Varsity Match 

Blues 0-3 Oxford University (19-25, 24-26, 23-25)
Iffley Road, 28/02/2010

After a 3:0-Varsity victory of the Cambridge womenís second team and a 3:0-defeat of the menís second team, the Womenís Blues were the third team to face their dark blue opponents. Cambridge brought a full squad of 12 players (Petra Schwalie, Sarah Greasley, Bettina Studer, Barbora Doslikova , Anna Protasio, Katie Scotter, Alexandra Rinnert , Maddie Sowash, Tina Schwamb , Alice Hsieh, Ariane Hassum and Helena Blechova) to Oxford and was accompanied by 3 further team members supporting their team. Having lost both games in the BUCS against Oxford this season, Cambridge was determined to take the Varsity win. In the absence of Jon Clarke, the team was coached by Jean Jacquet. After a strong warm up, the light Blues started with outside hitters Petra Schwalie (c) and Anna Protasio, opposite Barbora Doslikova, setter Bettina Studer, middle blocker Katie Scotter and libero Helena Blechova, who was receiving for middle blocker Sarah Greasley.
From the beginning on, both teams fought for every point supported by an excited and impressively loud crowd. Cambridge started the first set strong and confident, quickly taking the serve from Oxford. The first third of the set was a head-to-head race, with strong attacks and defences on both sides. Towards the middle of the game, a service run of Oxford number 7 brought the dark Blues into a lead. Coach Jean Jacquet called the first time-out for Cambridge, after which the light Blues managed to break the run. Another period of close rallies and strong attacks on both sides of the court followed, however Oxford manage to keep their lead. Very strong serve receives on the dark blue side forced Cambridge servers into high-risk serves and serving errors were becoming more frequent. In the end, Cambridge gave away the first set 19:25 to a slightly stronger Oxford.
Encouraged by a strong performance in the first set, the same team entered the court for the second set. Cambridge started the second set with high energy and strong serves and managed to play out a 5-points lead within the first service round. Oxford called their first time-out of the game after a 3-points service run by Barbora Doslikova at a score of 9:4. However, the light Blues were unaffected by the time-out and managed to extend their lead to 11:4. Oxford started fighting back and managed to score a few points with strong back-court attacks and eventually manage to catch up with Cambridge at a score of 15:15. In the next part of the set, every point was battled out fervently with Cambridge staying on top of the game. Cambridge was putting up the stronger attack with Petra Schwalie and Anna Protasio scoring through the outside and Barbora Doslikova winning points in front and back row attacks, while Oxford had the stronger defence and better passing accuracy. The Cambridge crowd raised the noise level to support the team to take the set. However, the confidence and emotions of the light Blues were shaken by some decisions from the first referee throughout the second half of the second set that were perceived as unfair by the Cambridge team and supporters. Oxford profited from this confidence loss on the Cambridge side and took the second set in a very tight win (set score: 24:26).
Cambridge started the third set receiving, and Oxford managed to play out a steady 3-points lead in the first service round. Coach Jean Jacquet made the first substitutions of the game, in an attempt to boost the team with new energy: Setter Alexandra Rinnert replaced Bettina Studer and middle blocker Alice Hsieh replaced Katie Scotter. The fight for every point went on, both teams being at eye level. Oxford managed to defend their small yet constant lead by showing superior pass accuracy and putting up stronger attacks from free balls than Cambridge. On a five points-lead of Oxford in the second half of the game, outside hitter Maddie Sowash replaced Petra Schwalie. Reinforced by the new players, Cambridge fought back, with Alice Hsieh and Barbora Doslikova winning points with their strong attacks. Both teams continued to play strong, with Cambridge having the stronger attack but struggling to win points out of their serve. Towards the end of the set, middle blocker Arianne Hassum was brought in for Sarah Greasley. The match ended with a serving mistake on the Cambridge side with a set score of 23:25.
MVP was Barbora Doslikova

Report by Jon Clarke

NamePositionSets PlayedAttacksKillsKill PercentAcesBlocks Pass Total Points
Helena Blechova L 3 0 0 0 0 0
Barbora Doslikova U 3 0 0 0 0 0
Sarah Greasley M 3 0 0 0 0 0
Ariane Hanssum M 1 0 0 0 0 0
Alice (Pei-Shan) Hsieh M 1 0 0 0 0 0
Anna Protasio O 3 0 0 0 0 0
Alexandra Rinnert S 1 0 0 0 0 0
Petra Schwalie O 2 0 0 0 0 0
Katie Scotter M 2 0 0 0 0 0
Maddi Sowash O 1 0 0 0 0 0
Bettina Studer S 2 0 0 0 0 0
Team Total 0 0 0 0 0