Nottingham Uni on the comradery & competitiveness of the NVL
6th May 2021
With the excitement around volleyball’s long-awaited return building, the 2019/20 Men’s and Women’s National Volleyball League (NVL) title winners from each league are taking a trip down memory lane to reminisce on their triumphant season.
Jack Pattni, Club Secretary of the University of Nottingham’s (UoN) Volleyball Club, talks about the big achievements and small touches that made their Men's team's season in Division 2 (North) so special.
Tell us a bit about your club, its ambitions and history.
UoN Volleyball is an inclusive volleyball club providing top quality coaching for all levels of players from complete beginners to national team athletes. The club has a range of teams competing in the BUCS league and NVL and has excelled in recent years. Last season was a record-breaker for UoN as five teams earnt promotion and our women’s NVL side also finished fifth in the Super League. We also have a blossoming beach volleyball programme which earned the club four medals in 2019. Our ambition is to continue to drive participation and create a sustainable programme that enables both individuals and teams to reach their full potential.
How does your team’s 2020 title win rank against your club’s other major achievements?
Winning a title, regardless of the division, is always a great achievement. In the same season as this, our women’s team competed in the Super League for the first time ever and in their inaugural season they managed to make it to the top half of the league, which is also an outstanding achievement.
Aside from winning the league, tell us about some of your favourite memories from the 2019/20 season.
I think the favourite memories from this season differ from any other season. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it really brought to light the less recognised aspects of playing in the NVL. Simply travelling on a team coach with great team morale is something that I did not think I would miss. However, little things like that make up some of the greatest memories of the season.
How would you describe your side’s style of play and greatest strength? Did you have a star player?
We had a very strong side all around the court last year but our setter, Chandler Gibb, was outstanding. We played fast, aggressive volleyball and our very tall team made blocking one of our many strengths.
Who was your toughest match against and what made them formidable opponents?
In our first match against Darkstar Derbyshire we came into the match having won all our games to date – we were probably overly confident. They surprised us and played really well, beating us 3-1. They had a great setter and one particular outside that ran the game. We were also missing a few key players due to injury, but nonetheless Darkstar were a really well set up team that deserved the win on that day.
Which club was your favourite to play against, and why?
Manchester Marvels. They were a really good side and the matches were always competitive, which made the winning feeling even sweeter.
If you could pick any player, past or present, to join your team, who would it be and why?
Chandler Gibb. He was our setter and captain for the 2019/20 season and set a really fast tempo that opponents struggled to keep up with. Normally our passing was good, but even when our defence was having a difficult time, he always managed to give our hitters a chance to score.
What are you most looking forward to about NVL’s return?
Being back on court and playing competitive volleyball again. As fun as training with your team is, nothing beats competitive games with something at stake.