Bath 1sts vs Bristol Ladies 1sts (Trophy Match) 15/02/2017

Bath 1sts vs Bristol Ladies 1sts (Trophy Match) 15/02/2017

On the glorious (aka rainy) morning of 15th of February, the ladies assembled at SEH to make way to the dreaded nearby venue, Bath, for what they hoped would be the last time (for real this time). Although the weather was not particularly motivating, the ladies had plenty of energy supplies from the sweet Valentine’s treats from the day before, and proceeded on the journey enhanced by a diverse playlist of more or less questionable tunes.

A trip to Bath wouldn’t be a trip to Bath without going through the nightmare of finding parking, and with 3 cars in need for a space, the challenge took on another level of difficulty. With players being dropped off as drivers wandered around and praying for miracles (does it sound like déjà vu yet??), Bristol got on court as soon as possible to make sure they had a team available for the start of the game. Once there, a bittersweet surprise arose as there was no trace of the club’s “favourite” referee anywhere around. Did that mean that they would, for once, have a game without controversial refs & calls?! (Ofc, it was soon proved that it wasn’t the case.)

Bath to serve first, but they had nothing on Karoline “Flawless” Drønnen’s impeccable passes, and Bristol side-outs straightaway. First set started with a strong Bristol side, as they hammered hit after hit into the opposite court, while Bath was struggling to construct a solid play and ending up shooting countless free balls over the net. The game displayed solid hitting from middles, including a headshot from Kasey Betts straight into one of Bath’s player, prompting an immediate substitution of no. 17. Second half of the set however was when the home team got a bit more confidence as Patti “Greek Goddess” Balliou and Lorena “Professor Quirrell” Bălan struggled to find the court lines when serving, with Patricia “Guys I’m Angry Now” Balliou being called out for a foot fault. However, explosive attacking from Sylvia “Spartan Fury” Betrosian and Shatha “Kuweit’s Most Dangerous” Al-Huneidi kept putting Bath’s defence in trouble, until the set ends in favour of the ladies in maroon, at 25-23, a score that was unanimously agreed upon to be “way too close”.

Determined to make another strong start like in the previous set, the ladies go on court in the same formation. Unfortunately, Bristol loses the serve from the first point and Bath rushes to a 6-1, then 8-2 lead, in the desperate shouts of Chris Sherfield about the opposition’s setter being backcourt yet jumping front court. Addressing attitude on court and more aggressive strategies in the time-out(“hammer on no. 8, for some reason they allow her in the pass!”), Bristol get back into the game with an immediate side-out and Lorena “All About Tough Love” Bălan to serve, bridging the gap from 8-2 to 8-6. Slowly the Bristolians found their feet, with Sylvia “Guys That Was So Random” Betrosian serving two aces in a row in a stunned Bath court, and as the opposition loses their two time-outs early, it’s a rather straight road to victory. Highlights of the set include an incredible, movie-like save from Patti “Free Kick” Balliou, chasing down a ball and putting it back into play via a football move, empowering the Bristolians to fight for that spectacular point until closing it in their favour, sending a strong message that they were, from then on, truly unstoppable. The attitude was uphold throughout the next points, inspiring a last-minute dive from Shatha “Should I Stay or Should I Penguin-Slide” Al-Huneidi for a ball that was a good few metres away and, with it, a few smiles from the crowd. The ball was not touched, but our hearts were (#thecheese). Amazing defence from setter Gabi “Allez Side-Out” Bégin and libero Karoline “Scandinavian Cool” Drønnen topped it all up, and second set goes to Bristol, 25-18.

After they change courts again, it’s time for Vice Captain Catherine “Ecuadooor” Wright and Mary Ashley “SMash” Keene to take the stage. Third and, fortunately, the last set, began in a “clinical” manner. Having previously agreed to make it the last set in Bath, ladies took a straightforward, “no-bullshit” approach and stuck to the game they knew best: defend, set, smash it. Gabi “Stargirl” Bégin perfectly placing a set to 4 lead to Bălan hitting it into the block’s hands, quite literally, while the player grabbed it and held it for a good few seconds before furiously throwing it away in frustration.  This time it was the home team that asked for a time-out at 1-6, especially after thundering hits from Shatha “The Kraken” Al-Huneidi started prompting reactions like “Oh Shit!!” from the opposite court.

Catherine “Ruler of the Net Realm” Wright ran from side to side, fearlessly blocking and hitting overhead passes till the point was awarded to the Bristol side. A beautiful display of dominance that is all the more powerful when it comes from someone who is the embodiment of politeness; although she did, unsurprisingly, apologize for it afterwards (“I feel I got a bit greedy there”) – guess some things never change. Abigail “This Is What Confidence Looks Like” Wooden also returns to her position, denying Bath hit after hit and making their life increasingly difficult, and consistent passing & hits from new joiner “Mash” Keene (along with her genuine cheerful celebrations after a kill) kept the spirits high.

