Cambridge Volleyball Club

Match Report – NVL Women

Slow Starting Cambridge Eventual Edge Out Reading

CAMBRIDGE VC & ANGLIA RUSKIN UNIVERSITY vs READING ACES

3-1 (19-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-12)
Team: Charlotte (C) Alexa, Annalisa, Ilze, Jessi, Lilly, Madi, Marta, Mirto
Sunday 27th November 2016, North Cambridge Academy, Cambridge

After a 3-week break without a match, the team returned to league action as they welcomed Reading Aces to the North Cambridge Academy.  The teams met in the first match of the season with Cambridge taking that match 3-1.

Another different starting six for the first set saw Jessi, Charlotte, Mirto, Alexa, Ilze & Lilly making her first start of the season at opposite.  With Cambridge serving first, the tone was set – Mirto pushing her serve into the net. This was to be the same result as successive players found the net with their serves.  Reading on the other hand had started well. Their serves were strong and their attacks were easily getting past the near non-existing home defences.  Reading were racing away with the set, and with them leading 12-6, Cambridge took their first time-out.  An early substitution followed as Mirto was replaced by Annalisa as the Cambridge coaches tried to stem the flow of points going Reading’s way.  It was the Reading setter, Fogarty, who was running the set.  Her clever plays were pulling the home defence all over the court.  Towards the end of the set, Ilze indicated to the bench that she needed to come off, and with Marta not being 100% fit, it was Madi who went on to replace her and play in the unfamiliar role of an outside hitter. The home team did rally slightly better with Lilly the main attacking force, but it was not enough and Reading Aces took the first set comfortably at 25-19.

It was the six players that finished the set who started the second, with Mirto and Ilze remaining on the bench. A single change for Reading Aces as Brivule replaced Steinitz. Cambridge were still not playing anywhere near their best but were now at least competing. The teams were involved in some long rallies but neither could get a run of points.  With the score at 12-12 and Alexa struggling to get into the set, Mirto took her place on court.  It was Mirto, from the service line, who gave the home team the push they needed.  Some good serving put Reading under pressure. With Lilly and Madi both attacking well, a small gap opened up between the teams. This grew further with an ace serve from Lilly and a block kill from Mirto. The gap was now 5 points, at which point Reading took a time-out but to no avail. The home team did enough to close out the second set 25-21 and levelled the match at 1 set all.

Mirto retained her place at the start of the third set with Reading’s Steinitz returning to the action at the expense of Versluys.  Cambridge started the 3rd set better and with Mirto dominating from the service line, the home team reached the first technical time-out in front for the first time in the match.  Reading hit straight back and took the lead, at which point the home team took their own time-out at 8-9.  Reading kept up the pressure, winning the long rallies and at 10-14 down, Cambridge had their remaining time-out.  Some sharp words from the Cambridge coaches and the team were back on court.  As has been the case in most matches it was Madi who was the catalyst for the team’s revival.  Her smart serving put the away team under pressure and forced them to return lots of free balls that were duly returned in the form of solid attacks by Charlotte and Mirto.  A run of 5 points saw the home team back into the lead, which they were not to relinquish.  Another run of 5 points quickly followed again, all started from the service line – this time by Annalisa. Cambridge rolled the score over and took the set 25-21 and a 2-1 set lead.

Into the 4th set and a single change for Reading Aces with Brivule replaced by the returning Versluy.  There was confusion on the Cambridge team at the start of the set as Coach Keith sent one starting six onto the court but had submitted the wrong line up.  The net result being that Lilly had to come off court to be replaced with Ilze, who went into the unfamiliar role of opposite.  The home team struggled to start with, but after a few points, they had the line-up sorted and started to play.  Charlotte started the push with her serving and despite good defensive plays on both sides it was the home team that were scoring the points. The home team had taken charge of the set. More strong serving, this time from Mirto backed up by attacking shots from Madi and Ilze and the gap between the two teams increase.  Cambridge were 8 points clear by the time it came around to Madi’s serving. A combination of good serving and some unorthodox attack shots from Ilze gave the team another run of 6 unanswered points and the set and match all but over. The home team quickly scored the remaining points taking the set 25-12 and the match 3-1. Not the team’s best performance for the first hour but producing the performance in the end.

Jessi picked up her second MVP of the season.

