Benny O’Regan reports on the varied fortunes of UCD’s volleyball sides


UCD Premier Men’s team continued their flying form to defending their League title after overcoming the challenges of Amber Coast in Maynooth last week, and at home on Sunday against new boys to the League, NUIG Alliance.

On Sunday, UCD continued being their destructive self by handing out a harsh lesson for the students of Galway to learn in welcoming them to the league. UCD were never really in any trouble in the opening exchanges and took the opening set quite convincingly. However, NUIG upped their game in the 2nd set, leading 19-16 at one stage. Now knowing they would have to snap out of their complacency, the Champions let their volleyball do the talking from then on. A lack of experience let the visitors down as UCD got over the line to take 2nd set and never looked back, finishing NUIG off in a straight sets victory: 3-0. Their flawless record after three convincing victories leaves UCD sitting pretty at the top of the Irish Premier League table.

Despite beating Munster Thunder last week, the Division 1 Men’s team could not build on that performance when taking on the challenge of last year’s runners-up, Garda A, last Saturday. They put up a brave effort with the bare minimum available on the day, having to introduce new, inexperienced players to the game. Garda took an early lead at 14-4 in the first set. Changes were made from then on as UCD weren’t able to take control in the majority of the points played. The tables turned then as they took the initiative in the 2nd set with more confidence in their play. They held their nerve for large parts of the 3rd set and it was touch and go until the latter stages but Garda always held a nice, small cushion all the way, and got to 25 with enough to spare. UCD tried their best to get back on track but it was wasn’t good enough to take the win, losing 3-1 : 25-15, 18-25, 25-21, 25-16.

Last Sunday’s game saw the recently relegated Division 2 women’s team with only 6 players and facing a hard test once again. The girls are still without a coach, but the 3 more experienced girls of last year’s Division 1 team have handled the situation well. A bit of confusion and flattering nerves let to a rather slow start and the 1st set was clearly won by Tallaght Rockets. But UCD got more and more confident and the result of the second set was 25:23 after a big comeback from the UCD girls. Not wanting to give up without a fight, they started into the 3rd set with a rocky start (5:0) but soon evened it out (9:9) and a possible win was on the cards. It was a head to head race up to 22:22 and both teams were nervous for the outcome. In the end Tallaght Rockets held their nerve and won 25:23 but the UCD girls have shown that they have the will to win and are getting stronger from week to week.”

The Women’s Premier team are still looking for their first win of the campaign after more disappointment in their recent matches. Things didn’t get much better in Friday night’s home game as DVC powered their way through to a convincing straight set victory. UCD had no answer to the slick attacking style of the visitors but the girls still gave a good account of themselves against the favourites for the Premier Women’s League title.