Blues 3-0 Oxford Brookes University (25-17, 25-17, 25-11)
Sports Centre, Oxford Brookes, 15/11/2006
Cambridge traveled to Oxford Brookes in the comfort of a 9-seater, and newly equipped with stylish registration cards, were confident against bottom-of-the-table Brookes. Leaving a safe three hours before the match, the Blues took the correct route to Oxford this time, and arrived in time to watch the Brookes Basketball team hold on to a lead to take the game. Warming up with the basket in the middle of their court, the Blues nonetheless acted professionally, knowing that Brookes would play hard. The team lined up again with a slightly different formation, this time with Loebbert and Niederste-Ostholt swinging left, and the familiar pairings of Neher and Zubko through the middle, and Sarkozy and Li on the right, with the latter setting. Stalwart Finely would round out the side in white.
The game started in a rather uninteresting fashion, and it soon became clear the the Brookes setter was out of his league. Credit should be given the referee, who refused to let the game deteriorate as often happens, and frequently called the home team up on handling errors. Cambridge continued to use the match as practice connecting with the middles, which reflected somewhat poorly on the scoreline for the visitors, but the outcome was never really in doubt, and the Blue's wing attackers were killing with conviction, especially Loebbert, who has an array of cross court and line shots which left the Brookes defense confused. Service errors from Cambridge also hurt, but time out lecture from Jacquet quickly ended this issue. Despite a moderate score, the set was never in question.
The second set saw more of the same, the Blues this time building a more convincing lead from the start. This would diminish predictably as the Blues tried out different attacks, but the insertion of Meeder for Zubko stabilized the side. Service errors still plagued the visitors, though not enough to convince their coach a time out was warranted. Strangely, neither team seemed particularly motivated, and the set closed to Cambridge.
By now in a hurry to leave, Jacquet instructed his team to serve on the opposing swing hitter, perhaps hoping that focusing on such a goal would at least ensure the service landed in the court. Unfortunately, so unusual was the Brookes reception that it was rarely clear who the swing hitter was, or even that there was one. Meeder strung together some aces, before promptly serving out twice, the first time saved by a Brookes rotation error. Eventually the set ended, rather quickly, with a Sarkozy ace.
Oxford Brookes is a young team with some potential, however, the team that was promoted from the 2nd Tier last year seems to have moved on. Additionally, the walkover they conceded against Nottingham Trent, the other newly promoted side, seems to have take some of the fire out of their game.
MVP goes to Florian Loebbert.
Report by Stephen Sarkozy
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