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CAMBRIDGE WIN AGAINST LEAGUE LEADERS

Oxford Ladies vs Cambridge VC & Anglia Ruskin University

1 – 3 (15-25, 25-21, 22-25, 16-25)
Team: Els (C), Jovana, Gosia, Bori, Sam, Kelsey, Luci, Siebe, Marta
St Gregory’s the Great School, Oxford

The team made the 2 hour trip west to face the current league leaders and undefeated Oxford Ladies. The teams had met earlier in the season when Oxford Ladies won easily in straight sets.

The starting six of Siebe, Marta, Sam, Jovana, Els and, making her first start as a middle, Gosia took to the court for the first set. And it was Cambridge that set the pace, with Jovana’s serve causing the Oxford passing unit problems, they quickly moved into a 5-0 lead and Oxfords first time out. The teams reached the first technical time out with Cambridge 8-1 to the good after some good defensive play. Cambridge were looking strong and extended their lead to 11-3. But Oxford started to get their game together
and with their No. 6 Brusca serving well, Cambridge’s passing deserting them, they started to come back at Cambridge. At 11-7 Cambridge called a time out to regroup. Back on court and with the team now passing well they once again opened up a lead and at 18-12 it was Oxford who called their 2nd time out. But to no avail as Oxford could not live with the Cambridge attack as Jovana dictated the plays and they eventually ran out set winners at 25-15.

Into the second set and no changes from either coach. But this time it was Oxford who came out firing. Their passing was now working and this meant that they were attacking well and finding the gaps in the Cambridge defence. Oxford were 8-3 up at the 1st technical and looking comfortable. But that changed when Siebe came into serve. Her varied services caused Oxford problems meaning that they were sending over a lot of free balls which were returned by Sam and Marta and the lead changed in Cambridge’s favour. Oxford called a time out with Cambridge leading 10-8. Back on court and with Oxford No. 6 Brusca serving again they started to come back at Cambridge. Oxford now had the measure of Cambridge’s attack and were successfully blocking all their efforts. The lead changed again and it was Cambridge’s turn to call a time out trailing 11-13. Cambridge could not get passed the Oxford block despite trying to vary their attack. A dominate Oxford stretched their lead to 8 points and Cambridge looked like they were heading for a big set loss. But good serving, from both Els and Siebe, and with Gosia, Marta and Sam finding a way past Oxford’s big blocks the deficit came down to just 2 points. But Oxford stayed strong and closed the set out at 25-21.

Both coaches made a change to there line ups. Bori joined the starting 6 with Els making way. Oxford took up from where they left the second set aided by some bad attacks from Cambridge. The team were four points behind at the first technical time out. The teams were now evenly match with some long rallies ensuing with both teams defences working hard. Cambridge slowly started to close the gap as once again Cambridge’s varied attack found the gaps to get the ball to the floor. But it wasn’t until Siebe rotated onto serve that Cambridge finally took the lead. Oxford just not able to read Siebe’s serves. But the lead was short lived and with Cambridge once again behind the first time out of the set was called with the score 18-19. Some good blocking from Gosia and Cambridge regain the lead, it was Oxfords turn to take a time out as they trailed 19-21. Cambridge’s solid attacking meant that they ran out set winners 25-22 and took a 2 set to 1 lead.

Another change in the Oxford line up but none change for Cambridge as the teams re-entered the court for the fourth set. As with the 1st set Cambridge came out hard and fast. With good passing meaning Jovana was able to set up good attacks and backed up with big serving from both Bori and Els saw the team take a 6 point lead. Cambridge became over confident and with 3 poor attacks allowed Oxford to close to 10-8. The Cambridge coach had seen enough and called a time out to refocus the team. Back on court and Cambridge kicked on. With Oxford once again forced into send back free balls which Cambridge took full advantage of turning them into points. One particular ball was returned high at the net and was duly dispatched by Marta as she slammed the ball onto the floor inside the attack line. With Sam and Siebe also finding the floor the team were 20-13 up when Oxford eventually called a time out. Cambridge were now almost scoring with every attack and closed out the set and the match 25-16. This was the teams best result of the season so far and at times Oxford were just not able to cope with the Cambridge attacks all set up with the good initial passing.

A well deserved 1st MVP of the season went to Siebe.
Stats: Sam 9 Kills, 4 Block Kills, 2 Aces, Marta 15-1-0, Siebe 6-2-3, Gosia 6-1-0, Bori 4-0-1, Els 3-0-1, Jovana 0-0-4

Convincing Win Against RAF Hawks

Cambridge VC & Anglia Ruskin University v RAF Hawks

3 – 0 (25-12, 25-12, 25-6)
Team; Els ( C ), Sam, Siebe, Marta, April, Agata, Lucia, Jovana.
Away: RAF Cranwell, 15/02/15

Cambridge’s second match of the afternoon was against their hosts RAF Hawks, a team still looking for their first league win of the season, while Cambridge were looking for their second win of the day.

