Blues 0-3 Oxford University (23-25, 17-25, 16-25)
Kelsey Kerridge, 12/02/2000
Light Blues go down fighting again
Long rallies, jump serves, and excellent attacks - a demonstration of high quality women's volleyball. This year's women's Varsity match contained a far higher level of play than last year. In the end, after having fought hard against the Dark Blues with a very good team effort, Cambridge were defeated by the better individual abilities of some of the Oxford players. Although frustrated by the missed victory, the Light Blues were cheered for the entertaining match by over a hundred supporters at Iffley Road Sports Hall, Oxford.
The first set was closely-fought, with the two Blues teams never more than two points apart, but in the end it went to Oxford 25:23. This proved to be decisive as, having come so close to surprising a strong Dark Blue side by taking the opening set, Cambridge morale subsequently dropped and enabled Oxford to take the next set more easily by 25:17.
In the third set, thanks to effective blocking and some very good pick-ups, Cambridge fought their way to a 28:26 success, roared on by a vociferous crowd of supporters and Men's Team players. With Shevella Lindley making a series of impressive stuff blocks at the net, Cambridge raced ahead in the fourth set, and a major upset looked on the cards. However Oxford had their best six players on court, and their greater focus and determination began to show. Poor reception by the Light blues coupled with some basic hitting errors resulted in a 25:16 reverse and final victory for Oxford.
This year the Cambridge squad gained strength from two visiting students Shevella Lindley (USA) and Stephanie Pasquet (France), who as middle blockers most of the time successfully prevented Oxford from employing their new, mostly Greek attackers. Cambridge's two established setters, Pascale Garaud and Kirsteen Gordon, were fairly stable in distributing the ball to the hitters, who were completed by Birgitte Boonstra and Friederike v. Tiesenhausen, the most consistent attacker. Overall Oxford had better individual players and outmatched the Light Blues considerably in height and numbers. This could only partly be compensated by Cambridge's fighting spirit and good defence. Without Kirsteen Gordon as the team's pillar of calm, the defeat would have been heavier. Captain v. Tiesenhausen was impressed by the team's performance, but also pointed out that the future is uncertain: with most of the Cambridge squad leaving this summer, it will be very difficult to build up a similar, well-rounded team from scratch next year.
Half-Blues were awarded to the following Cambridge players: Friederike von Tiesenhausen, Kirsteen Gordon, Birgitte Boonstra, Shevella Lindley, Stephanie Pasquet, Pascale Garaud and Alex Ellis.