Match Stats:  Annalisa 8 Kills 2 Block Kills 1 Ace, Lilly 10-0-0, Charlotte 9-0-1, Mirto 5-1-4, Madi 6-0-3, Ilze 6-0-1, Jessi 2-1-3, Alexa 0-1-1

Misfiring Cambridge Stutter Past Ashcombe

CAMBRIDGE VC & ANGLIA RUSKIN UNIVERSITY vs ASHCOMBE DORKING 1

3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-18)
Team: Charlotte (C) Alex, Alexa, Ilze, Jessi, Madi, Mirto
Saturday 22 October 2016, The Ashcombe Volleyball School, Dorking

The team headed around the M25 for their last away match of the year, and it was the shortest trip of the season so far as they looked to take on the young and talented team of Ashcombe Dorking 1.  Once again the team were light on numbers with a few players unavailable, as injury and work commitments kept some away.

Mirto got the first set under way. Both teams took time to settle as errors dominated the scoring.  As the set progressed, it was Cambridge who edged into the lead despite not playing particularly well. The home team were covering the court well defensively and making the away team work hard for their points. The Cambridge services errors were mounting, meaning the Ashcombe were never more than a point adrift until Madi came into serve.  Her strong serving seemed to be the catalyst for the away team – a quick run of points saw them into a 21-17 lead and the home team’s first time out.  3 points later and a second time out by the home team who were now trailing by 5 points. Cambridge did just enough to see the set out, winning it 25-20 but with work to do to improve.

The start of the second set saw the home team quickly into their stride with some strong serving which saw Cambridge unable to give a pass and fall quickly behind. The teams went into the first technical time out, with Ashcombe comfortable leading by 4 points. Some strong words from the Cambridge coaches at the time out saw the team’s fortunes change. Alexa started the ball rolling as the away team’s serving improved along with the team’s blocking.  Madi continued the good serving, including a couple of aces, as Cambridge took the lead in the set for the first time.  The first substitution of the match saw Ashcombe replace Ashida with Robinson as they tried to break the away team’s momentum.  With the Cambridge passing unit now working, Jessi could bring in all her hitters, spreading the attack, which caused Ashcombe problems.  With the home team trailing by 5 points, it was time for a time out 14-19.  Cambridge maintained control of the set, taking it 25-21.  Some improvement eventually but the Cambridge coaches wanted more.

One change a piece for both teams at the start of the 3rd set. For Cambridge, Alex replaced Ilze while Ashcombe switched Robinson in for Ashida.  It was a much better start to the third set for the Cambridge team.  Both teams were now evenly matched until at 7-7, Madi came onto the service line.  She put Ashcombe under real pressure with her service. The away team then punished the home team when they were reduced to sending over free balls, Alex and Mirto both having success.  Cambridge were now in control of the set and Ashcombe took 2 quick time outs, trailing 7-12 & 7-15.  Despite Ashcombe rallying, Cambridge were now playing like a team and with their passing much better, it allowed Jessi to run the game.  With all her attackers engaged, the away team saw the set out 25-18 and the match 3-0. Not Cambridge’s best match but a win nonetheless.

Jessi pick up the MVP for the match.

The match Stats
Charlotte 9 Kills 2 Aces 0 Block Kills, Mirto 6-1-0, Maddie 3-6-1, Ilze 3-1-0, Alex 3-0-0, Jessi 0-3-0, Alexa 0-1-0.

 

Cambridge Edge Past Battling Birmingham

CAMBRIDGE VC & ANGLIA RUSKIN UNIVERSITY vs BIRMINGHAM VC 2

3-2 (25-20, 23-25, 20-25, 25-23, 15-10)
Team: Charlotte (C) Alex, Alexa, Annalisa, Ilze, Jessika, Lilla, Madi, Mirto
Saturday 08 October 2016, North Cambridge Academy, Cambridge

The team’s first home league match of the season saw them facing one of the favourites for the title, Birmingham VC 2, last year’s league 2 playoff champions.

The same starting 6 from last weekend took to the court for the first set. So it was Charlotte, Alex, Alexa, Jessi, Madi, Mirto backed up by Annalisa as Libero. The home team settled the quickest and took an early lead. Good passing allowing Jessi to distribute the ball well. With Cambridge comfortably in the lead, Birmingham called a time out trailing 5-12. It was a different Birmingham that took to the court after the time out. Their passing unit becoming much more effective as were their attacks. They scored points quickly closing the gap on the home team. Leading 14-11 but with a much reduced lead Cambridge called a time out. Coaches Keith & Jean taking time to refocus the players.  Both teams were now evenly matched and exchanging points. A flurry of substitutions from Birmingham had no discernible effect on the set. There were some long rallies towards the business end of the set which the home side came out on top of.  Eventually taking the set 25-20.