With only half an hour since their previous match the team of Els, April, Marta, Siebe, Sam and making her league debut Lucia with Agata once again taking the role of Libero. Jovana taking a well earned rest on the bench. In a change to the teams usual starting positions, the coach put Sam into serve at the start of the set to try and put the Hawks under pressure from the beginning. That seemed to work as the Hawks struggled to cope with Sam’s varied serve and the team lead 4-0 and only conceding their first point due to a poor attack. This set the rhythm for the set. Cambridge were too strong for the Hawks and at 4-12 Hawks called their first time out. The Hawks were finding it difficult to cope with the Cambridge big hitting attacks. With Els on a run of serves the Hawks called their second time out at 9-20 but to no avail, it was left to April to serve out the set. A comfortable 25-12 set win.

Into the second set and it was good serving from both Lucia and April that saw Cambridge again put the Hawks under pressure. But Cambridge lost a bit of focus and were making mistakes allowing the Hawks back into the set. With the score at 12-10 and Els returned to serve Cambridge seemed to refocus. Strong serving from Els and a combination of good blocks and attacks saw the team start to pull away once more. With Hawks trailing 10-15 they called a time out. Back on court and Cambridge were now scoring freely and only a service error allowed the Hawks a breather. It was short lived as April’s deep serving was forcing the Hawks to send over free balls which Cambridge duly dispatched to the floor and took the second set 25-12.

With a final reminder from the coach to stay focused and get the job done, Cambridge returned to the court for the third set. With Lucia rotated in to serve at the start of the set, Cambridge continued were they left off from the second set. With April now dominating at the net with some good block and great attacking including one power attack that not only surprised the team but April too. Cambridge reach the first technical in quick time and without the loss of a point. With Cambridge leading 10-0 the Hawks finally got on the score board. Cambridge kept the pressure up and with the Hawks trailing by 10 points they called their first time out. At 16-6 it was Siebe’s turn to serve, for what would be the last rotation of the match, Cambridge now scoring at will quickly wrapped up the set and the match 25-6 and 3-0.

A dominate display from the team to make it 2 wins out of 2 for the day. The team now has 2 weeks to prepare for there next match against the league leaders and currently unbeaten team of Oxford Ladies.

Els picked up the MVP for the match.
Stats: Sam 7 Kills 2 Block Kills 3 Aces, Siebe 6-1-4, Els 4-0-4, April 10-3-0, Marta 7-0-0, Lucia 2-0-2

CAMBRIDGE OVERCOME DANGEROUS DARTFORD

Cambridge VC & Anglia Ruskin University v Dartford Ladies

3 – 1 (25-19, 17-25, 25-18, 25-17)
Team: Els (C), Agata, Lucia, Marta, April, Jovana, Siebe, Sam
Away, RAF Cranwell, 15/02/15

After a 90 minute journey up the A1 the team arrived at RAF Cranwell for there next 2 league matches, with Agata and Lucia joining the match day squad for the first time this season. Their first opponents were Dartford Ladies, a team they have played twice so far this season with Cambridge having won the league match and Dartford the National Shield match. This was going to be a tight match.

A starting 6 of Els, Marta, April, Siebe, Sam, Jovana with Agata playing Libero took to the court for the first set. Dartford took an early 3 point lead as Cambridge were wasteful in their attack. But this was always going to be close and Cambridge came straight back with a run of 4 straight points. Both teams we defending well and points were hard earned. Dartford lead into the first technical time out. The teams continued to trade points with some long rallies as neither team were able to get a run of points. Again Dartford were a single point ahead at the second technical time out. The Cambridge attackers started to find the gaps in Dartford’s defence and the team moved ahead. With Cambridge now leading 22-18 Dartford called their first time out. Back on court and Cambridge were not about to let Dartford come back and moved to a 5 point lead with some good passing and attacking forcing Dartford into their second time out at 24-19. A good serve from Els saw Dartford miss pass the ball and the set was won 25-19.

Into the second set and Cambridge started as they finished the first and were quickly leading 6-2. With Dartford Capt No 14 Heggerty serving it all went wrong as Cambridge’s passing game deserted them. With Jovana now having to chase after the ball, and the Dartford outside block dominating, Cambridge quickly lost 6 points to find themselves behind by 2 points at the technical time. Dartford were in full flow and Cambridge called a time out at 6-10 down but to now avail. Cambridge coach was forced into a second time out as the team had lost 11 unanswered points and found themselves 13-6 down. It was only a service error from Dartford that allowed Cambridge a chance of a reprieve. Cambridge had left themselves to much to do and Dartford ran out comfortable set winners at 17-25.

