecutive set 25-13 for an overall win of 3 sets to nil. After the game, Stilyana commented, “We had such a good focus on getting the win today, everyone had their part to play but at the end of the day, it’s a team sport so we did really well collectively.” Could the men’s team live up to the women’s success? The signs were good at the opening exchanges, with Lancaster quickly getting into a 4-1 lead thanks to great attacking play from Freudenstein. York soon sussed out an effective way to halt the progress of the Red Rose, employing some key blocks to deny Lancaster points at the net. Both teams were looking very even, with long rallies showing this. In the end though, Lancaster scored a flurry of consecutive points to win the first set 25-18. The second set was ever so close, with both teams almost alternating between taking the lead, losing it and then regaining it again! On balance, York were the stronger team in this set, but Lancaster just edged them out to take the set 25-22. At 2-0, Lancaster knew that winning the third set would guarantee victory, but of course, York also knew this so pulled out all the stops to battle to a 25-21 win and 2-1 overall. The fourth set could have had two outcomes, a Lancaster win and they win the match overall, or a York win and the match goes to a winner-takes-all fifth set. The atmosphere among the crowd was electric at this stage, they knew what was at stake and the volume was quite unbelievable when Lancaster went 15-10 up. York dug deep to bring it right back though, and the match was in the balance at 23-23. Lancaster proved their mettle though, gaining the decisive two points required to win the set 25-23 and the match overall 3-1. Overall, the women’s victory was a lot more dominant than the men’s, but both teams can be extremely proud to have ‘done the double’ over their fiercest rivals.

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