Blues 3-1 Oxford University (25-17, 25-18, 19-25, 25-18)
Kelsey Kerridge Sports Centre, Cambridge, 17/02/2007
[To Women's Varsity Report]
Having already beaten Oxford twice in the BUSA League, the home side looked the favourites for the Varsity Match against the Dark Side. However, with Chalupnik out with a ankle injury, and Oxford fielding several veterans not present in their BUSA defeats, the match looked like it may play out to be interesting for the large crowd gathered in Kelsey Kerridge.
Coach Jacquet sent out Florian and Niederste-Ostholt swing hitting, Meeder and Neher blocking middle, Li setting and Sarkozy captaining the Light Blues from the power spot. Finely would round out the side in white. After a convincing warm-up, the teams took the floor, with Oxford captain Zuev serving. (On a side note, both the Oxford Men and Women's team had phenomenal captains, who of course attended Cambridge as undergraduates.) The Blues sided out, and points were traded to start the set. The Cambridge attack, at first a bit daunted by their own crowd, soon sorted itself out, and began to push points on most rotations, developing a convincing lead by the middle of the set. Sarkozy, erratic at the start of the set, began to connect with Li, and back to back kills brought the crowd to its feet. Strong defense by Finely and a line hammer from Niederste-Ostholt ended the first set, to 17 points.
Cambridge sent out the same lineup in the second set, and the story read out suprisingly similarly, though perhaps with a slight increase in the quality of volleyball. Oxford's Ball began to impose himself on the match, and scored from around the court to keep the struggling Dark Side in the game. However, Cambridge's more balanced attack pressed ahead, and again, a mid set lead was just not within Oxford's reach. Set 2 to Cambridge, 25-18.
In the third, Zubko replaced Neher, but Cambridge started abysmally. A passing collapse saw an early deficit form, and forced Jacquet to call his first time it. His harsh words had some positive effect, with Cambridge siding out with better frequency. However, service errors would abbound, and Oxford also raised their game, Ball in particular tooling the Cambridge block. A late pushed closed the score-line, although Cambridge would suffer defeat, to 19 points.
The same six would take the floor in the fourth (and final) set, with renewed energy. The passing stabilzed, and with all the Cambridge options open, there was little the Oxford defense could do. The insertion of Purwin for Meeder was a reward for his hard work in training, and his play on the court matched the occasion, providing a viable attack option and solid block. A 10 point Cambridge lead fell to 5, but by then it was too late, a crushing first tempo ended the reign on the Dark Side, deservingly returning the Varsity Spoils to Cambridge.
MVP was Martin Niederste-Ostholt.
Report by Stephen Sarkozy
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