Tuesday, March 26, 2013

First defeat for Men 1 in BVA league

On Sunday 24 March, the mighty men 1 team got together for their home games. Even though spring had begun, it was still freezing outside and so we were hoping for it to hot up inside the Headington sport hall. 

Squad for the day: Rune, Jon, Gareth, Roberto, Martijn, Gerard, Gabri, Raul, and Hideki (on loan from team 2)

Oxford v Spikeos
We refereed the first match of the triangle and then played the first match against Spikeo’s, last year’s league winners and our closest competition to win the league this season. We had beaten them twice already this season, and they were very much up for taking revenge. 

Being warmed up from the first match, they got into the game more quickly than us. At 0-4 and 4-11 behind, we struggled to find our rhythm, while they were full of confidence. From there we pulled it back a few points at the time but we could not stamp our authority fully on the match. From 22-22, we had set point at 24-23, which we failed to convert and a couple of mistakes gave them the set. 

Some changes in the second set did not make it any better. Again we gave them a nice head start at 1-6, to 6-14. We made too many mistakes and were inconsistent, while they put us under some pressure and defended very well. We tried hard but did not find a way back into the match and lost 19-25, 0-2. Back to the drawing board! MVP: Gabri.

Oxford v Maidenhead
The second match was against Maidenhead, who are residing towards the bottom of the league table. We continued to play similar to the first match, and never got into full-team volleyball flow. Lethargic energy levels on court made the crowd almost fall asleep. We did however pull ourselves together and from 11-8 down, went on to 16-13 and 22-16 up to win the first set 25-17. In the second set we started well and got ahead of them and never looked back. Our side-out worked well, and we stayed ahead to win the set 25-16. MVP: Gareth.

Four matches left for us this season!

(Written by Martijn)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mens 2 Super Weekend!!

Ladies and gents,
I am pleased to announce that Oxford Mens 2 have just had a super weekend: 4 games and 4 victories!!

1st Game - Oxford Vs. Reading University

We had a revenge to take against Reading University as they have been the only ones winning a game against us so far in the league. So let me tell you, the team was there to fight!! (Specially Luca :) )
First 6 players of the Super Weekend were Seb, Luca, Simon, Adam, Hideki and myself. The start was in Reading's advantage maintaining a slight +1 all along up to 9-8. We then took the lead with the same type of lead up to an even 19-19. 6 services from Seb after, we were in the lead 24-20!! And Seb finished the set on a setter's tip 25-20
So even with their strong hitters, Reading was struggling. We only had to carry on as we were. Seb decided to keep the same 6 players and the second set was on! A very similar start but with a slightly bigger advantage for Reading 13-09. We had our first timeout at this point as a reaction from the team was needed. But even after more rallyes, Reading were keeping the advantage up to 22-19. But you all know the rules of volleyball, the set is over when one teams reaches 25 before the other one with a difference of 2 points! And we fought much harder catching back up to 24-24!!! Another service from both teams and we were at 25-25. The only thing we had to do was to keep going! An Luca, with his definite crave of victory against reading, gave us these extra 2 points we neede to reach the final score of 27-25. Seb got the MVP title surely for being extremly good and annoying during the 2 sets and specially the 1st set.


2nd Game - Oxford Vs. Didcot

On this occasion as we had some supporters, we were not ready to give and show a similar performance as the previous game. Seb did some changes to the players. The team on court was Simon, Seb, Luca, Tomas, Adam & myself. We started by receiving the first ball, win the point and Seb, Luca and Tom brought us to a secure 12-3. And we had served 3 times out... So the game was not starting as the previous one. Smooth and enjoying playing, we carried on with a comfy advance up to 24-7 & then 25-10. And we served 6 times out... For the second set, Hideki replaced Adam, but the outcome was the same. This time we didn't serve in the net or out, and after 3 servers we were ahead 12-3. Every time Didcot was having the service back, we were taking it back straight and we won the second set 25-6 with no real fight. Seb got the MVP title again as he managed, again, to conclude the first set on a wonderful setter's second hand.