The second set started in the same vein as the first, with Cambridge making the early running. Attacks were starting to dominate defences. A change of fortunes, with Mirto serving, the team had a run of 4 points and Birmingham into a time out at 15-19. On return to court it was Birmingham’s Outside hitters that started to dominate. The Cambridge team unable to deal with it and Birmingham were right back in it. The home team found themselves trailing for the first time in the set and called a time out at 22-23. An attack error from Cambridge gave the away team a 22-24 lead and Cambridge’s second time out.  The set was lost when a mix up saw the ball hitting the floor with 3 players stood looking at it. Second set Birmingham.

With Alexa struggling with backache, Cambridge were forced into 2 changes in the third set.  Alex was to switch from outside to middle and Ilze coming on to play outside. The home team struggled with the new line and Birmingham took full advantage swiftly, taking control of the set. The home team started to play better but the away team had established a big lead.  It wasn’t until Madi took control from the service line that the home team started to make inroads into Birmingham’s lead but it was all too late, and Birmingham cruised to the third set 25-20.

A single change for the home team as Alexa returned to the starting 6 with Alex making way.  Birmingham were again, finding success with their outside attacks but Cambridge were having their own success through the middle.  Both teams were playing well. The breakthrough came for Cambridge when, from the service line, Madi once again put the opposition under pressure with her strong tactical serving. This was backed up with some good blocking. When the away time did get past the block, Madi, Ilze & Annalisa were there to clean up – a 6-point lead for the home team and a time-out from the away team.  Once again the time-out worked in Birmingham’s favour.  There were some really long rallies as both teams refused to give up the points cheaply – Ilze making some amazing saves, but the away team again started to find success through their No 3 Kirkby.  Birmingham were slowly eroding away Cambridge’s lead.  With nothing much to choose between the two teams as the set drew to a conclusion, it was the team that made the least mistakes that was going to take the set.  In the end it was solid hitting from Madi and Ilze that pushed Cambridge over the line in what turned out to be a tight set, 25-23, and a fifth set beckoned.

A one set shoot out and the race to 15 as both teams looked to win this tight contest. Cambridge made the better start to the match with Ilze stinging the hands of the blockers with her powerful hits.  Jessi was working hard to spread the attacks, bringing in all her attacking options, the team reached the switch in front.  Despite some good plays from the away team they could not match the home team’s overall play nor could they counter Ilze’s power hitting on the outside. In the end it was Madi, whose serving has been excellent during the game, who finally saw off Birmingham.  Her serves forced the away team to send back free balls and soft attacks which were duly dispatched to the floor by the home team and the set was won 15-10, and the match 3-2.  On court for over 2 hours, this was a tough match for both teams which could have gone either way.

MVP for the match was Annalisa, who was playing her first match as Libero.

Match Stats: Mirto 10 Kills, 1 Ace, 3 Block Kills, Ilze 11-0-0, Madi 7-4-0, Charlotte 8-1-1, Alexa 4-3-0, Alex 4-3-0, Jessi 0-3-0.

Success In Southsea

CAMBRIDGE VC & ANGLIA RUSKIN UNIVERSITY V PORTSMOUTH

3-1 (25-18, 25-15, 24-26, 25-20)
Team: Charlotte (C) Alex, Alexa, Annalisa, Fiona, Jessika, Madi, Mirto
Sunday 02 October 2016, Priory School, Portsmouth

It was a quick turnaround for the team, 30 minutes, with just enough time to take on some food and fluids before starting their second match of the day. The team were facing Portsmouth, a team they had lost to twice last season.

An unchanged starting 6 of Alex, Alexa, Charlotte, Jessika, Madi and Mirto took to the court to face Portsmouth. There was nothing much to choose between the teams, with both having runs of 2 or 3 points but neither able to dominate. This changed when Alexa rotated onto the service line.  Some good serving, including a couple of aces, put Portsmouth’s passing unit under pressure and forcing them to scramble the ball back.  Cambridge took full advantage with some strong attacks from the front 3 of Alex, Madi and Mirto.  Portsmouth eventually gained a side out, trailing 15-23, but the set was effectively over. Cambridge running out set winners 25-18.

The second set followed the same pattern as the first. Neither team dominating. Cambridge held a slight lead at the first technical.  With Cambridge’s passing unit working well, Jessika was able to distribute the ball well, bringing in all the attackers and making it very difficult for Portsmouth to defend. The away team found themselves leading 16-8 at the second technical time-out. Portsmouth were unable to get back into the set and Cambridge took it 25-15.