Halfway through the set, Bristol requests a substitution for Kasey “Secret Weapon” Betts to go in as opposite. The request was met with a fantastic stubbornness from the second ref to blow the whistle, insisting that “it’s not her responsibility and it’s not necessary” and all irrational reasons that go with that. The confusion resulted in Bristol losing the point, as the first ref did not acknowledge the heated argument on the sidelines, and in captain “WHAT ARE WE EVEN PLAYING ANYMORE?!” Bălan losing her patience. Fortunately the substitution was finally allowed, just in time for her to take a chill pill (metaphorically speaking). Bristol storm to a 20-14, and as per usual that day, it is when the progress to the end of the set gets slower. Angela “Super Jump” Liu comes on court as well and gives the team an extra edge, with her powerful hits from the outside position. Three missed first serves in a row by Bristol and a few questionable calls (“Well SOMEONE touched the net there, I don’t care who.” – Chris Sherfield 2k17) make it look like it is going to be a “way too close” ending again, but they manage to bring it home with a massive roof block by “Merica” Betts and “Sandstorm” Wooden on the final point. 25-22, with an epic ending, and the ladies rejoice with their new cheer as coach Sherfield awkwardly steps away.

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Next up for the Ladies 1sts is the Trophy Quarterfinals on the 22nd of February, when they play UCL at home. It looks like it is going to be a great match-up, as both teams are currently leaders in their leagues. Come down to SEH at 3 pm to see The West vs The East battle it out on court next week!

Written by: Lorena Bălan

Mens 2nds BDVA Tournament (19/11/2016)

Mens 2nds BDVA Tournament (19/11/2016)

Saturday 19th November 2016 at 12:06pm we embarked on our journey to Orchard School along with our team mascot of the day, Dom’s suitcase.

Our first opponents were Mr Pennifold’s Cheddar Cheese VC. With some pep talk from Chris, we went into the game with gusto, aiming to show to Rob what we were capable of. The first set did not get off to the best of starts, with an atrocious attempt of a serve from Mr Shean Bovornsukul. The game was long and arduous but the team whole-heartedly fought back, with some good hits and the unforgettable block by Raphael to deny Rob, his moment to impress a particular someone! Nevertheless, our efforts could not prevent us from being defeated in both sets, 25-15 and 25-5 respectively.

The second game was against Bath 2nd, a team who we had the utmost confidence to beat and secure a rare BDVA win. With the combination of impressive hits and poor defending from the other team, we started to build a good lead. Then up stepped Wilf. His serving form on fire, he singlehandedly won 8 points however for some reason he seemed to be mentally in pain. Regardless of this, the first set ended on a high with us winning 25-14.

With that impressive performance, the “half time” talk was a quiet one. With an awkward “Shall we..?” we placed our hands together before setting off to rightfully claim our win. The second set was much more heavily contested. With some silly errors, Bath were able to cling onto us but with our burning hearts of desire, we saw through to the end of the set to win 25-23.

The team showed many improvements throughout the afternoon with Raphael being awarded as our MOTM. After some words of encouragements from the experienced veterans of Cheddar VC, thus started the long journey back home.

Written by: Dom Minton

Bath 1sts vs Bristol Mens 1sts (02/11/2016)

Bath 1sts vs Bristol Mens 1sts (02/11/2016)

 

The workhorse of the Mens 1sts team, a.k.a John’s car, decided she would be unable to offer her services this Wednesday so for four of us the journey to the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the City of Bath started at Temple Meads.

After a brisk transit and prolonged warm-up, due to the difficulties the Bath side experienced with setting up the net, the team started set one in what I can only say was poor form. From shanked passes to inconsistent serves, we certainly didn’t start in the way we wanted to carry on. After finding our feet midway through the set we decided to step on the accelerator but the bhp simply wasn’t enough and concluded the set on a 25-19 defeat.

With much discontent within the team we were determined to tackle the next set in a manner befitting a true Bristol side; exemplary courage, strength and sporting prowess. We started well, but we all knew in our hearts that it simply wasn’t good enough; little did we know of the spectacle about to unfold. It has become known as the rally of all rallies, and has become a Facebook phenomenon thanks to the services of part-time professional cameraman Mr John “Say cheese!” House. This was our turning point and from this moment on the team demonstrated unprecedented levels of tekkers. If only FIVB Street: the video game was a thing.

The men had an absolute stormer in the third set and then continued to display great aplomb in the subsequent fourth and final set.

Special mentions to Mr Paolo “Super Mario” Abrami who made what I can only describe as a remarkable debut, and to Mr John “F**k’n C’mon!!” House for stepping in as setter in our time of need.

A sterling job.

