Monday, November 26, 2012

Men 1 put up a good fight against Malory Eagles

On Saturday 3 November, Men's 1 travelled to London for the second round of the NVL Cup knockout competition.

After beating Norfolk, NVL division 3, in the first round, we played against Malory Eagles, from the Super 8’s –  the top division in England. Our squad consisted of Roberto, Gabriele, Martijn, Jon, Rune, Anders, Gareth, Jamie and Thomas.

After a nervy start, we got into our game and scored some good points. At times we played well and competed with the Super 8 team. However, their fire power and talent (they have several GB and ex-GB players in their squad) helped them dominate the first two sets, 25-16, 25-13. Then in the third set we got off to a good start and were 4-1 and 8-3 up. Unfortunately we couldn’t continue our good spell and lost the set 25-14. 

A 3-0 loss, however a good experience and something to aim for in the future!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Oxford Mixed - Another fixture, another victory!

Good evening all,

It's been, again, an emotional afternoon and I am glad to tell you we brought back 3 points with us!!

The people who played today were Federica, Karina, Marta, Anna, Luca, Felipe, Andrey & myself. We had to play against Basingstoke & Spikeos.

1st Game - Oxford Mixed Vs. Spikeos

The team on court was Karina, Felipe, Anna, Andrey, Federica & myself. Spikeos started with the service and scored 4 points straight. We then caught back with them point after point up to 7-7, but again Spikeos took the lead up to 8-12 (I had to take a timeout at 7-11...) At this point, they maintained their advance point after point, forcing me to take again a timeout at 15-21. This was the moment Oxford decided to reactivate our "awesomeness" mode and we forced Spikeos to take their first timeout at 24-21. Unfortunately, Spikeos scored another point and won the first set.
On the second set, I decided to take the set and put on court Luca & Marta replacing Felipe & Anna. This time the set started tight again and we went quite quickly up to 8-8 (First timeout of Spikeos...). At 11-11, I got the serve and managed to score 4 points, followed by Marta, 2 points, and Luca, 3 points when spikeos scored only 3 forcing them to take their second at 19-13. At this point, Spikos started to be stronger and caught back with us point after point forcing me this time to take the 2 timeouts, the first one at 17-20, and then at 22-22... They then scored another point... 23-22. But it was counting without our players and my 2 next serves !!! Yes we won the second set 25-23 !!
So there we are on the 3rd set... Same line up as I thought it was working well. Tough start though as they managed to take the lead 5-2 quite quickly but then, after some good serves from Luca, we were ahead again 8-5! But some points, some fights, some rallyes, and there we were, ahead and again we scored... To finally win that 3rd set: 15-11!!! Federica got the MVP for her amazing shots at the net and here way of playing around the block!

2nd Game - Oxford Mixed Vs. Basingstoke Mixed

Another very tight game given by our opponents. I was on the bench with Karina this time. 3-1, 4-2, 5-3... 8-4!! We were in the lead! Another 4 points and Basingstoke took their timeout 6-12! Awsome hits from Federica & Luca, excellent cover & defense from Anna & Marta... However, Basingstoke started catching back and they forced me to take one timeout at 19-14. We maintained our advance until the end 25-21!!
The second set saw me back from the bench and Karina was replacing Federica. A more ectic start forcing me to take the timeout being lead 4-9 At this point Marta told me that she could feel a bit of a leg injury and I put Federica back on court. But they maintained their advance up to 15-8, when we decided to be a bit more effective at the net (I am proud of a very strong hit I got right down the line... :) ) and there we were back in tight 18-16. 20-18... 21-20... 23-22... They kept it hard for us and finished the second set 25-23.
So final set... I started to feel very exhausted and I told Luca to stay warm as I would swap with him at some point. Basingstoke took the lead quite quickly and, unfortunately, kept it until the end. I took our first timeout at 4-9, Luca joined the team at this point. But nothing was going through, and I had to take the second timeout at 4-12... We scored another point, they scored another 3 and it was over. I got the MVP title for this one (not quite sure why...)

