Blues 2-3 Oxford University (22-25, 15-25, 25-20, 27-25, 9-15)
Iffley Road, Oxford, 18/02/2006
[To Women's Report]
The menís Light Blues came to play the Varsity match absent their coach, who could not avoid work commitments. Womenís Coach Jon Clarke would step in with great ability, and setter Tjonnie Li and Captain Stephen Sarkozy would continue their on-court leadership. Pavel Zubko and Jonas Neher would block through the middle, with Sven Meeder and Marek Chalupnik doing damage from the outside. Mike Finley would continue his defensive role. Unfortunately, like as with their females counterparts, Cambridge got off to a rather abysmal start, a miscommunication causing a problem in the line-up. Mentally distracted, a large Oxford lead in the first set was never overcome, although the gap was closed near the end. The second set saw more lack of focus, with only Meeder impressing. Andrea Dalmaso came in too utilize the 6-2 attack system, although this strategy didnít hamper Oxford much, and the Dark Blues were flying high, playing well with strong vocal support from their crowd. The introduction of Jurjen Koksma and Jack Willis could not stem the tide.
Down 2 sets to 0, it appeared as though the Light Blues were down and out. Throwing caution to the wind, Cambridge took advantage of some relaxation from Oxford to develop an early lead. Strong jump serving from Li gave Cambridge runs of points, with Meeder and Sarkozy being reliable side out options. Cambridge held the lead to take the set to 20 points. The fourth set finally saw quality volleyball from both teams, fantastic pick ups, massive stuff blocks, and terrific kills. A late Cambridge lead looked insurmountable, though Oxford stormed back, tieing the contest at 25. Strong serving from Neher saw Cambridge take the set after some phenomenal rallies, and the match would go to a 5th decider set.
The set began close, teams trading points until 5 all. However, at this point, Oxford began a strong run, and Cambridge failed to execute properly. A few consolation points were insufficient, and Oxford, to the delight of their home crowd, took the Varsity double. Despite the result, Cambridge can be proud of taking Division Champions Oxford down to the wire.
MVP Awarded to Sven Meeder.
Report by Stephen Sarkozy
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