Cheers all the best,

Craig

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Player of the Match: Paolo Abrami

Written by: Craig Tavares-McKoy

Ladies 2nds BDVA tournament (22/10/16)

Ladies 2nds BDVA tournament (22/10/16)

It was Saturday morning, only a couple of weeks into the season and despite a series of cancellations we had managed to get a squad of 7 girls going. The day started out confusingly with captain Maria waking up only 20 min before meeting time due to a default alarm and our brilliant new setter Megan stuck in Stoke Bishop. Somehow we all made it to Wellsway in time to go through rotations with both Bryony and Julie playing a new position. Ready to take on TipTop in the first game we started our warm up.

Despite some okay volleyball played from all sides; Bryony getting the opposite rotation, Megan and Alicia delivering some great sets, Beccy shouting encouragements from the side line (the set included a small rotation break down from Antilia) it wasn’t enough to beat the winner of the league last year and we had to let the game go 25-11, 25-8.

Reflecting on our first game we took a well deserved break while reffing the TipTop vs. Bath game that similarly came to a 2-0 close for TipTop. Coach Beccy provided cookies (the highlight of our day).

Time for our 2nd game. We threw ourselves head first into the battle for honour against Bath 1sts. We were off to a good start with every player showing off some great technique individually and it was a close battle all the way to the end of first set. Antilia fired some great hits at the floor, Samantha delivered some great tips and Julie some smashing serves. 1st set went to Bath in the last minutes with a close 25-20. 2nd set we started out strongly and forced Bath to call a time-out at 7-2. Despite the fact that we definitely could have won the game with Maria and Bryony’s strong front court determination and Megan’s great sets, we gave it away due to some untimely blocking, confused rotations and Bath’s killer serves.

Defeated, but surprisingly happy, we left Wellsway and journeyed back to Bristol through the most beautiful sunset munching on cookies. A great way to end the day.

MVP: Megan de Jode

Written by: Julie Andersen

Bath 1sts vs Bristol Ladies 1sts (26/10/2016)

Bath 1sts vs Bristol Ladies 1sts (26/10/2016)

The start of the Ladies 1sts third BUCS match didn’t go exactly to plan.

As the team were arriving in a variation of wheeled vehicles, arrival times to Bath were scattered liked shanked balls across the city. Though everyone had left plenty of time, lost Tshirts, lack of parking spaces and unexpected venues meant everything was a little bit rushed, and there was a fearful moment when they thought they might have to start without all the players. Thankfully even the ladies from Langford arrived just in the nick of time, and the team were ready to get their game faces on. The cheers were ready, the kneepads were up, this game was theirs.

That was, until they realised just how annoying buzzers from a basketball court could be.

The sports centre at Bath University is top of the range, inviting ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ like a fireworks display every time the team play there. Unfortunately this time, they seemed extremely keen to show off the very loud buzzers installed for the other tall-people sport. It wasn’t the most pleasing noise as every time one of the ladies went up to hit from Gaby ‘Angelic Hands’ Bégin’s sets, either a buzzer or a piercing whistle from the court opposite seemed to go off, making them think the ref had stopped play. They tried to keep focus and Abi ‘Net Touch’ Wooden seemed to borrow Kasey ‘If I Slapped You It Would Leave A Mark For Days’ Betts’ wrist for the set as her middle hits flicked round the block. The team wavered a little, thrown off by the rushed start, minimalised warm up time and ridiculously loud noises. They managed to claw it back towards the end of the first set, but the recovery wasn’t enough. First set: 23-25.

Determined to make a change in the second set, the girls got off to a much more secure start. There were some ref calls the team weren’t happy about, but they just about managed to move on with grace and thankfully there were no yellow cards in sight. The team’s serve receive was far stronger this set, and Sylvia ‘It’s BUCS So It’s Okay To Wear Grey Shorts Right?’ Betrosian fought her way backcourt as one of Bath’s team had a seriously strong serve. Nothing she couldn’t handle. Patty ‘Flying Fox’ Balliou’s hits repeatedly avoided Bath’s defenders and Catherine ‘Did You See That Dog?!’ Wright flew through the opposition’s block in the middle, leading Bristol to victory in the second set, 25-17.

Not wanting to let Bath claw it back, the ladies continued on the winning streak and won the third set 25-21. Bath just couldn’t deal with Gaby ‘Epitome of Elegance’ Bégin’s serves and she had a beautiful run which gave the rest of the team a rest. Kate ‘Where Am I Meant To Be?’ Wyver also had a run of serves, doing a little celebratory dance after serving into the corner of Bath’s court when even she thought it was going out.

