|Women's Blues Squad Match Reports
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The Cambridge University Women's Blues squad ventured up the A1 to
Nottingham for their first encounter of the 2000-1 season. Fielding an
almost full-strength team, this was to be a testing game for the blues. Of
the squad of ten players selected for the match, only the Captain, Pascale
Garaud and one of the first six outside attackers, Friederike von
Tiesenhausen, had played in the blues team in a previous season. The other
8 players were performing their blues debuts and the whole squad had been
working hard to consolidate individual skills into cohesive team play in
the two weeks since the selection trials.
The first six lined up with setter Steph Bee penetrating from back-court to feed Friederike on the outside, Emily Longmore as centre attacker and Pascale as a reverse option, with Anne Mullin and Sofia Oikonomidou providing solid cover in the back-court. The Nottingham team opened their account with the first service of the match, slotting a neat but powerless serve between our receive defence. Determined that such an error would not be repeated, the second pass of the match found Steph perfectly at the net and Friederike was in position to make the kill with a cross-court winner. Cambridge took the initiative from this point and edged away as the two teams sounded out each others defence and attack play, and Nottingham were first to concede an early time-out. A number of small errors allowed the Nottingham team to creep back into the game at 12-12 and the score seesawed its way up to 19-19 with Cambridge dictating the attack and Louiza Loizou passing to the setterŐs hands in her duties as receive specialist. Consistent deep float serving from Sofia resulted in free-ball returns which were punished by solid hitting through the outside as the team pushed to the end of the set.
The Blues remained unchanged for the second set. Confusion after a rotation error resulted in a loss of focus for the team as they struggled to get back to grips with their play system. A number of uncharacteristically inaccurate passes made the setters work hard and allowed Nottingham to forge a substantial lead, mainly through the efforts of their tall number 6 attacker. After pulling the team off for a constructive time-out, a new level of determination was asked for. Fast block closure by Emily, good defensive pickup in back-court, and intelligent changes in attack allowed the blues to find holes in the Nottingham cover and doggedly pull back four points from 18-24.
The third set saw some radical tactical changes; moving Anne into the middle attack and introducing Amalia Skoufoglou as setter and Jo Coulson on the outside. The final score of the set did not reflect the game play and Cambridge dominated in setting up attack after attack that could only be returned to the Blues with deep back-court passes. The middle-attack, led by Anne and Sofia, really started to warm up with excellent feeds from Amalia and Steph as a result of good service receive from Friederike and Jo. Pressure serving deep into the Nottingham defence by Jo and Sofia did not allow the opponents chance to set up any decent attack and the Blues suffered only at the hands of interesting rule interpretations by the referee.
By the fourth set a Nottingham collapse had started. Anna Woo was brought into the line-up as outside attacker and also provided the team with her skills as a pass specialist and quick cover player, picking up anything that made its way past the block. The middle-attack, finding a lack of any sort of block from the Nottingham front row, was on fire with both Anne and Sofia blasting first and second tempo attacks into large spaces on the other side of the net.
As coach it was very pleasing to see the team performing so well and with such destructive capacity in their first game. Assistant coach John Lin was working overtime on the bench to collect stats and chief supporter Jean Jacquet was to be heard quietly whistling through his teeth on several occasions as the kills were made. And we have only just started!!
Nominated Queen Of The Court for this match was Steph Bee.
|Position||Sets Played||Attacks||Kills||Kill %||Aces||Blocks||Pass %||Total Points|
|Friederike von Tiesenhausen||O||4||17||8||47||1||0||1.72||9|
Report by Jon Clarke
|Pages maintained by Dan Escott||Last updated: October 2000|