No changes from either coach at the start of the third set. Cambridge found their passing game and as a result Jovana was finding her attackers and the team started to put runs of points together and slowly started to dominate the set. With a 4 point lead at the second technical, and the Cambridge attack finding gaps all over the court, they moved quickly to 7 point lead as Dartford took a time out at 15-22. A lack of concentration by Cambridge saw a mini revival from Dartford and the Cambridge coach to take a time out at 22-17 to remind the team that the set was not yet won. Back on court and the Cambridge attack saw the set out at 25-18.

A slow start from both teams until Siebe started serving. A couple of aces and some good blocking saw Cambridge into an early 4 point lead and Dartford’s first time out of the set. Dartford were not about to give up, and some good attacks saw them close to
within 2 points and Cambridge’s first time out at 10-8. There was nothing between the 2 teams now as they traded points all the way through to the business end of the set until at 19-17 Jovana rotated onto the service line. Dartford struggled with her service and with a combination of aces and bad passes Cambridge came away with the set 25-17 and the match 3-1.

A good win against a good team.

Jovana picked up the MVP for the match.
Stats: Sam 16 Kills 0 Aces 4 Block Kills, Marta 11-0-2, Els 9-2-0, April 5-0-3, Siebe 2-1-2, Jovana 2-0-3

CAMBRIDGE RESTORE PRIDE

Wiltshire Mavericks v Cambridge VC and Anglia Ruskin University

1 – 3 (25-23, 25-18, 25-18, 25-19)
Team: Kaminski, Finkler, Crichton, Krusche, Neugebauer, Choi, Pincone
Lavington School, Devizes Wiltshire.  29-11-2014

The unenviable task for Wiltshire and Cambridge in game three was play out a dead rubber after both had suffered disappointing losses.  It was Cambridge who showed the greater determination and commitment to fight back from being a set down and win in four.

The first set was close all the way with the home team prevailing by the smallest of margins.  In the next three sets, however, Cambridge worked their way back into the game.  As their passing unit regained confidence so Cambridge’s hitters could assert themselves, lead by stand in captain Kaminski who ended with ended with an impressive 21 kills.  Wiltshire continued their tactic of rotating players between sets but none of them could do anything to counter Cambridge’s dominance as they wrapped up the next three sets.

Cambridge are out of the Cup and will need to show this kind of resilience in future triangulars if they want to impress in the League.

Kaminski 21 kills, 0 blocks, 2 aces, Finkler 14-1-0, Crichton 6-3-2, Krusche 3-4-1, Neugebauer 4-0-0, Choi 1-1-1.

 

ISLANDERS PROGRESS

Jersey vs Cambridge VC and Anglia Ruskin University

3 – 0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-8)
Team: Kaminski, Finkler, Crichton, Krusche, Neugebauer, Choi, Picone
Lavington School, Devizes Wiltshire.  29-11-2014

Volleyball England have introduced triangulars into the National Shield this year for the first time to cope with the large numbers of teams having entered the cup competition.  Only one was scheduled in the first round and it pitted Cambridge against Jersey and Wiltshire Mavericks.  In the first game of the day hosts Wiltshire narrowly lost to the Channel Islanders.  The visiting team looked like the stronger outfit dominating the game with a few big shots leaving Mavericks to play the role of plucky underdogs in a scrappy game.  They were given several chances to get back into the game by runs of Jersey mistakes even coming back to 23-24 in the fourth set before capitulating with a disappointing missed serve by the Mavericks captain.

So it was a ‘win or bust ‘ second game between the two visiting teams and, on the evidence of the first game’s quality, Cambridge had reason to be confident of a win despite travelling with only 7 players.  After a closely contested first set, however, it became clear that Jersey had been playing well within themselves.

Cambridge played the entire day with Choi setting, Crichton opposite, Neugebauer and Krusche middle, Finkler and Kamil left-side and Picone in the libero shirt.   Cambridge probably should have made more of their chances in the first set, a few errors relieving the pressure and letting Jersey get into their stride.  With the first set in the bag the Islanders’ confidence was boosted and they started to move through the gears.  They served aggressively and it paid off, the odd missed serve well worth the runs of points coming their way.  Cambridge, in contrast failed to make the most of their hitting opportunities, repeatedly finding the middle of the block.  In set three, more of the same tactics from Jersey had the Cambridge receivers on the ropes and their hitters simply could not negotiate the Jersey blockers.  The third set was nothing short of capitulation and Jersey romped to a convincing win, prompting jubilant celebrations at their progression to round 2.

Kaminski: 4 kills, 3 blocks, 1 aces, Finkler 5-0-0, Crichton 0-1-2, Krusche 1-1-0, Neugebauer 0-1-0, Choi 0-0-0.

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