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BUSA Midlands Conference Match 8 (Cambridge), 03/02/01

Blues 3 Nottingham 1 (25-10, 23-25, 25-16, 25-17)

This being the last BUSA qualifying match before the Varsity Match and EVA Finals, the Blues were out in full force to meet Nottingham and prepare themselves for the matches ahead. Fielding a full twelve on the bench, the first six lined up with Veronica Kunze and Janice Pedersen setting, the latter after her strong performance in the last BUSA fixture against Birmingham, Pia Sondergeld and Sofia Oikonomidou as centres and Anne Mullin and Jo Coulson on the outside. Louiza Loizou completed the team with the golden libero shirt.

The Blues immediately got into their stride and won the important first point of the match to retrieve the ball. With the team opposition firmly in her sights, Janice led the set with an impressive run of solid serving deep to the baseline, that was not perturbed by an early Nottingham timeout, and allowed the Blues to cruise into a commanding lead at 10-4. Veronica was hitting well through the reverse and Anne opened an early account with a hard back-court attack that found an acre of space. Both Jo and Sofia also had the run of the opposition with deep service, Sofia scoring the first ace of the match in style. It seemed like the Nottingham team had been stunned into silence by the score line at the end of the set with a paltry 10 point score.

With changes of Friederike von Teisenhausen for Jo and Emily Longmore for Pia, the Blues went out to the second set with instructions to use the opposition to practice some higher risk plays. The Nottingham team had stepped up a gear in the break and began to find some form, but the Blues were unfazed, with Louiza picking up well in back-court and the setters working well together on the net. The combination plays were being tried and occasionally were finding the mark, whilst Anne was finding the line with power. Nevertheless the Blues had let points slip and found themselves at 10-17 down, and battled well to end the set closely.

With two more changes in set 3, namely tall power hitter Alice Yi on the outside for Friederike and Captain Pascale Garaud for Janice, the Blues again looked in control from the start of the set. Veronica was working well with her hitting options and allowed Alice to kill a nicely executed cross with Sofia that had the Nottingham defence in disarray. Emily was running a nice service break including her first ace of the match as the Blues surged through the set. Pascale was also testing the Nottingham reception with nicely placed deep serves, allowing the Blues to pick up free balls with regularity, which were then fed out to the wings to be punished by Anne and Veronica. Alice completed the set with a fiery reverse hit off Veronica that was searching for the opponent's 3 metre line.

With some changes to prepare the team for their EVA Finals campaign, Alice switched into the middle, replacing Emily, whilst Friederike was posted back on the outside. Starting with the ball, Veronica made a 5 point run from the outset, floating the ball deep into the Nottingham corners. The Blues won the serve back a few moments later with a superb double-quick play and started to dominate the set. Again there was notable serving from all of the players, Pascale racking up an ace for her match stats, whilst both Friederike and Veronica were punching low hard service just over the net. The Nottingham team found the occasional flash of form but were really outgunned as the Blues drove through to end the set and the match. A fine performance from Cambridge and well in touch with the form that they are capable of.

Queen of the Court: Alice Yi for proving versatility through both the outside and middle and making a firm claim on her place in this year's team.

PositionSets PlayedAttacksKillsKill %AcesBlocksPass %Total Points
Jo CoulsonO142500002
Pascale GaraudS32150102
Veronica KunzeS47343003
Louiza LoizouLibero3-1.75
Emily LongmoreM23133203
Anne MullinM/O4171165101.9312
Sofia OikonomidouM410550101.636
Janice Pedersen22150001
Pia SondergeldM110000
Friederike von TiesenhausenO2800011.51
Team Total45424445130

Report by Jon Clarke

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