Cardiff Met 1sts vs Bristol Ladies 2nds (07/12/2016)

Cardiff Met 1sts vs Bristol Ladies 2nds (07/12/2016)

WE’RE BACK!!! Amazing power serving from Julie got us an early 9-0 lead and our excellent hits and tips won us the first set 25-9. GO TEAM! We had (another) way too cocky moment in the second set which we consequently lost 25-27 (oops). Beccy’s injury took her off court for the rest of the game but Chris stepped up to plate, amazing everyone with her adaptability on court. We breezed through the final two sets which some amazing serves from Thara and Emelie. Bryony’s pickups from behind the block prove that we do occasionally listen to Anna in training, Alicia’s reverse sets were beautifully accurate and Antilia aimed some scarily powerful hits at the mean (but good at vb) girl from the opposing team. Apart from a couple of hiccups (someone call for the ball!) we were clearly the dominant team and proved that we deserve our place at the top of the table #winners #internationalchampions #didn’tletitdrop #queensofthecourt

To continue the celebrations, we were presented with Christmas crackers and cheeseboards on our triumphant return to the coach. The defeated but not downtrodden men’s hockey team serenaded (read: caterwauled) us with some delightfully festive renditions of Christmas classics (Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas’ went down a treat) on the journey home. Our BUCS team now takes a holly, jolly Christmas break to rest and recuperate- a break that is both well-deserved and well needed.

Player’s MVP: Chenchen

Coach’s MVP: Chenchen (she deserved it!)

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Written by: Beccy Cartwright-Riley

Ladies 2nds vs Cardiff Met 1st (09/11/2016)

Ladies 2nds vs Cardiff Met 1st (09/11/2016)

With good confidence from the last game, it was time for the ladies second team to welcome Cardiff Met 1st to the SEH. Despite the rain and grey November weather, the Ladies 2nd managed to turn up the heat by winning 3-0. With a new squad and some mixing of rotations, it was an exciting (or nerve wrecking, depends who you ask) game to watch with a “unique” touch. After we’d gotten the hang of it, we got some great sets from Alicia, some sneaky tips from Maria, good defence and hitting from the rest of the players and, which shouldn’t be surprising by now, some smashing serves from our serve-machine Julie. The more our communication improved, the better we started playing and we won the first set. Coach Anna and broken-foot Beccy could finally breathe for a moment. The second set showed more consistent play and we saw some good blocking from Maria and Nicole, as well as some really nice hitting by Daphne, Thara and Dasha. Just to make sure we turned the heat up even more, we finished with a jump-serve by Nicole. That’s how we like to get set-point after all. The third set started out a bit shaky, but after some good coaching and cheering from our wonderful supporters, it ended with an easy win. The celebrating (and eating fudge) could start!

MVP: Nicole

Emelie Forsman

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

Gloucestershire 2nds vs Bristol Ladies 2nds (26/10/2016)

Gloucestershire 2nds vs Bristol Ladies 2nds (26/10/2016)

On Wednesday, the 26th of October, seven ladies of the 2nd team as well as their lovely coach Anna made their way to the incredibly dull city of Gloucestershire, in order to play against the town’s University Ladies 2nd team. Why would anyone choose to study there remains a mystery to me, as there seem to be absolutely nothing in this town except for an infinite number of residential houses and miles and miles of green grass. You might be wondering: why start a match report by a description of the city? Well, my friends, it is because by now every single one of us knows Gloucestershire like the back of their hands. Indeed, the first challenge of the day didn’t involve receiving hard serves or hitting inside the court (yes, this is usually a challenge for us, what can I say we’re just too powerful): our first challenge was finding the damn sports center. We first arrived at Gloucestershire sports park after a 30min walk, only to find that we had looked up the wrong Google Maps address. The place we were looking for was actually a 40mins walk away. And remember, we’re in Gloucestershire: they barely have running water and electricity in here so don’t get your hopes up for an Uber or a taxi. So spirits up, sweaters around our waists and running shoes tied tight, the eight of us started wandering the streets of Gloucestershire again.

After what felt like an eternity, we finally arrived at the promised land: Gloucestershire’s sports center (and not sports park, Maria). Just enough time to put on these extremely tight team shirts, fill our water bottles and practice hitting for a bit, and before you know it the game has started. Despite our opponents’ impressive starting positions (they squat like there is no tomorrow, truly an inspiration to us all) as well as their number 24’s really good serves, we quickly realise that the biggest challenge we have to overcome is not standing on the other side of the net. Our biggest challenge was *insert dramatic music* ourselves. The sport’s center enduring echo reduced the communication on court to ashes, which resulted into a lot of bumping into each other between Julie and Antilia. Add to this a combination of us struggling with our passing and a little confusion about the rotations, and the result is not surprising… Simply put: we could have done much better in these first few points. After Anna called a time out which I’m pretty sure lasted way more than the allowed 30 seconds, the team slowly pulled itself up. Thanks to some sneaky tipping from our setter Megan, great hits from Maria, Thara and Beccy and a series of beyond this world serves from Julie, we won the first set with a dozen points in advance. Second and third sets were also a success, despite communication with our coach approximating sign language. Passing improved substantially, covering was much better and we saw some solid play from everyone, though again, it clearly wasn’t our best volleyball. The game should also be remembered for our shouting, which was, as the youth says, *on point*. Final score was a beautiful 3-0, and the team left the sports center with a 2003 « mission accomplished » kind of feeling:  we probably could have handled this much better, but hey, we won!

