It was Saturday afternoon, the crowd was building, both teams were very determined and both teams needed the win! It was the final match in Pool B of the BUCS Men’s Volleyball and it was between Queen’s University Belfast and Cardiff University. Both these teams had lost to Leeds Carnegie, the eventual winners, who were in their pool. Both teams had also played against Imperial College London in very close exciting games. Cardiff had one their faceoff 2-1 but unfortunately queens were not so lucky and walked away from their match against Imperial with a 2-1 loss. However, this was the match that counted. If Cardiff won would easily grab second place in their pool and a place in the semi finals but if Queens could cause an upset, and win this match then second place could be theirs!
The match started off with some great offence from the Cardiff side and they quickly took the lead. Some great setting from Romain Gouveia and great kills from outside hitters Jeff Scott and Brian Cox helped Queens to catch up. Unfortunately this was just not enough and Cardiff took the first set 25-17. Queen’s now knew that they had to give it absolutely everything and really come out fighting. Cardiff really struggled to get the ball down with super blocking from Patrick Crooks and some great defence from Lucas Schaper. Both teams traded points until the score was 23-23 with no team ever getting a clear lead. But with a big block, and an unbelievable quick middle hit from Chris Irwin, Queen’s were able to clench the set 25-23 and force a third and deciding set. At the start of the third set Cardiff really made use of their big outside hitters and were able to claim a 8-4 lead at the change of ends. Some fantastic jump serving from Patrick Crooks helped the Queens team pull this back to 9-9. Some more excellent offence from the Cardiff side allowed them to again take the lead 14-11 in the third set. Although it was match point, Queen’s did not fight back. Some consistent serving from Jeff Scott and some great blocking allowed Queen’s to claw the game back to 14-14. Unfortunately were finally able to side out, and then immediately win off their serve and take the match 2-1 and secure their place in the Semi final.
Unfortunately this meant that Queens finished 4th in their pool and had to play for 7th place with Birmingham University who finished 4th in the other pool. In this match Queen’s just couldn’t pull out the performance that they had the night before against Cardiff. Too many errors from all members of the team meant that Queen’s could never secure a lead in either set, and unfortunately lost 25-23, 27-25 and finished the tournament in 8th place.
Although it is disappointing to finish 8th place in a tournament with only 8 teams it has been a great experience for Queen’s to see what they are capable of doing against some big teams and it is a real credit to even get to this tournament as it is only for the best 8 teams in Britain. Although 8th in the UK isn’t a bad result, Queen’s plan to put in a lot of hard work and do even better than this next year!
The Queen’s would really like to thanks Queen’s Sport for their financial contribution to the travel to and from the tournament, and for providing the team with some slick new kits!