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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by: Dom Minton

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

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

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

The Men’s 2nd Team’s first BUCS game of 2016 was anticipated with many mixed feelings. Would they build on an overall successful first term of Volleyball or were they still suffering from their festive hangover? Would they do the double over the Cardiff Met 1st’s or would they crumble like they had done so many times before against worse opposition. The sports hall seemed like it was filled to the rafters with club members and spectators, anticipating an entertaining afternoon of volleyball. And they were sure not disappointed.

Coached by the wonderful Karoline Drønnen, the 2nds allowed their opposition no time to settle and raced to a 22-9 lead in the first set with some hard hitting by Simos ‘Simios’ Koutsoftides, Ralph Bernardo, Rob Evans and Marcus Clifford. Cardiff Met picked up some momentum and after a very characteristic, slightly nervous and panicky finish to the set, the 2nd’s closed the set out to 25-14.

Cardiff Met’s momentum continued into the second set, and the 2nd’s panic escalated. Timeout was called at 8-13 down. With Karoline reminding them what they had done so well in the first set and just to settle back down, they slowly clawed their way back into the set. The 2nd’s sharp passing and hard hitting returned, and so did Cardiff Met’s passing errors. At 19-19, it was anyone’s set. After some long rallies, the 2nd’s held their nerve to see out a 25-23 victory.

Once again, the 2nd’s found themselves behind for much of the third set, and as tiredness kicked in, the set was littered with sloppy passes and long rallies. At 19-23, Cardiff Met seemed to have the set won, but with some high pressure serving and some exhausting rallies, the 2nds managed to scrape back to 24-23. By this point, UOB Women’s 2nd Team had won their match which only added to the pressure on every serve and made every rally yet more nail-biting. Rallies brought the crowd to silence, and every point was won to raucous celebration from the respective bench. With every point exchanged, the tension grew ever more palpable. Rallies dragged on with both camps guilty of often celebrating too soon. Finally, with Rob Evans holding his nerve excellently, the set and the match was seen out with the score 27-25 to achieve their first 3-0 victory of the season.

The 2nds showed a maturity and steel that has developed over the course of the season. It concluded a very successful day for UOB Volleyball Club, and may this be the first of many in 2016.

Player of the Match: Ralph Bernardo

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Written by: Dom Minton

Mens 2nds BDVA Tournament (04/12/2015)

Mens 2nds BDVA Tournament (04/12/2015)

 

For our first B&DVA fixture of December, Bristol Mens 2nds were travelling to Bedminster Down School for an early match against Cheddar and BEMI. After meeting for the 75 bus at half 8 the whole team rendezvoused at the school, ready to take on today’s challenge in the infamously cold sports hall. Targeting a win today Bristol went into their first game against Cheddar with high hopes.

Bristol played what was believed to be a revolutionary new line up for the club featuring team captain Felipe as an outside instead of his usual role as libero. Bristol had a slow start trying as we settled into the game with a few simple error on serves, passing and calls. But before too long we finally settled into our 4-2 formation and with good setting from Chan and Florian, and hitting from everyone Bristol put up a good fight for the first set that was narrowly contested until Cheddar finally broke away and stole the set.

After a switching of sides and a team talk from coach Tim, Bristol got back into a rhythm for the second set. We put up a good fight for the set as we fell into formation and picked up on some of the sloppy errors of the previous set. But our work rate was not reflect in the harsh score line but Cheddar’s changes were too much for us and with some good volleyball and great hitting on their behalf the set was lost, adding to the 2nds losses in B&DVA as we still search for that elusive win.

Bristol had time to reflect on this defeat as we took a break to ref Cheddar vs BEMI ending in a 2 X 0 win for Cheddar in a strongly contested match. After another thorough warm-up it was game on as Bristol faced off against our coach Tim’s team, BEMI.

The first set showed similar signs of nervousness and unfamiliarity that haunted us in our first set against Cheddar. Although after some merciful on court guidance by Tim, Bristol slowly picked up some of the pieces but still went on to lose the set at a disrespectful score of 9 – 25. Although this may not have reflected our late turn around we concluded to forget about this and start fresh.