The team didn’t want to give Bath a fifth set but the fourth got off to a rocky start. Shatha ‘You Don’t Want To Get On The Wrong Side Of Me In A Fight’ Al-Huneidi’s hits began to be blocked by Bath, but she was having none of it, and came back with fighting spirit to push it past their reach. Wenna ‘Cornish Smasher’ Grigg jump served her way to victory and Kasey ‘American Idol’ Betts, Lorena ‘Romanian Fury’ Bălan, Patty ‘Fireball’ Ba and Sylvia ‘Lorenzo Please Libero Me Off’ Betrosian took it in turns to smash the ball round the block. Bath just couldn’t deal.

Despite the fact that the ladies’ play had gotten stronger throughout the game, it was still too close for comfort, and Coach Lorenzo ‘AyAyAy’ Marvulli was told off by the line judge for his nervous pacing blocking the view. The basketball game across the court had finished by this point and the players turned round to support their home team, but it only spurred Bristol on further, and they just made it. Fourth set: 25-21.

Relieved after a rather stressful match from start to end, the team could finally celebrate. The game meant all four of Bristol Volleyball Club’s teams had won that afternoon, with the first set against Bath being the only set dropped by the entire club. Good work, team. After the journeys back with Lorenzo’s Motown music blaring the whole way, the ladies headed off into the night for a dino-mite evening at Score.

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Player of the Match: Kate ‘The Tower’ Wyver. Kate was too modest to say anything, but her presence on court was a great help to the ladies’ journey to victory. Smoothly adjusting to her new position as opposite, she made it clear that it’s the right place for her to be: perfectly timed blocks, powerful shots from 2 and a beyond-solid defence. But most importanly, some phenomenal serving that left Bath praying for one to go out or into the net, as they failed to return several of them in a row.
Special mention to Patricia ‘Keep The Ball In Play’ Balliou, for an incredible penguin slide and an amazing pancake in the game, demonstrating, one more time, that the rally is not over till she says it’s over.

Written by: Kate Wyver

Mens 2nds BDVA Tournament (21/11/2015)

Mens 2nds BDVA Tournament (21/11/2015)

It was early on a cold Saturday morning (yes, 10am is early for some of us) when the men’s 2nd team met up at the coach station to head over to the peaceful town of Keynsham for our BVDA fixture. Our bus quickly filled up with other volley-ballers as we soon found out that all four of Bristol’s men’s and women’s teams would be playing at Keynsham today.
At long last we had arrived at our venue and our first game would be against the mighty men’s 1sts. Spurred on by our on-court captain Florian “Or is it Jeremie?” Potier with his delightful setting; the first set started off in our favour with us taking an early 4-2 lead. Moments later, a slight misplay almost saw a repeat of a horror injury which took place last month when Ralph “Also known as the house from Up” Bernardo almost jumped straight into the side poles again. This time, Ralph was aware of the daunting presence of the pole and swiftly managed to avoid any injury. Good one, Ralph. Despite the early positives, we eventually lost the set 25-15.
The second set started in similar fashion with us trailing slightly behind the 1sts. Some great passing by Chan “The boy with the dragon tattoo” Sheng helped us to keep the ball alive to witness some thundering spikes and acrobatic efforts with his feet (yet again) from Simos “We should get cheerleaders” Koutsoftides. We were able to keep up with the 1sts much closer this time with some smart and persistent play, however we ultimately lost the set 25-20.
We featured a very experimental lineup in our second game against the Bath men’s 1st team with, yours truly, Kenji “I really shouldn’t be setting” Capannelli stepping in as a setter. The game started off in a nervous fashion, with us hastily giving away points due to silly errors. A talking from our Captain/Coach Felipe “I can reach over the net” Freitas during a timeout helped us to find our feet and to get more of a rhythm going in our play.  Despite this, we still succumbed to a 25-11 defeat in the first set.
Our lack of energy and tiredness was beginning to show in the second set as Bath started to take the lead. Refusing to give up quite so easily, Lewis “Likes to go running in pink tutus” Caiger and Matthew “Yup-Yup” Wincott contributed with some alert passing and hitting, demonstrating that their growth in volleyball skills was much like a good cheddar: mature. We lost the second set 25-10, but it was delightful to see our team starting to come together and make the right decisions on court. The result may not have been positive, but we will take our defeat as a lesson and come back stronger next time on court.
Player of the Match: Goes to Simos for his excellent hitting and generally great all-round play that kept the team together against the men’s 1sts.
Written by: Kenji Capannelli

Ladies 2nds BDVA Tournament (21/11/2015)

Ladies 2nds BDVA Tournament (21/11/2015)

This was the weekend we had all been looking forward to, although perhaps being slightly terrified at the same time. This was the weekend we would take it up not only against Bath, but also against our ladies first team. We arrived at the bus station where we joined forces with the men’s second team who would also be playing against the first team. Luckily for Maria, who was supposed to guide us to the sports hall, Felipe, who has better leadership skills than Obama, Ghandi and Nelson Mandela combined, took over and safely got us to Wellsway (although he refused to pay). The fact that there were only six of us playing (priorities, priorities, priorities) didn’t matter as Wellsway was one big UoB volleyball fiesta.