However, the team love story with Gloucestershire is not quite finished yet: we will all be back next week to play against the University’s first team. Will we remain undefeated? To be continued….

Player of the Match:

Written by:

Ladies 2nds vs USW Ladies 1sts (12/10/2016)

Ladies 2nds vs USW Ladies 1sts (12/10/2016)

It was October 11th, one day before our first BUCS match and only our third training with the new Ladies’ seconds. We had done some great team-bonding during our first team social the Wednesday before (with some unfortunate injuries, but we’ll get to that later) and we were all excited to see the new talent who had joined our team. It was all fun and games until we realised that our first BUCS match would actually be in 24 hours. Despite the great new and old talent, we didn’t feel prepared at all. The fact that USW kept changing the time of the match didn’t help much either. In our enthusiasm of having a home match, we had made a Facebook event to try to get everyone to come support, but now we actually didn’t really want our friends to show up. This might all sound very pessimistic, but it wasn’t that we didn’t believe in our own abilities and capabilities, it was just the fact that hadn’t had more than 4 hours of playing together as a team. However, Ladies’ second wouldn’t be Ladies’ second if we didn’t decide to keep our heads up, have fun and arrive at sports hall very early to go through rotations (we contemplated coming at 7am, but decided 1 hours would be sufficient).

Unsure what was going to happen once we entered the court, Beccy, Antillia, Maria MP, Emelie, Alicia, Zoe, Julie, Thara, Megan, Bryony, Marina and Maria K., decided that the least we could do was be loud. And loud we were.

What happened when we started playing we don’t know. We started out playing quite alright and communication was good. Slowly, we started to realise that we could do this. As if we had been playing together for years, we played as a team, talked, yelled and slowly started scoring more and more points. Was USW just really bad? No, not at all. The better we started playing, the less we looked at each other with slight confusement and amazement and the more we started having fun not because we made ourselves, but because we were having genuine –kids on a bouncy castle kinda- fun. After we overcame Julie and Maria’s overexcited, way too powerful hits that went way out, there was nothing that consistently went wrong. Zoe –formally known as double touch Zoe – Holt did some very solid setting, and so did Megan when she gave setting with our team a go for the first time. Solid play by Beccy, Antillia and Maria K who’ve already been playing with the Ladies’ seconds for a year. For Julie and Thara we could see how much progress that had made since one year ago. Starting in the third team last year and playing with us for part of the year, they delivered some amazing hits and serves. Julie even managed to score four aces in a row. We were also very proud of our new players who did a great job at playing their first BUCS game. It all looks very promising.

After having won with a ten point difference, we decided to make the third set slightly more interesting, Giving eight points away in a row, the score got to 24-25 for USW. Was it our overexcitement, Beccy who fell over several times because she had insisted on playing despite a ankle injury (“but pres were so fun) or Thara who, after having played very well for two sets, suddenly had forgotten what the word rotations even means. Nah, we just wanted to make it all a bit more interesting for the over twenty people that were supporting us. Victory was ours with 25-27.

Words cannot express how proud we were and are. Proud of our returning players, even more proud of our new players and also very proud and happy about our new coach Anna. We can’t wait to see what this Volleyball will bring.

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MVP coach pick: Julie Worsøe Andersen
MVP team pick: Julie Worsøe Andersen

Written by: Maria Klønhammer

Gloucestershire Ladies 2nds vs Bristol Ladies 2nds

Gloucestershire Ladies 2nds vs Bristol Ladies 2nds

After a long stint of home matches it was time to hit the road again and head to Gloucester, with two new additions to the BUCS squad: Danielle ‘smash queen’ Mathieson and Lizzie ‘aced-it’ Peattie. Excited and ready to go, we hopped onto our coach accompanied by the men’s 2nd team.  A few of Tim’s team talks later and one very bored ‘doesn’t do long journeys’ Beccy, we arrived at our destination.

We were up first, and thanks to the fabulous amp Gloucester had our warm up was half dancing/half volleyball – perfect for getting everyone pumped and ready to play! We started off the game confidently, everyone in the right place at the right time, making a well-oiled volleyball machine right from the first whistle. We were all reminded of how incredible Dasha’s super-powered-smashing-it-always over-arm serve is as she continued to pummel the other team, the ball flying off in all directions as Gloucester struggled to get the first pass in. Much neat (for the most part) three-touch volleyball ensued, with some nice reverse sets from captain Zoë and some all-round good volleyball. Our new star fresh from the US proved to be an invaluable addition to the team, hitting strongly and confidently over the net like there was no tomorrow! With a score of 17-10 it was time to bring in our second “newbie” Lizzie, who despite not having played in BUCS before made a very promising start, acing her first serve. Bristol took the first set 25-19 full of energy and excitement for the rest of the game.

The second set provided us with an even greater win than the first, with Millie coming on court strong and producing some lovely sets. Recently transitioned into the position of libero, Gaby ‘squatsalot’ Cropper’s talent shone with perfectly aimed passes one after the other, allowing Bristol to tear ahead. Not forgetting of course the wonderful hits from Milly and Hattie our wonderful middles as they were given the chance to exercise their hits, tips and dumps from the strong leading position we had taken. Unfortunately the support for Gloucester was growing, although more in the form of cringe worthy jokes and jibes in attempt to put us off our game – but it would have taken more than that to shake us and the rest of the set was smooth-sailing. We glided on through to win the set 25-10.

