Ladies 1sts BDVA Tournament (22/10/2016)

Ladies 1sts BDVA Tournament (22/10/2016)

The cloudy early morning of 22nd of October found 9 of the Ladies 1sts “enjoying” the cold and “enthusiastically” waiting around the fountains for the bus to their first BDVA fixture of the season. The atmosphere was lightened up by the vice captain’s impeccable navigation skills on the mean streets of Bedminster, along with the captain’s fascination with Natalie Jennings accent, sparking an entire Downton Abbey-themed day(“Natalie, whenever I want to describe you to my friends, I say: I have never seen Downton Abbey, but that is how I imagine the characters speak.” – Bălan, 2k16). Having arrived at the venue, aka ‘Polar Wonderland’, excitement levels, but also nervousness, rose.

First match, against City of Bristol, started off a bit wobbly, with Bristol taking the traditional first 10 minutes of a game to find their feet. Really, we like keeping our audience on edge. The confusion about time-outs probably didn’t help either. However, we get to see some great blocks from Saskia ‘ROOF’ Webster in the middle and passes from opposite Saskia ‘I Don’t Know Why I Have a Dutch Name’ Wallis. Yes, we have 2 Saskias in the team: what were the chances?! Unfortunately, it was not enough to get back into the set, losing it by over a 15-point difference. Second set saw an improvement in terms of team coordination, yet it could not match the opposing team’s experience of playing together for a long time. Despite perfect passes and sets from opposite Annabelle ‘Blue Eyes’ McCombe and outside Natalie ‘Cheeky Line Hits’ Jennings putting up a good fight on court, the time-out catches Bristol behind their rivals. With the captain encouraging the ladies to ‘make noise like they’re winning the f****ing set’ despite a 10-point gap, the team sees a spike in sassiness on court and the loud Bristolians are back in business. Sadly, this time it did not scare people off quite as fast as needed, so they lose the second set, with final score 25-9, 25-7.

Second game, against BVC 4th team, was more leveled. With Sas ‘Just Sas’ Wallis moving to outside and McCombe staying opposite, the team was unstoppable. Moreover, Angela ‘Power House’ Liu hitting some incredibly strong attacks from 4, as well as Annita ‘Italian Sasssss’ Papa getting some very clever variation between tips and hits (and her almost-scary enthusiasm during play), had the other side of the court trembling with fear. As a result, first set goes down 25-17 for the ladies in maroon. Couple of reasonable serves in a row from Lorena ‘Failed Attempt at Being a Motivational Speaker’ Bălan and Io ‘Ela!’ Vournas-Kaffes coming on court with solid passes in second set gave the ladies a comfortable lead, which they kept til the very end of the match, at 25-18. Celebratory froyo was in order, with two happy captains getting very excited about what the future holds for this team.

Great team dynamics overall, with everyone covering the entire court and calling for every ball.  With such great potential and such a great turnaround from first game to the second, we are looking at some big things coming from this squad in the upcoming fixtures!

Player of the Match: Sas Wallis, for great play not only as opposite, but also as outside, quickly and easily adapting to the different rotations and smashing some great balls along the line. Don’t be fooled by her height, this pint-sized Australian, like everything else in her home-country, is a real danger!

Written by: Lorena Bălan

Ladies 2nds BDVA Tournament (07/11/2015)

Ladies 2nds BDVA Tournament (07/11/2015)

It was early, very early, and exactly twelve hours after we had finished our training from the day before, when Ladies second gathered at the bodacious Bristol bus station. It was Caitlin and Maria K who led us to the beautiful, and more importantly, spacious Sports Hall of Bedminster (some of us had been traumatised by the claustrophobic hall in Cardiff for our BUCS games). With more discipline and efficiency than the Bristol University Royal Naval Unit at the Remembrance Day parade, eight of us made our way to the place where we would take it up against the Cardiff Jets and Bristol VC.

On our way there we found out that we were a group of many nationalities: Dasha from Kazakhstan, Angela from China, Tolu from the US (although she got herself out of writing this match report by saying that she was also Nigerian and claimed that English is not their national language…Wikipedia claims otherwise), Antilia from France, Maria G from Colombia, Maria K from The Netherlands, Caitlin from the UK and Morgane from France and the UK. This meant that all of us had learned volleyball in another language (Even Caitlin, who learned to play in Paraguay) resulting in a very broad knowledge of volleyball terms in different languages.

It was in the sports hall where we met up with Tim, who had many wise words for us. As we have been only playing together for two months and six of us are new on the team, there are still many things to learn, but as we all had the excitement of ten days old puppies, these were challenges we could not wait to take.