When we arrived we started out by reffing a beautiful game between Bath and Bristol 1st. After that it was time to put ourselves to the test by taking it up against Bristol 1st.  Having spent most of our Friday training session on rotations, we were more or less a well-oiled machine. Zoe, being our only setter, delivered some great sets and although our blocking might need some improvement, we played well. There were even moments in both games there where we were taking the lead. For a moment we thought there might be a case of the tortoise winning the race from the hare, but we had to face the fact that the first team is called that for a reason. Our sisters (Yes we forgive you Johanna) might have eaten the cookies meant for Santa, but it was a good game. Nothing better than finding out what needs improving and what your strong point are, than by taking it up against the girls that you know so well (from, you know, dressing up as birds and houses and showing of dance moves together).

The hall being as cold as the Antarctic, caused us to be still slightly cold even after an intense game. Luckily we could keep moving, and move we did, as it was now time to play against Bath. With the support of some of our fellow volleyball players we bravely started the game. Great work from Dasha as an opposite and from Antillia ‘Runs More Than Usain Bolt’ Virginie, accompanied by nice passes from Morgane ‘I Sometimes Forget That I Have Two Arms’ Singh.

We all worked hard, but it is Angela who deserves the applause, the ribbon of honour and the hymn. Not only did she play excellently overall, but her serving caused a tsunami of points. Even though Zoe still tried to make it a democratic vote, none of us had to think long about who the MVP of the day was.

Two losses, but not a single sad face. We improved, we played well together and we know what we did wrong. Another beautiful Saturday and time to join the boys to return to beautiful Bristol.

Ladies 2nds BDVA

Player of the Match: Obviously Angela ‘Serves Like A Canon’ Lui.

 

Written by: Dasha Kravtsova and Maria Klønhammer

Mens 1sts BDVA Tournament (21/11/2015)

Mens 1sts BDVA Tournament (21/11/2015)

On Saturday 21st November, the Men’s 1st team travelled to Keynsham for the big one. The one that everyone had been waiting for. The clash of titans. The UOBVC Men’s 1st team took on the UOBVC Men’s 2nd team. Oh, and Bath.

With this season’s later starting time of 11.30, the Men arrived at Wellsway School fresh as a daisy, having had a nice lie in and plenty of time to get ready. Extraordinarily, however, one player was missing. With Mike worried that he might lose his ‘shirtless rave’ reputation, Fergus ‘3 alarms’ Shaw had somehow managed to oversleep and miss his lift.

Even without their full squad, the Men had to go on. Every player was keen to step up. With team captain Chris ‘Cream of Mushroom’ Sherfield taking on a coaching role and thus sacrificing himself from the starting line-up, Rob ‘Not very sweaty at all’ Pennifold was named on-court captain. Not satisfied with this meagre promotion however, Pennifold took it upon himself to become the full captain, marching up to the pre-game coin toss (well actually, it was a ‘guess which hand the whistle is in’. in case you were wondering), much to the despair of Sherfield. The ‘coin toss’ was won, however, with Rob ‘Dry as a freshly tumble-dried towel’ Pennifold choosing to serve. The team talk was short and to the point: ‘Let’s show the 2nd team why we’re the 1st team’.

Unfortunately, it didn’t appear to work. There’s not much to say about the first set, other than it was an extremely lacklustre performance from the Men. Some mildly-acceptable passing from Aidan ‘But you said there was no line to cross’ Mckay and Jonny ‘Sir, Yes Sir’ Childs, mediocre setting from Rob ‘Dry as the Atacama desert’ Pennifold and decent-enough hitting from Plinio ‘Set me!’ Zanini, Craig ‘Charlotte Church’ Tavares-McKoy* and Mike ‘Chips and gravy’ Wilsher, and, more importantly, a superb run of serves from Matt ‘Casual’ Birch, the Men won the first set 25-20.

*The University of Bristol Volleyball Club would like to clarify that this reference is purely to Craig’s singing ability, and nothing to do with his attendance of anti-austerity protest marches, nor his preference for dating famous Welsh Rugby players, for which we can make no comment. We also desperately hope that he never decides to rebel from his classical background to release an awful pop song called ‘Crazy Chick’. Don’t do it Craig, you’re so much better than that.

Needless to say, Chris ‘Tom Yum’ Sherfield was not impressed, labelling it as the worst set of volleyball the team had ever played. He fired the team up, returning them to the court with renewed hunger. Brilliant passing from Felipe ‘This isn’t a nickname, but apparently Mexicans put dried meat in their cocktails. Weird.’ Galindo Sanchez and Justin ‘Alakazam’ Hui. Fantastic line hitting from Childs and Plinio ‘Come on Rob, set me!’ Zanini. The Men slammed home point after point, until they’d gained enough of an advantage that they were confident in seeing out the match. However, that point came when they were just 3-0 up. With the rest of the set panning out rather limply like the first, the Men nonetheless closed out the match, taking a 2-0 win.

