Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Oxford Mens 2 - Christmas before Christmas !

Last Sunday the Oxford Mens 2 team played in Headington against Reading Aces & Didcot. This is what happened...

1st Game - Oxford Vs Didcot

Second encounter of the year against Didcot and we knew they would be annoying because experienced. For the occasion, Maite accepted to be our bench coach - job she did very well! The initial 6 on court were Seb, Adam, David, Simonm, Hussain & myself. A very quick start from us ahead up to 5-1 and it was the first timeout from Didcot... Good coverage, good intensity of play, strong attacks, good blocking... In short, nothing to say up to 16-5. And then, something happened... Something... Odd... Adam hit a nice diagonal and managed to get the Fire Alarm started... So everyone went outside and we waited until the caretaker sorted the issue. And this break got rid of our concentration. Didcot scored 7 points in a row, followed by another 4 after, catching back on us. Maite took our first timeout when we were in the lead only by 18-16. A good speech, a good scream, and a good adrenaline rush - we scored the other 7 points needed and won the first set 25-19.
The second set was quite different. Similar start to the first for us - even stronger I would say. 4 services in a row from Seb, 1 from Adam and 10 from Dave... At this point we are ahead 18-4 and dan has been swapped with me at 15-4... A bit of a slwo down in the end but no real difficulty coming from the opponents and we won the second set 25-12.
Adam got the MVP for this game for his strong and smart hits through the blocks !

2nd Game - Oxford Vs Reading

First encounter against Reading and they showed some serious spiking during the warm up, especially their Nb 8 NVL. But we all know the truth... A strong spike is only strong when it goes through the block !!
Anyway, Maite put on court Seb, Adam, David, Dan, Mike & Simon. Quite a tight start this time, rreading giving a bit more defense than Didcot on the first 20 points scored: 10-10. The kick we needed came from the few services from the awesome Adam and we were clearly ahead by +7: 18-11. The rest of the set was then very quick and clear: 25-15. Plus the fact that Oxford was on the HIGH !!
Second set starting with Simon, Seb, Adam,, Daid, Mike & myself, and we produced some very good volleyball. The first half of the set we were scoring twice when Reading was scoring once. And the second part saw us even stronger. At 11-4 Hussain replaced Adam, followed soon at 15-6 by Dan coming to replace Simon whose back was hurting a bit... Thumb up for Hussain who saved twice in the same rallye 2 strong hits of their Nb. 8 - Rallye finished by myself with a strong hit ... :) And we had a clean victory 25-9 on the second set.
Again, Adam got the MVP for this game - Strong & precise hits... Again...

The conclusion of these 2 games is that we are ahead for the Christmas Break even if Spikeos Mens 2 is right behind us... The second half of the season will be interesting !!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ladies 2 keep on winning

On Saturday 2 December, Oxford Ladies 2 showed true fighting spirit, not only against the freezing sports hall, but against Oxford University ladies in a very exciting match. 

Oxford v Oxford University
Having hosted the first match, the team – consisting of Tatiana as captain, Annette, Amra, Izzy, Fliss, Guilia, Andrea and Anna – found it tough to warm up and start well against an already warm and enthusiastic student team. The first set was very close and, even after good volleyball, we lost the set 25-23. 

We started the second set with more determination and focus; despite the tough serves from Oxford University, great blocking and tipping by Fliss and Andrea kept us in the game. We were pretty much neck and neck and getting pretty panicky on court when it got to 23-24 but great setting by Annette and simple volleyball did the trick. At 28-29, Tati served a brilliant ace on the back line to give Oxford ladies 2 the set, 30-28! 

The third set started shakily for Ladies 2, losing a few points on serve receive but we finally pulled away with the help of Guilia's great serving and powerful attacks at the net, winning the set 15-2. A totally nerve-wracking but fantastic game for Ladies 2 showing true character and real mental strength!

MVP, as voted by the other team: Tati.

Oxford v Newbury
After emptying almost all reserves during the previous game, we put a few different players on court. Amra came in as a setter, Anna joined out the outside along with Hanna, who had just arrived from the airport. 

The team took a while to find its feet, giving Newbury a 7-2 lead. Seb called a time-out and we then slowly but surely began to catch up, eventually winning the set 25-19.    

