VE Student Cup Qualification Tournament 


Blues vs UEA
Blues vs L'boro II
Blues vs Kent

Departing at 7:00, Cambridge took a skeleton crew to the EVA qualifiers in Cranwell, with both Meeder and Neher unavailable due to personal reasons, and most back-up players playing wtih Cambridge 2. Nonetheless, the Blues were confident, and Coach Jacquet would line up the side for the entire day with Sarkozy captaining opposite setter Li, Chalupnik and debutant Loebbert swinging, and Zubko partnering with Niederste-Ostholt through the middle. Finley would round up the side as libero.

 

Blues 2-0 University of East Anglia (25-19, 25-18)

First up for the Blues would be the University of East Anglia, coached by English volleyball lengend Keith Nicholls. UEA had given a Division II National League side a close match in the National Cup the day before, and the Blues knew they would have to take the match seriously. Some crafty comments from Nicholls, no doubt aware of the Cambridge jump serve, restricted the service zone. Unfazed by this, Cambridge would jump out to an early lead and played clinically. UEA had several useful attackers and distributed the ball well, but the Blue's block was well formed. What did make it past the block was generally recycled into a useful attack. Despite some decent play, the game was slightly muddled by the early time, though the Blue's consistency and experienced allowed them to do enough to take the win comfortably. In tournament play such as this, winning the first match is vital. The Blues knew this, and did it.

NamePositionSets PlayedAttacksKillsKill PercentAcesBlocks Total Points
Marek Chalupnik O 2 12 7 58 2 0 9
Mike Finley Lib 2 0 0 0 0 0
Tjonnie Li S 2 3 2 67 0 2 4
Florian Loebbert O 2 5 2 40 0 0 2
Martin Niederste-Ostholt M 2 7 4 57 1 1 6
Stephen Sarkozy U 2 12 6 50 1 2 9
Pavel Zubko M 2 6 2 33 0 1 3
Team Total 45 23 51 4 6 33


 

Blues 2-0 Loughborough University II (25-15, 26-24)

Next up would be Loughborough 2, who were present on the Wednesday as supporters when Cambridge defeated their first team. Nevertheless, Loughborough lined up strongly, showing the depth to be had at the sports University. Despite this, in the first set, they were never in the game. Cambridge had properly woken up by this point, and despite a fierce division off the court over the classification of the avocado, played like a unit with good covering and distribution. Chalupnik found his range at the service line, notching a hat-trick of aces, and Loebbert was unstoppable from the outside.

The second set would not be as comfortable for Cambridge, who perhaps were trying too hard to establish a connection with their middles, bleeding long strings of points unnecessarily. This wasn't aided much by the second referee not knowing the rules, and despite a technical timeout to attempt to teach him, there was continued disagreement. Cambridge rallied slightly near the end to close from 20-23, but found themselves down two set points at 22-24. A Sarkozy kill would take him to the service line, and the Cambridge defense allowed Li to find Loebbert. The wing hitter put away three balls in a row, closing out the set to Cambridge 26-24.

NamePositionSets PlayedAttacksKillsKill PercentAcesBlocks Total Points
Marek Chalupnik O 2 11 5 45 3 0 8
Mike Finley Lib 2 0 0 0 0 0
Tjonnie Li S 2 1 0 0 1 0 1
Florian Loebbert O 2 10 7 70 1 1 9
Martin Niederste-Ostholt M 2 7 3 43 1 1 5
Stephen Sarkozy U 2 9 5 56 0 0 5
Pavel Zubko M 2 6 2 33 0 1 3
Team Total 44 22 50 6 3 31


 

Blues 2-0 University of Kent, Canterbury (25-20, 25-14)

Last up for the Blues would be The University of Kent, Canterbury, whose team chant 'UKC', sounded much like 'KFC'. This was particularly demoralizing for Cambridge, who had packed woefully insufficient amounts of food, and were pathetically hungry by this point. That UEA and Loughborough went to 3 sets (with UEA proving victorious) and Kent losing everything 0-2, the outcome of this match was irrelevant, with the group order already being set, Cambridge first, automatically qualifying, UEA hoping to go through as a 'best second', Loughborough 2 heading home third, and Kent ranked bottom. This would have been a prime opportunity for Jacquet to run his bench, but it was empty, so he went with the starting lineup, ordering them to 'get on with it'.

This they did in style. Despite the departure of their supporters, the Oxford women (who helped significantly against Loughborough 2), Cambridge started strongly, and the middle practice in the other two games paid off, Niederste-Ostholt ripping Kent to shreds through the middle, be it with kills (7 for 9, including a 6-pack), blocks (3) or aces (3). The wing hitters wouldn't be outdone, and Kent will simply bewildered as to what was going on with Chalupnik nearly killing someone on a right cross, and Sarkozy, with an equally open net on a cross, opting to tip. Despite this, Kent somehow stayed in the game, likely on Cambridge service errors.

The last set of the day wouldn't see such problems plague the Blues, with more consistent serving combining with a medley of attacks to develop a large lead from the first serve. Li would score three times on setter tips, and the outsides would finish the set in style, 25-15.

NamePositionSets PlayedAttacksKillsKill PercentAcesBlocks Total Points
Marek Chalupnik O 2 10 7 70 0 0 7
Mike Finley Lib 2 0 0 0 0 0
Tjonnie Li S 2 4 3 75 1 0 4
Florian Loebbert O 2 9 4 44 0 1 5
Martin Niederste-Ostholt M 2 9 7 78 3 3 13
Stephen Sarkozy U 2 13 9 69 0 0 9
Pavel Zubko M 2 2 1 50 0 1 2
Team Total 47 31 66 4 5 40



Cambridge did what it set out to do, win its three matches convincingly and proceed to the finals. Despite some learning experiences which resulted in close sets, the outcome of the matches were never in doubt, and the Blues are gelling as a unit. Cambridge Men now join Cambridge Women in the finals at Leeds.

MVP for the day was Marek Chalupnik.

Report by Stephen Sarkozy

NamePositionSets PlayedAttacksKillsKill PercentAcesBlocks Total Points
Marek Chalupnik O 6 33 19 58 5 0 24
Mike Finley Lib 6 0 0 0 0 0
Tjonnie Li S 6 8 5 63 2 2 9
Florian Loebbert O 6 24 13 54 1 2 16
Martin Niederste-Ostholt M 6 23 14 61 5 5 24
Stephen Sarkozy U 6 34 20 59 1 2 23
Pavel Zubko M 6 14 5 36 0 3 8
Team Total 136 76 56 14 14 104