Blues 3-0 Coventry University (25-9, 25-17, 25-11)
Linton Village College, 06/03/2002
Cambridge Men maintained their 100% home record this season with a convincing win over Coventry ahead of this weekend's BUSA Championship Final-8 tournament. The Midlanders, playing in the BUSA Tier 2 Shield competition, were unbeaten coming in to the fixture and the Blues paid them the respect of bringing a full squad to Linton.
After an extended warm-up for the home side due to Coventry's late arrival and with only one hour remaining on the hall booking, the match finally got underway with Roger Konrad setting and Dan Roy opposite, Dan Escott and Jean Jacquet playing middle and Andy Lynn and Pierre Briguet-Lamarre outside. Denis Zuev completed the starters as libero. The warm-up had revealed that Coventry packed little heat in their offence, and their defence may as well have stayed on the A14 as the Blues surged to a 12-2 lead behind a series of Briguet-Lamarre float serves. Cambridge resisted the temptation to slip into a side-out game, however, and excellent distribution from Konrad frequently gave the hitters a free net with devastating results. A shell-shocked Coventry side looked relieved when the end finally came at 25-9.
The same starters lined up for set two, but passing errors and a mistimed combination play let Coventry take a 6-3 lead and forced John Lin, running the bench in the absence of head coach Dr Richard White, to call the first time-out of the match. Coventry's confidence grew as their setter started to find his middle attackers and a fortunate piece of defence when the a Roy hammer bounced off the line defender's ear and looped into the Blues' baseline allowed them to trade side-outs with Cambridge. A good run of serves from Jacquet backed up with excellent transition hitting from Lynn and Briguet-Lamarre finally broke the deadlock and allowed the Blues to tie the match at 11-11 and then pull out a clear lead. After a cameo appearance and trademark hammer from Kato, the Blues secured the set 25-17.
Set three saw the introduction of Koeppe for Escott while Kato kept his place as outside hitter. A quick look at the clock showed that Cambridge had barely 16 minutes to finish the game, and they duly obliged with another display of power hitting. The highlights for the Blues were a Lynn-esque hammer from Koeppe and a Koeppe-esque net grab from Lynn. A 25-11 decision was a fair reflection of the home team's dominance and wrapped up the match in under 45 minutes' play.
Overall this was a disappointing day for the Blues, who were hoping for a somewhat stiffer test ahead of the Championship finals. Nevertheless they can be pleased with a solid team performance against some unorthodox Coventry attacks, and Zuev and Konrad were excellent, allowing the hitters to record an impressive 0.62 efficiency. Friday sees the team travel to Loughborough for their first pool match against Manchester, before playing Birmingham and current champions Glasgow on Saturday.
Report by Dan Escott
|Name||Position||Sets Played||Attacks||Kills||Kill Percent||Aces||Blocks||Total Points|