Birmingham beat UEA in Tight Encounter
Birmingham’s women triumphed over the University of East Anglia in a close volleyball match on Wednesday evening, taking the fifth and deciding set 15 – 12.
The game began at 6:30pm in the Munrow New Gym, with both teams coming into the match with identical records having won their opening matches and lost their second. Birmingham however had reason to be confident, having beaten UEA twice last year. Furthermore, UEA had arrived with a diminished squad of only six players, meaning they had no substitutes available.
The first set was very cagey, with neither team able to gain the upper hand. As the end of the set drew closer however it was UEA who held their nerve, as they took it 25 – 23.
Birmingham came out all guns blazing in the second set racing into an 8 – 1 lead, no doubt motivated by their coach during the break (who cut a frustrated figure in the first set). The lions took the set convincingly 25 – 13.
Similarly in the third set Birmingham were dominant, taking it 25 – 14. Their offence was particularly impressive; UEA had no answer to the Birmingham’s spikes, with Nathalie Kirby, Flavia Irti and captain Janelle Yee providing the firepower.
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Come the end of the third set you would have placed good money on Birmingham to win the match in the fourth against a tired looking UEA. However, the home team’s intensity dropped, and the East Anglian’s seemed to get a second wind. In particular their defence was brilliant, constantly prolonging rallies and consequently forcing Birmingham errors. They cantered to a 25 – 15 victory, taking the match to a deciding set.
The match could have gone either way in the fifth and final set, which is played to only 15 points rather than 25. But it was Birmingham who found the cutting edge at 12 – 12, producing some excellent serving to gain the final 3 points required for victory.
The home team will be very pleased with aspects of the match; they will surely look at sets two and three as the blueprint for future performances. However, at times they lacked focus, and were perhaps guilty of complacency in the fourth set.
But overall 2 wins from 3 games represents an encouraging start to the season for Birmingham, and they will look to build upon that when they host the winless Nottingham seconds next Wednesday.