|Captains | 2008 League Fixtures/Results | Rules|
On Monday 21st May, Huw Vater predicted that, of the available dates for Cuppers, Monday 18th June would have the best weather. Four weeks later, over 140 players from 24 teams were basking in glorious sunshine for what promised to be a closely fought inter-collegiate competition. Vater had not disappointed.
John's had won the Summer League earlier that term, and were keen to complete the double. Jesus and Robinson had both pushed hard in the top flight of the league and Pembroke, Emma, Churchill and Gonville (Caius 1) had all looked impressive in division 2. Cuppers also gives an opportunity for the Division 3 teams to show what they can do against the supposedly better teams... The stage was set for a great day's volleyball.
Many of the top seeds had byes in round one of the double-elimination competition, and there were no upsets as Hammer Emma and Churchill 1 both cruised to victory. Round two saw another encounter between old rivals Emma and Pembroke. Emma had been the only team to beat Pembroke in the last two years, and captain Huw Vater was keen to exact another win over fellow-Blue Mathias Klaeui. The match was a carbon-copy of their encounter in the league this year, with Pembroke taking the first set before Emma's hammer took full effect enabling them to take the next two to stay in the winners bracket. A disappointing performance by Emma against Queens' would later see them eliminated from the competition. Meanwhile Pembroke didn't let this early setback bother them, and continued through the losers' bracket with some impressive ball against Gonville.
Hughes Hall, marshalled by Hal Sharpe, put up an impressive display to reach round four before they were beaten in two sets by Pembroke. Magdalene Pythons, winners of division 3, went one step further before coming up against a strong Churchill 1 side featuring two women Blues players, Veronica Kunze and Anna Woo. But the John's second team was the most succesful of the third division sides, recording notable wins over Corpus and Trinity - both division 1 sides - before eventually being knocked out in the sixth round by Pembroke.
Meanwhile, things were going to plan in the winners bracket for the top four seeds. In round six, Johns defeated Catz 1 in straight sets, but second seeds Jesus slipped up in a close match against Robinson Condors. Jesus, who had looked strong earlier in the day, now seemed to be struggling as they lost their second match of the day in the next round to Pembroke. Likewise Catz lost back-to-back games to be knocked out of the competition at this early stage.
This left only four teams in the competition. Robinson Condors faced Jesus 1 in the winners' bracket, and Churchill 1 would play Pembroke (both Division 2 teams) in the losers' bracket. Any of these teams had a mathematical chance of the tournament and, on the day's performance so far, it really looked as if they all had the ammunition to do it.
With only two more wins needed for victory, John's started to turn up the heat. Blues setter Denis Zuev's powerful run of jump serves, coupled with the experience of Blues players Andreas Poulos and Daniel Hobohm, was all too much for the Condors, who lost in two quick sets. Meanwhile, Mathias Klaeui's impressive 90% kill record for the day wasn't enough to get past the excellent team defence of Churchill 1, who then went on to surprise everyone by seeing off Condors to set up a showdown with John's in the final.
This turned out to be John's toughest game of the day, with Churchill matching them point for point for the first ¾ of the first set, before John's edged out a lead. The second set went much the same way, and John's were deserved winners of the coveted trophy. Captain Thomas Triebel had to wait another day before he finally got to lift the trophy - Catz had misplaced it the week earlier - but that didn't dampen the atmosphere of what was a fantastic showcase for college volleyball at Cambridge and, for many, a fitting end to the season. If the talent on show continues to filter through to the Blues and second squads as it has done in recent years, then Cambridge's position as one of the top volleyball Universities in the country should long continue. Bring on the 2001-2 season!
Double-elimination format. Matches in bold are in the winners' bracket. Matches in red are in the losers' bracket.
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