Set two was not going to be lost without a fight. This was instantly recognised as an eager Bristol team brought some of “our best volleyball yet” to the court. This score was contested a lot closer than the previous with some superb hits from all and high energy as not a single ball was left without chase from Bristol. In the middle of the set both team duelled it out in an incredible rally to which both team should be proud for and which we admirably lost. In the end the experience of the BEMI players was enough to trump the 2nds and resulted 18 – 25 loss of the set that the team should be proud of.

Player of the Match: Chan Sheng for some excellent hitting, setting and energy in his game; well earned.

Written by: Lewis Caiger

Mens 2nds vs Swansea 1sts (02/12/2015)

Mens 2nds vs Swansea 1sts (02/12/2015)

Wednesday the 2nd of December was due to host two exciting games. Unfortunately, the women’s second team’s game was postponed to a later date as there was nobody available to referee. This left the men’s 2nd team to play Swansea’s 1st team.

With lots of time to warm up, both teams were eyeing each other up. It was decided that this was a team which we were capable of beating. A strong side, but unable to throw anything at us, which we could not handle. Unfortunately, nerves got the better of the team, losing the first few points and forcing an early time out. Despite of loud encouragement from the bench and even louder from the women’s team who were showing strong support for their comrades, too many loose balls were landing on Bristol’s side of the court, too many serves hit the back of the net and too few hits were resulting in points. The set was lost convincingly and Coach Tim was not impressed.

The second set involved moments of improvement, but they remained just moments, before sloppy mistakes let us down again. This set looked like it was going the same way as the last until the last minute. Mike Avery’s serving game was strong, and with help from the other players secured one point. And then another. And another. In total, 7 precious points that gave us strength to keep going. Things were looking up for Bristol. It was unlikely that we could win the 8 points in a row needed to win the set, which become a huge pressure on the next player to serve. Nevertheless, there was hope, and even more hope for the game. However, unfortunately not for the 2nd set, which ended in a service on the net.

The momentum gained wasn’t enough, again there were points which went well but it wasn’t enough and the third set was the final set. A disappointing performance, against a team we were looking to beat. In the past, holding our own against bigger hits, fancier sets and more monstrous blockers.

Player of the Match: Michael Avery

Written by: Angus Bangs

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

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

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

Plymouth Mens 1sts vs Bristol Mens 2nds – Conference Cup (25/11/2015)

Plymouth Mens 1sts vs Bristol Mens 2nds – Conference Cup (25/11/2015)

It was a chilly day. The UoB Volleyball Men’s 2nd team are set for yet another game away from home.

The two-hour long bus journey was compensated by the fact that the nice coach that we were on was only less than half occupied (Yeah, we could literally all lie down and sleep and still have plenty of space left on the coach). Overall, the bus journey was peaceful and rather cosy. We eventually arrived at the sports centre of University of St Mark & St John (not Plymouth Uni unfortunately), which is in the middle of nowhere in the suburbs of Plymouth. However, it is certain that neither teams will actually enjoy home court advantage (Just imagine UoB hosting a match but we use the sports hall of UWE).

Despite the confusion of locations of the match. The sports centre of St Mark & St Johns is indeed one of the most luxurious most of us has ever seen. Proof? Their annual gym membership is £200 (yes, you see that right). So no more words on how good the venue was.

After enjoying a bit of football (with University of Brighton playing here) playing on the fields (and we were lucky enough to witness a goal. Quite unusual for a football match, huh? PS: No sarcasm here), we headed into the big sports hall to get ready for our match.

Pre-game changing room stories are always worth a mention. Here are a few noticeable quotes:

“Ralph, the (team) shirts all smell like you!”

“Anyone want some snickers?”

“Where is the toilet?” (Yep, the toilet door had no sign on it)

And a reminder for anyone who bothers to read this article: Do not use the shower in the men’s changing room in UoB gym! Reason? Just ask Florian Potier and hopefully he will deny all accusations.

After a brief warm-up led by on-court captain Rob Evans and a bit of lecturing by Captain Felipe of why he cannot be on-court captain, we finally started the game.

We started with serving from Florian. The team quickly adapted to the pace of the game and gained a 5–1 lead, which led to our opponent calling for a time-out. After the time-out, our opponent found their rhythm and started to hit and serve hard (notably from their No.8 which earned the nickname “the beast” given by one of our members) that led to us slipping away lots of points. We kept the score at a very small margin thanks to lots of mistakes made by Plymouth. However, we did not manage to close the gap of the score until then. While by the end of the the set, Captain Felipe stressed the importance of blocking hits (again!) during a short time-out. Effectively, we delivered a few impressive blocks, especially by Marcus, that led to many hitting errors by Plymouth under pressure. We hanged around for quite a while before losing the first set 20–25.

