The University of East London Volleyball Club dominated Cambridge as both the men’s and women’s squads defeated their opponents in straight sets on Wednesday, 27 January, at SportsDock.
The UEL Men’s 1st were first to play host to Cambridge and their match went back and forth for much of the first set.
UEL took a 7-4 lead but Cambridge bounced back and eventually pulled ahead, 12-11. But with Daniel Schmidtke on serve, UEL recovered and took a commanding 18-13 lead.
This time UEL did not allow Cambridge back into the set as they went on to win, 25-16.
UEL produced a much more dominant performance in the second set. UEL scored the first two points and Cambridge responded with two of their own, but after UEL won the next point they led for the rest of the set.
Cambridge came close to drawing level at 6-5 after UEL misjudged a Cambridge serve that stayed inside the line for an ace.
But UEL won the serve back and soon stretched out to a 14-8 lead. A Cambridge timeout accomplished little as UEL continued to dominate the set, quickly reaching another 25-16 point triumph.
The third set was another 25-16 result for UEL as they led the entire way. Niall Burton produced a brilliant block to put UEL up by three early on, and then UEL moved ahead 12-7 on Burton’s serve.
Cambridge called timeout again in a bid to rally their troops and get back into the match. Once again, UEL came out of the timeout focused and won the next point.
The East Londoners continued to increase their lead as they romped to a straight-set win that gives them a 7-1 record on the season.
The Women’s 1st team put in an even more dominant performance. Cambridge scored the first point of the match, but UEL were quick to take the lead.
A pair of early aces from Luca Toth got UEL on a roll and they charged out to an 11-3 lead.
Cambridge won the next two points, but Ashley Rose Fantazia smashed a kill of the arm of a Cambridge defender to take the serve back for UEL.
The away side began to make errors as UEL became increasingly dominant. Captain Alex Vajdova provided more power for UEL as she sent a kill whizzing through the Cambridge players to give UEL a 10-point lead.
Cambridge called timeout down 20-8 but Vajdova took over the match shortly afterwards, scoring four consecutive aces to give UEL the first set, 25-9.
Cambridge recovered their form in the second set. After once again scoring the first point, Cambridge took a 3-1 lead and continued to stay ahead for much of the first half of the set.
After Cambridge went up 7-4, Fantazia got UEL back on the scoreboard with a kill and her side quickly took an 8-7 lead.
Cambridge were not daunted and retook the lead, forcing UEL to call a timeout, down 14-10. The East London squad pulled close again, but did not retake the lead until a Toth kill put UEL ahead 20-19.
In control again, UEL tried to finish out the set quickly and had a set point at 24-20. Cambridge scored twice and UEL called a timeout to settle their nerves.
The move pulled off as UEL won the next point and went into the third set looking for a clean sweep.
Cambridge scored first again, but just like in the first set, a pair of aces, this time from Vajdova, put UEL in a strong position.
The home side never trailed again as they raced out to a 12-4 lead. Points for Cambridge became scarce as UEL quickly put an end to the match, winning the third and final set, 25-9.
UEL remain undefeated and sit in second place in the South Premier with a 6-0 record.
Report: Don McDermott.
Image: Taylor Kearney.