As a conclusion, I would like to specially thank my players as they were all AWESOME!! And also praise the fairplay of our opponents who helped the refs to take the right decisions by being honest. It was a pleasure to play against them and I can't wait to give them another fight!


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Super Sunday for the club!

Last Sunday, OVC history was made as our four women's and men's team won all their matches. That's eight games, eight victories – quite the Super Sunday. Huge congratulations to all the people who were part of it!

Let's do it again before the end of the season.

Women's 1 showed true team spirit against Maidenhead and Newbury

Ladies 1 had a tough challenge away in Newbury. With Maïté suffering a stiff neck (although beautifully wrapped up in a pink scarf), Chrissie fighting a bad cold, and Anna and Kerstin away with the NVL team, Ladies 1 were a bit thin on the ground

But the team still managed to beat Maidenhead Ladies  25–17, 25–16 and Newbury Ladies  25–10, 25–14. The two games saw Oxford Ladies 1 lead every set, taking the opportunity to practice a good serve and cover.

Fede played middle in the first game swapping with Nela in the game against Newbury. Magda was ready to switch to setter at any time to help out Maïte, and Chrissie battled on, fighting both the opposition and the cough. Everyone come together, in true team spirit!

Women's 2 win two games without dropping a set

Ladies 2 had a late match in Reading and faced Farnborough Sirens and Reading Aces. Through circumstance, we haven’t yet had a consistent team on court. But the work we have put in so far, both in training and in matches and coupled with our coaching from Seb, meant that we really began to play together as a team.

As is our habit, we were a little slow to get going in our first match against Farnborough, but it wasn't too long before we took the lead and we won the first set 25-18. Things got even better in the second set: Farnborough were never able to get into the game, and we won it convincingly, 25-10.

In our last game against Reading Aces, we had to work a bit harder – partly because we were getting tired and partly because the game became unpredictable, with many balls coming back after just one touch. But the team kept calm and continued to play volleyball, and eventually won the game 25-23, 25-22.

Well done to Hanna, who won both nominations for MVP.

Men's 1 beat arch rival Spikeos, and Basingstoke

Men's 1 had their first league matches at home in Headington. The squad consisted of Jon, Raul, Martijn, Gerard, Gabriele, Anders, Jeremy and OVC league debuts for Gareth, Roberto and Giovanni.

First match was against Spikeos, last year’s league winners. The first few exchanges went point for point, until we got into our rhythm and pulled away slowly but surely. We never looked back and played some good volleyball all-round. First set finished 25-18. In the second set, we continued to play well and got ourselves into a 16-8 lead. We then relaxed a bit too much and let them back into the set to 23-23. A good pass, set and hit got us a match point, which we converted straight away with good defensive play and a finish 25-23! Several people could have gotten the MVP award, and they voted for Raul – well deserved!

Second match was against Basingstoke. The match started off evenly as we struggled to find our level at first, until 12-12 when we pulled away comfortably to 21-13, and finished the set 25-14. We never looked in trouble in the second set and played some good volleyball despite the slower pace of the match. We won the second set 25-17, and so our second victory of the new season in the bag! MVP as voted by them: Gareth

Men's 2 pick up another two wins

Men's 2 (or Simon, Seb, Hideki, Dan, Hussain and Ghislain) made a great start in the first set against Spikeos, thanks to six stunning serves from Hideki and some great basic volleyball from the rest of the team. Then Spikeos started coming back, forcing us to take a timeout at 16–14. The timeout couldn't have been timed better – once back on court, we finished the set 25-20. In the second set, Spikeos took the lead quite quickly and the rest of the set was very tight with some very good rallies. We eventually lost the second set 25-22. However, in the third set, we took the lead early and didn't let go: after some great rallies and clean serves, we won 15-9. MVP went to our newly recruited Japanese hitter, Hideki.

