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Saturday, October 18, 2014

First fixture for the Bullox!

Bullox, the new OVC men's third team travelled to Reading last weekend
to play their first ever competitive matches in the BVA men's second
division against Basingstoke Lions and Spikeopaths 3. The team was Mat
(c), Steve, Jon, Gary, Curt and Ben.

There were a lot of other fixtures happening last weekend so the
coaches were spread thin. We were also a man down! Fortunately, Ben
Wooding kindly offered to be both our 6th player and our coach for the
day. Thanks Ben!

Basingstoke Lions vs Bullox
We really didn't know what to expect and after a nervous warm up
followed by the comedy of us wandering onto the court before we were
invited by the referee, we were ready to go against a tall-looking
Basingstoke team. The first game was all a bit of a blur with none of
us really able to remember it afterwards. The ball was coming back
faster and more consistently than we're used to and we really had to
work for every point. The team spirit was great - we dug in and won
some good rallies to mean that despite the fact we lost the first set
10-25 we had a lot to be proud of.

After a quick team talk with some good advice from Ben we were ready
for the second set and starting to feel a little more relaxed. This
really worked in our favour and started to show as the quality of our
passes increased allowing us a stronger attack. Again, a bit of a blur
but in the early part of the set we hung with them taking the score to
6-6 before they started to up their game and ease away. We continued
to score and were starting to play some good shots but sadly it wasn't
enough and the set finished 15-25. Despite having lost we enjoyed
playing a competitive match, the communication was starting to come
and we were confident that we'd be even better in our second match.

Spikeos 3 vs Bullox
Having just refereed the match between Basingstoke and Spikeos, we
knew that the match was going to be tough but we felt that we were in
with a chance of winning our first set as long as we stuck to our
game. Right from the start it was clear that the teams were very
evenly matched and that the result was going to be in the balance. We
took an early two point lead at 8-6 but couldn't hold it and kept on
trading points getting to 12-12 then 15-15. Everyone was playing well,
the passes were more accurate than the first match, allowing Mat and
Curt to set some lovely balls for the rest of us to work with. Jon and
Ben in particular were hitting strongly and Steve was working hard as
the middle blocker to put them under pressure. Somewhere in the game
there was a cheeky overhead kick to keep a point alive which left them
so surprised that they set the ball straight back into the block.
Getting to the business end of the set we managed to take the lead
21-20 and had the serve. Unfortunately, they had experience on their
side and iced the server by calling a time out. It couldn't have
worked better for them, we lost the point after the timeout and were
then chasing again. At 23-23, with their serve, it was still all up
for grabs but they kept their heads, played a couple of text book
points and closed out the set 23-25. So close, yet so far... we had
one more chance in the second set.

The second set brought more of the same, high energy, lots of good
rallies, great communication... it was clear that we were improving.
Again, the score stayed close but we dropped a couple of points at the
start of the game and were chasing for a lot of the set. At 15-17 we
found some form and went on a 4-point run to take the lead for the
first time at 19-17. Was this to be our set?  Frustratingly they
remembered their timeout success from the first set and tried it
again. Sadly, it worked out for them and they took the lead straight
back to get to 19-21...  It was our time to call a timeout!
Unfortunately, it didn't have the same immediate reward and they
continued to extend their lead to 19-23 before losing the serve. This
was it, last chance, 6 points needed to win... We got to 22-23 before
losing the serve and again they closed the game out without giving us
a second chance.

Despite losing both matches, it was a fantastic effort for our first
fixture. Everyone came together as a team and we all played our best
volleyball. Bring on the next match next weekend. Hopefully we'll be
able to notch up our first win!

Written by Gary

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Vollox settle in to the season with 2 wins

For their first matches of the 2014/15 season Vollox had a case of deja vu - they travelled to Reading to play against Spikeos 2 & Maidenhead, the two teams that they had beaten in a pre-season tournament at the same venue only a few weeks earlier!

They were missing key player Martijn Stroo (who picked up an injury in the pre-season games) and setter Jon Williams was late to the action as he was busy guiding the Women's team to victory in the Cup.  The absence of Jeremy Wales this season (we hope he's managed to find a team that will take him in Sweden!) is not as noticeable as it might have been, as we've been fortunate enough to happen upon a fine replacement in the form of an American middle, Brad.  Other new additions to the squad are Leonard (playing his first match since arriving in Oxford last week) and Adam (a face that we're already familiar with in OVC!). That means the team consisted of: Martijn (coach), Gareth (captain), Jon, Gabri, Leonard, Adam, Rune, Brad.

