Cambridge began their EVA campaign against Leeds Met., and lined up with Huw Vater setting, Roger Martinez as utility hitter, Carsten Dirksen and Dan Escott as middle blockers, and captain Richard White and Steffen Krusch as outside hitters. At this early hour of the morning sunlight flooded in through windows high to one side of the court, making sighting of the ball difficult, which most of the team captains agreed was unsatisfactory in such a major tournament.
The Leeds Met. side boasted a setter from National League Division One, but only two reasonable hitters. Cambridge began sluggishly, however, and some woeful passing gave setter Vater very little option but to spread safe sets to White and Martinez for the ball simply to be kept in play. However the quality of the first ball improved as Escott and captain White rotated into back row, and Steffen Krusch in particular made light (!) of the difficulties in sighting the ball to weigh in with some excellent cross-court kills. Leeds Met. never looked likely to challenge for the set as Cambridge won 25-19.
For the second set coach Howorth brought on Daniel Mesnard for Krusch as outside hitter, and gave a debut to middle blocker Jon Clarke in place of Carsten Dirksen. The Blues maintained their superiority, and although they always made sufficient errors to keep Leeds Met. interested, closed the match out 25-19. Daniel Escott (3 kills, 5 blocks) and Roger Martinez (6 kills, 1 ace, 1 block) tied for MVP with 8 points, with Steffen Krusch making an impressive 5 kills at 0.625 in the one set he played.
Report by Richard White
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