Student Cup 2016-17 Champions Crowned!
5th February 2017
University of East Anglia, SportsPark played host to two-days of enthralling competition that saw Essex (Men) and Newcastle (Women) take home the crown on 2016-17 Student Cup Champions.
The event saw 32 of the top University and College teams from across the country battle it out for the title. As is tradition, University College Dublin were invited to represt Ireland in the women's competition.
After a very competitive first day of competition Bournemouth, Nottingham and Essex all qualified at group winners without dropping a set. The other Pool winner was Newcastle. Following the Pool winners into the Quarter-Finals were Bristol, UEA, Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin.
In the women's competition Newcastle, Cambridge, Nottingham and Essex eased their ways through to the Quarter-Finals as Pools winners. Making up the Quarter-Finals were Leeds, Loughborough, City. Uni London and Oxford.
Day 2 started where day 1 left off; with the battle for the highest possible placing ensuring a high level of intensity was maintained. As the Quarter-Finals progressed it was soon clear that we were going to be in for a fascinating day with at least four teams in both genders looking like they could win the whole competition. After some rapid 2 set victories the Semi-Finals line up was confirmed as being Bournemouth VS Nottingham & Newcastle VS Essex in the men, Newcaslte VS Oxford & Nottingham VS Essex in the Women's competition.
All 4 Semi-Finals produced some utterly brilliant volleyball with games often going point for point with few mistakes by any teams. In the Men's Semi-Finals the first team to confirm their place in the Final was Essex Men who in the end squeezed past a committed and highly skilled Newcastle Team. Have trading points Essex for much of the first set, a couple strong blocks at the net gave Essex the smallest of advantages and they never looked back. They eventually took the match 2-0 (25-23, 25-22). Their opponents turned out to be Bournemouth who were desperate to retain their trophy for a third consecutive year. They eventually edged past a Nottingham team who were part of arguable the match of the tournament. After taking the first set Nottingham were smelling blood but ultimately the experience and quality of the Bournemouth team shone through and they turned the match on it's head with a 2-1 victory (23-25, 25-21, 16-14)
In the Women’s semi finals, Essex played out a another solid display of power and athleticism. They were making sure they went one better than last year and made it to the Final. They played a Nottingham team who while huffing and puffing simply couldn't live with Essex. Ultimately Essex were able to claim a 2-0 win and book their place in the Final. (25-20, 25-20) Essex's opponents were the losing Finalists from last year, Newcastle. Newcastle throghout the weekend had looked in a competitive and determined mood, desperate to win the trophy. After some trading of points Newcastle gained a first set advantage which they never looked back on. Newcastle took the first set 25-20 and followed it up with another 25-20 set win which booked their place in the Final against Essex.
The Women's Final was first and it was as clinical as a performance as you could imagine by Newcastle. They never let Essex settle and kept finding gaps in the Essex block. Before Essex new what had hit them, Newcastle took the first set 25-16. The large crowd that had gathered were expecting a reaction from Essex but Newcastle simply did not let them. It was a hugely dominant second set performance by Newcastle as they cruised to a 25-10 second set victory which meant that the 2016-17 Women's Student Cup Champions were rightly Newcastle University.
The Men's Final lived up to the hype will a packed out crowd watching on as Bournemouth and Essex battled away for glory. The first set was a tight cagey affair but ultimately Bournemouth put one hand on the trophy with a first set win (25-23) Essex knew that to keep the dream alive and leave Norwich as Student Cup Champions they had to win the next two sets without reply. The second set was the Essex block show as time after time the Essex block refused Bournemouth any easy points and in the end saw out the second set 25-23. The third and final set was equally as exciting with both teams desparate to to take the trophy home with them. After a trading of points it was Essex who dethroned Bournemouth and won the 2016-17 Student Cup. (1-2, 25-23, 18-25, 12-25)
In the Men’s 3rd / 4th playoff it was Nottingham who proved too strong for a Newcastle team who played well throughout the tournament.
The Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards went to players from the winning Universities, Petra Jerabkova (Newcastle women) Issa Batrane (Bournemouth University).
The congratulations should go to all the Teams who competed during the two day event. They all demonstrated that volleyball is an incredible team sport, and that student volleyball is going from strength to strength. The Final word however should be to congratulate the Champions from both the Women's and Men's Competition, who retained their titles once again. Congratulations Newcastle Univeristy Essex University.
8) Anglia Ruskin
8) City. University of London
10) Royal Holloway
16) Anglia Ruskin
For a full list of all this weekend's results click here