It was all change in the third set. A combination of smarter attacking by Portsmouth and some poor decision making from Cambridge saw the home team quickly take charge of the set.  Portsmouth found themselves in an 8 point lead, and with Cambridge trailing 10-18 they took their second time-out. A change in Cambridge’s defensive set-up saw the team cope better with the Portsmouth attack.  With Mirto serving a couple of quick aces and pressuring the home team’s passing unit, the away team slowly reduced the deficit. With Cambridge now closing, Portsmouth took a time-out at 21-19, their lead now eroded. The teams were eventually tied at 24-24.  An attack error gave Portsmouth the side-out and a defensive mix-up by Cambridge saw the ball drop between 2 players and Portsmouth had the point they needed and the set 26-24.  Cambridge disappointed at letting the set slip at the last moment.

Cambridge flew out of the blocks at the start of the 4th set.  Solid serving first from Jessika and then Charlotte and strong attacking from Alex, Madi and Alexa saw the team have runs of 5 and 7 points.  Portsmouth were left trailing in their wake and 2-12 down,  the home team called a time-out. Cambridge were now in control of the set and continued to dominate, taking the set 25-10 and the match 3-1.

Mirto picked up her second MVP of the season.

A good set of match stats: Charlotte 13 Kills, 1 Ace, 0 Block kills, Alex 13-1-0, Alexa 8-5-1, Mirto 6-2-1, Madi 7-1-0, Jessika 2-6-0

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Cambridge Power Past Plymouth

CAMBRIDGE VC & ANGLIA RUSKIN UNIVERSITY vs PLYMOUTH

3-0 (25-18, 25-12, 25-13)
Team: Charlotte (C) Annalisa, Alex, Alexa, Fiona, Jessika, Madi, Mirto
Sunday 02 October 2016, Priory School, Portsmouth

The team was once again on the road, their 3rd away fixture in a row, and headed south to Portsmouth.

For the third week running, the team was light on numbers. New players Jessika and Alexa, who only signed midweek, were straight into the match day squad. Fiona took injured pre-match, which meant a quick reshuffle of the starting 6.  Onto court to face Plymouth in the first set were Charlotte, Alex, Madi, Mirto and debutantes Jessika, as setter, and Alexa as middle.  This was the 3rd different starting 6 in three matches.

The teams interchanged points in the early part of the set. That all changed when Madi came into serve. Her pressure serving proved difficult for Plymouth to cope with. Cambridge quickly moved into the lead, which they were not to relinquish. With Cambridge passing well, Jessika was able to bring in all her attackers, making life difficult for Plymouth, despite their unerring ability to get an arm or a leg in the right place to stop the ball hitting the floor. The away team was now in control of the set.  Aggressive serving from both Alex and Jessika combined with strong attacks from Charlotte, Mirto and Madi saw the team pull out to an 8-point lead heading to the business end of the set.  A quick 3 points for Plymouth saw coach Keith take a time-out at 22-16 just to remind the team not to get complacent; the set is not over yet.  Back on court and a service error by Plymouth brought Madi back into serve and she duly finished off the set with two tough serves.  First set Cambridge 25-18.

The second set pattern followed the first set, with both teams sharing the early exchanges. But once again it was the strong serving, this time from Alex, that caused Plymouth problems.  They were unable to cope and struggled to get any meaningful attacks and when they did, Alexa, Madi and Alex were there to deal with them. This allowed Jessika to run the attacks – Charlotte and Mirto both having lots of success.  Scoring 8 consecutive points and leading 14-6; the set was effectively over for Plymouth. Cambridge rolling the points over and taking the second set comfortably 25-12.

Cambridge showed their intentions in the 3rd set as Jessika served the team into a quick 4-1 lead and Plymouth into their first time-out of the set. Some mishits by Cambridge saw Plymouth gain some ground but when middle hitter Pearn landed awkwardly, they were forced into a second time-out at 4-6.  After a short delay both teams were back on court. Cambridge quickly got back in their stride – their attacks and serves proving too strong for Plymouth who found themselves 9 points adrift with no way back into the set or match. Cambridge comfortably taking the set 25-13 and the match 3-0.

Alex picked up her first MVP of the season.

Stats for the match: Charlotte 12 Kills, 2 Aces 0 Block Kills, Mirto 7-4-2, Madi 5-3-0, Alex 5-1-0, Alexa 2-0-1, Jessika 1-7-0

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