It was time for the final set (or at least we very much hoped so!). We came on court strong, taking the opportunity to practice some new techniques and plays; some of which were successful, some less so – we are still determined to master and perfectly execute a short ball through the middle in-game! Despite our confidence in our ability to win the match, our serving proved to be…interesting… ranging from the precision and power from our secret weapons Dasha and Danielle, to some slightly less consistent balls from the rest of us (sorry ladies, we all knew it!). We still had great fun, and Beccy’s little clap before each serve never failed to produce smiles from all of us. It’s like a little high-five to herself before the beautiful serve. Watch it, it’s brilliant. Although this held us back a little, we continued with our great gameplay, raking in the points when the Double D’s stepped up to serve (Dasha and Danielle that is!) and proceeded to dig, set and spike our way to victory. With the final winning set of 25-21, we had our second in a row 3-0 triumph.

We take on top of the league team Bath in a cup game next week – what will no doubt be an exciting match. Fingers crossed for another victory to add to our belts!
Coach’s MVP: Danielle Mathieson

Player’s MVP: Danielle Mathieson

(She really played brilliantly!)

Written by: Zoe Holt

Ladies 2nds vs Cardiff Met 1sts (03/02/2016)

Ladies 2nds vs Cardiff Met 1sts (03/02/2016)

This was our first match since before Christmas, as we warmed up we soon realised our fitness was at all time low, but luckily our eagerness was higher than ever. We’d previously met Cardiff 1st in their sports hall with unbelievably low ceilings. I mean ridiculously low. So low that I blame them for us losing that match. However we were on home ground this time, with the highest ceilings you could hope for without being outside.

We had a new coach in the form of Abi Wooden, we trusted her instantly as she had this cool notebook especially for Volleyball, anyone that prepared was obviously going to be fantastic. It even had a hand drawn volleyball on it. We won the toss and up to serve first was Dasha the Demon, as it sailed beautifully over the net we got our game faces on. Myself and Hattie were told to watch the tall, very tanned hitter. She must have been to Bali or something because her tan was so good, actually made me miss Essex a little bit! Despite trying our best blocking skills, she still managed to get passed us. Luckily Libero Gaby always had the teams back with some awesome passing. Monica ran around like a headless chicken – perhaps a little more graceful – setting the front court up for some wonderful hits. Although slightly tense in some parts we held the lead throughout and won the first set 20-25.

A quick team talk and advice from Abi not to let the win go to our heads spurred us on but helped us keep cool, winning this match 3-0. I was particularly happy with the thought of winning 3-0 as I had to walk the dog and also wanted to go shopping.  The set started out well with us winning the first 2 points. Hereafter it all became a bit tense as Cardiff caught us off guard with their serving and managed to take the lead. I’ve kind of blocked out the bit where we were losing but with some fantastic hitting from Camellia and consistent serving all round we took back the lead. Having been told to block more closely to my teammates, I managed to tread on Zoe’s feet preventing her from running to get the second ball subsequently losing us a point. Not my fineness moment but Zoe was totes fine about it. Mariam managed to seal us the win with the best serving I’ve seen to date #don’t****itup. The final score being 25-22.

This time Captain Zoe gave us a pep talk, she wanted us to put the sassy Cardiff lot back in their box. To be fair their sass was a bit excessive and honestly quite annoying. The start of this game looked promising with Cardiff calling a timeout to try and put us off. It obviously didn’t work. The Men’s 2nds buzzer however did put us off, it kept going off at the worst moments. It was just so loud! Next time I think we should have the buzzer, just saying. Despite Monica’s run in with the curtain and Becky and Camilla having the most dramatic clash, we sailed through the rest of the match winning 25-12.

A fantastic first match back, now time to continue this for the rest of term. We face Gloucester next week… here’s hoping they’ve got high ceilings!

Coach’s MVPMonika Dryzmala
Player’s MVPMilly Roper

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Written by: Milly Roper

Ladies 2nds vs Bournemouth 2nds – Conference Cup (25/11/2015)

Ladies 2nds vs Bournemouth 2nds – Conference Cup (25/11/2015)

On the 25th of November, the Ladies 2nds hosted their very first Cup match, facing Bournemouth 2nds. After a bit of a meltdown last week, the team was determined to put aside its tiny hiccup against Bath.

We began the set confidently, with a couple of changes to the conventional set up of the team, with Beccy “Watch the Line” Cartwright-Riley stepping in for opposite and Angela “High 5” Liu standing as outside. Despite the slight uncertainty of 5-1 rotations, the game progressed smoothly with some luscious sets from Zoe “Oatcake” Holt, finished off with some killer hits by Camellia “Swinging from the Chan-delier”  and Angela “Nightclub Virgin” Liu. Serves were particularly on point, special mention to Milly “Dalmatian Bruises” Roper, who began the match doubting her over-arm serve and scored two consecutive aces. The ladies wrapped up the set quickly, producing some textbook volleyball and concluded the set 25-13. Feeling optimistic after the first set win the ladies entered the second set with high hopes, and proceeded with some excellent volleyball to take the second set 25-20.

The third set got to us, as we started losing stamina over the game. Fatigue, miscommunication, a hint of over-confidence? The 2nds got stuck in a serving rut as n°9, the fisting fury, powered through with her flat diagonal serves. A few scrappy moves and an ambitious back-court hit from Beccy “Clap Serve” Cartwright-Riley meant the 2nds lost their track slightly. A few points down, the gap was too wide to recover and the set ended on 25-21 for Bournemouth Uni.

