Blues 3-2 Birmingham University (20-25, 25-23, 25-27, 25-17, 15-8)
At their home venue for the first time in the season, the Blues knew that they had to record a win to stay in contention for a good placing in the final table, and also avoid a potential relegation shootout with Nottingham and todays opponents, Birmingham. A full squad attended the home match; Wendy Tsang Man Pun (R, capt), Bethan Shaffery (S), Helen MacIntyre and Jill Aitken (O), Nadia von Maltzahn and Donna Etiebet (M) and Laura Diaz-Anadon (L) on court, with Veronica Kunze, Lindsey Mehrer, Ellen van Baak and Alison Todd supporting.
The match started well for the Blues with Bethan serving a run of serves culminating in two aces that prompted the first Birmingham time-out. Helen started the attack account with a nice cross-court kill, and Laura was working well in defence, chasing down an errant block continue to keep the play alive. However, the Cambridge pass unit proved to be less than optimal as the Birmingham team made their way back into the set. Two serve aces from Jill and a kill from Ellen immediately after being switched onto the middle attack, didn?t manage to change the tide and Bethan was left struggling to get to the Blues passes.
Set two saw Veronica setting and Alison switched onto the outside. With immediate effect Alison passed the first Birmingham serve in perfectly for Veronica to set a classic Nadia kill through the middle. The serve-receivers again came unstuck with a tough serve from Birmingham no.4 and the visitors were picking up everything Cambridge could dish up to them. After defending attacks from Helen, Wendy and Nadia through one rally the Birmingham players looked to be in control with a comfortable margin. Until Alison stepped up to serve with a seven point run, two aces forcing a Brum time-out. Nervous mistakes from the opponents allowed Ellen to serve out the set.
Better passing in the third and fourth sets saw the Blues gaining attack momentum. Lindsey picked up well and scored through the outside whilst a serve sub of Jill for Nadia produced two aces under pressure. The third set was narrowly lost, whereas the fourth was easily won. Alison and Laura were working well in the back-court, whilst Veronica toyed with the opposition and showed some silky South American football skills as an extra. The fifth set saw the Blues on a roll and finishing strongly, leading throughout as the lure of chocolate birthday cake from the balcony spurred greater things.
MVP was Alison Todd
Report by Jon Clarke
|Name||Position||Sets Played||Attacks||Kills||Kill Percent||Aces||Blocks||Pass||Total Points|
|Wendy Tsang Man Pun||R||5||32||9||28||1||1||1.4||11|
|Ellen van Baak||M||5||14||5||36||0||0||5|
|Nadia von Maltzahn||M||5||24||7||29||1||1||9|