The first set turned out to be the closest set of all. As Plymouth got into their pace and better reading our positions, we got heavily damaged by some massive hits particularly from No.8 “The Beast”. Our backcourt guys had a lot of pressure during this period, often being in the right position but unable to deliver a solid pass due to the shear strength of the hits taken in. We managed to stop the skid of scores by forcing our opponents to make mistakes. Honourable mention for Kenji for wonderfully pushing one ball to the dead corner! Nevertheless, the score margin could not narrowed and we lost the second set 15–25.

The offence by Plymouth came even stronger in the third set. With their hitters somehow finding more ways to get past our blocks, our backcourt players kept on enduring those massive hits. Our covering saw some improvements though, but this cannot prove useful while facing one after another flat jump serves by our opponents. Many points were lost in an easy fashion, while scoring ourselves asked us to be in the best form. Under one after another heavy jump serves from Plymouth, we came to a 13–25 third set loss.

After the game, we had some friendly hits with Plymouth with mixed up teams from both unis. Since it was a friendly session, we had plenty of fun and some new trials of positions (a peek to the future maybe). Marcus volunteered to become the libero at the backcourt whilst choosing to set while being front court. The confusion on his face during playing was an indicator that he’d better stick to hitting instead! Whereas captain Felipe had a massive one-man block against a huge hit from the opposite side. Perhaps we should experiment putting him as the middle guy on the next training session, hmm. Overall, the after session was great fun (especially for Felipe as he was chatting up the ref called Katie!) and draws a nice conclusion for our road trip.

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Player of the Match: Marcus Clifford

Written by: Chan Sheng

Cardiff Mens 1sts vs Bristol Mens 2nds (18/11/2015)

Cardiff Mens 1sts vs Bristol Mens 2nds (18/11/2015)

On the 18th of November, the Men’s 2nd team journeyed to Wales for a third time this year. Coach Tim had warned us that this would potentially be quite a tough side, but we were busy remembering how the previous two times we had returned victorious, so spirits on the coach out were high.

The first set started off less than ideally, with Marcus ‘I have one of the best float serves of the team’ Clifford missing all of his serves; Nigel ‘WHY ARE THERE LINE JUDGES!’ Chan getting shouted down by the 2nd ref. Movement was slow, balls were going uncalled for, not even Simeos’ huge outside hits were enough to bring things back. Much like this sentence. The first set was over much sooner than it should have been with Cardiff taking it 25-10. Not to be disheartened, the 2nd team having an accidental tradition of often losing the 1st set only to bring it back in an amazing fashion. Tim showed us our weaknesses, as well as theirs. We were ready to start hitting harder and pushing deeper. Despite some very nice dumps from Kenji, and some deadly spikes by our very own Rob Robinson, the second set was not very different from the first, with Cardiff ploughing ahead again taking it 25-16. All seemed lost, and I could swear that Kenji’s Japanese mask tattoo was shedding a tear.

The third set started out just like the other two, no one was in a good mood any more, with another argument erupting between the 2nd ref and Tim to do with personal space and the order of whistle blowing while substituting players. Tensions were running high, and this might have led to a last minute come back where it was all unleashed, alas this was not the case and Bristol were defeated once more 25-15. And just like that, the 2nd team’s fastest ever match was over. It was not our finest hour, everyone left the hall feeling a little bit dazed and slightly down. It seemed like the evening couldn’t possibly get any worse, if this were a movie, that would be the point where it would start raining, but because we were in Wales, it was already raining. The light at the end of the tunnel was an hour long KFC/McDonalds (the choice of which was a the subject of huge contention amongst the team) session while we waited for women’s hockey to finish their game. Despite a slightly happy ending, it was a sad day for the men’s 2nd team, and may we never have a match that bad ever again.

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Player of the Match: Simos Koutsoftides

Written by: Marcus Clifford

Mens 2nds vs Gloucestershire 1sts (04/11/2015)

Mens 2nds vs Gloucestershire 1sts (04/11/2015)

After a good start to the season the 2nd team had the chance to kick off their home campaign in similar form against an experienced Gloucestershire side. Unfased by seeing their opponents arrive suited and booted and having watched a comfortable 3-0 win by the ladies, the team entered the first set full of confidence.

