The Scottish Universities Women’s Cup served up a treat of volleyball at Dundee University on Sunday 17th February, with a record ten teams from across Scotland competing for the title. The Cup is the only occasion of the universities season when division 1 and 2 teams have the opportunity to compete against one another and this mix was added to with non league Abertay competing for the first ever time.
The initial pool stages allowed for maximum competition and the efforts of all teams was impressive. The attitude of RGU who have not played in league competition this season was commendable, with the team being helped by the steadying coaching presence of the experienced Linda McNaughton.
In Pool 1 Edinburgh dominated proceedings, winning all their sets, with Aberdeen pipping Tier 2 Heriot Watt to runners up spot courtesy of a nail-biting 23-21 second set victory in their head-to-head match. Pool 2 was a clearer cut affair, with the plucky and inexperienced Abertay team being rewarded for their hard work and positive attitude by winning a set against an efficient Edinburgh 2 team. Despite dropping their only set against an under-par Dundee team, Glasgow topped the pool over league champions St Andrews who, despite being weakened by the absence of some key players, still presented a formidable challenge to most teams.
The semi-finals were played as a winner-takes all one set match as a result of a limit in time following problems earlier in the day with one of the posts. This format certainly made for exciting games. However Edinburgh were growing in confidence and the power of their outside attack and organisation in defence proved too strong for St Andrews, allowing the capital side to gain revenge for St Andrews league win earlier in the season. In the other semi final Glasgow found Aberdeen tougher opposition than the 25-17 scoreline suggests.
Fatigue was undoubtedly a factor in the final, with Glasgow struggling to cope with Edinburgh’s speed and variety in attack. Edinburgh’s Barbara Terlouw was in good form and was able to find space in the Glasgow defence to help the capital team to a well deserved and remarkably comfortable 25-14 victory.
This year’s SSS Cup demonstrated that student volleyball in Scotland is in good health, with typical energy, enthusiasm and sportsmanship on display throughout nearly nine hours of excellent volleyball competition. Thanks are due to the officials who did a sterling job in refereeing a huge 23 matches over the course of the day and to the players who contributed so much to the day’s activity.