Sunday, December 14, 2014

A good end to the year for our NVL Ladies!

On Sunday the 7th of December, Oxford Ladies played their last two NVL games for this year.
They met in full complement (Annika, Andrea, Sonia, Federica, Nela, Amra, Elisa, Masia, Chrissie and Adriana) Norfolk Ladies,  RAF Hawks in the Oxford Ferry Leisure Centre.

Oxford Ladies triumphed in both games and survived the cold environment in the sports hall (see pictures).

In the first game of a triangular fixture Oxford Ladies played Norfolk. The two teams were well matched, according to previous results in the league, and it was very nice game to watch for the audience. Both teams showed a good hitting ability. Thanks to very good serves, especially from Adriana, and better receiving technique, Oxford won first two sets by some margin. The third set became a little bit shaky when some of the players lost their concentration, but Oxford found a way to turn around the set and also the match in their favour.

In their second match, Oxford Ladies had what turned out to be weaker opponents on the day, RAF Hawks, who only managed to score 5 points in each set. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Cup game: great performance from Oxford Ladies vs Polonia SideOut London

Nine players for the day were: Adriana, Andrea, Annika, Amra, Chrissie, Elisa, Fede, Sonia and Nela. 

The team arrived in London well aware of the technical and physical superiority of the opposing team (one of the top teams in the UK). Their ability was very clear from the warm up. Nevertheless, the Oxford girls were determined to try to win at least one set. Why at least one set? .....Easy answer:  Jon has promised to take the whole team out for a dinner after the game if they win at least one set.

The first set started with 5-0 for the Oxford ladies (see the photograph here documenting this score!). With amazing serves, extraordinary blocking, great passing and setting Oxford stayed in the game, playing at the same level of their opponents. It looked like Jon was going to be paying up. Unfortunately, Oxford ladies lost the set by just two points

The ladies continued to play really well in the second and the third set. The middles did a great job by blocking and attacking, but it wasn't sufficient to win the game. It was very difficult to receive the jump serves and to keep up with the fast game of Polonia. 

I also have to mention Polonia supporters with the "great idea" of using super loud drums and whistle during the game. Oxford Ladies, not used to the sound, had serious difficulties to communicate with each other and concentrate on the game (Fede and Adi were the only ones enjoying this noise).

Final score: 3-0 for the Polonia SideOut London

Written by Amra and Elisa

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Globetrotters in Spikeos double

On Sunday 16th November, the Globetrotters travelled to Reading for a "Spikeopaths double" playing Spikeos 2 and Spikeos 3 in a row.

No subs this time since Jon and Annika were away with the ladies NVL team, Matt was busy somewhere else and Luca and Daniel were still injured. So the line up was: Neil and Brad in the middle, Leonard and Giulia outside, Maïté setting and Stef opposite. Captain this time was Brad!

The first match was against Spikeos 2, who were lining up a strong team.

Captain Brad managed to lose the serve (schoolboy error!) but things started up pretty well for the Trotters since they recovered the serve without conceding a point, and managed to score 6 points on Maïté's serve: 7-0 not a bad start! Spikeos 2 tried to get back into the game with their setter desperately trying second ball after second ball but the Trotters held firmly and always kept the lead finishing the first set 25 to 19.

Alas the second set was a complete different story: the Spikeos middle ladies were working hard at the net blocking both Brad and Leonard and our setter was not being very kind with her hitters giving them difficult balls to work with. A few silly mistakes and we were suddenly behind 5 to 12 forcing Neil to take a time-out. We managed to come back by a few points with Stef managing to recover 3 points on her serve but unfortunately, Spikeos remained solid and concluded the set by winning 25-18.

Time for a tie-break (we seem to get a lot of these at OVC these days!).
Same position as in the two previous sets (not much of a choice for Neil with 6 players only anyway!) but a very different story this time (although captain Brad lost the toss again!). Spikeos were struggling to pass our serves and were making a lot of mistakes when hitting. They took their first time-out at 5-1 but to no avail and when Stef got to the serve we had just switched side at 8-3. 5 minutes later and Stef had just finished serving (remaining undisturbed by a second time-out from Spikeos) and we were leading 14-4 leaving Leonard the easy job of finishing the set with an ace! Neil didn't even get a chance to serve.

MVP: Maïté (N.B from Maïté: not sure why since my setting was atrocious and Stef did all the work in the tie-break! I suspect they misread our short numbers!)

Oxford Globetrotters vs  Spikeopath 3

The Trotters had their second game against Spikeopath 3 with the same player’s position on the court as the previous game. This rotation has proved solid and good abilities in the match against Spikeopath 2. The coach Brad opted then for a steady beginning. At her ease Maite has offered an improved and accurate setting to the wings in addition to Brad who dashed down the balls into the adversary’s court. Unafraid from the top spin services and from some perfidious tips from the Spikeos’ girls, the Trotters kept a sober playing and won the first set 25-14. The last victory regained the trust of the Trotters and it allowed them to start the second part of the fight unruffled.Neil started the game with 6 hard-passing services and Trotters pulled the Trotters on strong bases with a score of 6-0. The opposition was unstructured and disconcerted by the frightful easiness that the blues showed at Reading. Stunned by a tactless serving by Lenny, the Spikeospaths were left hopeless and the Trotters got away with 10 points. Neil decided to put them down with 5 last accurate servings and ended the match on the score of 25-9.

MVP :  Lenny

Written by Maite and Lenny