Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Oxford Mixed - More points!

It is with great pleasure I can announce that the Oxford Mixed team has added another 6 points to its total!

First game: Oxford v Spikeos 2

After a long drive in the sun and a quick warm up we were ready to fight against our direct challengers Spikeos 2 (5th in the league with 20 points). The initial team on court was Karina (setter), Giulia & Helen (outsides), Simon & Corne (middles) and myself (off-setter). A tough start with good fighting from both teams but we took a slight lead 4-3. Then I served to increase the score to 8-5, we got the service again straight after, Helen served another 3 to increase again our advance to 11-6 (first timeout for Spikeos 5-11), and Simon finished to set up the first set by increasing the score to 18-6 (second timeout for Spikeos). The end of the set was a bit more relaxed from our side, and we finished with a comfortable advance of 25-13.

For the second set, I changed slightly the line up, having Annette and Andrey replacing Karina and Corne, Helen playing now middle and Andrey outside. Annette was our setter. This time, Spikeos were much tougher at the start of the game, putting themselves in the lead 3-9 and forcing me to take a timeout. We had some problem passing and we were not on top of our game. The message was clear: "To catch back, we have to start now, point after point, and the first objective is to reduce the score difference to 0!" We didn't start this chase straight as Spikeos carried on scoring, but we were not giving points away: 11-5 for Spikeos. Then we started changing slightly our way of working, I was taking more sets, Andrey started attacking with more strength, and Simon decided that no more balls would pass him at the block. And the advance of Spikeos started reducing: 13-8, 14-11, 15-12, & then ... 16-16! We were back in the game and Spikeos took a timeout at this stage. My message to the team was clear: "We've caught up – now time to finish!". Spikeos took the lead again at this stage 19-18 but we then scored 4 points (mainly because Simon was on fire) in a row bringing us in a good 23-20. We scored the next one 24-20, the Spikeos served and won 3 points, but they didn't score the next one and we won the second set 25-23. The MVP title went to Simon for his blocking spree which lead us to victory.

Second game: Oxford v Spikeos 3
This time, the team on court was Karina and Annette (setters), Helen & Corne (middles) & Andrey & myself (outsides). Spikeos served the first point, scored, and we scored the second. And the first half of the set stayed like this. The level of volleyball we were playing was not our best, but it was enough to keep up: 3-3, then 9-6 for Spikeos, then 11-8, and then back to 12-12 and 14-14. We finally took the lead at this point, deciding it was time to finish: 17-16. Corne served the next 4 points putting us in a stronger lead 21-17, and Karina finished the set 25-17.

For the second set, I was on the bench with Helen, replaced on court by Simon (middle) and Giulia (outside). Again, a slightly dodgy start but we were in the lead quickly 9-7. The main problem was that the team on court was not talking at all, but actually was less messy than Spikeos. The point difference increased again up to 19-10 and at this point there was no turning back from Spikeos. We won the second set in 19 minutes 25-14. Corne got the MVP title for his good presence in the game.

Maidenhead Mixed 14 11 3 23 10 34
Spikeopaths Mixed 1 12 10 2 22 7 32
Oxford Mixed 14 10 4 22 14 32
Newbury Mixed 14 9 5 22 12 31
Spikeopaths Mixed 2 14 6 8 17 19 23
Basingstoke Mixed 12 6 6 13 16 19
Farnborough Lions 12 3 9 10 19 13
Newbold Mixed 14 3 11 9 24 10 *
Spikeopaths Mixed 3 14 2 12 7 24 9

The last fixture will decide the final results of the league. It will be tight!

As a treat, and because you've read until the end, you can find attached HERE some pictures taken during the game

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