Not to worry! With Coach Tim’s wise words, full bench of support and a delirious crowd, the cheers were on the Bristol side as they took on the 4th set. Having won the first two sets and narrowly lost the second, the team was determined not to let the last one slip away. Consistent serving from Camellia and Angela put the team at an advantage, whilst Beccy and Hattie – the intimidation wall – flawlessly kept to their blocking duties. The match could not conclude without a couple of Beccy’s iconic facial interceptions with the ball, bringing great entertainment to the game, calming the nerves of the Bristol squad! What seemed like a fairly tangible win for Bristol, became a problematic affair as both sides stood their ground towards the end of the set. With a tight score creeping all the way up to 24-25, the tension reached its pinnacle as the ladies let their match point slip. Thankfully, the team kept a strong mental game and put an end to the match 27-25, securing our greatest win of the season so far!

Players’ MVP: Camellia Chan
Coach’s MVP: Zoe Holt

Written by: Gaby Cropper

Ladies 2nds BDVA Tournament (28/11/2015)

Ladies 2nds BDVA Tournament (28/11/2015)

It was a bleak English Saturday when the Bristol Ladies 2nd team made the journey to Wellsway school. Fortunately the meet-up time was 10:20am at the Bristol Bus Station, so everyone had a longer hangover recovery period than normal. However, it seemed that Angela ‘Better Late Than Never’ Liu, needed it the most; she woke up at 10am after a botched alarm clock setting, yet still made it to the station by 10:23am. That was one of the many magical moments of this glorious day.
The team was led by Maria ‘the Intimidator’ Klønhammer who had been to Wellsway the previous week. Unfortunately while walking there she became distracted with talk about Secret Santa and led her comrades down the wrong path for around 27 seconds. Nevertheless she quickly recovered and led the team to victory (up a hill steeper than Park street) and we arrived at Wellsway on time.
Excitement was brewing as warm-ups began. In fact, there was so much excitement that the team did not know which direction to jog and where to go. Feet were stepped on, friendships broken, and loyalties questioned. However, through Maria ‘Follow Me’ Klønhammer’s quick thinking the team settled into a solid back-and-forth jog cycle on one side of a court.
Let the games begin!
The first set began and Taunton, the opposing team, served first. The serves came hard and fast but Maria ‘Kickin’ it’ Guerro-Farías did her best to send them flying high and proud.  Caitlin ‘the Flash’ Ross would then swiftly set and Angela ‘the Hulk’ Liu would strike with a vengeance and startle the other team with her unassuming strength. Even though the Ladies 2nd was still a bit uncertain about positions and where exactly to move, they mostly ended up at the right spots and played as seamlessly as they could. Despite this phenomenal play it would seem the odds were not in the Ladies 2nd‘s favor and they lost the first set to Taunton.
In the second set we were not at all disheartened. Cheers were loud and camaraderie celebrated for every point won and for every point lost. It baffled the other team but fired up the Ladies 2nd. Morgane ‘the Extravagant’ Singh proudly cried ‘MOOORGAN’ before pushing balls deep into enemy territory with her powerful sets. María ‘Knock ‘em Dead’ Guerro-Farías didn’t hold back as she spiked the ball and overpowered whoever was unfortunate enough to receive the hit. Charlie ‘and The Chocolate Factory’ Edge flawlessly set even the most difficult to receive passes, which were successfully picked up by Maria ‘Spike First, Ask Questions Later’ Klønhammer. However, despite the strong play, the 2nd team was unable to secure the win.
This did not discourage the team but instead emboldened them to bring their A-game for the next game against TipTop.
After some beautiful serves from Charlie ‘Say what?’ Edge the team was off to a good start. Charlie’s passion was clear and indomitable as she yelled ‘Help!’ even when the ball was far out of reach or against the back wall of the gym. Overall there was even greater improvement in movement; and if someone forgot where to move they immediately recognized their error, which highlights the improved understanding of the game and appropriate gameplay. Tolu ‘Smack ‘em’ Alegbeleye was able to receive some impressive serves and pass them to Caitlin ‘the Incredible’ Ross who flawlessly set them for Angela ‘the Thing’ Liu to hit. However, due to Tolu’s eagerness and the viciousness of the serves from the opposing team, Tolu unintentionally sacrificed herself on two occasions and took balls directly to the face that actually bounced upwards, but unfortunately were too far away to pass. She has now vowed to improve her volleyface digging for future games.
When Xing Xing ‘Criminal Minds’ Chen played the front positions, despite her unassumingly cute and small stature, she successfully cleared the net and blocked some hard hits from the opposing team. The game was crazy fun with all members cheering and laughing as the match went on. On Tiptopp’s team? Radio silence. This just goes to show how amazing the Ladies 2nd team is at having fun. At the end of the day it seemed that little things won points for the opposing team and the Ladies 2nd once again lost. Despite the losses the Ladies 2nd team grew closer and chattered amongst themselves with excitement, mentioning the various ways they saw improvements in themselves and their teammates and how through greater, more focused practices they could see even greater refinement in their playing. So onwards they charge!
Player of the Match: Angela ‘Are We Even Surprised Anymore?’ Liu.
Written by: Tolulope Alegbeleye

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

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

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

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

Ladies 2nds vs Gloucestershire 2nds (04/11/2015)

Ladies 2nds vs Gloucestershire 2nds (04/11/2015)

On Wednesday 4th November, the Ladies 2nds took on Gloucester Uni team. After a couple of stumbles against USW and Cardiff Met, the team was determined to make the next match a win. We arrived promptly at SEH, with a slight panic over the number of shirts for the selected players. Pumped and keen to warm up, we couldn’t wait to host our very first home game. Credits to Gloucester for providing some serious beats with an impressive amplifier, putting Milly’s modest speakers to shame. After our lengthy warm up, the team simply could not wait to smash a few balls and get started.

