Student Cup – Men 10/11/13

Student Cup – Men 10/11/13

Match Report

On Sunday 10th November the Men played in the Student Cup at Ashcombe in Surrey. With many of the team unavailable, due to issues varying from vomiting to a weekend spent with Mickey and pals at Disneyland, only 7 men converged at the Students’ Union building at 5.45am. Fighting back hangovers and sleep deprivation, the bus left for the almost 3 hour journey down to the tournament. Houses_serves
Arriving at 8.30, the Men discovered they were on to play first. With final squad member Wilsher, having safely negotiated the workings of inner city London transport, joined the team, the match against Brighton began. The first set was a comfortable warm up for Bristol, with Brighton making a few unforced errors that gifted points to Bristol, allowing for a 25-13 first set win. The second set was a harder affair, with Brighton finding their feet, however thanks to fantastic ‘pancaking’ from Justin Hui and serving from the ever-reliable Pawel Laskowski, Bristol won the second set 25-18 and thus the game 2-0.

The Men’s next game was against Chichester. Fuelled by Powerade, an unearthly amount of sandwiches and some ‘steer fry’, confidence was high going into the match. Again, in the first set the Men started strongly, and with good play from James Lydall and Jacob Webster, ran out 25-17 winners. Perhaps due to some over-confidence, in the second set the Men’s focus slipped and simple errors began to be made. With all 6 players missing a serve, Chichester were gifted points and pushed the set all the way until the end. Nerves were huge, but Bristol managed to win the set 27-25 and again take a 2-0 victory.

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Despite securing 2 wins out of 2, the Men’s heads began to drop after the disappointing performance in the previous set. Perhaps sensing this, the absent (through no fault of her own) coach Danielle Simpson sent what can only be described as a text straight from the heart and mind of Shakespeare. With her words stirring the team emotionally, the men were ready for the next game against tough opponents – Cardiff.

The Men played much better in this game, with good setting from Mike Avery, and hitting from Scott Caddick. Despite this, the strength of Cardiff was too much and they took the first set 25-13. Bristol came back much stronger in the second set, with Wilsher getting out wide to help Lydall block off Cardiff’s main hitter. Cardiff again, however, showed their quality and had the game at 24-16, with 8 match points. To their credit, Bristol managed to pull back 4 points, showing great perseverance, before John House, set up perfectly for the middle hit, decided to spear it wide, giving Cardiff the set and the win 2-0.

Laskowski_hits  With Cardiff having now all but won qualification into the next round of the cup, Bristol knew their only chance stood with beating final team Falmouth. And after a two hour wait and a couple more sandwiches and energy drinks, Bristol woke up Justin Hui from his pitch-side slumber and started the final game. The Men were certainly tired and enthusiasm was low on court, as Falmouth began to punish Bristol’s mistakes, taking the first set 25-18. It was at this point that something within the team flipped and emerging back onto the court for the second set, Bristol were a new team. With Laskowski running round the court like a man desperate to relieve his bowels, and Hui keeping every ball hit into the Bristol side alive, Bristol opened up a healthy lead. Everything clicked into place in the final set, with every single player playing out of their skins to get the win for Bristol, which was finally secured with a 25-11 final set win.

Bristol thus took 2nd place overall on the day, which keeps the hopes of qualification for the next round alive. Well done to all of the boys on the day who got up so early and played so well throughout.

Player of the Day: Justin Hui

Written by John House, 1st Team Captain

Student Cup – Ladies 10/11/13

Student Cup – Ladies 10/11/13

Match Report

The UOB Volleyball Ladies’ First Team took to the court in Ashcombe on Sunday 10th November for the annual Student Cup qualifying round. Following an early start, we were first up against Chichester 2nd’s. Having observed them during the warm-up, we were confident we could beat them and did so in two straight sets 25-9, 25-8. With players competing for the first time in a University match, newcomers such as Ellie Harrison and Vessy Dobreva gelled instantly with the team and we worked through our rotations competently as the match played out. Impressive setting from Kahmun Hor was also vital to our first win and Coach Lorenzo Marvulli’s “praise” for the other team kept spirits high.

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Next, we played the Falmouth and Exeter Ladies’ Team. We knew they would be tougher opponents and this showed in our first set defeat by 25-22. We returned to the second set with determination and high energy. With consistent blocks and serves from Catherine Wright, alongside solid hits from Lorena Bălan, we proved our worth in beating them 25-15, and again in the 3rd set 15-4 – some could say it was a “blood bath”.

thumbs_upOur final and without doubt toughest match was against Brighton University. Having continued straight on from the previous match, we remained positive and focussed, starting play confidently. We returned their tough serves and hits with purpose, but our energy started to falter and we lost the first set 15-25. LuluB Tsang’s reliable sets and serves kept us in the game and though we tried profusely to keep up energy and concentration, they beat us again 25-17. As a result, we finished 2nd in the pool; incredible considering we were missing some top hitters and worked with new combinations of players. We will have to wait and see the other pools’ results before we know if we have made it to the final.

Player Of The Day: Lorena Bălan

Written by Georgia Walker, 1st Team Captain

Bournemouth Ladies’ 1st v Bristol Ladies’ 1st 30/10/13

Match Report

The Ladies’ First Team started off their BUCS season with an away match at Bournemouth – perhaps not the most convenient location to ease us into the season. Nevertheless, we travelled the 130 or so miles and warmed up in high spirits, in preparation for the 12pm start.

We opened up the first set competently; unsure of our opponent’s abilities and relying on skills we developed in recent training sessions. Taking the lead at 7-3, we had high expectations of the sets to follow, with Kelly O’Connell performing impressive spikes and Rebeca Perez setting proficiently considering her limited practice with the team. Unfortunately, Bournemouth managed to creep their way back and level with us 10-10, as we got stuck in one rotation and were unable to defend their hits and blocks. We persisted whilst trying to work out our transitions, but this came too late as they took the first set 25-15.

Slightly disheartened, we approached the next set with more determination: again, we secured the first point and the set played out evenly, with impressive performances from both sides. In particular, Catherine Wright (POTM) demonstrated spectacular blocks and composed digs, while Luana Tăbîrcă’s tenacity as Opposite was vital to our play. Our serving was strong and consistent, especially Kelly and Alissa Ambrose’s, yet insufficient to conquer Bournemouth’s defence and quick attacks. We lost the second set 25-16 – positively, an improvement from the first.

Despite the loss, our great energy and team dynamic reflects our vast potential to improve this season, as we strengthen our skills and match play together. Thanks also to the significant support from those on the sidelines – this was essential to our confidence as a team. Bournemouth should expect a tough match when they come to play us in December.

Player Of The Match: Catherine Wright

Written by Georgia Walker, 1st Team Captain