Blues 3-2 Loughborough University (25-22, 24-26, 16-25, 25-20, 15-7)
Manor Community College, 31/01/2007
With Oxford and Nottingham in rebuilding years, the Midlands Division was always a two horse race. Cambridge could likely take the division even with a 2-3 loss to Loughborough, but such an outcome was never in mind, and Coach Jacquet sent Zubko and Meeder blocking middle, flanked by wing attackers Chalupnik and Niederste-Ostholt and opposite Sarkozy. Li would distribute the game and Finely would act as libero. The game started off well for the home side, and both teams established a strong side out presence. After siding out at 17-17, the Blues picked up two points on Zubko's serve, and the side out held, clinching the set 25-22.
The second set saw the same lineups, and a very similar game, heavily dominated by consistent siding out. After falling behind late, Cambridge crawled back to level the sides at 24 all, before dropping the next two points, giving the set to the visitors, 24-26.
The third set saw the inclusion of Neher for Zubko, and this changed looked initially to spur the home side on, with Cambridge developing a quick lead. Unfortunately, a titanic collapse saw the visitors take 7 straight points, and only the inclusion of Loebbert for Chalupnik could stop the bleeding. Regardless, the deficit was too large, and Loughborough moved 2-1 with a set won to a mere 16 points.
The fourth saw Chalupnik return to the left, partnered this time with Loebbert, and Zubko reinserted into the middle with Meeder. The line-up paid dividends immediately, Lobbert stabilizing the passing somewhat and hitting like a man possessed, his usual quiet demeanor bellied by near primal celebration of crushing kills. Cambridge built a 5 point margin, and held this to level the contest with a 25-20 victory.
The same 6 would take the court in the decider, where a motivated Cambridge, driven by their home crowd, would fight for every point. Long rallies would go the home side's way, with crucial digs from Finely and Loebbert making the difference. Back to back points from Meeder, a devastating first tempo and clever tip saw the sides change ends at 8-4. The Cambridge side out game held, and blocks from Sarkozy and Meeder ended the match in style.
MVP was awarded to Florian Loebeert.
Report by Stephen Sarkozy
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