Deciding to navigate to the Nottingham University gym without the use of maps, the Blues squad found themselves touring the streets of the city looking for some sign of the Uni campus. Eventually “talked in” over mobile phone, the match started 20 minutes late. Middles Fiona Danks (capt) and Sarah Payne started, along with outsides Jill Aitken and Dani Maggiorano, setter Joyce Wu, opposite Wendy Tsang Man Pun and libero Cynthia Lim. Laura Diaz-Anadon and Christina Swan completed the squad.
At the outset the teams were quite evenly matched. The Blues struggled with serve errors and an inability to ground the ball in the first set, whereas the Nottingham team were picking up well, especially in the second set against some hard attacks from Dani. Coping with some inconsistent setting, the Blues rallied after the loss of the first set and took their second set point opportunity to settle the second. An easier win in the third set suggested the Cambridge team were going to cruise to a victory – the Nottingham attack had been reduced to a free-ball and the middle attack from Dani and serve aces from Sarah were putting paid to any attempts for the opponents to get back into the game. Desperately short for time in the fixture (the hall staff to be thanked for letting the match run over), the Nottingham team gained confidence from increasing Blues attack errors in the fourth set. By the end of the set the home team were picking up everything and making sustained attack, whereas the Cambridge team were struggling to get the ball to their setter, resulting in no sets to attack back. In the tie-break the same situation continued, although the Cambridge team rallied late to try to close the points gap. However it was too late to save the fixture and Nottingham had earned a deserved victory.
MVP – Dani Maggiorano
Report by Jon Clarke
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