Originally published by SportsByte on April 17th 2013.
Teesside University volleyball powered to a 3-1 win over a valiant Sunderland side at TeesWear Varsity.
Sunderland took every set down to the wire but were well-beaten by a strong home side, who surprised given that they didn’t enter a BUCS League team this year.
Teesside won 25-23, 25-22, 23-25, 26-24 on a day where the University retained the Varsity trophy.
Teesside, though, won a tense first set with both sides leading and throwing away leads.
Sunderland clawed a 21-17 deficit back at one pont but eventually lost by two.
The second was largely similar, with Sunderland again coming agonisingly close at 25-22.
The Wearsiders kept on fighting, though, and won a thrilling third set despite again finding themselves down by four halfway through the set.
The confidence from that win saw Sunderland move into a 7-3 lead at the start of the fourth set but they lost the lead and lost the momentum, losing by two in the end .
Volleyball President Jack Deaton stepped up into a player/coach role and excelled on court. The defeat was harsh on Sunderland and Deaton said: “It’s tough to lose to Teesside anyway but we battled so hard.
“It’s disappointing but we’ll get them next year.”
Sunderland have only trained together twice as a mixed team but Deaton refused to use that as an excuse, saying: “We gave up the first set too easily, but battled well for the last three.
“We worked really hard as a team. Everyone put everything in.”
Phil Gibbin, of Teesside, said of the game: “It was far too close! We were absolutely outstanding.
“They’re second in their BUCS league and we’re not even in a BUCS league so to come and play with anywhere near the standard that we did.. it’s just outstanding. Our players put everything into it.
The match served as a swansong for two players as Aaron Preston and Nathan Skidmore played their final game for the university. Eve Porter was set to coach the side for the final time but she was unable to travel due to illness.
“Funnily enough, Eve said for us to do her proud today,” Deaton said. “I think performance-wise we did, result-wise we didn’t.
“It’s going to be weird next year but we’ve got a good set of players. I think if we all work hard and give it everything we’ve got then we’ll keep the club going.”