Sunday, March 22, 2015

Oxford Ladies are League Champions!

Today we travelled to Peterborough to play our last game of the season. Coach Jon made it clear he expected us to win the game in straight sets - although our opponents, Peterborough Harriers, were looking hopeful during the warm up when we turned up a little later than expected (tiny misunderstanding of difference between 'warm up time' and 'start time'...).

A briefly shaky start in the first set meant Peterborough were ahead by a few points, however by the time of the first technical time out we had not only caught up but overtaken them and they never recovered. Despite a couple of service runs by Peterborough in the second and third sets, we delivered a solid team performance and took the game 3:0, as (quietly) expected by Jon.

After a quick check with the referees who confirmed that our set difference is sufficiently higher than Cambridge's, we cracked open the champagne and got out the strawberries (thanks Nela and Masia!) to celebrate our promotion to NVL Division 2 next season.

Is it going to be Division 2 South or North? - this is to be decided after the playoffs. This Division was only a warm up for what is coming. Good luck ladies and well done. And for the end: "We are the champions, we are the champions of the small volleyball world :)"

Well deserved MVP was Sonia who is still leading the league's MVP table (we won't know for sure until the end of April when all games have been played)!

Written by Amra (and Annika)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Oxford Sharks managed to swim through stormy seas!

Last Sunday the Oxford Sharks headed to Reading with Felipe as setter, Tomas and Stefano as middles, Karina as coach/captain/opposite, Izzy and Asia as outsides and our mascot, Headington, as supporter.
Two very tough and very long matches against stubborn competitors. Both matches were point to point and went to the tie breaks where Oxford Sharks managed to find the last energies and outdo the opponents.

1st match against Maidenhead 2

We fought very hard (1st set 31 minutes) for this victory against a strong Maidenhead team. (29:31; 26:24; 15:10). Thanks to excellent team work with outstanding individual performances we had the better end of a very close match.

2nd match against Spikeos 2

Again we played 3 sets to victory over another opponent with some strong hitters and good organization in the field (23:25; 25:18; 15:12).

A few highlights from the matches:

- Asia (our special guest for the day, thanks), digging an almost vertical hit within the 3 m line from one of the most terrifying hitters, right onto Felipe’s head.
- Tomas finding his service again and scoring 10 points in a row contributing big time to unsettling the opponent and turning the match around while we were down 1 set and 6 points in the second set against Spikeos.
- Felipe going after a tip over the block with one of his many great dives just to realise in time it was going out and then avoiding touch with most skillful acrobatics.
- Izzy got MVP for both matches not only for playing great volleyball in attacking and cover but equally important great team motivation and keeping our communication going.
- Stefano, scoring the last point of the day blocking a very strong hit from Spikeos’ middle. A liberation for everyone.
- Karina, great volleyball, wise coaching and strong referee exhorting.
- Headington, the sharkiest shark in Oxfordshire who is always with us to raise our spirits.

Only two matches left. One is a special one. See you in two weeks!!!!

Written by Stefano/Karina

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Two wins for Oxford Ladies!

Today on International Women's Day, the NVL girls went to Dartford and won both games.  With 37 points they are again on top of the league. Well done girls!

In the first game, Oxford played against Dartford Ladies. Dartford put up a strong fight, and with the game's ups and downs it was good to see that the Oxford Ladies were able to focus to win the match 3:0. Everyone played very well, but Marta with her injury put in an exceptional shift.

The second game was against Northampton (third in the league). This was also a very tricky tie. Northampton Ladies' players were very good, well organised and picking up everything that came over the net. Their serves were consistently targeting empty spots. On the other side, Oxford Ladies were trying to find a way to break their opponents down. And they succeeded in the end. Just when it seemed Oxford were going to lose a set they came back, pulling a couple of tricks out of their sleeves. By winning these two games NVL Oxford ladies are almost through to the next level (NVL second division). With only one game left, in two weeks time against Peterborough Harriers Ladies, if Oxford can win that, they are up!

Written by Amra

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Another win for the Sharks, firmly on top!

Once upon a time there was a Colombian, a German, an American, an English, an Italian and a Filipino playing for the Oxford Sharks. The team headed to Reading last Sunday morning to face Maidenhead 2 and play a friendly match against Spikeos 1.

The formation was composed of Felipe as setter, Helen and Tomas as middles, Karina as opposite and Stefano and Caroline as outsides. Despite the early morning wake-up call, the first set against Maidenhead went really well for the Sharks who played organized and consistent. Good covers, solid attacks, strong serves from Caroline and very nice sets from Felipe who had to make up for leaving our mascot Headington at home. 25-10 was the final score of the first set. During the second set, however, people started going back to bed and too many errors let Maidenhead win the set 25-18. During the tie break we made up our mind and, after a point-to-point start, we took the lead and finished the set 15-8. MVP of the match was Stefano.

Due to timing issues, the friendly match against Spikeos finished with a draw and one set each. In summary, a good Sunday for the Sharks who are still on top of the league.

Written by Stefano

P.S. Andrey, you can stay in Cisco… we have Caroline!
Webmaster's note: Andrey, the Sharks also volunteered you to pay Caroline's match fees!