The Blues travelled to Iffley Road in Oxford for the 2004 Varsity match, looking to avenge the Oxford wins in the last two meetings of the Light and Dark Blues this season, and to continue their tally of varsity wins. With a few players missing from the line-up the Cambridge side were still able to put out a full strength squad, Fiona Danks (Capt) and Jill Aitken the only veterans of the 2003 victory. The rest of the Varsity squad were; Cinzia Casiraghi, Laura Diaz-Anadon, Candice Baseden, Cynthia Lim, Mary Chlouveraki, Christina Swan, Wendy Tsang Man Pun, Karolina Lada and Dani Maggiorano.
At the outset the game looked to be well matched, both sides passing serve well and running long rallies with good attack. A few unforced errors were seen on each side, but Cambridge was forced to call the first time-out after the Dark side began to extend a lead. The Light Blues then went through a bad patch of play, their passing degenerated and they lost 5 points on net faults. This continued throughout the set, the Cambridge receive unit struggling with the Oxford serve, even with the switch onto court of Laura to try to bring the pass into Mary at set position.
Set two was a better performance by the Light Blues. Although the Cambridge serve-receive was still under pressure, a strong serve run including three aces from Wendy resulted in an Oxford time-out. The Cambridge team continued to put serve pressure on their Oxford counterparts but were unable to finish rallies as the opposition picked up and recycled to strong wing hitter Nicky Osbourne. Candice entered the match late in the set but even a last ditch double-ace run from Dani couldn't save the set.
With a switch of setter in set three, Christina was immediately under pressure from the poor passes her team were sending her way. Karolina contributed on the reverse position and served well, but the Cambridge team struggled again to put the ball away. Few attack errors were made, but few kills also. A short serve from the Oxford team finished the match and left the Cambridge team another year to look forward to the next Varsity match.
MVP - Wendy Tsang Man Pun
Report by Jon Clarke
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