While the Men took a break, the supporters continued, with Mrs. Pennifold (my Mother, I’m not quite old enough to be married just yet) striving to learn the rules from McKay’s other half Josie, who ‘did a wonderful job, such a delightful young lady’. Meanwhile, Fergus ‘Henry’ Shaw finally arrived ready to play the second game against Bath.

Now any of you who are acquainted with members of the first team will know that they all have egos more sizeable than Mike’s… err… leg, and certainly don’t need boosting. So I assure you that Sherfield’s decision to put himself on court had no correlation whatsoever with every other player seeming to raise their game and put on an actually quite decent performance for the first set. With Wilsher and Birch running some excellent middle attacks, with Birch already learning of Wilsher’s ability to whisper ‘Reverse’ right before the setter plays the ball, the Men took a good lead. They also decided to actually serve in the court, which helped, in spite of Plinio ‘Pleeeeeease set me, Rob!!!’ Zanini ambitiously attempting a jump serve. Not quite the standard of Craig’s yet, but I’m sure you’ll get there, ‘my sweaty friend’. Anyway, the Men took the first set 25-17.

Of course it didn’t last. Having excelled in the second set to take a strong lead of 15-7, with Shaw and Childs both hitting superbly, Chris ‘Beef Broth’ Sherfield substituted himself off. Again, as if by magic, and no correlation with Chris’ ability on court, the rest of the team slumped. Bath capitalised on this, bringing back a number of points, and eventually winning the second set 25-23.

The third set was to be to 15. Sherfield, clearly not at all satisfied with the performance so far that day, told the team to have no mercy on the Bath team, who had just celebrated winning a set like they’d won the World Cup. The Men had clearly had enough of playing badly, so they went out in the final set with a new sense of supremity. With Sherfield actually meriting his ego boost this time, scoring 4 of the first 8 points before the side-change with some excellent hitting, the Men opened up a big advantage. They finally managed to continue it throughout the set, with each player showing a resemblance of their real ability. Finishing on a high, the Men took the final set 15-7 and thus the game 2-1.

Not the most pleasing of days, but two wins in preparation of the long journey to Warwick (4 hours?! Google says it’s only 1h 51 minutes!) for Wednesday’s BUCS Trophy match.

Onwards.

Player of the Match: Matt Birch

Written by Rob Pennifold

Ladies 1sts BDVA Tournament (21/11/2015)

Ladies 1sts BDVA Tournament (21/11/2015)

Ah the weekend…Time to sleep in after an excessive party, to binge watch your favourite TV show and to regain strength for the next week. Oh or… you could get up way too early, leave your house, travel in the ice-cold wind to a gym heated up to the toasty temperature of you average refrigerator where you will freeze your butt of while playing all the people who you regularly see in your own gym just around the corner. That does sound like a lovely Saturday morning doesn’t it?

But at least it was not just the Ladies 1st Team who needed to neglect their much beloved beauty sleep! The whole Bristol Volleyball Family fought the mighty hangover and the arctic temperatures to compete in the BDVA-tournament. One of the ladies almost didn’t make it though due to a hot and greasy morning date with a mysterious man. Don’t worry though your dirty little secrets are safe with me.

The Ladies were starting with a clean slate after two triumphs and two shameful defeats but the spirits were never higher. This was partially due to a great team spirit but it was mostly the promise of soft, buttery German-chocolate-cookies brought out the fighter in every single player.

But then the first task that seemed almost impossible: warming up the icy-cold hand and feet and stealing some “not totally shitty” balls from the second team’s bag! After totally killing this task the next one proved even more difficult: Bath Uni! Like usual our team needed some time in the first set to remember how to actually  play Volleyball  but then –  let me tell you – textbook volleyball. Our very own Patricia ‘Sharapova’ Mejia pushed out one perfect set after the other, only stopping to hit the hardest serves of the day. But she is also the only one making inappropriate noises while serving… this is not tennis you know! But the star of this set was without a doubt Jasmine ‘I’ll hit You Where It Hurts’ Zhang who was smacking it hard but was cold-blooded enough to tip it to the right place at the right time securing the final point (26-24) with a long push to position five.
The great volleyball continued in the second set with beautiful passing by Libero ‘Anna Watch Out Karoline’ Meletiou and well-placed tips by Adelaide ‘Tipping Is Not optional Where I’m From’ Hargreaves. All in all, a great effort from everyone and another win for the Bristol Ladies!

