Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Where's the outdoor net?

May's fast approaching, summer's on its way, plans for outdoor tournaments are in full swing, and we're all hugely excited. There's just one little hitch – no one seems to know where our outdoor net is. 

Please can you all rack your brains and try and remember who had it last? If you've ever taken the net home with you, please can you double-check garages, sheds, under the bed, wherever it might have got to? We don't want to have to spend club funds on another net when there is a perfectly good one out there somewhere.

If you have it, or if you have any idea where it might be, please get in touch with Helen. It won't be a proper summer without an outdoor net!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ladies 2 finish their season with a win

Ladies 2 had a tough task to accomplish to avoid playing relegation games. Not only did they have to win their last two games against Farnborough and Basingstoke (currently second and third in the league), they also had to rely on Ladies 1 to win both their games against the other two bottom teams.

With three new players (two of them on loan from Oxford Brookes and Wimbledon for the day) and some of the regulars not playing in their normal positions, it was going to be an interesting challenge. On court for the day were Helen, Chrissie, Anna, Marika, Jana, Hanna and Giulia.

Oxford 2 v Basingstoke

We needed the first set to find our feet and get to know each other. But it didn’t take long before things starting falling into place. Anna excelled in her new position as setter, and Marika provided flawless back-court defence. We lost the first set by only a few points, but knew we stood a good chance to change things in the second set.

Just as we had hoped, we went ahead early on in the second set and never lost the lead. Helen came on as an outside player and scored some great points, and Jana provided an excellent 6’4’’ block that was hard to get past. We won the second set comfortably 25-13.

The tiebreak was considerably more intense and, at 14-11 to Basingstoke, Neil and injured Tati (who came along as moral support) could hardly sit still. But the team kept calm, and with five excellent serves from Anna, we turned things around and won the game 16-14.

2-1 to Oxford. MVP: Anna.

Farnborough v Oxford 2

Farnborough is an excellent team who know each other very well and pick up practically everything – and today was no different. A solid Oxford block and great cover allowed us to stay in the game, and we lost the first set by only a few points, 22-25.

In the second set, we had some amazing, long rallies with everybody giving it all – Chrissie seemed to pick up all the tips behind the setter, Giulia passed exceptionally and Marika got some great hits in. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to kill the ball, and we lost the second set by at least ten points. Nevertheless, it was probably the best we had ever played and no one could feel disappointed with the performance, even if the result didn’t flatter us.

2-0 to Farnborough. MVP: Hanna

Special thanks to Jana and Marika, who helped us out and were exceptional. Chrissie also deserves a special mention – even though this was her first game with us, her calm and positive attitude made her a natural choice as game captain.

Ladies 1 finish the season in style despite their first loss in two seasons

Due to some of our players being away this weekend, we had a few guest players to make up the team – thank you to Klaudia, Sam and Karolina for helping out today!

Oxford 1 v Maidenhead
Our first game was against Maidenhead and we were quietly confident about beating them as we did the first 2 times we played them this season. However, it turned out that we needed the first set to find our feet and get used to playing together. Combined with Maidenhead's solid defense, this meant we were trailing behind from the beginning. At some point Maidenhead were leading by 10 points so we did well to come back with a bit more strength to reduce their lead to 4 points but they still took the set 25:21.

We started the second set equally tentative and found ourselves 7 points down at 18:11. At this point Maidenhead started struggling with their receive and 14 (!) consecutive serves later, we took the second set 25:18.

Unfortunately we didn't quite manage to carry the momentum over to the third set, which meant Maidenhead again got the early lead. We did put up a good fight towards the end of the set, swapping match points for a bit but Maidenhead kept the upper hand and took the set 18:16. MVP Annika (for the 14 serves…).

Spikeos v Oxford 1
We went straight into the second game against Spikeos. We started a little slow matching each other point for point. At 8–8 however, we took control and started getting ahead. Spikeos tried to get level but couldn't cope with Maïté's serving – her 10 consecutive serves took us all the way to the end of the set, which we won 25:13.

In the second set we didn't manage to get that vital lead and the whole set was fairly level. Spikeos got away right at the end and took the set 26:24.

We knew we had to put the pressure on from the beginning in the third set and everything finally came together and a 5-point service run from Nela at 8:5 gave us the advantage and confidence we needed to finish it off 15:7. MVP Annika (still for the previous game's 14 serves I think :)…).

Spikeos v Maidenhead
Maidenhead and Spikeos also had a great three-set game – it looked like Spikeos were always just that little bit ahead but Maidenhead pulled it off in a very close third set, having defended a match point, to win 2:1.

Two really enjoyable games, despite our first loss in two seasons! Well played everybody, especially our guest players – we couldn't have done it without them!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Oxford Mens 2 - Last Fixture Vs Basingstoke & Oxford Mens 1

If you haven't been able to come & support, or if you want to review these awsome games I let you all enjoy the videos extracted from the last 2 games of the season between Oxford Mens 2 & Basingstoke and Oxford Mens 1.
As a reminder, Oxford Mens 2 beat Basingstoke 2-1, and Oxford Mens 1 beat Oxford Mens 2 2-1. We will have to play the relegation triangular now before the end of April ...

Ox2 Vs Basingstoke - Set 1

Ox2 Vs Basingstoke - Set 2

Ox2 Vs Basingstoke - Set 3

Ox2 Vs Ox1 - Set 1 & 2

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mens' 1 season ends with disappointment

Sunday 1 April saw the last fixtures of the BVA league season for the Oxford Mens' teams against Basingstoke in Headington. Crowds had shown up in support and everyone was high on excitement and anticipation. The Mens' 1 squad for the day: Steve, Anders, Lukasz, Jon, Rune, Martijn, Neil, Gabriele, Gerard.

Oxford 1 v Oxford 2

First up was the Oxford 1 vs 2 clash. Mens' 1 had a flying start and took control in that set from the start. Some good blocking and defensive work saw the opposition struggle to keep up. 15-11 became 17-13 and then Gabriele served out the set to 25-13.

In the second set it was quite different. The Mens' 1 coach helped team 2 by mixing up the line-up sheet which caused some confusion within the team. We got behind 12-6, and despite a good fight back and some good blocking we could not turn the set around. We came back to 21-23, only to lose the next 2 points.

A deciding set was needed. It was an edgy affair with an even score line and some long rallies including some amazing pick-ups from libero Steve. It was 7-8 for them at the change of ends and they even made it 7-9. A substitution bringing on Gerard gave us some extra energy and Gabriele and Rune served out the match by winning the 3rd set 15-10! MVP: Gabriele!

Oxford 1 v Basingstoke

The second match against Basingstoke would decide the league winners: us or Spikeos. They had brought some new players which strengthened their team considerably and so we needed some time to adjust. We were 2 or 3 points behind for most of the set, and played some good all-round volleyball at times. At 16-19 Lukasz stepped up to serve 6 times in a row to go 22-19 up. Then we lost our composure and struggled to finish the point, and they went on to win the set 23-25.

Some changes were made for the 2nd set and we played consistently better and took full advantage of their mistakes. We were always ahead and when Jon found his serving arm again and Lukasz served 6 points in a row, we were out of sight and won the 2nd set comfortably 25-15.

Another decider, this time to win the league. We did not start well and there were some scrappy exchanges we couldn’t use to our advantage. We had lost our shape from the 2nd set and changed sides 6-8 behind. This became 8-12, and from there we never got back to lose the set 11-15. Despite winning more points in that match we lost it 2-1, hence not winning the league. MVP: Gerard.