It's been a good season for Oxford this year, as the club won almost every league in the Berkshire Volleyball League. • Ladies' 1 completely dominated division 1, winning all 20 games without dropping a set all season. • Men's 1 won division 1 almost as convincingly with only one defeat. • Men's 2 also won all their games but one, finishing top of division 2 – which means they've been promoted to division 1 next season. It's also worth mentioning that Ladies 2 grabbed the third spot in division 1 after a strong finish.
The 2013 BVA league men's division 1 champions travelled to Aldershot on Sunday 28April. Already crowned champions, we wanted to finish the season well by beating third- and fourth-placed teams Newbold and Farnborough.
We traded points to get into the first set, and had a slender advantage from the start – perhaps because Newbold didn’t bother warming up much. After one rotation, we got going and they had no reply. We kept our level up and finished off most points we defended. Newbold’s heads went down and we cruised to 25-9 victory.
We made some changes and continued the same trend in the first part of the second set. We made some mistakes, perhaps under pressure from the video camera pointed at us, and let them back in the set. They got close to winning the set, but at 24-24 we scored the next 2 points and 26-24 meant a 2-0 victory. MVP: Gabri!
Second match against Farnborough
Like the beginning of the first match, we traded points to get into the match again, until 4-4. Then Gareth and Martijn had a series of serves, accumulating 13 points. Our good level of play was too much for Farnborough and we went on to win the first set 25-8.
In the second set we struggled to keep our level and they got a bit better. We were however never in danger of getting behind and 8-7, became 18-13, 22-15 – and, at 25-17, we were all done and the set, match, and championship officially ours! MVP: Raúl!
With two matches to spare, Oxford Men 1 secured the BVA league title on Sunday 14April – in front of a home crowd in Headington, who cheered Oxford to victory.
Full squad turn-out for the occasion: Anders, Gabri, Jon, Rune, Raúl, Martijn, Gareth, Gerard, Jamie, Roberto, Jeremy.
First match against Maidenhead
After a good start and 5-1 up, we missed a few serves against the bottom-of-the-table team. Then it was Rune’s turn to serve, and he did not want our libero Raúl to come back on court. Together with good defensive play and finishing, we nearly achieved this whilst he served from 10-4 to 23-4! We closed the set 25-7. In the second set we continued to control the game and made some substitutions. Then an unscheduled five-minute referee time-out disturbed our flow somehow, but we closed the set 25-19. Match ours 2-0. MVP: Gérard!
Second match against Newbury
Newbury are just below the mid-part of the league table and a stronger opponent than in our first match. The first set went point for point until 8-7, when Jon served a few aces and we recycled the ball well. We took the lead to 17-7 and, not long after, the first set was in the bag 25-13. The second set was competitive, though we were always in control and never behind on points. A solid display of volleyball all-round earned us the second set 25-20, the match 2-0, and the BVA league title! MVP: Martijn! (Written by Martijn)