We started our first match with a beautiful serve from Antillia. And even though we were at times rather confused, with some desperate ‘oh no’ yelling from Morgane, we fought our way through the first set. There were great sets that only got better throughout the two games by Dasha, who was new as a setter, and Caitlin, our more seasoned setter. It was in the second set that we scored a point by a kick more impressive than Rene Higuita’s scorpion kick. Both Maria G and Higuita are Colombians, so there might be something in the water.

We got more used to the rotations, started playing more as a well-established team, got louder: we improved. But, alas, we lost both sets and thus the match. It was time for some reffing.

After witnessing a beautiful match between the Jets and Bristol VC and having become as cold as Australians who got deported to the Alaska, it was time for our second match. A match where our improvement as a team already was already showing. Morgane, together with Maria K, who got to be Zoe for a day, made sure we cheered louder and louder every set. Tolu had an amazing last-minute fall backward to ensure that the ball would not hit here, but the floor outside the court. There was a lot of angry yelling (but the good kind of angry, like the yelling of passionate lovers) and very good, consistent passing by Angela.

Again: We got more used to the rotations, started playing more as a well-established team and started to feel more confident, got louder: we improved. But, alas, we lost both sets and thus the match. But it did not matter. We came out a different team than we had come in as. A team that played better together, who felt more confident and did not run around the court like headless chickens (or special space cadets). Special mention to Tim, who besides doing a great job on coaching us, finally managed to pronounce Tolu’s name exactly as you’re supposed to.

It was time to end a great that full of great volleyball. Morgane expressed her love for IKEA and the others had, the inevitable when being with a group of internationals, yet another fight about language (“your stupid French counting doesn’t make any sense” *gestures that I will not describe here* “well at least it taught us how to do maths, unlike you Brits” etc. etc.), what more do you want from a Saturday.

MVP: the nominations for mvp promis for a team that will play very well together.  There were as many as five different people nominated, with Caitlin, Maria G and Antilia getting the most votes.
Written by: Maria Klønhammer

Mens 2nds vs Bristol VC & City of Bristol (24/10/2015)

Mens 2nds vs Bristol VC & City of Bristol (24/10/2015)

This is a (unusual) two part report from Men’s 2nd B&DVA matches against Bristol VC and City of Bristol on Oct 24th, 2015.

“So this is the city of Bristol” (we were playing against City of Bristol VC) remarked Matt as we arrived at the most-random place ever – imagine countryside and roads which only a Smart car would fit. The day started with a comprehensive briefing in the changing room with Felipe – he covered all aspects of the game and repeated several times that he wouldn’t tolerate serving faults. As the skies turn grey and cold, the atmosphere in the changing room similarly became less jovial as we were told that both teams that we will be playing today were top in the league and the matches could possibly be the toughest we’ll ever face this season. Nevertheless, we valiantly stepped on to the court and began our warmup.

True to the wise words of Felipe and Tim, our opponents’ warm-up exercises were as intense as the US presidential debates on CNN and some would argue that we were target practice for their spiking warm-up. Even though the 6 of us haven’t played together as a team, we were still encouraged on by our ever positive captain Felipe.
In the first set, we were let down by basic errors such as serving faults, ball holding and net touches. But true to the Bristol University spirit (my heart goes out to the Bristol Basketball team), we remained defiant and withstood the onslaught by playing some pretty neat 3-touches. I must say our defences held up pretty well. We lost the game 8 to 25.

In the second set Bristol VC and our boys were neck and neck. Up to the 20 points mark, we bravely managed to thwart any attacks by Bristol VC with some good blocking from setter/alternate hitter Chan and middle hitter Angus. We also managed to exploit some gaps in Bristol VC’s defence by cleverly soft-spiking the ball over the block and into space to which it caused much confusion to the Bristol VC’s backline. However, Bristol VC did then surge ahead thanks to some well-placed serves. Not to be defeated, we came back and gained 3-points consecutively through 2 service ace and a clever spike from Claudio. Our 2nd set was definitely much better and composed (improved passing by our backline to the front hitters). However, just like Scotland, in the match against Australia, it was not meant to be as Bristol VC eventually won the set with the score of 25-20.

Part 1 written by Warren Yick

The following game, against City of Bristol, proved to be hardest one we faced so far. Tough start for Matt and Luke, as it was their first game. But, despite of the opponent high level, the new players incorporate the team spirit and played their best! In the first set we hold the score the best we could, but it finished at 25 x 16 to City. The second set was harder, as everyone seemed a bit exhausted and City brought it to a high standard of Volleyball, with quick hits from middle and second balls, to which our blocks and covers were not ready to defend. City ended the match at 25 x 9.

It was a difficult day for the Men’s 2nd, both Volleyball and weather related. Nevertheless, the team played their best and I think we are improving every match. Better days will come for us!

Part 2 written by Felipe Sales de Freitas

To be continued….