In our second game against Farnborough, we took the lead quite quickly and kept playing basic effective volleyball. We then had a strong finish with seven serves in a row from Ghislain, backed up with strong and precise hits from Dan and Hideki. And we won the first set 25-18. In the second set, it was Dan's time to shine with eight strong serves. The rest of the set offered some clean and precise volleyball from everyone, and we won the second set 25-12. MVP went (again) to Hideki.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Oxford Mixed - 3 Fixtures so far...

Good evening all,

As you probably know, the Oxford Mixed tema has been playing since the beginning of october every 2 weeks. But how are we doing, I am sure you wonder... The next few lines will tell you!!#

1st Fixture - Queen's Mary College - 14/10/12

The first fixture of the 2013 Oxford Mixed team saw the beginning of a "Brand New" Mixed team, seeing the support of Andrey, Tomas, Anna & Amra. To the whole of you guys, Thank you!

Oxford Mixed Vs. Basingstoke

On that day the team that played was composed of Helen, Anna, Andrey, Tomas, Amra & myself. We had a bit of an ectic start and Basingsoke took the lead by ... far ... They forced me to take the first timeout at 16-6. It was now or never: And the alchimy started working: we started covering tips, Anna did some great job on defense, and there we were back, point after point, at 22-19 (Forcing them to take the Timeout at 20-16). Unfortunately, Basingstoke was on a good finish and even if I took the last timeout at 23-20 for them, they won the first set 25-23.
The conclusin on the 1st set gave me some very good hope. We were in a strong moment. With no change to the team, we managed to stick to the score much tighter: 3-3, 5-5, 6-6. And then Tomas got 6 serves in a row to put us in a confident +5 situation. It was enough, and we kept fighting point after point securing the second set quite "easily" 25-19.
As you probaly noticed, I put the previous "easily" in brackets. Because for some obscure reasons, we were unfortunately back into our 1set habits, and Basingstoke used it to their advantage VERY quickly as they secured a change of sides 8-2... The rest went pretty quickly unfortunately and we lost the 3rd set 15-5.
I got the MVP for this one. If I remember well my setting was quite decent...

Oxford Mixed Vs. Farnborough

Clearly determined to give a different fight to Basingstoke (And willing to give my players so court time...), I decided to put this time Andrey on court replacing Tomas. Farnborough got in the lead very quickly up to 7-4, then we managed to tie up but they kept their lead up to 10-8, then 15-12 and stayed in the lead managing to win the first set 25-21.

The second set was played by the same team. This time the beginning of the game was much tighter, putting us in the lead 5-4, then an even 7-7. But again Farnborough managed to take the lead with a secured +4. Even if we kept fighting, we didn't managed to catch back and Farnborough won the sescond set 25-20. The whole game was finished unfortunately in 32 minutes...
Our Italian Luca got the MVP for this set for his good work at the attack.

2nd Fixture - Headington - 28/10/12

I was not able to be there on that date. I can only confirm to you the result of the games:
Oxford Mixed  beat  Spikeopaths Mixed 2   25 - 18,  25 - 14
Maidenhead Mixed 2  beat  Oxford Mixed   18 - 25,  27 - 25,  15 - 8

But I am sure the people present have made an amazing job!

