Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ladies 2 fought a hard battle in Reading

On 24 February, Ladies 2 travelled to Reading with an eight-woman squad: Helen, Andrea, Tati, Sonia, Izzy, Amra, Giuilia and Hanna, as well as their devoted coach Seb.

Spikeos v Oxford
Our first game against Spikeos was slow and we struggled to find our rhythm. Nevertheless, we took the lead and were on our way to win the first set. But our game grounded to a halt when a strong Spikeos server managed to score 15 points in a row. Coach Seb tried everything: two substitutions and rearranging the defence but, even though things picked up towards the end of the set, we lost it, 18:25.

A determined Oxford team came on court in the second set and, with better passing and some strong hitting and tipping (particularly on the outside), we won the second set 25:15. The deciding tie-break offered much of the same and, with some superb blocking from Helen and great passing from Izzy, we never really felt threatened. We won the last set 15:10 and the game 2:1. 
MVP: Amra for her consistent setting and clever tipping.

Reading Aces v Oxford
Despite their position in the league, Reading Aces proved a tougher team to beat. They’re an experienced team with a couple of young, eager players, and they know where to place the ball to make the opposition work. Just like the first game, we had a convincing lead but dropped eights points at the end of the set, losing it 22:25.

In the second set, we found our feet and started moving much better on the court. Sonia proved what a great player she is with some superb serving and great pick-ups (or floor-sweeping, as Seb calls it), and Andrea found new life at the net, flooring every hit. We won the second set 25:20 and, once again, had to play a deciding tie-break.

The tie-break was a nervous affair with both teams wanting to win it badly. Some great serving and clever placing of the ball got us in the lead, and we never let it go. When a Reading player hit the last ball in the net, it was a relieved and very happy Ladies 2 team that came together to celebrate another two hard-won feats. And Seb could eventually breathe out! MVP: Giulia for her passing and clever hitting.

(Written by Hanna)

Ladies 1 bagged another two wins

Ladies 1 had a good Sunday and beat both Spikeos 2 (25:8 and 25:6) and Maidenhead (25:9 and 25:15).

In a very cold gym at Headington Girls School, the team was in the lead throughout both games, playing good volleyball. The team did a very good job in keeping the opposition under pressure, without lowering the level of the game. Precise passing and strong and consistent serving were their main strengths.

The atmosphere was relaxed and fun, and every player was in a good mood and focused on the game. Our next game is on Saturday 2 March, so if you want to cheer for us, please join us at 10.30am at Oxford High School in Summertown.

(Written by Federica)

Our beginners’ team won their first tournament

Together with Jon and Neil, our beginners’ team went to Newbury to play in our first ever development tournament – and won all three games.

The squad consisted of Baz, Maz, Lutz and Victoria, who took our beginners’ course in October. Each team could also include a maximum of two experienced players who were not allowed to hit, block or do an overhand serve  – meaning Jon and Neil didn’t have to make that many changes to their game!

Oxford v Spikeos
The first game against Spikeos was a tight game. Spikeos was just ahead until Lutz had a great run of serves, which took us to a clear win.

Newbury 2 v Oxford
The next game was against Newbury 2. After being hit in the face by a ball in the first game, Victoria came to life with some good spikes (over men’s height net) and Baz also passed some nice balls. Again a good win.

Newbury 1 v Oxford
In the last game against Newbury 1, Maz really started to get the height of the net sorted with some very strong hits. Lutz picked up a couple of great balls and Baz was competing well at the net.

A good all-round team effort and a fun night.

(Written by Neil) 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Men 1: Oops, we won again

On Sunday 24 February, Men 1 travelled again to play in the BVA league – this time to Newbury to play Basingstoke and Newbury. Squad: Rune, Jeremy, Roberto, Jon, Gareth, Gerard, Gabriele, Jamie, Martijn.

First match against Basingstoke
Basingstoke sit down at the bottom of the league, and we showed them why. Despite their low level, we kept ours at good heights and made few mistakes. With a display of good defence and recycling of the ball, we dispatched them easily 25-11, 25-6. MVP: Gabriele.

Second match against Newbury 

Newbury are top of the bottom three clubs and were very keen to show that they deserve to stay in division 1. With our new combination of setter (Roberto) and libero (Jon), we had to raise our level to stay ahead as we went through a well-fought first set. We made a few more mistakes than usual but never got behind in points. First set was ours at 25-22. In the second set we found our next gear, and put more pressure on them, from 12-9 to 18-13, we finished the set 25-17 and another 2-0 victory! MVP: Jamie.

(Written by Martijn)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Double win for Ladies 2

Ladies 2's last two matches in the BVA league took place at home in Headington, Oxford on Sunday 10 February. As we were hosting, the first game was between Newbury and Basingstoke. The two teams were evenly matched, resulting in a third set. Basingstoke won the match 2:1.

