Su Ragazzi, City of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Jets won two titles a piece with South Ayrshire and North Grampian picking up the other trophies.
The weekend started with the Men’s Thistle Bowl final as South Ayrshire took on Dundee. The match was slow to start but South Ayrshire began to show more of the form that has seen them finish a record 5th in Division 1, running out 3-0 winners (25-10, 25-21, 25-18) to cap off a great season for Iain Parker’s up and coming side.
The Men’s plate final saw City of Edinburgh II take on Edinburgh University in what turned out to be the match of the day. Former City of Edinburgh players Glenn Robison and Ross Kirkwood (now captain and coach of the University side) were obviously keen to make an impression on their former team, winning the first set 25-22. The teams then traded sets before City of Edinburgh staged a great comeback to win the 4th set 28-26. Simon Hammond helped keep the City of Edinburgh team focused as some strong serving and great defence gave them the platform to win the 5th set 15-11.
City of Edinburgh’s win was a real story of ‘cup romance’ having saved 5 match points against University of Stirling in the Quarter-finals and saving 3 match points in the Final against University of Edinburgh to take the title.
The Women’s plate final followed and it was great to see Perth VC in their first Scottish Plate final, but they had a tough ask to overcome defending champions North Grampian. The blend of young and experienced players from Perth was working well, however the experience of North Grampian in their 3rd final in the last 3 years showed as their hitters found spaces in the Perth defensive unit and exploited them consistently throughout the match.
The last match of the day saw Dundee University, in their 3rd Thistle Bowl final in the past 6 years, take on Division 2 champions SU Ragazzi II, whose only loss all season came against defending champions City of Edinburgh in the Scottish Cup.
The match was dominated by the outside hitters with Dundee University’s Elena Velten scoring regularly along with Su Ragazzi’s Jen Downs and Marketa Hola. The match was played in good spirit with lots of long rallies but it was Su Ragazzi who out-hit their opponents to take the title, with Claire Crowe taking the honours to pick up the trophy on her last match for the club.
This Year was the first year in which the regional league finals were combined with the overall Finals Weekend and what a success it was.
The men’s regional league saw the winners of the 4 regional leagues come together; Orkney, Edinburgh University, Dundee University and Scotstoun. The final was contested by Edinburgh University and Orkney in a match which was worthy of being on the main court as both sides played with power and great defence, but it was Edinburgh University who came from behind to win the match in what was remarkably their 11th set of Volleyball that day!
Another first saw Perth and Dundee University come together for the inaugural Women’s regional league final, with Dundee University coming out victorious.
The weekend was the first outing for the new recruits on the special events team. Who put in an unbelievable effort at the SVA cup finals at Wishaw SC. Their tireless efforts as well as their willingness to learn new skills bode well for future events. Congratulations and thanks to all directly and indirectly involved with the Special Events team over the course of the weekend.
The Sunday started off with traditionally the most supported matches of the weekend and this year was no different. Marr College have had another successful season winning the School’s Cup and the JNL U18 but NL Ragazzi’s players have been working hard all year and making great strides in their development.
NL Ragazzi started strong with setter Scouller finding outside spikers consistently with Priya Gill especially finding clever ways past the block. Marr College struggled to find a rhythm to their play and despite some nice kills from Jane Drauz Brown, found themselves on the wrong end of a 25-18 scoreline.
The Ayrshire girls came out fighting in the second set as setter Marsail Hood fought hard to link with middle hitters Emma Laurie and Rachel Morrison but NL Ragazzi stemmed the tide by establishing their own middle hitters of Mhairi Agnew and Nicola Hughes as they ran away with the 2nd set 25-16 and retained their Junior Super Cup title.
The Boys Super Cup final was set up to be a great match with the teams at 2:2 in wins against each other in junior competitions. Edinburgh started off strong as a strong passing unit led by libero Michael Lee allowed Rhys Arthur to run the offence with middle hitters Euan Gibson and Calum Connelly. Lanarkshire struggled to kill the ball in the early stages but Gilies and Walker started to find success and clawed back the deficit but Edinburgh held on to win the first set 25-21.
The second set was an outstanding display of volleyball but it was the blocking from the City of Edinburgh boys which proved to be the difference as they frustrated the Lanarkshire hitters in stopping their attacks. The Edinburgh team managed to side-out after a 3 point pass from 14 year old Ben McHardy to take the 2nd set 25-19 and win the Junior Super Cup.
The results in the Junior Super Cup finals were relative upsets with City of Edinburgh and NL Ragazzi both losing to their opposition in their respective JNL U18 finals in December. Big congratulations to the coaching staff who must have put in a great amount of effort to improve their team since their disappointment in December.
There were some outstanding individual performances during the matches, especially from the player’s who performed at the recent Junior European Championships but the Hannah Scott award winners were City of Edinburgh’s captain Rhys Arthur and North Lanarkshire Ragazzi’s Lucy Scouller. Congratulations to both individuals on their awards.
Next up was the Men’s Scottish Cup Final. Glasgow Mets brought a vociferous support and it was a real pleasure to see former Mets players there to cheer their team on alongside a minibus full of the club young future stars. Edinburgh Jets brought through an equally loud support which contributed to a fantastic atmosphere.
The match itself lived up to the travelling fans’ expectations as the match went the full 5 sets. Mets took the first set 25-20 before Jets fought back to win the 2nd 25-19, Mets repeated their earlier scoreline in the third set before flying to a 17-10 lead in the 4th, showing an outstanding display of power volleyball. But Jets’ combination of Martyn Johnstone and Paul Glissov rallied their team to remarkable comeback to take the set 25-23. With the momentum firmly with the Edinburgh side they stormed to a 15-8 win to secure a league and cup double.
Last but not least it was the Women’s Jets team to try and emulate their male counterparts. With the team undefeated since December and having beaten Troon in their two league games they looked favourites for the cup.
The Ayrshire side put in a determined and dogged performance with Elaine Krawczyk and Linsey Bunten taking the game to Jets, but they finished just short as Jets ran out 3-0 winners (25-22, 25-16, 25-22.) Jets’ setter Dominika Stepien was able to find hitters Michalowska, McKenzie and Crusey who consistently managed to find a way past the spirited Troon defence. Ally Jack’s team finish the season as Play-off and Cup champions.
The finals weekend was brought to a close with the presentation of the FinalWhistlleMedia Players of the Year awards, to the top players in the First Division. The awards went as follows;
|City of Edinburgh||Paul Glissov||Edinburgh Jets|
|QTS Troon Team Ayrshire||Martyn Johnstone||Edinburgh Jets|
|Daniel Traylor/ Alastair Galloway||City of
Dominika Stepien/Joanne Morgan
|Edinburgh Jets/City of Edinburgh||Alan Krawczyk||Glasgow
Photo Galleries from all the weekend’s matches can be viewed here thanks to volleyballphotos.co.uk
Highlights of all 8 cup finals can be viewed on the SVA’s YouTube channel.
A massive thanks is due to Wishaw Sports Centre, VolleyballPhotos, Final Whistle Media, the ball retrievers from Auchmuty and from Cavalry Park NUVOC, all the referees and NTOs and to Kenny Barton for his brilliant announcing all weekend.
|Graeme Spowart||Martyn Johnstone|
|Club & Participation
|Competitions & Performance