Team Hallam recorded a 3-0 victory in the Men’s Volleyball 1s at EIS this afternoon as they looked to reduce the University of Sheffield’s overall Varsity lead.
The Black and Golds started strong, with Youssef Hisham serving well twice, forcing two Hallam players into errors. Team Hallam, however, won the first two rallies, levelling the score and setting a confident tone for the set ahead.
A real ding-dong start to the game continued, with neither team able to gain an advantage of more than a point without being pegged back by the other. Eventually a Black and Gold foul from a George Wainwright serve opened up a two-point gap.
Uni of seemed to have a reprieve before Alex Hague rose highest to spike the ball over the net and away.
Nico Dewalo blocked the ball at the net well, and the joy on the faces of the players was palpable, but the first set started to get away from Uni of at 15-11, with Hallam serving stronger and winning more of the battles at the net. They seemed confident and assured, taking advantage of their continued periods of serving and Uni mistakes.
The Black and Golds staged a small resurgence, but Harry Patrick’s spike couldn’t be defended by Ayodeji Belogon, and Team Hallam took the first set 25-15.
Their strong end to the first start continued into the second, winning the first two points before Hallam’s Dan Thompson appeared everywhere, spiking the ball over the net multiple times to pull Hallam further ahead.
Uni regained some points off Hallam for poor errors in serving and at the net, but the tide seemed almost unstoppable, and at the mid-set break Hallam were 13-6 ahead having held off a Uni push over the previous few points.
The second half of the set carried on in much the same fashion, but with every point the Black and Golds won it was clear to see the camaraderie of the team on the court, running to celebrate with each other despite the disadvantage.
It wasn’t enough though and Hallam pulled even further ahead in the set. After another mid-set break they won the final two points needed to take the set thanks to a spike from Thompson and a tip from Zakk Hadgett.
Having swapped sides again, Hallam showed their intent with Patrick spiking for the first point before the Black and Golds were forced into five consecutive errors to give Team Hallam a commanding early-set lead.
Eventually, Uni of did have some relief when Patrick served into the net at 10-0, to give the Black and Golds their first point of the set. The serve was lost again on the next point but Jack Cheung’s powerful spike and a Belogon block at the net helped bring them back into the set.
Hallam, however, proved to have too much for Uni and, despite the Black and Golds picking up points from errors, they just couldn’t match Team Hallam on the court, and were far behind for much of the winning set. Thompson was given the opportunity to serve for the final point, and Hallam took the set 25-11.
After the game, Hallam captain Hadgett said: “We liked to win, but we thought we could’ve played better. There were a lot of people watching and we’d have liked to play better.
“Credit has to go to Uni of though, they played well and it was tougher than we anticipated.”
Uni of’s manager and first team captain Stefan Prychidnyj said: “We’ve played these twice this year, and they’re a very good team, top five in the country. We put a good effort in and everyone’s really happy.”