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BUSA Midlands Conference Match 1 (Warwick), 18/10/00

Blues 3-0 Warwick University (25-22, 25-12, 25-18)

Cambridge University Men's Volleyball team began their season in style with a comprehensive 3-0 sweep of Warwick University in a game that lasted only 57 minutes. The match was the first of eight pool games which the Blues must play on the road to qualification for the BUSA Student Cup Finals next year.

Since last season, which was the most successful in the history of the Club, the Blues have lost their star opposite hitter, Roger Martinez. Cambridge have, however, recruited a strong squad of technically proficient and experienced players for this season, and Warwick represented their first competitive outing of the year.

The Blues lined up with Dennis Zuev setting, Andreas Malm at opposite, Richard Weinberg and Jean Jacquet as outside hitters, and Dan Escott and Steffen Krusch as middle blockers. Captain Huw Vater completed the team as libero. Zuev, Weinberg and Jacquet were all making their Blues debuts.

Cambridge began strongly, jumping out to 5-0, but were then pegged back by some uncertain passing. The rest of the set continued in a similar vein, with Cambridge always looking the more powerful side, but frequently being caught off-guard by tips and off-speed shots from the Warwick hitters. From 15-15, an important run of serves from Andreas Malm gave the Blues a crucial advantage, and this was maintained to the end of the set, which finished 25-22.

Cambridge coach Dr Richard White sent out the same starters for set two, and they responded with a much more fluent and controlled performance. The Blues ran away to 7-0 behind a run of powerful jump serves from setter Dennis Zuev, and thereafter never let Warwick into the game. Consistent passing from Vater and Weinberg allowed Zuev to set a balanced attack, whilst the Cambridge block began to shut down Warwick's big hitters with regularity. A 25-12 demolition was the result.

With the Blues dominant, coach White brought in outside hitter Quentin Ramasse, opposite hitter Daniel Mesnard and ex-Ohio State setter John Lin for the third set. The names had changed, but the performance did not, as Cambridge secured an early advantage behind some strong backrow hitting from Escott and Krusch, and closed out the match with the minimum of fuss. Despite some deafening cheering from the home crowd, the Blues wrapped up the set 25-18 to get their BUSA campaign off to the best possible start.

Coach Dr Richard White said after the game: "It was important for us to win this game, and the fact that we managed this so convincingly was very encouraging. There were occasional difficulties, but it must be remembered that we are playing a new system this year, and that most of these guys met for the first time only ten days ago. I think the players knew that they were a superior side to Warwick, but they were never complacent and put in an efficient performance. There is certainly much to be excited about - I would rate our play yesterday at only 70% of our true potential."

Dan Escott was MVP with 13 points (including five blocks), but the most impressive attacker was opposite Andreas Malm, with five kills in only eight attempts. Cambridge captain and libero Huw Vater was outstanding in reception, passing at 2.50 for the match, whilst Richard Weinberg was hardly less impressive in registering a 2.33 performance.

"It was important for us to win this game, and the fact that we managed this so convincingly was very encouraging."

Dr Richard White
Head Coach

PositionSets PlayedAttacksKillsKill %AcesBlocksTotal Points
Dan EscottM3148570513
Jean JacquetO36233316
Steffen KruschM314750018
Jon LinS110000
Andreas MalmU385632310
Daniel MesnardU111100001
Quentin RamasseO23267002
Huw VaterLibero3-
Richard WeinbergO313431004
Denis ZuevS3100224
Team Total361294871248

Report by Richard White

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