A rearranged double-header date saw the Men's and Women's Blues travelling to the nicely refurbished Iffley Road Sports Complex in Oxford. The Women's team was at full strength with a travelling squad of twelve. Mary Chlouveraki (s), Wendy Tsang Man Pun (u), Jill Aitken and Dani Maggiorano (o), and Fiona Danks (cap) and Sarah Payne (m) completed the first six, with Cynthia Lim as libero.
The first set proved to be a testing opener. The Blues put together a number of good plays, proving that when they could get the ball to the setter in an accurate manner the following attack put the dark Blues under pressure. The Oxford team were characteristic in their opening service errors, but were usually able to recycle the ball and eventually bring their stronger attackers into play. The Cambridge team struggled defensively, not being able to match their opponent's ability to pick up down-balls.
Set two saw substitutions of setter (Joyce Wu) and outside (Laura Diaz-Anadon) in play. The Oxford team were romping to a large points victory in this set, not due to any change in their game-plan but more due to the difficulty the Blues had in getting any sort of serve-receive or transition ball fed into their setter. The occasional random decision from referee Raimonds Liepa didn't help the flow of play, as both teams found out.
With one change going into the third set, Cambridge paired Uta Wieland on outside with Laura, who was also replaced later in the set by Candice Baseden. Again the Blues rallied and found some of their first set form. Excellent defensive play from Dani kept a number of rallies alive, and the Blues were able to gain more confidence in their attack. The Blues looked liked they were enjoying the match towards the end of the set and even received a bonus from a timely "out" call for the Cambridge team from the Oxford coach!
Report by Jon Clarke
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