The long anticipated day came and went – Queen’s University Belfast Vs York University in the top 16 British Universities Volleyball Championships. The tension was on, the crowd was ecstatic and the players on both team eager to start the match. Warm up showed the nervousness of both teams and was filled with glimpses at the opposition and any attempts to try and size up the opponents. With an inspirational pep talk from Crooks the captain of Queen’s and a roar of ‘Queen’s’ in the air the game was ready to go. The whistle blew and the game started with some nervous playing from both teams. Queen’s lost a few serves, making more errors than anticipated in the early game but quickly made up for the mistakes through some excellent passing from the awesome defence set up by Martin, Hamillton and Schaper. It was neck and neck as the game neared the end of the set with neither team willing to show the slightest hint of weakness and both teams giving it everything they have to try and take the first set. Queen’s made a tactical substitution bringing on the American destroyer Cox in the place of Lu to finish out the set.
Beads of precipitation dripped off every player as every timeout became a crucial time for rehydration, refuelling and motivational team talks. Finally through a long and extremely close struggle, Queen’s took the first set, 25–22.
With the first set secure and in the bag, the pressure was on for York. The second set showed Queen’s domination as Hamilton, Cox and Crooks, the captain himself made more than just a few crushing spikes, bringing the York team into a flutter of confusion. The passing for Queen’s was impeccable and the serves were back, not only were they back, they were back with force and precision resulting Queen’s taking the second set with a comfortable 25-14.
It all seemed to be over with Queen’s taking 2 sets to nothing, but York wasn’t going to give up without a fight. Making a good comeback in the 3rd set, they gave Queen’s a good chase. The sound of cheers from the crowd fused with the cries from both teams, the clash of the two teams reached its climax. For York this was all or nothing, they had to take this set to make a comeback. But the Queen’s defence was letting nothing through. Every spike attempt made by York was met with a solid steel wall block from Queen’s, pushing back every attempt of attack made on it, nothing hit the floor as both teams dove left, right and centre in attempts to rescue each ball. But Queen’s was a step ahead of York, bringing not only a great defence but offense as well, as the middles: Schaper and Robb grasped every chance to spike the ball with devious precision. The game was over as quickly as it had begun, the final whistle blew, both teams gave it their all, and York put up a great fight, but in the end, Queen’s took the final set 25-19. With a roar and a cheer Queen’s is now through to the top 8 at Sheffield where the decider of the British Volleyball Champion will be made.