We started off the set confidently, with consistent serving from Monika and Milly and a couple of confused ace celebrations. Not quite the synced-three-smacks-on-the-floor celebration inspired by the ladies 1st team, but we’ll get there eventually. Setting was on point as well as the hits by our hand-canon Camellia, which allowed Bristol to win the 1st set comfortably 25-10. The 2nd set saw a few changes from the initial formation: Monika swapping from outside to setter, while Camellia got substituted for Vera and a surprise to all, the introduction of libero Angela Liu. Bristol let a few point slip due to confusion and a dubious decision from the referee calling Vera out for a serving fault.  Fear not, Milly saved the day with nine consecutive serves and even pushed the boat out by trying out over-hand serving! A result of Club Captain House boot-camp burpies or was it purely match adrenaline? I’ll let you decide. Anyway, Bristol maintained the lead and won the set 25-7. The highlight of the 3rd set was the delight on team captain Zoe’s face after her successful block despite her petite figure. On a final note, Bristol wrapped up the set efficiently, concluding the match 25-12 and 3-0 victory.

This match marks a milestone in the UoB Volleyball Club history, first victory for the ladies 2nds of many more! Well done everyone, let’s see if we can keep this up for our next match against Bath!

Player of the Match: MVP goes to Monika for her consistency all round and bravely taking on the role as setter in a match situation.

Written by: Gaby Cropper

Cardiff Met Ladies’ 1sts vs Bristol Ladies’ 2nds (21/10/2015)

Cardiff Met Ladies’ 1sts vs Bristol Ladies’ 2nds (21/10/2015)

With a much smaller team compared to last week the ladies second team set off for another, dare I say, international BUCS match in Wales. We were feeling slightly saddened by the fact that some team members have forgotten about their priorities and decided that they came to university to actually get a degree and not for volleyball. Hattie ‘if they break up, I’ll be there… waiting’ Freer-Smith lightened the mood of the journey by giving out free snacks.

On arrival we were first teased by what seemed like a London 2012 Olympic standard sports hall (it even has an indoor cycling tracks), which someone even described as a ‘baby version of a hippodrome’. However, our dreams were crushed just like Leonardo Di Caprio’s chances for ever getting an Oscar and we were quickly shooed away. Back in the place where we belong we found out that our teams were actually overly organised and arrived an hour early which meant that we were able to bond with the men’s seconds, finding out vital information such as Marcus’ peculiar dislike for fish, yet love for sushi. I bet you’re glad you know that now.

Watching the men heroically win their match was very #inspirational. Special mention goes to Felipe whose comical gestures motivated numerous twitter and instagram posts. If you haven’t seen the video on twitter I highly recommend you go check it out right now.

Having misplaced the notes that people kindly took for me, I now have to try and remember everything on the go, so please bear with me. Our match started out as well as the end of Titanic with us loosing the first 5 or 8 points in the matter of minutes to the number 6 server who would given Sam Groth a run for his money ((he holds the fastest serve in tennis at 163.7mp/h)(fun fact of the day)), which forced Tim ‘try and find the rhythm’ to call an embarrassingly early time out. This obviously worked as the server finally got broken and some delicious sets were made by Charlotte and Zoe, which allowed everyone to show of some sly hits. Bristol took the first set.

Spirits were high going into set two and due to Camellia’s beautifully consistent serving an early lead was taken. However, being overly confident definitely didn’t suit our team with numerous carless mistakes happening left, right and centre. Maria ‘for all occasions’ Klonhammer was brought onto the court to try and help the situation but sadly it wasn’t enough with the set finishing with a Cardiff Met win.

After being grounded by the second set and an encouraging talk from Zoe ‘happy to penetrate’ Holt the mighty maroons were back in business. Hattie’s blocking and Milly’s serving were the highlights of the set with both of them being as devious as Joaquin Guzman escaping from Mexican prison.

Nevertheless, luck was not everyone side and in Charlotte’s case the ceiling was actually the limit, with points being lost because of the sheer power of her digs and it would be recommend that she spends less time in the gym.

To be honest, I don’t remember much about the last set apart from some gorgeously hard hits from Camellia and Gabby ‘I’m on tinder’ Cropper and the number 6 finally messing up her serve. Sadly it wasn’t enough and the game finished 3-1 to Cardiff Met.

So it is now 2-0 to Wales. Third time lucky though?

