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

Mens 2nds BDVA Tournament (15/10/2016)

Mens 2nds BDVA Tournament (15/10/2016)

On a rare non rainy Bristol day, the brand new men’s 2nd team start off their new volleyball season with two BDVA matches at Bedminster.

With the hangover from Embargos last night still lingering, the squad leaves from the coach station. Oddly, many team members (old and new alike) chose to have a wonderful defecation as the pre match routine, resulting in a queue at the toilet in the (fragrant) changing room.

First game was against City of Bristol. The time for warm ups was very brief, therefore the starting six of the team were immediately thrown onto court, confused as if they were still in the club since last night, begins the game with only the vaguest idea about rotations. The beginning was a bit rough, with our team mostly being the passive side. However, after a bit of adjustments, the team picked up the pace and started to score some points, with a few rather impressive hits by Shean and Luuk, and even a rare block by the Brazilian sensation, Felipe. Nevertheless, these were not enough to prevent a 8–25 loss of the first set.

After switching sides, the game continues with our team showing some great overall progress. However, casualties were sustained when Chan ‘The Conquerer of Brazil’ elbowed Felipe in the face due to height problems during a hustle play. The aftermath was rather bloody therefore the substitute setter Ben stepped in as replacement. Confusion about the rotations occurred, thus a timeout was called to sort it out. But that was not enough to prevent us being defeated 9–25 in the second set.

The second was against Cardiff Wildcats, a team of equal competence as the first. Learning from the first game’s loss, we quickly seized the initiative and racked up some quick points, forcing our opponent to call a timeout. The momentum switched after the time out, we were then no longer holding the scores tight. And Cardiff sprinted to a 25–14 victory.

The second set ended with the same score. But we managed to put up some good lengthy rallies, although we didn’t manage to win those, shame. Bold experiments of some new tactics were also attempted, notably, Ralph and Shiraz successfully developed a combo shot. Some good team chemistry is certainly developing!

Despite two clean losses, the new team however showed some great improvements throughout the morning. A very promising beginning for the new season.

Written by: Dom Minton

Ladies 2nds BDVA Tournament (17/10/2015)

Ladies 2nds BDVA Tournament (17/10/2015)

“You can’t just give up! Is that what a dinosaur would do?!”

Joey Tribbiani

It was on the early (much to early) hours of Saturday the 17th of October that the Ladies 2nd Team woke up and directed themselves towards the hidden Bristol Coach Station. They were advised to meet at Bay 17, but some dared to stand halfway – right between 16 and 17 – making us believe they were in two places at once (one of the many amazing deeds of the day).

After kicking it off nice and softly with a grumpy bus driver who hated to be confused as a taxi, the brave Caitlin lead the whole team to the right bus – and very lady-like payed all of our tickets. For that, I must say we wouldn’t had made it without her (THANKS CAITLIN, YOU RULE!). Within a few minutes (sort of, when having fun the notion of time seems to suffer a significant reduction), we arrived at our stop in the quite mysterious land of Keynsham. Within 15 minutes of a massive cardio/warm up walk we arrived at the lovely Wellsway School – of which we saw only the gymnasium, outside courts and endless fields of green.

While chatting about future dreams and goals for after the game, the whole team was surprised by a Sainsbury’s Mighty Bag filled with MARVELLOUS deep red uniforms! Everybody was very polite about choosing their numbered t-shirts and I saw that as a sign of great bonding and everlasting love among this family that is the Ladies 2nd team.

Well, now comes the most exciting part: THE GAME. While still getting ready for the match we were surprised by the appearance of fellow teammates wearing a dark blue XXL shirt…….THE BEMI TEAM SHIRT! That was quite a shocker and we needed some sweets to get over it, but finally we managed to understand the situation and rise above it. We had two games that day, we needed to GET IT TOGETHER AND SERVE THEM ALL!

Our first game, against BEMI, was intense. IT HAD IT ALL: EMOTIONAL TENSION, EXCITEMENT, SWEAT, YELLING, CHEERS, HAND SLAPPING, DIGGING AND SOME PENETRATING performed by our sparkling captain CHARLIE. Along with all that we had another aspect to process: we had never EVER played together! YES, GOOSEBUMPS INDEED! So first set: really intense, filled up with excited cheers (yes, I include myself and my uncontrolled excitement), tips from Tim (ESPECIALLY ABOUT OUR POSITIONS IN COURT) and some awkward nervous laughs. Our reception was beautiful – dig after dig the volleyball made a parabolic movement towards the setter. Some spike action was perceived through the hands of Maria L. and Dasha Jr. Special glitter dust to our libero, Angela who never faded! In spite of all that, we lost the first set. BUT THAT DID NOT MATTER, once our TEAM MAGIC was discovered we managed to RULE the second set and make to the third decisive set. That one was intense. Name calling (the ball, not other people…) and some dark times trying to figure out our positioning system. Nevertheless, we played in a very honorable way, but this wasn’t our match to win.

