In two thrilling matches hosted on the Colchester campus, the women’s basketball team and men’s volleyball side battled through to the British Universities and Colleges (BUCS) National Finals.
Their success was also shared by the women’s 2nd basketball team who won the conference cup final and the women’s 1st football side who secured a Tier 1 title with a 5-0 victory – confirming a place in the play-offs to gain promotion to the BUCS Premier League.
The prestigious games unfolded on Wednesday and saw hundreds of spectators descend on the Essex Sport Arena.
More than 200 people watched our side face off against Loughborough in the basketball semi-final.
The close contest went down to the wire with Essex winning 77-72 and Lucrezia Costa securing an incredible 26 points.
This means the side has the opportunity to bring home the University’s first-ever basketball National Championship Title when they head to BUCS Big Wednesday at the University of Nottingham on March 23 to face the North’s number one side - the University of Durham.
Tom Sadler, Head of Performance Basketball, said: “What an amazing achievement for this program, that is a testament to not only the work that this group of student-athletes have contributed to this season, but also to what so many others have given to this program over the years, allowing us to continue to improve and get better each season, and to finally reach where we are today - heading into a National Championship final.”
“For myself, staff, and the student-athletes, we are all incredibly proud to be going out there to represent this amazing University, and will be looking to bring home its first-ever National Championship title!”
They will be joined in Nottingham by the men’s volleyball side who face the home team to defend their National Championship.
Essex was the last team to win the tournament in 2019 (with 2020 and 2021 seasons being cancelled due to the pandemic) and will head there after 400 cheering fans watched them dispatch Newcastle University 3:1.
Alex Porter, Volleyball Performance Coach, said: “What a semi-final!
“This was the final home game for some of the squad and to play and win in front of over 400 Essex Blades fans was a great experience.
"Essex was the last team to win the BUCS National Championships in 2019 and this group of student-athletes has a very similar feel to that previous championship-winning team.”
Coach Porter highlighted the contribution of Arran Chambers and Max Norton-Steele who both had particularly impressive performances.
The women’s football 1st side also cracked open the champagne on Wednesday evening as they dispatched Brighton 5-0 to seal the BUCS Division1 title, and now progress to a play-off to try to secure promotion to the Premier Division.
Luiza Silva scored a brace, with Abbie Fisher, Victoria Leyer and Eva Frazzoni also finding the net.
Pedro Bruno, Football Focus Team Coach & Development Officer, said: “Essex Women’s 1st made it a double by winning two league titles in a row with Covid19 in between.
“This is our first-ever title for Essex football in Tier 1, and I’m so proud of our team.
“They are an extremely consistent group of players that managed to transform their quality into trophies.
“Our job is not complete and now it’s time to prepare for Derby Day on the 27th of April and the Promotion Playoffs.”
Tickets for the final are available online.