Player of the Match: Dasha Selivanenko (I hope it is not because I agreed to write this match report)

Written by: Dasha Selivanenko

xo

USW Ladies’ 1sts vs Bristol Ladies’ 2nds (14/10/2015)

USW Ladies’ 1sts vs Bristol Ladies’ 2nds (14/10/2015)

It’s Friday evening and having said I will do the match report by the weekend I am frantically trying to remember what happened- you will have to bear with me as some improvisation may occur along with vast over exaggeration. However, while I sit here with my gleaming fairy lights lighting the room I am thrown back to a time not so long ago on the 14th of October 2015……

Twas 12 o’clock on an autumn day, the leaves had started to depart from their twigs of security and like them we were about to launch ourselves into an unknown world. We arrived at the students Union fresh faced unable to control our eagerness – for that afternoon that would be like no other afternoon, it would follow the morning as it always does but this afternoon was the afternoon of the first BUCS match of our whole lives- the bigg’un, so momentous that even the fall of Rome would struggle to compete in significance. To make the event an even bigger dealio it was international- Wales no less but we have to start somewhere (no offense Zoe). Like grey hounds in the slips we wolfed down our luncheon, we had all brought quite enough food ensuring that by the end of lunch we felt more like Heffalumps that lean greyhounds.

The bus journey convo varied tremendously from Mariam and Milly’s cheerful exclamation they both owned a blue peter badge (I have never been more jealous) to Tim’s ‘quick chats’ at the front of the bus which was like visiting the oval office. For some extraordinary reason platting hair quickly became of the most paramount importance. Having had a recent hair cut as ruthless as one of Stalin’s purges I feared my hair would not be long enough to plat however Princess Leia/ Shrek/ Fiona the genius she is managed the job. By Princess Leia/ Shrek/ Fiona I of course mean Charlie whose hair resembled these two beautiful characters. (Shrek is officially on spell check btw). We arrived with plenty of time to spare so began our warm up in the car park- only the best for the UOB Ladies 2nds. Milly Roper took it upon herself to try and hit as many nice cars as possible, luckily no alarms went off. Captain Zoe and Tim then assembled us ready for the herculean task that lay ahead.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of the match there are a couple of changes I would like to highlight from last year. Firstly new tops which are actually maroon which is Bristol’s colour- who would have known?! Secondly we were able to welcome a couple of new players to our cohort: Maria and Camellia. And thirdly a go-pro had joined our ranks ensuring we could relive the highs and lows again and again- super. Check out YouTube- hopefully there is a song over the top as the commentary from the bench probably gets rather tedious…

Our opponents the University of South Wales looked threatened during the warm up when our mighty hitters pelted balls their way. I don’t quite understand why, but we decided to play with a setter in position 3 as opposed to 2. We were slightly baffled about the reasoning behind this but it worked well none the less.

Set 1, starting team Millie, Captain Zoe, Gaby, Monika, Dasha and Camellia. This set was as close as heat is to fire and it really was a fiery one. With some gorgeous sets from Zoe and Millie the hitters simply skipped to the ball before releasing their inner Spartan sending the ball to the back corners of the court. Around half way Charlie was subbed on and proved her worth setting dem balls nice’n’ high. On the 18th point both Camellia and Dasha collided and threw themselves to the floor in an attempt to receive a cruel hit, their efforts were admired by all. Serving during this set was particularly on point. We put up a mighty good fight and in the last few points it was anyone’s game. Unfortunately we lost the set 24:26. But this minor setback did not allow our hope to wane and we were raring to go again after our little team heart-to-heart.

Set 2: We were still in the game but the other team brought on number 14…. I would use her name but such pleasantries were not exchanged. Either way she had a monster of a hit and somehow the ability to teleport while back court to where ever the ball was. We were acutely aware of this and her presence started to get us down and our cheers fizzled out a bit. Maria was subbed on during this set and played some delightful passes straight to the setter. Unfortunately the presence of no. 14 and her hits set us our confidence off balance and regrettably is reflected in the result of the set 15:25.

Set 3: With Dasha, Camellia and Monika bringing us back up to par with their serves we kicked off this set well, and we were ahead for the first few points. Our blocks improved throughout the game as did our ability to celebrate with confidence. Gaby let loose some mighty hits and Milly’s presence on the back court calmed our passing. In this set I believe we all settled as a team- after all as a group we had either not played together since May or ever at all! We may have lost the last set 25:22 but smiles greeted our defeat as we gave every ounce of effort we had in us and for a first game we were pretty chuffed.

Player of the Match: Camellia for excellent play all round throughout the whole game.

Thank you the UOBVC Men’s 2nds for supporting our game before warming up for their own and to all involved on the fabulous afternoon.

I leave you with the words of Theodore Roosevelt to lift your spirits:

‘Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.’

Written by: Hattie Freer-Smith

Ladies 2nds Tournament 28/02/2015

Ladies 2nds Tournament 28/02/2015

Match Report

Due to a crazy shuffling of the teams which caught everyone unawares this match report is for the Blue team #wild. The team consisted of the most brilliant fellows know to volleyball: Dear Captain Millie, Monika, Maria, Abi and Emily. Despite a couple of subtle hangovers we were all on top form, proving that although we had never played as a team together that we were telepathically all on the same wave length. Our play on the whole was as smooth as a giant panda amongst penguins.

