Blues 2-0 Bristol University (25-17, 25-23)
Cambridge coach Richard White and Jean Jacquet had taken the opportunity presented by a break in the Saturday schedule to drive over to Leeds Met University to scout Bristol, their most likely opponents in the last eight stage. The westerners still had David Cuthbert, the setter from the team that had finished third in 2001, and three strong outside hitters. However Cambridge excelled from the service line throughout game one, with accurate serving to targets called by White and John Lin, who was carrying out sterling work as an assistant coach, forcing Bristol to rely on their outside attackers, with the Blues blockers deployed accordingly. Roger Konrad was exceptional, and the Blues coasted to a 25-17 win.
Game two was little different, as more superb serving, with Dan Escott this time the star, taking Cambridge to a 10-3 lead which they then stretched to 18-11 behind fearsome transition hitting from Andy Lynn. Without warning, however, Bristol's game then came together, with their outsides finally starting to beat the Cambridge block, and their own defenders giving them chances in transition. The Blues used up both time-outs and substituted Kato for Briguet-Lamarre in a desperate attempt to retain the initiative, but in a thrilling conclusion Cambridge needed to side-out to win at 24-23. Roger Konrad set Ken Kato, who faced a big double block but managed to put Bristol under pressure with an excellent hit off the hands, and the match went to the Blues to the delight of the watching bench and women's team.
Report by Richard White
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