Second division NUVOC are out for a slice of Scottish volleyball history at the Edinburgh University Pleasance on Sunday as they seek to become the first lower division team to reach the men’s Scottish Cup final.
The capital side face Edinburgh neighbours Edinburgh Jets – the holders – in the semi-finals, the oldest rivalry in the Scottish game, dating back almost 40 years. NUVOC have won 15 out of 15 in Division Two this season, only dropping two sets in the process, and have already beaten first division opposition in the shape of Bon Accord on the way to the last four.
Former winners City of Glasgow Ragazzi face last season’s runners-up Glasgow Mets in the other men’s semi-final at the Pleasance. Mets have already won the John Syer Trophy and are still disputing the Scottish League title with South Ayrshire. Ragazzi coach Thomas Dowens knows his team face a stiff test of character. “The City of Glasgow Ragazzi players are working very hard in preparation for the Cup semi-finals,” he stresses. “We are a team in transition as this season as we have brought through a number of our junior players. “They have done well, strongly supported by the senior players, and we see this as being our best opportunity to win silverware this season. “Mets will be very tough opponents, and they start as clear favorites for the game, but we will work our socks off to be in the final. Game on!”
In the women’s cup, QTS Troon Team Ayrshire are in their 16th successive semi-final and take on Edinburgh Jets in a repeat of last year’s final, which Jets won in straight sets. The Ayrshire side welcome back key player Kay Wheatley, who missed the recent double-header with City of Edinburgh which decided the league title. Edinburgh take on Aberdonia in the other semi-final. “Edinburgh deserve a lot of credit for the way they have come back in the second half of the season,” admits Troon coach Vince Krawczyk.
“Having Mel Coutts back in their team after long-term injury has made a massive difference to them and they have played really well in the last two weeks.”
Aberdonia, in their first semi-final, are hoping to raise their game and cause a major upset. American coach Connie Weisenfelder stresses: “Aberdonia are thrilled for their first appearance in the Scottish Cup semi-finals. This is an exciting event with the best volleyball competition in Scotland. “Aberdonia have worked steadily this season to build strong team chemistry and trust among our players. We are enthusiastic and focused for the cup, and are working hard to reduce errors and terminate the ball. “We know we are up against a very strong City of Edinburgh team, and must be at the top of our game to compete well.”
Court 1 – Aberdonia vs City of Edinburgh
Court 2 – NUVOC vs Edinburgh Jets
Court 1 – Glasgow Mets vs City of Glasgow Ragazzi
Court 2 – QTS Troon Team Ayrshire vs Edinburgh Jets
Centre for Sport and Exercise
Pleasance Sports Centre
Edinburgh EH8 9TJ