Despite facing some tricky serving the team managed to open up a good lead in the set. Most notably helped along by some heroic efforts to let nothing drop by Simos ‘Simeus’ Koutsoftides and some excellent hitting from the outside by Rob ‘Rob’ Robinson. Good passing coupled with multiple errors from our opponents led the first set being taken fairly comfortably, with a lovely blocking combination from Mike Avery and Marcus ‘Happy Ending’ Clifford sealing the set for the men in maroon.

After the change of ends Gloucester started to properly find their rhythm for the first time, with the same deadly setting and hitting combination proving costly to Bristol. Despite this the standard mostly remained high, with only a few unforced errors creeping into the team’s game, with Avery’s setting helping to vary the attack. This resulted in a close set but unfortunately the balance had tipped in favour of our opponents, with the score levelling.

The next two sets continued in a similar vein, with the teams fairly evenly matched but with Bristol losing out via a few mistakes as well as the quality of a few of the opposition players. Generally the quality of play was good but there were a few elements that let the team down, plenty of work in training still to do. A 3-1 scoreline flattered the visitors, but the return leg presents a perfect opportunity to make things right.
Player of the Match: Rob Robinson

Written by: Rob Evans

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….

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

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

After making their BUCS debut in fine fashion a week earlier, the Men’s 2nd team were back in South Wales for their 3rd match in 2 weeks. This time the team was up against Cardiff Met, and although full of confidence from their 3-1 win over the University of South Wales, they could not take anything for granted.

With a bus journey that is becoming very familiar with the 2nd team awaiting, Marcus Clifford’s very questionable clothing choice for the rain outside and Felipe Sales being meticulously organised, there was a very strong sense of Deja vu around. Entertainment was again provided by Marcus; describing all too vividly a massage which ‘almost had a happy ending’ he experienced during his long weekend in China (yes, you read correctly), to which Tim Clifford replied ‘your idea of a happy ending would be having the prime numbers whispered into your ear’.

After some confusion, the 2nds were lead to a sports hall reminiscent of our school days. It was barley big enough to house a Greek’s dinner party, and barely high enough to accommodate Rob Evans, let alone host a volleyball match. Some adapting was necessary.

Again, in this prolonged sense of deja vu, the first set fell through the 2nd’s fingers as it did the previous week. After an encouraging start, nerves kicked in and passing became lackadaisical and hitting was off the mark.  After losing 25-16, memories of the week before meant they knew this match was far from over. Through the wise words from Tim and the experience of Nigel Chan stepping in very capably for the absent Mike Avery, the 2nds raced to a 15-25 victory in the second set with some amazing serving by Marcus and Simos Koutsoftides.

The third set was a tighter affair. They often relied on the deafening support from the women’s team. But after some amazing points towards the end of the set which saw one incredible diving pick up by Kenji Capannelli the team was buoyed by a 19-25 victory in the third set.

Cardiff Met managed to rally their team for a very nervous 4th set. Bristol 2nd’s were always chasing the set, never fully recovering from going down 9-4 early on. It was littered with serving errors, and there were many digs which went astray or hit the ceiling; Nigel doing wonderfully chasing and setting what he could. A last great push saw Bristol 22-23 up, but eventually fell to a 25-23 defeat.

Bristol fell behind early on again in the 5th. Cardiff Met with all the momentum, Bristol refused to give in. Marcus held his nerve and served them back into the lead. The team, finally ahead again after long last found a second wind, and through the undying support of the Women’s 2nd Team managed to hold on for a 11-15 victory, to raucous jubilation, and whole hearted commiserations to Cardiff Met. So there was a happy ending after all. #happyending #theceilingsthelimit #primenumbers #undefeated

Player of the Match: Marcus Clifford.