To the people of Stoke Bishops horror there was no car going to the tournament meaning either a 45 minute walk or a taxi. We opted for the taxi given the 7.45 meeting point at the bus station. There was however a bit of a hiccup as taxi was only for 4 people, not 5… Luckily my bicycle (which has saved me from many kerfuffles) was to hand, so I frantically cycled through Brizzle in the drizzle and we all made it too the bus stop. The bus stop was as you would expect- a café/ shop selling items at extortionate prices, and the typical airport style seating, or lack of which meant most people opted for the floor. Once on the bus excitement for the day ahead erupted into a combination of chin wagging and laughter. Either I fell asleep or the journey was incredibly short but we all arrived safely and on time and – Whooptido! To make things even better due to it being Abi Woodens 19th Birthday we were greeted with homemade cake, for the Londoners amongst you I am talking full on Hummingbird style. Scrummy. This pick me up was lucky enough to break some of the secret hangovers that had been lingering behind brave faces.

The first match was against the Cardiff ‘Jets’ (how American…) Having consumed cake we were buzzing and the day started well. Having done no practise serves we all fared remarkably well especially Maria who’s particularly uncasual serves proved handy during the Blues darkest hours. At half way the score was 20:17 to the ‘Jets’, a pretty strong start. Once again the oppositions experience meant they were able to consolidate victory. The final score was 33:20. (as you can see after half way the number of points we won took a little tumble) but we returned to the benches feeling competent in our ability and ever hopeful of a win later in the day.

After a long break, with even more cake, (rhyme unintended) we returned to face the Welsh once again this time the Cardiff ‘Falcons’. Our match’s international nature drew in many supporters and even a photographer. Millie’s levitation skills whilst serving were second only to the Buddha himself, there is photo evidence of this and also of what can only be described as ‘Egyptian’ style jumping from Abi. Our points in this match dwindled ‘un petit peu’ as we only scored 18 whereas the Falcons scored 36. How selfish of them not to share. We did not fare well against the teams from the ‘Land of Llewelyn’ but it was early days.

As the saying goes ‘third time lucky’, this was certainly the case. The Bemi 2nd Team were far more smiley to begin which calmed our nerves and brought out our best. Monika with the supportive setting of Abi managed to hit many ‘kill shots’. Bemi did not know what had hit them (Quite literally) We were storming ahead like a greyhound amongst pugs. Our eyes glistened each time we glanced at the score board as the gap, like the San Andreas Fault simply kept getting bigger and bigger. The final score was 38: 17 to us!!! We were, in the words of Blackadder himself: ‘as happy as a man who thought a cat had done its business on his pie, but it turned out to be an extra big blackberry’. Someone at this point excitedly exclaimed: ‘We could win the tournament!’ Now, let’s not get too excited…. (next time)

Another break gave us the chance to observe the varying sponsorships clubs had received: from Westbury Tile Warehouse or Julian Hodge Banking to Admiral Insurance. We must count our blessings for having a pub as a sponsor: for Molloys is of far more use than a Tile Warehouse- I wonder if they too have socials there?

We returned for a precarious game against the yellows, the atmosphere was that of when one plays the ‘do or die’ card in the board game ‘Escape from Colditz’ (which beats monopoly hands down). We gained a good lead but with some tricky serving from Simran the score was fluctuating throughout. It was a close game but luckily the blues conquered and took no prisoners we got 30 and the yellows got every ones favourite song ‘twentytwooewew’. Two games in a row- no biggie.

Normally the game against the Hornets is particularly memorable, however today it really is not- thanks to Tims email of the score we know the final score was 31:19 which unfortunately marked the end of our streak of brilliance.

Luckily at this point was lunch which is normally a good opportunity for chit-chat about serious dilemmas such as the falling oil prices and rising prices of freddos. However many people decided to undertake work…this was particularly distressing for fresher’s who were provided with a glimpse into the dark future. Millie, leading in style, said a few words after lunch to rally the troops- ‘lets have a good game girls’ these poetic and inspiring words one can only compare to the ‘Band of Brothers’ speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V.

Our next game was against the UOB 1st team, and at the beginning it was remarkably close, but this original marvelousness slowly evaporated. Abby despite a thumb injury set superbly through this game but unfortunately at one point due to division in the ranks Monika sent a ‘head shot’ her way. Naturally we all laughed before checking she was alive- she was. Regretfully the final score was16:36 to the 1st’s but one day we shall take our pound of flesh.

We had another break and were able to admire other team’s kit/ outfits/ uniforms. I do not remember being told it was fancy dress but one of the teams (I cannot remember who) were dressed as poisonous frogs in turquois and purple tops complete with one player who’s colours were the opposite of everyone else’s- either because the washing machine had played a cruel joke or she was their Libro- who knows. Bath on the other hand looked like they were playing in Bar Crawl T-Shirts.

The penultimate match was against the Bemi 1st team. Given our success against the 2nds we entered the game positively and rightly so as it was a close game. Unfortunately Abi’s thumb decided to fail her at this point so Abi kindly gave her role of setter to Maria, although she proved a more than competent hitter. Thanks to the video footage we have of the game we have slow mo evidence of some sexy sets from Millie as well as sassy hits from Emily. The final score of 20:29 proves that we were bloody close throughout the game.

By the final game we had given it our all and were on our last legs, especially Millie and Maria who both also played for the Reds as well as the Blues. We threw ourselves into the game played our upmost until the final whistle. The score: 18:38. It had been a very long day indeed but we all survived in one piece.

On that bombshell we ventured home and retired to bed, or to the phenomenal medic’s ball (judging by the photos…) Although we may not have won, we did all have a wonderful day and played our very best. I leave you to ponder on the words of William Wordsworth: ‘Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive; But to be young was very heaven.’

 

Player of the Match: Abi, for soldiering on despite injury.

