Blues 0-3 Oxford University (11-25, 14-25, 21-25)
Kelsey Kerridge, 07/03/2009
Cambridge could field a full squad for the Varsity match and had twelve players on the scoresheet, most of whom had not played against Oxford in the two meetings the teams had already had in the BUCS league this season. From these, the teams had come out with equal wins, both taking the away match fixtures, so the Varsity match was to be the season decider. Cambridge started, after a strong warmup, with Alex Rinnert (capt) and Flo Preux setting, Katy Scotter and Rebecca Bateman in the middle and Anna Protasio and Silvia Breu on left-side.
Oxford had the better of the sense of the occasion in the opening part of the match, making 3 or 4 points from their first four serve rotations, whilst the Cambridge team seemed to be in confused disarray, not being able to pass any of the Oxford serves. Cambridge were not able to significantly add to their points tally in any of the side-outs caused by Oxford errors, and a late run of 5 serves from the Oxford number twelve sealed the set. A run of substitutions were made to try and stem the leak of points; Saz Knapp replacing Silvia Breu, Sarah Greasley replacing Katy Scotter and Marija Buljan making a late appearance in the middle.
The second set saw more misery for the Cambridge team. Although they were starting to get into the match and making some scoring points, long rallies were not going their way and the Oxford team were able to pick up and recycle more efficiently. Dierdre Cleland replaced Alex as setter and Anna was brought onto a more attacking role through the middle, but two decisive serve runs of five points by the Oxford number eleven and the Oxford number 12 for the second time, saw Oxford easily take the set and look in a commanding position for the match.
With a limited number of substitution options left, the Cambridge side had to find some stability and opened the third set with a much better performance, passing a higher percentage of serves and making kills through Anna in the middle and Caroline Ganzeboom on the outside. Saz provided better defense cover, and Dierdre and Flo were providing good set coverage. Cheered serve runs from Dierdre put the Blues into contention, but even the late appearance of Petra Schwalie couldnt tip the balance and Oxford ran away with the set and match.
MVP was Saz Knapp
Report by Jon Clarke
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