Yet again, we started the second set much stronger and never let Newbury into the game. Excellent passing coupled with stronger serving and better finishing meant we won the set convincingly, 25-12. 

MVP, as voted by the other team: Hanna. 

(Written by Izzy)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mens 2 - And another 2 wins !!

Good afternoon,

As you probably know, the Oxford Mens 2 were playing last Sunday. And as you also probably know (from checking our Facebook page ...) is that we won our 2 games.

Oxford Mens 2 Vs. Reading University

We had a revenge to take on Reading as they won our previous encounter. Our beloved & worshipped coach & setter Sebastien decided that the right team to do so would be Hideki, David, Dan, Hussain, Simon & himself. It is important to say that at this point we showed an unusual impressive warm-up. A good start with a few mistakes from Reading (1st timeout at 8-3) & we were in the lead with a strong advantage: 11-4. The basic was there and we kept the good rhythm by increasing this advance up to 22-8 when Reading decided to take their 2nd timeout. They also changed their setter who unfortunately was not in this set but it didn’t change anything to the final score and we won with a comfortable lead: 25-11.
Aware that we were not producing what we could in term of level of volleyball, especially in defense (high defending, “messy” on covering…) Sebastien made it clear to the team that it was time to show this to Reading. And of course, in these moments what happens? You stop playing… An Reading started the set in the lead up to 6-4 & timeout requested by Seb just to remind us (again) what he just said. It was defintily a good timeout because not only did we start playing more, but also we took the lead forcing Reading to take their 1st timeout being led 8-9 and not being able to score another point before 13-8. Thanks to David & his 8 services in a row & then Hussain for his 4 services, we were again in the lead 16-13. Sebastien had slightly twisted his ankle and asked me to come in to replace him as a setter: 8 services in a row, 3 good passes, a good organized defense, & everything was over: 25-13.
Hideki got the MVP title for his strong and precise hits & tips.

Oxford Mens 2 Vs Didcot

First time we were playing Didcot (If I am right…) and the initial team on court was Seb, Mike, David, Hussain, Simon & myself. This report will be a bit shorter than the precedent as the scoresheet is not really readable… After referring the previous game that saw Didcot win against Reading Uni, we were ready to fight against experienced players. The set worked in a really slow way but we kept up scoring a few more points than Didcot & managed to secure 25 points before them: 25-17. However, we were not playing, we were only coping and it was a bit frustrating.
On the second set, things actually unlocked properly and we gave them no chance whatsoever as we kept defending, passing and attacking with several options everytime, the whole lot covered with basic but annoying float serves which completely killed their defense. I think I served 13 times in a row and I am sure it helped to finish quickly the 2nd set 25-11.
I got the MVP probably for my services.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Men 1 continue their winning streak

On Sunday 2 December, Men 1 travelled to Binfield early in the morning to play Newbold and Spikeos. It was a cold, sunny and bright day outside. Inside the Newbold College sporthall, it was less bright, but very cold – even Rune put on a jacket! Squad for the day: Gareth, Martijn, Roberto, Raul, Gabri, Rune, Anders.

Spikeos v OVC
First match was against Spikeos, last year’s league winners. We coped better with the Arctic conditions and got off to a flying start, going 7-2 and 15-3 up. We kept playing at a good level, doing well in all areas of the game, especially our defence was in great shape and they had to fight hard for their points. At the end of that first set, they only got 13, against 25 of ours. 

In the second set we gave them a 2-0 head start, after which we picked up our level again and beat them on all fronts, playing all-round good volleyball. Good focus, serving, passing, setting, attacking front and back, blocking, defence – it was all too much for them. We closed the second set out at 25-12, and the match was ours. Some would call this a thrashing...

MVP as voted by them: Martijn!

Newbold v OVC 
In the second match we played Newbold, new to division 1 after promotion last season. We didn’t know much about them, but they looked good in the warm-up with a good setter and some big hitters. Undeterred by this, we started off and play was even until we pulled away to 17-10 and continued with high intensity and focus. 23-12 became 25-13 and the first set in the bag. 
In the second set we continued on the same foot and the consistent pressure was too much for them. After 16 minutes, it was all done at 25-9: another 2-0 victory for OVC Men 1. 

MVP as voted by them: Gareth!