Ignoring our previous result and using the experience to build a stronger team, we all wore grins and gave away celebration hugs (after all it is not every day you get to find TEAM MAGIC) we proceeded to referee the next match of our beloved BEMI/Ladies 2nd -in-disguise  team against The City of Bristol. This was quite a game and I believe we all got inspired by it in many ways: firstly, the volleyball itself – great passes, serves and fantastic blocking moves! Other aspects that should be highlighted were the referee’s fair trial and calm attitude towards some heated moments throughout the game.

Finally, the time had arrived for our last game! This was against the City of Bristol, a very difficult opponent with some nice hitters hidden throughout the court. This left us a bit nervous and, unfortunately, our little mistakes and service misses messed with our confidence and focus, hindering us from getting it together and taking the gold home. Concerning our team spirit and joy, I am glad to say those weren’t affected and we had an excellent journey back home – READY TO SHINE ON FUTURE GAMES!

Written by: Beatriz Valenca

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 1st vs Horfield Hornets and City of Bristol VC 10/10/2015

Mens 1st vs Horfield Hornets and City of Bristol VC 10/10/2015

On the 10th of October the Mens 1st team got their season underway with two games in the local B&DVA league.

 

The men were delighted with the slightly later start afforded to them with an 11.30am start. Travelling to the game, Felipe was introduced to English 00’s culture wonderfully through the choice of music from Michael Wilsher, who bounced along in the car along to Basshunter and Cascada. Top work Wilsher.

 

With debuts flying in from new signings such as Craig ‘Songbird of a generation’ Tavares-McKoy, Aidan ‘International man of mystery’ McKay, Matt Birch and Felipe Galindo Sanchez, as well as Captain Chris ‘Soup’ Sherfield’s first outing the team was a far cry from the Canadian dominated team of former years.

 

The team however put any fears to Monday night Bunker i.e. BED (see what I did there) however with a strong performance in the first game against Horfield. Despite already being as damp as a poorly managed student house, Rob ‘Sweaty Betty’ Pennifold came out all guns blazing with some strong sets to 4 and 2 which were ably dispatched by Chris Sherfield, Jonny Childs and Craig Tavares-McKoy. Indeed the set was a rather simple affair, with Bristol opening up a large lead from the very beginning which was maintained throughout, leaving the men with a 25-11 victory.

 

Perhaps emboldened by this early success, Bristol started the second set poorly with some simple mistakes creeping into their game. Rob continued to find 4 and 2 as easily as he finds a seat on public transport thanks to his advancing years, however the middles in the form of Michael Wilsher and John ‘Drunk on power’ House struggled a little with the new setter. As the set continued and Bristol focussed up the middles began to get more into the game, with Michael getting as high as he does at his shirtless raves to hit the ball powerfully into the Horfield side. This was also the moment for Craig to unfurl a previously unseen jump serve, leaving the bench particularly impressed with the casual nature of his celebrations afterwards. As the team came together well they buried any Horfield hopes with some great all round play coming away as 25-19 winners and thus winning the game 2-0.

 

The men had no time to breathe as they were straight back on court for their second game against the City of Bristol Volleyball Club. With tensions already high during the warm up thanks to some dubious line hitting, the men were keen to start well against COB’s strong side.

 

The men however were to let themselves down slightly through their serving in the first set. Despite coach Matteo’’s efforts to get the men to serve ‘Little by little’ at the COB’s weak libero, the men simply couldn’t maintain the ‘wonderwall’ of consistent serves and were hampered by four missed serves in a row. Special mention to Matteo for not ‘looking back in anger’ despite these mistakes even though he was clearly ‘crying his heart out’ on the inside. Side note – Matteo really hates Oasis. Thats a joke thats going to really ‘Live forever’. Okay I’m done now. Moving on.
Outside of the serving mistakes the Mens team should be commended for playing well against a strong team, losing the set 25-19.

 

The second set was a similar affair with Bristol allowing COB to open up an early lead that they then couldn’t overturn. The Men however fought hard throughout with Chris ‘Sharapova’ Sherfield in particular beginning to release unearthly noises as he spiked the ball down, such was the degree of effort he was putting in. Fergus also saw fit to unfurl a rather unconventional spike as he completely mistimed everything about his approach, however as the ball gracefully found the floor of the COB side there was an outpouring of love for his audacity. Meanwhile Rob finally succumbed to the sweat which plagues his volleyball career, as a perfect pass from Jonny crashed down between his hands, simultaneously causing groans from the bench as well as giving the ball an early bath. The set ended in almost farcical fashion with a call from the referee that was beyond belief. Or at least that certainly remains to be John ‘Anger counselling required’ House’s opinion, an opinion that the entire hall was made very aware of. Rocked by such a display of raw, manly passion the men lost the final point and consequently the set 25-20 and the game 2-0.

 

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Despite the loss in the second game however the men remain confident for the season ahead with the glimpses of brilliance that were on display filling all hearts and minds with joy.

 

Onwards

 

Written by: John House