Maidenhead vs Vollox
Some miscommunication led to an interesting start to the match...  We got under way without much fuss and quickly climbed to a 9-2 lead.  It was around this point that we noticed our lineup sheet hadn't been filled in 100% correctly!  This led to some confusion about our serve receive positions and hindered us more than anything that came from the other side of the net.  We made hard work of the first set - excuses include the aforementioned rotation issue, dodgy refereeing, as well as all-round inconsistent play - but we managed to keep our noses in front (just about) and finished it off 25-23.

The second set was a much more relaxed affair as we played in our more familiar system, with our favourite setter!  Serving was pretty good with Brad, Gareth, Jon and Rune all going on mini-runs.  Coupled with a very consistent sideout (we only failed to sideout once), it led to a very comfortable scoreline of 25-12.

MVP: Leonard - congrats to the new boy!

Spikeos 2 vs Vollox
Spikeos 2 showed signs of improvement over the course of last season and look like a team that could do well this season.  Vollox looked pretty good last year too (and have the trophies to prove it!), but as one player mentioned, we don't want to end up like the Spanish football team! 

The first set started very slowly indeed as we allowed Reading to take the initiative and an early lead to 10-6.  One or two reassuring timeouts from the coach (Martijn) and we were back on track with a few carefully placed hits and serves.  By the end of the set we were back on level terms, and at 20-20 Adam came in to serve for 4 straight points.  We then seized our first opportunity to sideout and took the set 25-21.

A few stern words from our coach and the reinstatement of our MVP from the previous match saw us make a blistering start to the second set as we raced out 6-0 ahead.  Brad applied some more service pressure to extend the lead and from there we looked very comfortable as Spikeos struggled to restore any consistency to their game.  Jon (voted MVP) distributed the ball nicely, and our hitters were all quite happy to put it away, giving us the second set 25-13, and the double victory we were hoping for on our first matchday of the new season.

MVP: Jon

Written by Gareth

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Falcons are off to a flying start!

The Falcons are one of OVC's newest teams, and last weekend they took on two strong teams in BVA Ladies Division 2 (Spikeos 2 and Reading Aces Ladies), playing well and taking a set off Spikeos! Here is a short flavour of their day from their captain, Geraldine.
 
OXFORD FALCONS! Well done for our very first game on Berkshire Volleyball League! I’m pretty much sure you will all agree with me that it was better result than what we expected. From serving, to digging, setting and hitting, It was evident we had fun. This was clearly just a beginning of good future for Falcons! Kate, Bryony, Carla, Janel, Lesley, Laura, and Jess, I’m proud of you ladies! I would also want to thank Neil for coaching us and for constant reminder to enjoy the game. Looking forward to our next game! Cheers!
 

Monday, October 13, 2014

First matches of the season for the Eagles



On 12 October the Eagles travelled to Basingstoke to face Spikeopaths Ladies 1 and Basingstoke Lionesses in their first fixture of the 2014/15 season in BVA ladies division 1. The team was made up of Helen, Asia, Stefanie, Adriana, Victoria, and Izzy in her new role as team captain.


Spikeopaths Ladies 1 vs Oxford Eagles

It's fair to say it took us a while to get going in the first set, which allowed Spikeos to pull ahead and maintain a lead. But with some strong serving from Stef towards the end, we managed to find our feet and narrow the gap to finish 21-25.

Coach Neil likened our first set performance to a school PE class who didn’t want to be there. He had obviously said something right because we went into the second set with a lot more purpose, winning it 25-16.

We kept up the momentum going into the third set and pulled out in front with a 5-point lead. However, Spikeos managed to come back strongly to level the score to 10-10. From here on it was a nervous battle to the finish, with Spikeos taking the victory 16-14.

MVP: Stef

Basingstoke Lionesses vs Oxford Eagles

Knowing we were up against a strong Basingstoke side, we went into this game with lots of energy and spirits high. The set got off to a good start, with little in it between both sides. Basingstoke got stronger as the set went on and broke away to win 25-18.

Much like the first set, the Eagles started with a good attitude and scored some early points. We played some great 3-touch volleyball with Izzy attacking hard on the outside, but ultimately we lost the game with some scrappy balls. This set ended 25-11, victory to Basingstoke.

MVP: Izzy

To sum up our first two matches, there were definitely some moments of greatness – Asia hitting some lovely angles, Izzy and Addy attacking with lots of pressure, Helen blocking with great confidence, some good defending from Victoria, and Stef did a superb job as single setter, but there were also some other moments which perhaps weren’t so great but which we will learn from!

Match report written by Victoria