Mens2ndB&DVA24Oct2015

Mens 1sts vs Bristol VC (Friendly) 14/10/2015

Mens 1sts vs Bristol VC (Friendly) 14/10/2015

On 14th October 14 intrepid Men’s 1st teamers journeyed to Abbeywood School (Immediate shout out to Mike ‘dirty Mike’ Wilsher for leading us on a 22-stop bus journey rather than an equivalent 4-stop train journey which cost half as much #greattreasuring) in the northern realm of Filton to lay siege to the stationed garrison in the form of Bristol volleyball club, a team with plenty of powerful hitters and a solid all-round game. A good final test then, before the boys lock horns with Bath in their BUCS opener on the 21st.

 

Aidan ‘Star-spangled banter’ McKay again brought the pain and pleasure in equal measure for the warm up, pumping beats out of his speaker filthier than a Ukrainian brothel, with drops bigger than Felix Baumgartner’s famous leap of faith – which by the way happened on this date 3 YEARS AGO. Can you believe that? 3 WHOLE YEARS. Just think, many of you won’t have even done your GCSEs when that happened. God I feel old. After a sprinkle of pepper the team were prepared for the searing heat of battle.

 

The pressure that accompanied this absolutely gargantuan, most pivotal friendly match clearly got to our opponents, as they started the first set with a cacophony of errors courtesy of some aggressive serving from Felipe ‘Capri King’ Galindo Sanchez and Rob ‘Sweaty Betty’ Pennifold.  UoB raced away to a 9-2 lead; however as the set progressed the gap gradually closed as the home team settled into their game, in the process laying down some ferocious serves and spikes that were largely greeted with shanked passes. Even inexplicably perennially good passer Justin ‘Gotta catch ‘em all’ Hui couldn’t get his on target. Much volleyball later – some good (alright), some bad (abysmal) – the guests found themselves at 21-23 and with some momentum on serve, but a couple of errors in quick succession clinched the set for BVC 25-23.

 

The battle was lost but the war had just begun, and Coach Matteo saw vengeance in the eyes of his starting six. He made only three changes, slotting in Aidan ‘where’s he from again?’ McKay at libero, and outsides TS ‘Nickname TBD’ Kim and Ron ‘Oscar Parsley’ Jeremy, making his first appearance for the club in a dramatic career switch from the pornographic film industry (wait till you see him). The set couldn’t have started more differently to the first, with a lack of communication between the new outsides on serve receive hanging poor Fergus ‘Headbandit’ Shaw out to dry at the back of the court. This meant that BVC won the first 7 points of the set, a lead the guests were never able to dent. One bright spot in the set however was the play of Jacob ‘carry me home’ Webster, who in a pleasant surprise to the squad had clearly managed to escape the residual grump that usually hangs over him like a lingering reminder that your country has been knocked out of the world cup, or the dull heartache that forever follows you after hearing the crushing news of unrequited love – Credit to you, sir. Thanks largely to Jacob, the men clawed their way back into the set to finish with a respectable 15 points, every player giving serious cause for optimism for the coming season.

 

With the match already lost, Matteo saw fit to unleash the best talent the club has to offer to send a message that they weren’t going down without a fight. Players such as Jonny ‘Rear Admiral’ Childs and Guinness world record holder for world’s most softly spoken man Craig ‘Aretha Franklin’ Tavares-McKoy entered the fray. The effects were felt immediately in the passing game, and, powered by the ever-secure spiking from Mr Consistent Chris ‘French onion’ Sherfield – who did ‘get blokt m8’ once I hasten to add – The team played their best volleyball yet. All despite a considerable distraction in the form of one opponent’s shorts, rather economical in length, that due to their – to put it mildly – ‘fitted’ style, left absolutely nothing to the imagination. Quite frightening. It was a close run contest throughout that due to intimidating blocking from both sides had ‘more tips than a well-waited restaurant’ (House, J. UOBVolleyball. Twitter. 1st edition, 2015.). Of course no game Bristol plays would be complete without a butterfingers moment, and once again Rob ‘sweaty Betty’ Pennifold stepped up to the plate. Déjà vu was felt by all as another near-perfect pass slipped through his hands and hit his sweat-sodden chest, the impact causing the surrounding players – not for the first time, I’m sure – to be lightly doused in his salty bodily fluid. The men dug deep to soldier on through this mild inconvenience and soon reached 24 all, a score line that has all too often been the harbinger of impending pain for club veterans. In somewhat anticlimactic fashion though the students stepped on the gas and won 2 quick points to ensure they finished the fixture going down in a blaze of glory. A happy note to end on. A perfect cadence, you might say. Or actually, given the overall performance, maybe just plagal. Probably just plagal.

 

BUCS looms.

 

Onwards.

 

Written by: Fergus Shaw