Blues 3-0 Warwick University (25-17, 25-16, 25-15)
After a run of close matches and a few losses in the past four games, the Blues were back to full strength for a return match against Warwick, and eager to go into the xmas break with a final victory from the term. An initial lineup of Gina Passante setting opposite of Helen MacIntyre, Becky Streit and Olga Polunina as outsides and Maria Opanova and Yvonne Beyer as middles saw Bethan Shaffery, Antigone Dimas, Sophie Hebblethwaite-Sharp and Jane Ding (as libero) on the bench.
Some characteristic early errors in the first set for the Blues saw the lead swing from team to team in the early stages, Helen hitting way over the top of the Warwick block and devastating the defence. Other team members were giving useful contributions and cover was generally better than a lot of the previous matches. An adopted two setter system in the second set allowed Bethan to interact well with Gina, both of them getting good sets out to the wings where the more efficient attack of Becky and Antigone could dominate. With Maria switching for Helen later in the set the fire power of the Cambridge team was now too much for the Warwick players to deal with, although they did manage to recycle the ball on occasion. With more communication in the defence, and the Blues passing unit dealing efficiently with the Warwick serve, Cambridge were able to put some attacks together, Helen proving to be unstoppable in the centre and Antigone getting hold of some nice cross-court kills. Yvonne, rising through the ranks of college volleyball in the previous year, didnt look out of place in the centre and judged a number of blocks well.
The ups and downs of the first half of the 2006-7 season were left behind in what the Blues hope will be a longer unbeaten streak in the New Year.
Report by Jon Clarke