Blues 3-1 Oxford University (23-25, 25-14, 25-16, 25-20)
Kelsey Kerridge, 07/03/2009
This years Varsity match weekend not only featured the men's and women's blues but also matches between the Oxford and Cambridge second teams. After watching the men's and women's second team convincingly beat their dark blue counterparts the mood of the Cambridge supporters was slightly damped with the women's blues falling 0:3. The men's blues took the court at 6pm in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Kelsey Kerridge. After easily winning their home league fixture against Oxford but falling in a close contest in the away match the men's blues eagerly awaited this years Varsity match. Despite their loss to Oxford (the first in 3 years) and a late season slump Cambridge had qualified for the BUCS championship weekend which Oxford failed to do, so the light blues were clearly favored. After a good warm-up coach Jean Jacquet sent out Jonas Neeher and Matthias Beestermoeller as middle hitters, Marco Sampaio hitting opposite setter Tjonnie Li, and Marek Chalupnik and Martin Niederste-Ostholt (captain) as outside attackers. Eventhough the light blues were confident that they could defeat Oxford the first set was marked by a rather nervous Cambridge squad. Shaky serve-receive and a plethora of service errors meant that the game was always unnecessarily close. With the light blues finally reaching a decent level of play towards the end of the set with Sunny Thathong replacing Marco the dark side was still able to clinch the first set by a minimal margin of 23:25. Coach Jacquet, aware of the team's tendency to let a secure victory slip away and the danger of allowing Oxford get into a rhythm, found appropriate words to motivate the Cambridge side. Sending out the same team that ended the first set, the light blues took their coaches encouragement to heart and played up to their usual standard and quickly developed a lead and finished the set with a convincing 25:14 victory behind strong serving from Chalupnik and numerous middle kills from Neher and Beestermoeller. The third set was much the same as the second with the light blues dominating everywhere on the court. Towards the end of the set Jacquet brought on Sampaio again as a blocking substitution for Li and Nick Stone-Villani coming on for Thathong as setter and the light blues won 25:16. Having surged ahead so quickly in the previous two sets Cambridge took the final set of the match a little too lightly. After taking the lead early on the score became knotted at 16:16. Despite the constant taunting from the Oxford supporters the light blues kept their head and concentrated on simple plays. Another blocking substitution and setter switch at a score of 20:19 for Cambridge brought the desired effect, with Sampaio immediately stuff-blocking an Oxford outside hit. A few more good plays and some luck saw Cambridge win the fourth and final set 25:20. With the substitute players rushing the court and loud shouts of "Cambridge Oi!" the day had ended just as the light blues had planned - Oxford was crushed and Cambridge have now extended their Varsity streak to 3 years. Congratulations to the whole squad and especially to Marek Chalupnik for being voted man-of-the-match by the Oxford side.
MVP: Marek Chalupnik
Report by Martin Niederste-Ostholt
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