Last November saw a strong and confident UCD women’s team travel to The Mardyke arena in UCC last November to compete in the most anticipated Irish Inter-Varsity Volleyball competition of the year, hoping to end 2017 on a high. The team had trained hard in preparation for this event which they have a superb track record in, winning outright in 13 out of the last 14 years. UCD were placed in Pool A which consisted of two other student teams, NUIG and TCD. UCD stormed through pool A coming out as group winners, with the home team, UCC, finished top of pool B.
The semi-final saw the side drawn against Trinity College who put up strong resistance, but UCD reigned supreme and went on to beat them comprehensively, not allowing Trinity to take more than 10 points from them. This set up a tense match-up with hosts UCC in the competition’s final. In what was to be an emotionally charged encounter, the girls set off nervously but soon found their rhythm. The game went point for point for most of the first set with both teams hitting the floor, putting their heart and soul into what was a truly exciting game of volleyball for the neutral, with UCD eventually coming out as winners.
The collective spirit of the UCD team was visible on the day, with their superior drive and determination shining through in the end. With this victory, UCD have secured a spot in the English Varsities taking place in Norwich in February. Special recognition was reserved for setter Oriane Hammerli, who took home the MVP award in recognition of her outstanding individual performance. She also won the ‘best women’s setter’ award for the competition.
Following on from this success, January has seen intense preparations begin for the competition, which will take place on the 3rd and 4th of February. This competition is very much the highlight of the club’s calendar, and the team will be eager to live up to their pre-tournament billing. The pool draw will see UCD pit themselves against Essex, who are the reigning champions of the competition, as well as Sheffield and Bristol, both sides with strong intervarsity sporting traditions. Over the last couple of editions of the competition, UCD have given a good account of themselves without being crowned champions, so this year they are hoping to take a step further towards victory, and return to the Emerald Isle bearing much sought-after silverware.
Chris Foley – Sports Editor