3rd Game - Oxford Vs. Spikeos 2

After an interesting night celebrating St Patrick and the French wooden spoon, we were up again in Kendrick School in Reading. For the first game we were playing against Spikeos 2. The players on court were Seb, Luca, Tomas, Hideki, Simon and myself. The first few points were tight and Spikeos were putting up the fight. After 3 servers we were ahead 8-3 but we were not entirely confident as we were trying too hard. We still managed to keep a safe advantage up to 17-10. Spikeos managed at this point to re gather their troups and even if they took their second timeout at 15-20, their spirit was definitly back. We won the first set 25-18.
And the second set started with the same Oxford players. Similar start with tight scores. We took the lead up to 6-5 forcing them to take their timeout, gather up and force us to take ours 4 points after at 9-6... Complete breakdown of the team, nothing was working anymore and Spikeos were in a high, scoring point after point up to a significant advantage of 17-8!!! We decided, during our second and last timeout that it was time to bring back on court our 7th player: OUR TEAM SPIRIT!! And we surely did: 18-10, 20-13, 21-15 (second timeout for Spikeos seeing us coming back very slowly but surely), 23-18, 24-20 & up to 24-22!!! But that's when they decided to finally score that final point they were missing and we lost the set 25-22.
So there we were again! Loosing a set against Spikeos 2! Set number 3 started with David on court replacing Tomas. Very quick start up to 6-1, but again Spikeos showed us how good they were and caught back 7-7. But after working on the team spirit and getting the job done, there was almost nothing that could stop us at this point and we won another 5 points up to 12-8. Last 3 services from Hideki and we finally won the 3rd set and the game 15-9. And Simon got the MVP title for his very (usual) good job at the net!


4th Game - Oxford Vs. Reading Aces

One last game to play... We were starting to feel the fatigue from our 3 previous games but there was one last to go against Reading Aces. The team on court was Simon, Seb, Luca, Dave, Hideki and myself. Decent start from both teams, with a slight advantage in our favor up to 9-6, but Reading kept this advantage to a  minimum and managed to take the lead at the end 20-18. We took our timeout at this point and it was clear. We had to do this extra step to win the set. And we carried on cheering every point, caught back with them and took the lead again up to 24-21. Even if they scored 2 points, we finally got ours with a serve from Seb.
But all our team spirit was there this time, and it was a completly different Oxford team which started playing. Tomas was back in on Dave, and this time we finished the set in 7 rotations, with myself serving 8 times in a row, going from 8-3 to 16-4! There was no coming back from Reading this time and we secured this set 16 minutes: 25-8. I got the MVP probably for the energy I put in keeping the team spirit, the 8 serves in a row, a very unexpected line hit and a fancy pancake pick up (some could say I had enough time to do a normal dig and that I only wanted to show off...)


And according to Luca's stats, we probably have won the league already !!! :) :) :)
See you next year in division 1 for some Mens derbies!

Coming soone, our player's statistics because this year, they have become legen.....DARY!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Ladies 1 pick up two wins at the weekend

Game 1: Oxford Ladies 1 v Spikeos Ladies 1
The first set started well despite an unusual line up with Annika playing through the middle. We were a few points up straight away and although Spikeos caught up to within two points about half way through the set, they never got ahead. Nela returned to the team and got straight into the game with an ace. Our consistent serving was our strongest point and we won the set 25:15. 

The second set was a very different story… Spikeos got a service run straight away, getting themselves a lead of 11 points! We eventually got a grip and started playing but Spikeos kept putting up a good fight, even blocking one of Federica's power hits through 4 (gasp!). However, continued strong serving especially from Maïté and Nela, better focus on our defence, and cleverly angled power hitting through the middle by Karina meant we didn't only catch up but took the lead and finished the set 25:18.

MVP was Nela - welcome back! 

Game 2: Spikeos 1 v Oxford Uni Ladies
Based on Spikeos Ladies' performance in the previous game, we thought this would be a quick win for them. However, they never really get into the game in the first set  and Oxford Uni won it very convincingly (25:15). Spikeos started a little shakily again in the second set but managed to switch on and take the second set, although with a relatively close score (25:20). They were back to form in the deciding set, leading 8:2 at changeover and winning 15:8.

Game 3: Oxford Ladies 1 v Oxford Uni Ladies
We knew we had to be focussed from the beginning to avoid being dragged away from our game and repeat what had happened to Spikeos. The Uni ladies had displayed some good defensive play and effective hitting, especially from the back court, in the previous game. 

Luckily they never really got a chance to show this in the game against us as they struggled to pass our serves and defend our attacks. Great serving from Fede and Ania and great setting and distribution from Maïté are worth a mention, we even managed to try our recently practised slide and tandem attacks, which both won points. 

We won both sets, 25:8 and 25:10. MVP was Maïté. Special thanks to Ania, our recurring guest player!

(Written by Annika)