Nottingham Varsity Series: Volleyball

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The second fixture in the Nottingham Varsity Series saw Volleyball took centre court at the Lee Westwood Sports Centre on the 26th of March.

Although The Men’s Volleyball team were coming off a tough season they went into this match strong. Being on home turf may have given NTU Men’s that lift they needed during the regular season as they pushed UoN back, leading at different points of the first set, narrowly losing out 25-18 to UoN.

The positive start in the first spurred our Men in Pink on for the start of the second set leading for the most part; unfortunately UoN’s experienced squad brought it back for a close fought second set win, taking it 22-25.

That set seemed to take the wind out of the sails of our boys, as they closed off the match in a 12-25 loss in the final set, UoN taking the Varsity point for Men’s Volleyball.

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Women’s Volleyball are coming off one of their most successful campaigns, staying undefeated in all their games bar the last to finish second in the table, it was fair to say they were optimistic going into the match, however they were down a couple key players.

We caught up with Volleyball President and Captain Maria Teresinha Hipolito after the match.

“In the first one [first set] we had a rough start, we were good with our side of the game, serving, but our receiving wasn’t as good.” Maria told us, and it was telling on the score sheet as well, finishing that set 27-7 to UoN, their servers making the early difference there.

Maria then led onto the positive start to the second set, “In the second set we did much better, starting off winning.” Unfortunately it couldn’t last, “When it got back to their captain serving, we struggled again with receiving.”

Although NTU’s Women couldn’t hold on for the win in that set, they played well, making the game closer, and took some positives into the third and crucial set. “We were blocking well, we had good energy and we had good hits on the serve.”

In the third and what proved to be the final set NTU took the positives from the second set and started off in front of UoN, however fatigue got the better of Trent. “We were a bit drained, we started off winning, but ended up losing by 10 points.”

It wasn’t to be for NTU in this round of Varsity, but it wasn’t all bad, with NTU Women’s Volleyball middle hitters Katarina Athanasakos, and Gida Malafronte proving to be stand out players in the match.

In the final match of the season and the final match of her University career, we asked Maria her closing thoughts.

“It hit me after it [the match] ended, it’s a bit overwhelming, winning with the team for three years and making great bonds with the team over the years, and honouring that jersey, it’s tough to say goodbye.”

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By Ola Fisayo.

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