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University of Brighton Men’s Volleyball team will be hoping to best local rivals Sussex in their upcoming varsity game, on the 22nd of April at Sussex’s sports complex. 

Brighton’s players are confident of improving on recent varsity results in this year’s clash.  

Film student Zak McConnochie said; “It’s gonna be so hard. But I think we’ve also improved so much in the last year. 

“Last year there was such slim chance we could do it. But I think this year we’ve improved so much as a team, and we’ve taken ourselves to a level that we dreamed of being at last year.” 

Civil Engineering student Mwawegu Mwawegu had high praise for his opposition. Mwawegu stated; “The goal is to try to win a set at least, because I don’t think we’ve even won a set in the last four years [against Sussex]. 

“I just want it to be close. I’d even be happy to hit 20 against those guys. We’ll see how it is.” 

A large crowd is yet again expected for this year’s varsity game, although Sussex are expected to have a home crowd advantage. Primary Education student Harry Orchard told us; “Sussex have a packed out fanbase. They have loads of people turn out each time, even for little development matches. I think if we can get more people from Brighton to come and support us that would really help.” 

Orchard will be hoping to get one over his hometown club teammate Tim in the upcoming game. Orchard stated; “Tim on Sussex, coming for him.” 

The Brighton Panthers are used to playing at the state-of-the-art Falmer Sports Complex, but they will have to adapt to Sussex’s older facilities. Mwawegu was critical of his opposition’s court, raising concerns over the court’s dimensions, stating; “Their court is terrible. The brightness is bad, because the court is super wide this way [hand gesturing the size the court] and the actual court is just this big [gesturing that it is smaller], it makes serving weird, hitting weird, and in terms of perception it makes it all difficult.” 

When asked if Sussex’s home advantage worried him, Mwawegu replied; “I don’t think it worries me too much because we played them before, we know what to expect. But at the same time it is a thing where it’s gonna be an excuse if we lose you know, but I don’t want to use it as an excuse.” 

One factor that could drive Brighton on is having the women’s team in support, who usually have their own match at a different venue during the men’s games. Mwawegu stated; “I think one of the big things is were gonna have the womens team cheering us as well, I feel like we are each overs biggest fans.”

When asked to give a message to fellow students ahead of the varsity game, McConnochie replied; “Come and watch us. We’re gonna do our best, and we just hope that everyone is ready and supportive.”

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April 2024