The day was not over though and a moral dilemma was coming up…how do you play against your own family? Ladies 1st vs. Ladies 2nd! The clash of the Titans! Only the Klitschko Brothers could understand this feeling. (Do British people even know those guys? Have they ever boxed against each other? Why do people even watch boxing? That is just a weird sport.) Especially for Gaby ‘I Am An Asset To Any Team’ Cropper this was difficult situation.  After a strong start the Ladies started to look as guilty as a little kid after eating the cookies which were intended for Santa Claus. (Do people in the U.K. even do that? Is he called Santa Claus here?) However the hunger for a double win and baked goods was stronger than the guilt of beating your own family and the Ladies 1st were leaving the court with two wins. Hopefully time is gonna heal those deep wounds and our sisters will forgive us.

However, the best part was still to come: even though we won two games, our lovely coach Abi ‘Drill Sergeant’ Wooden made the whole team do 5 crunches for every serve someone missed, providing us with irritated looks by the Bath Team. Special thanks to Jalayna ‘Oh Swing On That’ Szepesi for coming with us and giving tips and feedback.

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Player of the Match and Coaches’ pick: goes to Jasmine ‘Smack That’ Zhang for beautifully placed tips and smart attacks! Also thanks for taking the time to play Wednesday and Saturday #commitment!!!
Special mention to Gaby ‘I Serve It Everytime’ Copper for her serving streak in the second game!

We are growing together as a team and everyone has improved…Proud to play with you guys!

Written by: Johanna Mast

Bath Ladies 1sts vs Bristol Ladies 2nds (18/11/2015)

Bath Ladies 1sts vs Bristol Ladies 2nds (18/11/2015)

We started the day slightly apprehensive, knowing that the team we were about to play was currently at the top of our league, but bursting with excitement nonetheless. It was the first week we had not been provided with transport to take us to our match, so after dividing up between the cars we set off for Bath with Hattie and Zoë taking the wheel. The plus side of making our own way there meant we were free to go nuts with whatever music we liked, which of course we took full advantage of – Dasha taking the opportunity to introduce the group to some Russian pop while the other car opted for some good old Justin Bieber and general tunes to get us pumped up! With many of us having university in the morning we only had an hour to make it to our destination for the match which was due to start at 1pm, however some excellent driving (and getting lost only once) meant we all made it just in time. It wasn’t the most relaxed build up to the game with Monika nearly removing Dasha’s foot with a car door and more than a little running to make it in time after navigating the extremely busy parking system, but we had made it and we were there!

We promptly began our warm up and before we knew it, it was time to begin. The first set started off reasonably well, with some good serving and 3-touch volleyball meaning we took the lead 10-8. Perhaps we got too excited that we seemed to be matching the other team quite well, because here is where things started to go downhill ever so slightly! With some strong serving from a select few of the Bath players the points difference began to widen – and not in our favour – beyond the point of return. Despite some good play, nicely placed sets and hitting from Camellia, Gaby, Hattie and Beccy, it was not enough to bring the match back. Bath took the first set.

Entering the second set we were determined not to be disheartened, bringing on the Russian wonder Dasha Selivanenko in attempt to up our game against our rivals. Unfortunately this wasn’t the set for us, and even a substitution for secret weapon Klᴓnhammer couldn’t save us from a second defeat. The best way to describe it is like ripping off a plaster – quick and painful. But the match wasn’t over yet, and though hope was dwindling we weren’t going to give up easily.

After some strong words (and perhaps slightly too loud) from captain Zoë that all was not lost and we shouldn’t give up, coach Tim’s ‘just get some points’ tactics seemed the only option left to us as the prospect of a win was fading. Bringing Camellia ‘chameleon’ Chan back on court we were ready to face the final set, which turned out to show a slight improvement in points from the previous set but still not enough. Miss Chan became the embodiment of her namesake, sticking to the floor as she slid left, right and centre, nearly knocking herself out in the process after a particularly strong hit to the head as she dove epically to the floor. The risk of concussion was not enough to stop her though and she played on like a trooper until Monika jumped in to give us some fresh energy and enthusiasm (if that was possible at this time in the game). Though we fought valiantly, the points escaped us and Bath took the third set, winning the match 3-0. A very worthy opponent!

Player of the Match goes to the agile blocking-machine Hattie Freer-Smith for all-round good play.

Ladies 2nds vs Bath

Written by: Zoë Holt

Mens 1sts vs Bath 1sts (21/10/2015)

Mens 1sts vs Bath 1sts (21/10/2015)

On the 21st October the Mens 1st got their BUCS season underway with a match against Bath 1st team, who were the current league leaders. I realise given that only one game had been played up until that point that statement is largely redundant, but still, it adds to the hype we can generate around the game. Rather like the fall of the Tsarist regime of Russia however, all tyrannies must come to an end and Bristol were confident they had revolutionaries in their ranks. With such imagery making Mike ‘The Monarchy is the only Drug I need’ Wilsher salivate at the mouth, the men arrived early, or late, in some cases for a brisk warm up.