 

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Ladies 2nds Vs Hartpury 10/02/2015

Ladies 2nds Vs Hartpury 10/02/2015

Match Report

We assembled for our first ‘proper’ game ever- three sets, first to 25 points in each. Our opponents: Hartpury, I had a sneak peek at their college website, its impressively smart; I quote ‘welcome to our 360 hectare classroom’ which apparently cost a casual £50 million to build… No biggie, as their symbol is an acorn- and we have whole Coat of Arms complete with dolphin, horse and ship.

All us Stokie B peeps hopped into ‘Prince’ the name of Milly’s black Polo (just a heads up for your next car Mill- cars are meant to be girls). It was like a bloody sauna, we were to discover on the way home why the air con was not on as it oozes out the smell of prawns- delightful. There is a story behind it but I’m sure you can use your imaginations.

We got lost at one point (I don’t think we have ever made it to a match without getting lost at least once) and ended up at the most extraordinary junction I have ever witnessed- a cross roads- if you may call it that as the crossing was at an incredibly acute angle (roughly 45 degrees.) Milly, aided by some wheel spin darted across in a momentous ‘touch and go’ manoeuvre (appreciate that it has taken me a good 40 seconds to write a word close enough to manoeuvre for it to appear in the spell check). Anyway, we made it to the metropolitan school thingbob. It seems all our volleyball venues were designed by the same architect, I don’t know who this fellow is but he obviously found a preferred design and then applied it too all his projects- fair enough but he’s no Haussmann.

The next task was numbering up. Given that apparently we can choose any number up to 24, Captain Mille- Queen of the Tape, dictated that we may only have ‘straight’ numbers, for convenience sake. The choices left 1, 11, 7, or 17. Having been refused 0, 3, 4 and 8 I received good old 17, thank you MillieJ.

It was tense and quiet, and as we knew we had the potential to win we were all on edge. We did not manage to ‘cool our beans’ during the warm up as ‘4’ was announced (as if we ought to know what that meant) followed by ‘2’, again we were left baffled. Fortunately Tim was there to fill us in on the technical lingo- by which I mean numbers. ‘Serves’ was a word we conquered, but we fumbled about again just before the match when we were asked to line up along the base line and then turn around once in position. It was as if we were about to be executed by a firing squad. Luckily, we were not executed and were then left to get on with what we came for- volleyball.

The first set, we were off to a good start with excellent serving and passing from all. We were composed but there was a general lack of calmness. The silence on court was anything but golden, facial expressions ranged from the determined glare to the not so formidable ‘rabbit in the head lights’ (my personal favourite). It seems Milly’s bottom was a magnet that attracted the ball throughout the sets, embarrassingly one of my own serves ended up there, and once again the phrase ‘o goody’ returned to haunt the court. We lost the first set 18:25 but with the feeling that we could win enveloped all.  We entered the second set thinking optimistically.

We were 5 points up at the beginning and felt on top of the world but the other team brought it back and a couple of times we were stuck serve receiving for what seemed like hours before finally rotating. At this point their ‘Tim- equivalent’ began to get cranky. A disputed net touch brought the atmosphere to a new level of awkwardness. We stared through the net at our young, fresh faced opponents who were obviously embarrassed by their coach’s blatant boorishness. But Hey Ho the game went on- Milly and Mariam (or Miriam- neither exists as a name on my laptop so both have been ‘added to dictionary’) jumped bravely up to confront a hit and epically sent it flying back to the other team- who had failed to cover. Sarah served some absolutely cracking serves, as did Monika and Dasha. The Second set was even closer than the first, the 22:25 to them. Unfortunately, this served the purpose of greatening our frustration. Tim announced ‘it’s now or never’ to which someone exclaimed ‘never’. You get the idea- our spirits were as low as those of England fans after the Brazil World Cup.  However, we persevered and returned to court for one last set. Passing ranged from ‘medium rare’ to ‘well-done’. Emily and Milly’s passing was particularly strong throughout which was followed up by some exquisite setting and hitting. It was a shame the other team were so blummin’ good at returning such spikes.

The third set was the worst by a few thousand miles, though it was not without its victorious moments. Dasha hit one ball flying diagonally crosscourt to a beautiful gap in the opponents defence, this of course would not have been possible without a delicious set from Millie. Tiredness had set in and our play was littered with silly kerfuffle’s meaning that the final set score was 14:25 to Hartpury. Had we won the second set I believe the game would have turned out rather differently for our spirits waned the most when we were close to victory but had fallen at the final hurdle.  At the end of the day we did not play our best and the other teams experience did show. We were the underdogs but we put up a jolly good fight so we left the sports hall with our heads held high.

After the other team had scuttled off having refused to play for a tad longer the Reds took on our dear friends who had come to help. In our unperturbed state we played considerably better and the silence that had drowned the room finally dissipated and we had a laugh. This was the highlight of the day for all involved- we had way more fun than Hartpury who were certainly not a ‘bundle of fun’ as we are and didn’t even seem particularly bothered by their victory.

I had a secret ‘Congratulations/ Commiserations’ cake in my bag (I didn’t know which way it was gonna go) we all tucked in, Monika and Dasha especially- they really like cake! We then headed home and we got to go under the suspension bridge, which was super fun!

 

Thank you to Rob, John, Zoe, Xing Xing and Maria for refereeing, scoring, second refereeing and line judging respectively.

 

Man of the Match: Captain Millie