Item: Men back on form with a 3-1 win over Sheffield
Author: Andreas Wicht
Date: 04 November 2007, 12:36:09 AM

Expectations were high for this game, especially because Sheffield put Leicester's men back in their place with a clean sweep last season. It was time to find out whether lessons have been learnt and what mental strength the guys really have.

Both teams started strong with neither team being able to break away and it was a good display of concentrated play that saw Leicester pull away by 3 points toward the end of the set. Sheffield did not appear too bothered to fight for points and gave the set away 25-21.

However, in the second set Sheffield started very strong building up a small lead right from the start and continued to increase it. Halfway through the set Leicester’s men realized they were not closing the gap and they started to get nervous. This led to the occasional unforced error, but nothing of real concern. It was their self-criticism that should prove their downfall in this set. Sheffield capitalized on it and pushed ahead taking the set without trouble 19-25.

All players were visibly annoyed with the poor self-discipline and some clarifying words from the coach and the captain made each player focus on the task at hand. What followed was an excellent display of controlled volleyball where all players started to work as a team again and play for one another. This resulted in LVC building up an early 8-2 lead with seemingly little effort. Leicester could not do anything wrong and Sheffield could not do anything right. Sheffield seemed unable to break the spell as LVC made point after point, thereby increasing the lead and taking the set 25-7.

Sheffield regained their composure and stepped up the level of play, but with Leicester having found their team spirit now and their form, they could not be stopped. Consequently, they won the set 25-21 to seal the match against a good Sheffield side, which will want to reverse the outcome at their home venue in a few Months time.

Coach Tim Shaw commenting on the performance of his players: “Everybody seemed to only play at 60% of their ability. If we could just get that to 80-90% we could do much better and wouldn’t have to worry so much.”