As has been the case with many of the warm ups delivered by captain Christopher ‘Cream of Mushroom’ Sherfield however, the assigned stretches and tasks not only warmed up some members of the team but wore them down to within an inch of their lives. The sight of 11 sweaty panting men, plus Chris, must have been quite the intimidating imagery for the arriving Bath squad.

With Coach Matteo absent, mother duties fell to captain Sherfield who marshalled the side with great aplomb. Cracking word aplomb. Really rolls off the tongue. Bristol began the set well opening up a lead through the hitting of Craig ‘Whitney Houston dressed by Hugo Boss’ Tavares-McKoy, a man who’s soft voice and calming demeanour has become as much a vital feature of the mens team as Michael ‘Give me 5 minutes’ Wilshers pre-match use of the toilet facilities. Bristol soon began to let themselves down in the serve however, with 8 faults coming from the Bristol side. Incidentally every single one of the faults saw the ball fly long out of the Bath side, a clear side-effect of the intense and vicious gym regime each one of the players clearly puts themselves through. Water Polo watch out, the Mens 1sts will soon be strolling round in dressing gowns at SCORE. After a well timed break was called the men were able to regroup however, and in outrageous scenes, the likes of which have rarely been seen in a Bristol University Volleyball match, didn’t lose their marbles toward the end of a set, instead closing it out with 4 straight points taking a 25-21 first set win.

The second set began with the introduction of Fergus ‘Time Lord’ Shaw and Jacob ‘Ebeneezer Scrooge 24/7’ Webster to the Bristol side. Despite apparently busting his already dodgy tennis knee after only two points, as well as battling the ever growing fear of the state of his hamstrings, which as we all know, could ‘Ping at any moment’, Webster slotted into the Bristol side with the ease of a hot knife through some Sainsburys own brand butter, blocking and hitting with the kind of self assured confidence and calm that he has never been synonymous with. Shaw meanwhile was everywhere on court at once, covering the blocks brilliantly and ensuring Bristol kept the ball alive. Such performances however were overshadowed by the dominance of Sherfield who, fuelled no doubt by his daily pack of bacon, quickly became the bane of the Bath side, who’s frustration at his repeated success was evident for all to see. Indeed, with the rest of the side becoming mere spectators to the combo of Rob ‘Sweaty Betty’ Pennifold and Captain Sherfield, Bristol were able to dominate the set and take a 25-17 win.

The third set saw a shake up on court with Captain Sherfield enacting more changes than a poorly regulated phone playing the pre-drinks playlist. Bristol, perhaps feeling overconfident, allowed a few errors to creep into their game which in true Bristol fashion then became an unstoppable rolling maul which essentially gifted Bath the set victory. Serving was once again at fault, with players from all over the world smashing the ball out of the court.

Spurred on by the dread of a fifth set, and the fact that John ‘Blind Mans Bluff’ House and Michael ‘Big Mike’ Wilsher needed to go to Cabot before the nights festivities, the Men started the fourth set with a steely determination. Craig ‘Manners maketh man’ Tavares-McKoy and Jonny ‘Sir Francis Drake’ Childs both opened up their shoulders to hit majestically whilst the now ever reliable Chris ‘Ministrone’ Sherfield continued his mission to annoy the hell out of the Bath team with his repeated success down the line. At 22-21 to Bristol the set was finely poised, and as Bristol rifled the point home through John ‘Stevie Wonder’ House there was much joy. Such joy however was pierced by the shrill blast of the whistle from the ref as the Bath players protested heartily over some confusion. With the point being replayed, the annoyance levels of House reached their now regular high levels. Perhaps noticing the riled nature of his middle, Rob ‘Early Bath’ Pennifold fed him two consecutively delicious sets that were smashed down into the Bath side. With those two points in the bag and House’s celebrations reaching slightly awkward levels (many raised eyebrows were seen on the balcony), Bristol had the match point. Having spent the entire game hitting superbly it was thus appropriate that the game finished with the libero Justin ‘Textbook Technique’ Hui gently popping a ball back onto the Bath side that gracefully fell into the gap he had quite obviously lined up.

Thus Bristol took the final set 25-21 and the game 3-1. As Captain Sherfield performed a weird jumping shaking celebration, relief was clear for all to see on the faces of all involved.

Player of the Match: Christopher Sherfield

One game in. One win. The men remain unbeaten in BUCS for 19 months. Not too shabby eh.

Our thanks to Lorena Balan and Karoline Dronnen for their top notch refereeing.

Next up for the men in BUCS are local rivals UWE. Haven’t lost to them in 4 years. Won’t start now.
1pm Wednesday, Tyndall Avenue Sports Centre. Be there.

Onwards.

Written by: John House