BUCSMens2_MatchReport_Oct21st

Written by: Dom Minton

USW Mens 2nds vs Bristol Mens 2nds (14/10/2015)

USW Mens 2nds vs Bristol Mens 2nds (14/10/2015)

In their own small piece of volleyball history, the Men’s 2nd team made their BUCS debut on the 14th of October, heading off to South Wales to (naturally) play the University of South Wales. Over the past year the team had grown accustomed to early morning trips to some of Bristol’s more far flung (yet no less charming) estates in the B&DVA league, but a first international fixture did nothing to phase them. Marcus ‘Jamiroquai’ Clifford putting the troops at ease with several choice quotes, among them ‘that is a cool bit of scaffolding’ and ‘you can have good bums and bad bums’. Also impossible to ignore was Clifford’s choice of attire, some surely-to-short-for-October shorts, along with a shirt so jazzy it put Louis Armstrong to shame, a pairing heavily critiqued by Rob ‘Ralph Lauren’ Robinson.

After a journey filled with some fairly heated musical debate and having cheered on the Ladies 2nds in their corresponding match, it was time for the team to strut their stuff. The first set started poorly, with the team failing to find any rhythm in the opening exchanges, allowing USW to open up a lead. The scrappy play from Bristol continued and this proved costly, as USW took the first set 25-19, despite a dive by Peiman Moradi that left the bench and coach Tim ‘is he Marcus’ dad?’ Clifford in awe.

Knowing that they could do better, the men stepped back onto the court with a point to prove. A team transformed, they stormed into an unassailable lead. USW were hesitant to hit into some strong blocking, with Mike Avery collecting more tips that the most dashing of waiters. The good play continued unabated, Bristol swiftly wrapping up a 25-10 win to level the match.

Knowing they couldn’t afford to lose focus, the third set continued in much the same vein. Marshalled as ever by Mr Consistency Avery and with some excellent hitting from Simos Koutsoftides, the good play continued, USW  unable to live with the superior skill of their maroon clad counterparts.  This was despite coach Clifford being sent from the hall following some overly exuberant out calls from the sideline. With a good run of serving from Rob ‘dustbinlid hands’ Evans, the team closed out the set with a healthy 25-13 lead.

With a first BUCS win on the horizon, it’s fair to say the team let their game slip a little. An unwelcome return of some of the kind of play seen in the first set allowed USW back into the match, with Bristol eventually teetering on the wrong end of a 23-20 deficit. Heads were down, legs were heavy.  However cometh the hour cometh the man in the form of Koutsoftides, who produced several nice hits from 4 following some calm setting from Avery, allowing Bristol to claw their way back to 23-23. This was tense stuff, but with lungs heaving and brows dripping, the boys in maroon prevailed, sealing the set, the match and a first BUCS victory, 27-25.

First game, first win, long may it continue.

Mens2ndBUCS14Oct

Player of the Match: Rob Evans

Written by: Rob Evans

Men 2nds BDVA Tournament 10/10/2015

Men 2nds BDVA Tournament 10/10/2015

Bristol, 10th of October, 2015.

It is 8:15 AM; the men arrive one by one at the coach station. Their faces are tired, their eyes half closed and by seeing them – eyes blank, hardly walking, not talking but whispering as ghosts – I cannot help thinking about AMC’s The Walking Dead’s zombies. Fortunately, this sleepy atmosphere, between dream and reality, dark and light, bed and breakfast was broken by the huge amount of energy deployed by our captain: Felipe aka “the Duracell rabbit”.
After a short bus ride, the team finally arrived at Orchard School Hall, highly motivated and very excited to play its first two matches at B&DVA local league against Bemi VC and Cheddar VC, despite the fact the men only had the opportunity to train together once.
During the first match against Bemi VC, the men proved their passion and their will to win, giving up their body diving desperately but successfully on the floor to save the ball. Even if they lost by 2-0 (25 x 15; 25 x 21) against the experienced Bemi, their proved they deserved their place in the team and with training and team building, they will, for sure, do great performances in the future.
The second match, against Cheddar VC, follow the same pattern and finished with the same score of 2-0 (25 x 15; 25 x 13), caused by some mistakes, justified by the low common experience of the team. However with the same level of passion and will from the guys on court.

The attitude of the men, their passion and their individual qualities as players, but also as men are the reasons why we think this team can become amazing. Moreover, both the coach (Tim) and the captain were very impressed by such a good level for a first match considering the context. With trainings, experience and your support, this team can really improve and reach a great level of Volleyball.

PS.: After the matches and because of a bad set (my apologies), Ralph Bernardo unfortunately hit the pole, which responded by giving him a low kick, hurting by the way his ankle. We wish him a prompt recovery and hope he will be back in the game soon.

To be continued…

Mens2nd matchreport Oct10

Written by: Florian Potier