COTM VolleyballUniversity of Sunderland women’s volleyball team missed the chance to register another clear victory against favourite rivals in the last game before the winter break.

After beating York St John University home and away last season, as well as in the last two Varsity encounters, the Wearsiders were looking forward to the fixture.

But for various reasons, the York team failed to turn up at CitySpace for the game and were penalised with a 3-0 defeat that left them rock bottom in the BUCS League with five losses from as many matches.

As a result, Sunderland were awarded the three points, which took their tally to six for the season, and are now fourth in the table with two victories and two defeats.

Despite being handed the win, last year’s coach Geno Spasov had his doubts about the benefits of the situation.

He said: “The fact that York St John didn’t come to the game could actually have a negative influence on the team, not a good one.

“We beat them in the Varsity game so we were expecting a clear victory and some important gameplay practice for the players ahead of the winter break.”

But what’s done is done and the team must reflect on the positives of the season so far and build on what they achieved.

The first resounding success of this campaign came in the game against Northumbria University, who are well known for their high standards in sport competitions, when Sunderland grabbed a 3-2 away victory.

It is even more impressive when considering the multiple changes the team had to deal with since the start of the academic year.

Spasov said: “We managed to win a few games in the BUCS League and in the local league so we are looking quite good, despite all the changes the squad suffered.”

It comes as no surprise the Sunderland girls are aiming to improve for the second part of the season, but perhaps the best thing to take out from this first half is the good atmosphere surrounding the team in training sessions and matches.

“The most important thing is that the girls are enjoying themselves and are focused in practice, so me and Varun Jayaraj [the coach] are really happy with the actual situation,” concluded Spasov.



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