Ladies 2 v Newbury
The team was built of Amra setting, Helen and Andrea playing through the middle, Giulia and Anna as outside players, and Tati as opposite. With the temperature in the hall not ideal, Ladies 2 needed a proper warm-up for their first match against Newbury, who were already warm from their previous match. We took the first set, 25:8. In the second set, we switched off and Newbury ladies saw an opportunity to take this set in their favour, but we stood our ground, winning the second set 25:23, and the match 2-0. 

Ladies 2 v Basingstoke
The second match was against the stronger opponent, Basingstoke Lionesses, and was more of a challenge for us. On court, we were joined by Fliss, who substituted Helen in the middle, as well as Hanna and Izzy, substituting Giuila and Anna on the outside.

The first set was very close. Despite our good hitting, Basingstoke’s consistent defence returned almost every attack, but we still managed to win the set 25:23. The second set started somewhat shakily and a few silly mistakes made us lose our confidence. Basingstoke took the wind out of our sails and won the second set 25:19. In the the third set, we got out confidence back and played much better. Amra's great sets gave us the opportunity to show some good hitting, and our defence and serving also proved troublesome for Lionesses. We soon resumed dominance on court and, with loud support from the audience and cheering posters (thanks Andrey), we won the last set after over an hour's battle, 15:7.
Well done to Tati, MVP for the first match, and to Hanna, MVP for the second match. Well done to whole team and of course, we cannot forget the man behind our success, Seb for his patience and support, and for bringing out the best in us on the court.

(Written by Andrea)

Men's 1 team still unbeaten in BVA league div 1

On Sunday 10 February, Men's 1 travelled to Aldershot again to play against Newbury and Farnborough. No snow or scenic routes meant we got there in good time for some team bondage and a good warm-up on court. OVC squad: Martijn, Gabri, Gerard, Gareth, Jon, Jamie, Jeremy, Rune, Raul

First match against Newbury
This was the first time this season that we played against the newly promoted team from division 2. Despite their position towards the bottom of the table, they had some good players in their team. We had a good start, but never really got out of second gear during the first set. However, we were well-organised and played solidly, and took the first set 25-17. In the second set, much of the same as the first set; a few replacements, including Jamie's BVA league debut for OVC. We won the second set 25-16, and another 2-0 victory for the men in Oxford blue. MVP voted by them: Martijn.

Second match against Farnborough
Farnborough had the usual players and they showed their power during the hitting in the warm-up. In the first set, they also showed that without a good pass you can't win volleyball matches. We capitalised with good serving and defending, and did not give many points away. First set was ours, 25-9. The second set started in similar fashion and we played good all-round volleyball, including some good blocking. At 23-17, we thought we had won the match and could not side-out, so let them back into the set. It became 24-24 and, at that point, the coach had used both of his time-outs! It went point for point with set points for both teams: 27-27, 28-28, 29-29, and then two points in a row for us and we won the set 31-29, and the match 2-0. MVP voted by them: Martijn.

(Written by Martijn)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Oxford Mens 2 - Yihaaa !! Another 2 wins !!

Last Sunday, Oxford Mens 2 played in Headington and brought back 2 clean victories and 6 points!! Here is below how we did:

 1st Game - Reading Aces Vs. Oxford Mens 2

The team on court was Simon, Seb, Luca, Dued avid, Adam & myself. Reading started serving but we got the service back instantly and secured a nice 4-1. Then each team continued scoring evenly up to a 8-6, then 12-9. At this we started changing our rythm, up to 15-12 and Adam started serving: +7 and we were ahead 22-15!! The first set was over  in a split second: 25-16. The key for our first set was a clean passing with a nice distribution of balls from our setter. So the plan was the same for the 2nd set!
Hideki replaced me on court, and the start we took was even faster than the 1st set: 4-0, 7-1, and then 13-2... Reading took a timeout at this point, but it was already too late: 13-3, 17-4, 24-5, 25-5.
Luca got the MVP title for this game for his good fighting at the net!

2nd Game - Oxford University Vs. Oxford Mens 2

Very strong spirit on that day, we tought that nothing could stop us. But Seb re gathered us around as nothing was done and decided to put the same team as the second set back on court. But again, the defense was there, the covering was strong and the blocking was amazing. When Oxford Uni was scoring 1 point, we were scoring 2. So we secured the first timeout at 10-3, and the rest carried on flying up to 22-9. Another few serves and Hideki finished the set 25-10.
I replaced Hideki on court for the beginning of the second set. We struggled a bit to secure our advance, but a good serie of services from Seb managed to finally get us up to 20-9. At 17-8, Hideki replaced me back on court, but again, the blocking, the defense and the cover gave us the right level of confidence, and the game was again over quickly: 25-13.
I know I should not emphasize it too much but Luca, again, got the MVP for his strong hits and good blocks at the net.