The Light Blues put on an energetic displayJoseph Powell

Cambridge Men’s 1sts put on an assured display at the University Sports Centre on Wednesday evening, dispatching the visiting Warwick 1sts 3-1 in a match they never looked like losing.

The home team started proceedings with a controlled set and spike combination which saw the ball hammered down onto a helpless Warwick front line. The visitors were able to regain a foothold however, with solid defence work at the net from Justas Tamulis making it 5-5 after 10 points.

Having had a fairly patchy season thus far, with 3-0 and 3-2 victories against Oxford Brookes and Coventry mirrored by 3-0 and 3-1 defeats to Staffordshire and Derby, it was important for the Light Blues to sign off the last game of the calendar year with a win. This desire was soon reflected as Cambridge began to make headway. Patient build-up play saw the hosts carve out a 5 point lead to take it to 17-12.

The match was a typically rambunctious affair from the off. Highlights included renditions of ‘Feliz Navidad’ when any mistake gifted a point to the chanting team, as well as group performances of the Spider Man theme after a phase of acrobatic play.

Cambridge were made to rue imprecise play at the net in the next few phases, as chance after chance went wanting to bring the visitors level 22-22 in the set’s final moments. Composure was regained in the last however, as a forceful spike, an ace and a downward body shot saw the Light Blues take the last three and the first set with it.

The hosts began proceedings again, with a period of lofty aerial play ensuing in which the teams were evenly matched. Tamulus was again an important asset at the net, showing strong arms to take the visitors to a 7-4 lead.

Cambridge were consistent elsewhere however, and were able to peg Warwick back every step of the way. With no team able to carve a significant lead the score climbed to 18-18 in a far more even set than the first. Cambridge were able to break at the last, as an athletic defensive performance from Lucas Boden combined with an offensive consistency drew several unforced errors from their opponents. The Light Blues finished in style with an ace from the back court to take the second set by a confident margin at 25-20.

Now facing the prospect of heading back to the West Midlands without even a set to their name, the Warwick coach demanded more communication and composure from her players at the interval.

This appeared to get its desired result as the visitors claimed the first few points of the set, but misfortune struck when a tangle at the net saw Warwick 8 go down. He would be unable to continue, and was soon stretchered off court by his teammates to awaiting first aid providers.

After, a lengthy stoppage play resumed, with the teams well matched at 10-10. The set began to drift beyond Cambridge from here, however, as a series of unforced errors and relentless unreturned volleys from Warwick saw a five point lead established at 20-15. It didn’t get any better for the Light Blues as several attempted spikes only met the net, before an ambitious attempt at a kick return sealed the set at 25-18 to the visitors.


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With the chance of a shut out now departed, the Light Blues were keen to ensure their lead didn’t dissipate further. Labrunie lodged one such slam into dormant Warwick bodies to take it to 13-10.

The Light Blues, now bolstered by the vocal presence of the Women’s 1sts who also later won their game against Bristol 3-1, steamed away to a 21-18 lead.

The visitors began to show a lack of composure, as a routine spike from their Number 6 ended in a mistimed jump which saw the ball trickle into the net. Match point was on the table at 24-21, and Light Blue Max Strammnitz had the last word in forcing a return off a Warwick player at the net and out for the victory.

Cambridge were able to sign off for the festive break in style, and can rest easy from a performance which places them in good stead for next term.

Perhaps fortunately, their next outing offers the away leg of this fixture, as they seek to take a double against Warwick on 15th January.

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