3rd Fixture - Kendrick School - 11/11/12

Oxford Mixed Vs. Farnborough

 If you remember, we were CLEARLY determined to give them a different fight from 1 month ago. And within this time the team had found some good automatics. The team on court was Giulia, Anna, Annette, Tomas, Corne & myself. Even if we started serving the game, Farnborough took it straight back from us and secured a nice +4 situation up to 7-3. But then Annette managed to make us catch back up to 9-8. We then took the lead forcing them to take a timeout at 15-11, and they caught back with the same spirit up to 17-18. But that was not enough to make us tremble and this time Tomas secured som important serves for us, putting the team in a nice position to win the set (21-18), which we did: 25-21.
The second set saw the exact same team on court. This time the fight was tighter during the 1st set. We were doing the set ahead by +4 (Us winning by 12-8). But Farnborough won a few points up to 13-12 when they decided to score another +4 more, putting them in a very decent lead: 18-14. The rest of the second set, even if I decided to take our second timeout at 15-20, saw us losing 25-19 in then end.
So there we were, ready to give some more on the 3rd set. Still no change to team on court... (I had a feeling about this team...). Beginning again very tight. Farborough in the lead 2-0, then tight 3-3, then Farborough 6-4 & 8-7. At 8-8, because we were blocking there playing, they took a timeout. It was not enough to break our motivation, and we kept fighting each points: 10-10, 11-11, 12-12, 13-13... Part of we thought it would be one of these endless games. But it was couting without Tomas who made sure that last 2 points got scored for us!!!! 15-13 (I got the MVP for this game :) )

Oxford Mixed Vs. Farnborough

A very different game this one was... The team playing was Giulia, Tomas & Corne (I kept swapping them because they gave everything in the previous game), Annette, Luca, Helen & myself (again...). Not a lot to say about this game really (unfortunately...). A pretty tight start up to 7-7, but then Maidenhead took the lead 13-9 and kept their advance until the end 25-19.
The second set was even worse. And even if I did took somne timeouts at 1-7 and 6-19, there was nothing we could do that could disturb them. They produced some very good volleyball and got us 25-9.
Out MVP went this time to Luca.


As you probably know, we are not doing too bad so far (But Maidenhead is clearly in the lead...):
 Maidenhead Mixed 6  6  0  12  1  18    
 Newbury Mixed 4  3  1  7  2  10    
 Basingstoke Mixed 4  3  1  6  3  9    
 Oxford Mixed 6  2  4  6  9  8    
 Farborough Panthers 6  2  4  5  8  7    
 Spikeopaths Mixed 1 2  2  0  4  1  6    
 Maidenhead Mixed 2 2  2  0  4  1  6    
 Farnborough Lions 4  1  3  3  7  4    
 Spikeopaths Mixed 2 4  0  4  1  8  1    
 Spikeopaths Mixed 3 4  0  4  0  8  0    

The next game is this Sunday in Queen's Mary College! Wish us good luck!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Oxford Mens 2 - Third Fixture & 2 Wins !

Good afternoon,

It is with pleasure that I can announce you we have won another 2 games in our eague so far!!

1st Game - Oxford Mens 2 Vs. Spikeopaths

The team on court was Simon, Seb, Hideki, Dan, Hussain & myself. We managed to get a very quick start finishing in advance 11-7 after the first 5 servers, including a stunning 6 services in a row from Hideki. The team was playing well and our basics were there. Then Spikeos got in their game and started coming back slowly and forced us to take a timeout at 16-14. Good timeout whiwh put us back in the right focus to finish the set 25-20.

The second set started slightly differently. The team on court was the same, apart from Tomas who was now replacing Dan. Spikeos were now on full power and took the lead quite quickly 8-6 and then 10-8. Our motivation came back and after catching back some points, we forced Spikeos to take the first timeout of the set with them in the lead 14-13. Then the next points were very tight with a few very good rallyes, and the next team who took a timeout was us being lead 19-17. And then we just had a very bad  moment that Spikeos used to their advantage forcing us to take the second timeout being led this time 23-18... A good speech from our coach Seb put us back on the normal mindset we should have and even if we lost the second set 25-22, we were back in the game.

The thirsd set was very quick, only 13 minutes. Good rallyes, clean services (again 5 services in a row for Hideki) and the conclusion was quick: 15-9. The MVP title went to Hideki for his very good work at the service and on the net.

2nd Game - Oxford Mens 2 Vs. Farnborough

 A very different  game. The team was the same as the previous 1st set. We took the lead quite quickly 8-5 and up to 13-8, forcing Farnborough to take their 1st timeout. At this point, they forced us to play their game which put them in a situationof catching back point after point...This timeout worked we took ours at 15-14... Again, very good speech from Seb who focused us back on what we do: play basic effective volleyball. A good finish with 7 services in a row from my side, backed up with strong precise hits from Dan and Hideki. And even if my last service was a very bad "out" Jump serve, we won the first set 25-18.

