As the first half of the domestic season draws towards a well-earned Christmas break so the Senior Women’s National Team heads into the final stages of preparation for the 2013 Novotel Cup.
Hosted by the Luxembourg Volleyball Federation, the Novotel Cup has been a regular event on the International calendar for over 20 years. The 2013 event will be held at the Centre National Sportif et Cultural d’Coque from 4-6 January and the opposition will come in the form of England, Norway and the hosts, Luxembourg.
12 months ago the squad travelled to the same event, played three matches, lost all three and failed to win a set. It was a very tough lesson but looking back it was a defining point in the season for the squad and one of the main reasons why we were successful 6 months later in Malta. While we are under no illusions that this time round things will be any easier we have very definitely moved on from where we were when we stepped onto court in January 2012.
Our opponents present quite an interesting challenge. The Scotland-England rivalry always stirs the emotions but it is essential that the players find the right balance between passion and clear thinking. England triumphed in last year’s event with a mixture of experience and youth under the guidance of Jefferson Williams so it will be interesting to see who has made the greater progress since that clash.
Norway are a complete unknown. On paper they play at a much higher level but whether they will come with a full strength squad or a younger squad remains to be seen. Irrespective of who they choose to put on court the challenge will be considerable.
With both countries due to meet in the CEV Small Countries Division Final in Malta next June our encounter with hosts Luxembourg is sure to be an intriguing match up. In last season’s event Luxembourg won comfortably and we never really threatened them. With the belief that now exists within our squad we are confident that this time round the contest will be much closer and will be a fitting rehearsal for the main event in June.
So, three interesting matches lie ahead…but before all that happens there will be the little matterof a 3-day intensive Camp from 28-20 December!
The full squad for the 2013 Novotel Cup, Luxembourg, 4-6 January is:
Elaine Krawczyk (Troon Team Ayrshire)
Carly McKinlay (Su Ragazzi)
Cathy Smy (Aberdonia)
Naomi Symonds (City of Edinburgh)
Kay Wheatley (Troon Team Ayrshire)
Linsey Bunten (Captain, Troon Team Ayrshire)
Alex Dickenson (Su Ragazzi)
Caitlin McEwan (NLVC)
Kirsty McLean (Su Ragazzi)
Anneka Hastings (Vannes VC, France)
Jen Thom (City of Edinburgh)
Fiona Kennie (City of Edinburgh)
Head Coach – Craig Faill
Assistant Coaches – Dave McEwan, Leigh Watson (Team Manager)
Physiotherapist – Susan Fotheringham
29 November 2012