The second set went even better for us, we made sure we didn't start playing their game this time and Dan put us in a strong position after 8 services: 14-5 (after a timeout at 12-4 from Farnbrough...). The rest was clean and precise from everyone, including strong hits from Hideki again, and we won the second set 25-12. And the MVP title went (again) to our newly recruited Japanese Hideki.

My next post will be to summarise what has happened so far with the mixd team as I have been quite bad in writing match reports... Keep checking the website!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Movember time!

Movember is upon us again and – just like the pansies in spring – moustaches are popping up left right and centre in an effort to raise awareness of male cancer, and hopefully also some funds for cancer research. 

Oxford Volleyball Club has its own Movember Team page – go check it out, sign up for the cause and help us spread the fur, err.. the word!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sacrificing everything, Ladies 1 are through to the third round

On a very early Sunday morning, in the pouring rain, Ladies 1 set off on their three-hour journey to their second-round cup match against Tendring. Thanks to Jon’s driving, most of us enjoyed a sleepy ride through the flooded landscape. Unfortunately the heavy rain took its toll with Annika’s car breaking down less than one hour away from the venue. With two players missing, half the shirts in the stranded car and Maïté without her kit, we had to improvise quickly – with a great outcome. Maïté looked great in Jon’s shorts, and Nela did not fall over in size 8 shoes. The warm-up was on!

First set
Just in time for match start, Chrissie made it to the venue although Annika was still stuck in the rain waiting for rescue. With all the intention to make our absent captain proud, the first set got off to a fantastic start with Oxford leading the opponents by up to 10 points in the first half of the set. Tendring was completely taken by surprise – perhaps underestimating a local league team. Maïté put them under pressure with some great serving and we scored some good attacks. However, having overcome the initial shock, Tendring pulled themselves together making good use of their strong hitters. Despite some unusual inaccuracy in our receiving, we finished the set 25:22.

Second set
The second set was a real fight with Tendring making great use of some very clever tipping which, to Jon’s big dismay, we struggled to pick up. However, it looked like a few of the tough training drills over the last couple of weeks paid off with some nice tips over the block, and a calm pick-up from under the net, so there was still hope. The second set finished 25:20 to us.

Third set
Continuing from the second set, Tendring improved and got more into their game: their tipping continued to be very effective, even with some great pick-ups from our defence. Together with some great hits, they moved ahead of us and won the set 25:22.

Fourth set
We went into the fourth set with all the determination to bring this game home and make all the sacrifices worthwhile. Passing improved with some clever coaching from the sideline, the sets found their target and the hits finished the deal. The set finished 27:25, and the team is through to the third round of the cup!

Final result
Final score: Oxford wins 3 sets to 1
Team: Maite, Kerstin, Nela, Anna, Federica, Chrissie, Karina (and Annika honorary MVP for the match)

Written by Karina

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Second fixture of the season for Ladies 2!

This is just a short match report, but wanted to let you all know how Ladies 2 got on today, in our second fixture of the season. We travelled to Queen Mary's College to take on Maidenhead and Basingstoke.With many of the players new to the club and three setters not able to play, we were grateful to Izzy, who did a fab job in her first time as setter, and to Amra, who stepped up to play opposite for the first time. It took us a little while to get going, but in a great display of mental strength (not to mention some fine volleyball!) we came back from 16-10 down to being close to taking the set, in the end narrowly losing by 25-23. The less said about the second set the better, but thank you to Seb for giving us a kicking, with the result that we stormed the first set of second match 25-9. Basingstoke upped their game for the next set, but we were up to the challenge and some great team work saw us take the set 25-21, winning the match. Congrats to Fliss for gaining MVP in both matches! And well done to the whole team: Amra, Andrea, Anna W, Fliss, Giulia, Helen, Izzy and our coach, Seb!